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What Every Blogger Should Know -Takeaways From SoFabU On The Road

A look at my top takeaways from SoFabU On The Road. A grant was provided to me by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #CollectiveBias

What Every Blogger Should Know. My takeaways from SoFabU On The Road that include blogging tips from experts in the social media and blogging industry.

I recently attended a blogging conference in New York City with my oldest daughter. I’m pretty picky about which conferences I attend since they can be pricey and most require me to travel. However, I knew that SoFabU On The Road was one that I wanted to go to this year. I’ve been working with the Social Fabric network, also known as Collective Bias, for a little over a year on sponsored posts. I also joined their Colectiva Latina team as a campaign leader earlier this year. I can’t say enough amazing things about this network. The campaigns and free online courses offered to members have truly taken my blogging to another level.

sofabuotr-nyc-bryant-park

Bryant Park in NYC. Our view from the conference room!

While in New York City, I was also able to enjoy a day of sightseeing with my daughter. However, I’ll share more about that in a future post. Today I want to focus on my top takeaways from SoFabU On The Road and share three things every blogger should know:

What Every Blogger Should Know

1. Your Email List Matters More Than Your Following.

What would happen to your blog traffic if Pinterest and Facebook disappeared? Many of us rely too heavily on social media and we get caught up in growing those platforms. Your email list is your platform and should be the one thing you focus on growing, if it’s all you have time for.

Hearing all the engagement and monetization possibilities from Phil Hollows of FeedBlitz, was the kick in the rear that I needed to get going. Phil kept reiterating that “if it’s bloggable it’s mailable” and vice versa. He also mentioned that giving your readers the option to subscribe to your blog should be a priority, but you don’t want to be annoying with crazy pop-ups. A weekly newsletter is ideal and should include content that will make your subscribers want to open the next email they get from you.

How can you monetize your email list?
The possibilities are endless! You can add links or graphics from sponsors, email-ready ad networks, affiliate links, sales blasts and paid members-only lists. You can also offer your own products and offer incentives that will make them feel valued for subscribing.

2. Forget SEO keywords, content is king.

SEO-what every blogger wants to master, but no one can quite figure out. Jessica Woodbury of Don’t Mind The Mess spoke about SEO and squashed everything I thought I knew about this topic. What stuck with me the most is that Google is smart. Truly it is. Just try googling the description of a movie scene or the lyrics to a song. Yup, the titles will pop up along with some pretty good sites. Google is going to rank posts and online articles for a specific topic based on the quality of the content. So if you want to rank higher, make sure you are offering the best information possible, ensure that your articles are longer (at least 500, but aim for 700) and  that what you share is what people are searching for.

You also want to ensure that readers are not bouncing out from your site right away. Why? Because your reader’s behavior will provide feedback. The less amount of time they spend on your site, the less useful your post will be deemed.

How can you keep your readers around longer?

  • By providing useful and quality content.
  • Having a reliable site.
  • Limiting pop-ups.
  • Great navigation.
  • Mobile-friendly site.

Jessica’s tips were a no-brainer. Considering she gets a decent amount of traffic from search, 70% to be exact, I think she’s on to something. She also shared many tools and resources, but I truly think that would require a separate post. Once I try those myself, I’ll make sure to share the knowledge. 🙂

3. Great Photos and Videos Matter.

Joshua Hicks of Drive Shop spoke briefly about this topic and I truly wish he had more time to speak. I personally don’t read blogs for pretty photos or videos, however, it helps when a great post has visuals that are equally good. Although Joshua focused on video content, many of his tips regarding tools and shooting video could be applied to photography.

When shooting a video, you want to avoid holding the camera when possible. In other words, invest some money on a tripod or find a spot for your camera when filming. This will avoid the shaky videos that can make you dizzy from watching. Joshua also discussed how audio is so underrated and I couldn’t  agree more. A great audio tool is a lavalier microphone (affiliate link) which I’m hoping to purchase soon since I plan to record more videos in the future. You also want to be energetic, be descriptive and pace yourself when filming yourself. Most importantly, you want to be yourself because your audience wants to see and connect with you.

