On Easter weekend I attended The Portland Blogcademy at the fabulous hipster Ace Hotel in Portland, OR. I wasn’t wearing bunny ears at an Easter hunt but I was wearing them for a photo shoot of the Portland Blogcademy (will post that photo here when it gets posted on Gala Darling’s Flickr site).
It was two days filled with fabulous content + creativity led by three top bloggers with stellar brands — Gala Darling who has been described as a downtown Carrie Bradshaw, the amazing Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride, and Shauna Haider, a graphic designer and blogger at Nubby Twiglet of Portland, OR;) Each of these women has a unique brand with big followings. It was one of the most fun and creative experiences I’ve had in a long time.
One of the best parts of attending The Blogcademy was that each of us had the opportunity to have our blog or social media sites reviewed by Kat, Gala and Shauna. These women know the world of blogging and all derive revenue from their blogs. To have experts reviewing each of our sites for improvements was a bonus.
Let’s talk numbers and web assets. Between their collective blogs, these women have an enormous reach with the following stats:
• 1,000,000+ combined MONTHLY BLOG VISITORS
• Combined reach of 50,000+ TWITTER FOLLOWERS
• Combined reach of 50,000+ FACEBOOK “LIKES”
• Combined reach of 15,000+ INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS
How to Be a Better Blogger
Engage with your readers in an authentic way that builds trust. Give them value in what you write about and share your wisdom. Seth Godin says not only are we living in a revolution but we are living in a Connection Economy. Seth’s latest book is The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?, which is a great read goes more into detail about the importance of building relationships online.
1. Share valuable content and be transparent in order to build trust with your readers. The best blog posts are those that are written as “do it yourself” or are “how-to” guides. When you share numbered lists such as “10 Ways to Lose Weight Fast,” your readers are able to skim through and read quickly and psychologically they feel as if they learned something and have taken action. These are all great ways to help your readers solve problems they may have. Also sharing behind the scenes or glimpses of your life is interesting.
2. We all love stories. Write something that makes you slightly nervous. I’ve found that my most popular blogs were those where I shared my most vulnerable moments in my life. Vulnerability creates connection. Just check out Brene Brown on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
3. Engage with your readers. Ask questions, start conversations and survey them to find out what they want. I will survey you all later this month to ask you what you most want to read about and to learn more about you.
4. If you want to earn a living working online, create diverse revenue streams. All three women earn revenue from their blogs but the key is that they all have large lists of followers. Advertisers are interested in reaching large numbers of people. So growing your list is the most important thing you do in an online business in order to generate revenue.
Even if you don’t have a large list, you can start by setting up an Amazon Associate account so that each time you recommend a book or product off Amazon, you receive a commission if you readers purchase using your link and you get a commission back to yourself on anything you buy.
While securing outside advertising is for the blogger with a large list, there are many ways to make money online by packaging knowledge you have and selling it to solve a specific problem your customers have. Other ideas include, hosting online classes, writing digital books, speaking, affiliate programs, creating a membership site, and Shauna and Gala use links that pay commissions such as Rewardstyle (you need a fashion-related site to be approved).
5. More important than a large list is having 1,000 true fans. All it takes is 1,000 true fans to make a living online, which is the subject of a insightful blog by Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired Magazine.
What’s most important is that you have an engaged following that cares about what you write about and the value you provide them.
6. Think of your blog like a magazine. Create an editorial calendar. Each of these women have regular columns.
7. Photos add interest and captivate readers. Always make sure you have permission of the photographer to use their photo if you are not taking your own photos. I recommend that you think of your blog as a unique piece of art so use your own photos or go to Flickr (look at the Creative Commons section for use), Tumblr or Etsy to ask an artist for permission to post their art on your blog. I do not recommend that you use stock photographs because your blog will not look unique.
I am wild about Instagram and love that I can create various looks to each photo. I have it feed to my Facebook page.
I was thrilled that Gala gave us a list of free apps she uses on her iPhone because I am an early adopter and love new apps. Check these out:
• 8 mm iphone app
• moreBeaute2 – this app for iPhone and iPad and is free. Although the description says you can make yourself look natural and gorgerous, Gala said it makes you look like Barbi! moreBeaute is a FREE photo editing application designed for iPhone/iPod/iPad. It brightens, lightens your skin tone and smoothes your skin in just 2 easy steps, no make-up skills needed.
• Vine is a way to share short, looping six second videos. Like Tweets they are short and sweet.
My favorite tip was about camera lenses. A few months back I bought myself a new Canon Rebel T4. Taking digital photographs is one of my creative outlets. Gala uses a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Autofocus Lens. I did some research this week and ended up buying that lens for my camera. Stay tuned for some of my photos in upcoming blogs.
And last but not least they recommended Paul Jarvis’ new online book Beawesome at online business – a handbook for succeeding on the web. I bought it for $17 and will start reading it soon. I love Paul’s work and was planning to use him to design my web site a few years ago but met my fantastic designer Natasha Lakos and she created my site – which has a new look as of today. Check out my home page.
As always I want to hear from you. Was this post helpful? Please post comments below or share this with people who would appreciate all the resources.