#PBEvent 2014 was an overwhelming experience. There was information overload, blogger overload and food overload! There were multiple meet-ups, promotions, competitions and experiences. Not to mention the social media buzz across facebook. twitter, instagram and google+…
Nathan and I did our best to soak it all in and try to withstand the onslaught but we still came away with heads swimming and brains buzzing. Despite a divide and conquer strategy (where we split up for most sessions to get as much info first hand as we could) we still had to take a break occasionally to just breathe it all in.
It was equal parts excitement, inspiration, exhilaration, terror and overwhelm. Having said that, it was well worth the trip. It was worth the ticket price, the airfares, the accommodation, the transfers and all other costs – x 1000.
If you ever have the chance to go – DO IT!
While it was a huge two days and we did have a metric tonne of information thrown at us at great speed, we came away with the following learnings that we wanted to share.
1. We are all very ordinary people with the opportunity to do extraordinary things. This was the theme of Darren Rowse’s keynote presentation and I’m sure it struck a chord with most attendees. Darren often feels he’s like Emmet from The Lego Movie – insignificant, forgettable, not special. But in his very ordinariness, Emmet is able to accomplish extraordinary things. We too are all capable of great things – we just need to remember that.
2. Epic blogs are built on many regular, small and useful actions. Concentrate on the little things, all those basics that need to be perfect in order to build a great blog. They may seem insignificant but do the little things right and you have the foundation for greatness. Darren listed 6 ordinary ways to be a better blogger:
- Start (not just starting the blog but all the other starts you make on your journey)
- Put Readers First (know your readers and recognise what change you want to see in them)
- Be Useful (find out how you can be of use to your readers)
- Develop a Rhythm of Usefulness (develop a blogging routine & a rhythm that works for you and your readers)
- Create Meaning (craft quality posts that take people on a journey and invests you with trust, authority and influence)
- Persist (keep trying – be there for the long haul)
3. There is such a thing as raving fans! Pat Flynn’s keynote was all about turning your readers into fans that will follow you everywhere.
The key to moving readers up the “Affinity Pyramid” from a casual audience to an active audience to a connected community and then finally into raving fans is to:
- create a memorable first impression;
- create unique content; and
- be consistent – keep them moving up the pyramid
Not every reader will convert into a raving fan. However the more you engage with your readers, the more you make them feel special and the more you step out of your comfort zone to meet them, then there will be a greater chance of your readers becoming more active, engaged and connected.
4. Goal setting is critical. Matthew Michalewicz spoke about goals and desire and fear. He noted that setting a goal increases the chances of achieving success but only if you are focused and all your actions are taken in the context of achieving that goal. He also noted that in order to take action to achieve your goal your desire for success must override your fear of taking action.
Unpacking your goal into all the steps that make up the goal (large, medium and small milestones) will also set you in the right direction to succeed and make the goal all the more achievable to obtain.
BTW, Matthew’s keynote was very compelling and his book, Living Life in Half Second is a must-read.
5. You are your brand. This concept came up in a few presentations, most notably in Chris Ducker’s session on The Business of Being You. Make a clear decision to build a personal brand. As Chris stated:
when you build the business of you, nobody can copy it – it’s 100% original
Ask yourself – what do you have to offer the world that no-one else can? With this in mind, identify your ideal customer. Understand that your audience will determine what the business of you actually becomes as you will know their problems and be able to solve them.
Chris believes that monetising your brand actually builds authority and provided the following tips to follow:
- identify your niche
- know who you are helping (create customer avatars)
- create great content (educational, inspirational, entertaining)
- build People2People (P2P) relationships
- then monetise your brand.
6. See yourself as a business owner rather than as a blogger. Suzi Dafnis talked about the business of blogging and challenged all participants to take their blogging hat off for a moment and become a business owner instead. Like all businesses, blogging needs a business plan and a vision. What is your reason for blogging? What is your strategy for growing your blog/business?
Are your finances in order? Do you have a budget? A corporate structure? What are your revenue streams? Do you have systems in place for your marketing? Do you have a reliable team to call on when you need to? Do you have the right technology to support your databases and other systems? have you thought about investing in your personal development? All very relevant questions when considering your blog as your business.
7. Humans process visual images faster than any other forms of input. We tend to make instant decisions on visual content as we are hardwired to do this. Which is why making your blog visually appealing and shareable is so vitally important.
Donna Moritz shared some great advice in her session, The Visual Blog. For instance, did you know that 80% of the content on Pinterest is share content and not original? Use this to your advantage and create original that can be shared. Ensure you make it clear what you want people to do when they click on your image – direct them where YOU want them to go (i.e. send them to Twitter or Pinterest to share).
People are more likely to share “in the moment” so think of upcoming celebrations and events that will resonate with your readers and prepare visual content to drive traffic. Remember, everyone is a content creator with a smart phone in their pocket!
8. Treat your website like your digital home. Dee Teal pointed out that like your own residence, your website requires special attention and provided the following actionable tips:
- You need to insure it against disaster by regularly and completely backing up your data.
- You need a schedule of regular maintenance to ensure it remains in tip-top condition – updating plugins, using a broken link checker and using webmaster tools.
- You need to secure your digital home by using a security plug-in to protect against hacking.
- Paying attention to pest control is also a must – utilising spam shields help protect your digital home from unwanted pests and vermin.
- Finally, you want your asset to run as efficiently as possible so invest in understanding your site speed and improving it.
9. Know yourself in order to flourish as a blogger. To find readers for your blog, Christie Burnett suggested an examination of the following 5 questions:
- Who am I reaching? Who do I want to reach? (understand your audience and what they are looking for)
- Why am I here? Why am I blogging? What is the purpose? (what can you offer? how do readers feel when they come to your blog? How do you rate your writing style? Content? Originality? Consistency?)
- What happens next? Are you converting casual visitors to repeat visitors? (look at your site navigation, have a call to action, link to relevant content and give readers a clear chance to subscribe)
- Where should I spend my time? (be active in social media but concentrate on where your readers are – don’t spread yourself too thin)
- netWorking (form a team, collaborate with others, use social media to link to others, inspire, be generous, be helpful)
These were themes and questions reinforced by many of the presentations which goes to show just how important they are.
10. Believe in yourself and in your self-worth. A constant theme throughout the conference was the affirmation that everyone brings value to the world with their own unique views and unique voice. Don’t value yourself by the number of followers or page views that you have. Believe in yourself. Believe in your blog. Believe in your vision.
Did you go to #PBEvent 2014? What did you take away from the sessions?