You also want every video to have a beginning, middle and end. Come up with a concept prior to shooting and map out what you want to accomplish. This will also save you time when editing your videos. Good lighting is your friend, and natural lighting is ideal. However, if you don’t have great lighting at home there are a variety of options such as soft boxes and umbrellas. There are even some DIY options if you want to keep costs low, check out my Pinterest board dedicated to photography tips for ideas.

new-york-library

New York Library-I took this photo during our photography tour.

The conference ended with a photography tour that took us to the streets where we were able to take unique shots of different landscapes, food and people.

Network, network and network!

The conversations that I had between the sessions and after the conference with other fellow bloggers was extremely valuable. When you go to a conference take the time to speak with other bloggers and learn from your peers. The opportunity to network is always the icing on the cake at blogging events.

I was pleasantly surprised that SoFabU On The Road packed tons of information in one day. Make sure you check out the conference website to find a location near you! Are you planning on going to any blogging conferences this year? I would love it if you shared some of your favorites.


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Vanessa from Smart Little Cookie

Thursday 9th of July 2015

Wonderful post! This truly was an awesome conference indeed. I absolutely enjoyed meeting you there as well as so many other wonderful bloggers. I learn a lot. This was one of my favorite blogging experiences so far. :)

Jesenia Montanez

Friday 10th of July 2015

I had a great time and it was so nice to meet you! I learned so much and was pleasantly surprised about how much they shared in a one day conference. I hope to meet you again in a future conference! :)

Daniel

Wednesday 8th of July 2015

Very valuable comments, Jesenia. I think it is widely agreed now that SEO-focused writing is dead, and the focus now is on quality content in which keywords are integrated in a subtle way and as an inherent part of the context. I like also your strong argument about how we should not be dependent on external social platforms and start owning our own content, mostly through the e-mail subscription list.

Keep up the good work, I'll be following!

Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

Tuesday 7th of July 2015

This is so funny...because I just applied to and was accepted into Collective Bias yesterday! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm pretty picky about opportunities too, but look forward to exploring Social Fabric more.

Jesenia Montanez

Wednesday 8th of July 2015

Yay! Welcome to the Collective Bias family. :) Make sure you get added to their Facebook group once you're all set up. It's truly a great community of bloggers. Also Social Fabric University is an online resource for members and you'll learn tons of great information from photography to monetization. They even have podcasts with experienced bloggers that are making a living from blogging or social media. Thanks for stopping by!

diane @smartmoneysimplelife

Monday 6th of July 2015

I've just started researching conferences in Australia as I plan to go to at least one next year and no matter where it's located, I'll need to travel so I want to choose well! I'd love to go to one in the US - one day...

I keep hearing about the importance of building your site's email list. Something to put some serious thought into.

Thanks for sharing this info!

Jesenia Montanez

Wednesday 8th of July 2015

Hi Diane!

You can try getting sponsorship for some of the conferences by reaching out to brands that you've worked with in the past. I also suggest that you find out from other bloggers if the conference is worth the money you'll invest. It will at least give you a general idea of what conferences to consider.

Email list-yes, I too struggle with this. But when I heard that some people make enough to make their monthly mortgage from it, I knew I needed to step it up. It's the one thing that no one can take away from you regardless of what happens in social media. Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Joyce @ My Stay At Home Adventures

Monday 6th of July 2015

I have to admit that I myself continue to put my email subscription last. Not because I forget or don't want to, but my priorities are not correct. As far as a blogging conference I would love to attend one and soon. I'm just waiting for my baby boy to be a bit older so I am aiming for next year.

Jesenia Montanez

Wednesday 8th of July 2015

Joyce, I'm in the same boat. :) I think that hearing from an expert that sees first-hand how beneficial an email subscription list is to bloggers was what I need to hear to take action. It's a great way to monetize without spamming your audience. According to Phil from FeedBlitz, some are making over six figures a year from their email list. Truly worth the time. Thanks for stopping by! :)