There are few world class blogging events. Problogger Event held annually by Darren Rowse and his team in Australia is one of them.
I recently had the absolute honour of speaking at the latest event and enjoying the exceptional content and networking at the amazing QT Hotel on the Gold Coast.
Here are my Top 5 Takeaways from Problogger Event 2014.
I took a step back before writing this post to look at the themes running through the 2 day event and there were a handful of core messages that really stood out – 5 Juicy Takeaways that I hope you can use immediately to grow your blog community and get results from your blog.
The sessions and speakers were so good, it was like choosing between children to pick which session to go to!
I am looking forward to the recordings of those I missed, but for now, these are my top takeaways. I did what I always do when collating these types of posts – I went to the Twitter Feed, as that is where all the action is.
It's also where the best “notes” and takeaways from any conference lay… in the tweets, quotes and images posted on the feed.
5 Juicy Takeaways from Problogger Event
#1 Just Start
This message was literally one of the first things to leave the lips of Darren Rowse in his opening keynote and one of the last things he reminded us of in his wrap at the end.
So many of us are grappling with projects we are overwhelmed by, blogs we want to start, projects we can't see the end of, and he reminded us we just need to start.
Here are just a few of the tweets that came from Darren's Keynote:
As Darren suggested, tell someone your next best step. It's the best way to dissolve your excuses!
If you are thinking that it is too late or things are not happening quickly enough – please push on, just for a little longer.
I talked last year on stage with Darren about how 1,000 of anything is often a tipping point – 1,000 fans, 1,000 subscribers, 1,000 unique visitors…. 2 years after getting my first 1,000 subscribers and first 1000 unique visitors to my blog I won Best Business Blog in Australia in 2014.
Remember that behind those first 1,000 subscribers or fans or visitors to your site is another 1,000 who you might read your Facebook posts or follow you on Twitter.
Some of those awesome people never reach out to you or speak to you or connect with you till the moment they buy your e-book or $300 program without a hesitation, as soon as you open the cart (go to #5 to find out why).
That's the power of blogging. It can sneak up on you when you think that it is moving slowly.
Never underestimate how far you have come. Never underestimate how close you are to the next tipping point.
#2 Be Useful
Darren Rowse challenged the often quoted “Content is King” with a new King –
Here is a slide from his opening Keynote:
”” Flux Digital (@Flux_Social) August 28, 2014
Darren said it well with this quote:
Epic blogs are not built over night. They are built on many regular small useful actions – Darren Rowse
I couldn't agree more. Every piece of successful content I see often falls into one of 2 categories: it's useful or inspiring (and perhaps a third: entertaining).
But if you can be useful – your readers, subscribers, clients – they remember you.
And they appreciate you.
Pat Flynn said this very well in his keynote (more of that to come in #5). It's all about how you are helping them:
As Pat said, the ultimate for any blogger is to have your fans saying “I felt like you wrote this post just for me” – that's the power of being useful.
#3 Think Differently
This was a theme that ran through the entire conference – from thinking about how we build community, to how we can monetize our blogs in new and different ways and how you can find creative ways to share our message.
In my session I encouraged attendees to think about how powerful visual content can be when combined with consistent blogging. I encouraged people to think differently, create differently and to share differently when it comes to visual content.
We often get caught up in focusing on reach and social media platforms when fact the most important things are:
- your blog/website (your homebase)
- your subscriber community (your list)
These are “real estate” that we truly own. And as such we should build our content castle on the strong foundations of our blog, not the shifting sands of social media:
I encouraged us all to think in terms of visual content as being like the “Tardis” of your blog.
For those of you who are not Dr Who fans, there is an amazing time machine called a Tardis (shaped like a telephone booth) that can transport its occupants to any place or time in the Universe. Behind the door of the Tardis, the interior is much more expansive and awesome than the exterior would suggest!.
When you engage with visual content, it can take you to any social site or your blog, and what is behind an image is often a promise of more awesome content on your blog
Great visual content (be it an image, infographic, slideshare deck or short video) out on social media networks can not only attract attention but can entice someone to take action and inspire advocacy and sharing.
Just like the Tardis, a piece of visual content can transport a user to any other social site or (most importantly) your blog and your business.
We connect emotionally with images, and make decisions about the content quickly – clicking through to see what is behind that image.
It doesn't have to be just a single image, quote or photo – I threw down the challenge for bloggers to experiment with new tools and image types such as short video, SlideShare and infographics. A great visual asset can drive huge traffic back to your blog.
