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
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.
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.
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.