”” Fiona Lucas (@irespectonline) August 29, 2014
There are so many options – you can turn a blog post into a SlideShare Presentation, and a SlideShare presentation into a short video… and an infographic into separate graphics/Facebook Posts/Google+ posts or even, again, into a SlideShare presentation.
What about mobile video? What content can you create “on the go”, with your mobile phone? It can then be easily uploaded to your website, instagram, other social sites or YouTube.
And it's not all about visuals and text. Think differently and include audio.. because podcasting is huge, and one of the most intimate ways to connect with your audience.
There were so many great takeaways but I wanted to share this slide with you as it contains Pat's free guide at PodcastingTutorial.com.
”” Louisa Claire | BMB (@brandmeetsblog) August 29, 2014
There is a reason why Pat's show Smart Passive Income is consistently one of the top shows on iTunes. He knows podcasting. So be sure to check out the guide.
And here are some great tips for launching your podcast. My biggest takeaway was to have 3-5 episodes ready before you launch:
”” Karan White (@Pod_Legal) August 29, 2014
I couldn't begin to do this session justice as the lads shared so much of their knowledge through launching many podcasts between them. But to get started, be sure to check out Pat's free tutorial!
#4 Pay attention to Google+
Rand Fishkin was a huge favourite at Problogger – who woulda thunk it….an SEO guy that's entertaining actually exists? Yup!
Not only did Rand present a power-packed session on Google but his session on Google+ was standing-room-only packed.
Why? Because I think deep down we all know that no matter how much people say that Facebook is where it is at, Google+ is not dead in the water and is, in fact, a platform that everyone should be considering – because… um… well…. it's Google!
Yes, Facebook is still beneficial, yes our audience is there. Yes, it is still possible to get great reach and engagement (you just have to work at it or pay for it)… But for many businesses, especially those starting out, it's tough, and they are going to find it harder as it becomes more and more “pay to play”.
Rand confirmed what I had been suspecting for a while – bloggers need to get cosy with Google Plus. Why? It's Google. GOOGLE.
But if that doesn't convince you, here are a few reasons why (according to Rand).
- Google+ gets the same number of monthly active users as Twitter!
- Google+ is paramount for any business with a physical location – hook up your Google+ page.
- Google+ has phenomenal reach – it connects you to everyone who has an android phone, G+address, gmail account, picassa account, YouTube account – all mixed together and identified through Google+. In fact anytime, anyone is on a “Google Property” such as Gmail, they are alerted to G+ activity.
- “Ripples” is the superpower of Google+. It shows public shares and who has shared that is an influencer – something that becomes very handy when you consider how you share and +1 content in future.
- Google+ comments, +1s and posts show up in…..well…. Google! Google shows social proof from your connections who have +1'd or shared content … in your search results! That's powerful stuff!
Rand also kindly shared his presentation for you to check out!
So…absolutely, definitely consider becoming more active on Google+
#5 Focus on Your Community
Pat Flynn was ah-MAY-zing in his keynote. I have seen him speak 3 times now and each time he gets better and better. His storytelling and timing is impeccable.
Want to know why? Read his own wrap of the event where he talks about the amazing preparation he puts into speaking.
Pat gave us insight into how to turn your casual audience into raving fans, and the affinity pyramid: How does he move people through the pyramid from casual reader to raving fan? With a series of moments over time.
Pat used the example of his gorgeous wife and her besotted infatuation with the Backstreet Boys (and how it evolved) as an analogy for how fans are created.
As Pat stated, if you want to change somebody's life (and help them to become a fan) you have to change their day first:
Some tips Pat gave for moving people from your casual audience to raving fans:
- Give one super actionable tip in you first email to a new subscriber – make it so helpful they will think “value” when they think of you.
- be personable and put some “you” into your blog, podcast or webshow. For example, Pat includes one fun fact about himself at the start of every podcast at Smart Passive Income. Note: the intro to his podcast changes every episode and is worth the listen just for that alone (though the episodes are awesome too of course).
- consistently provide unique, helpful content.
- include your community in decision making – ask their opinion
- celebrate your raving fans in unique ways
Without a doubt, Pat Flynn cemented a lot of new raving fans with his stellar presentation.
And this fan?
I'm quite happy sitting perched at the top of that pyramid and I am unlikely to change position anytime soon.
That goes for Darren Rowse and his wonderful PBEvent team too, by the way.
Your turn. Were you at Problogger Event 2014? Did you catch the action on Twitter? What was your biggest takeaway?