Awesome content every time.
Original content with value for your readers.
Perseverance and persistence.
Consistency and authenticity.
Those were the repeated messages from the best sessions I attended. Knowledge and information which addressed not just bloggers but writers, creators, artists, and communicators alike. If you are any one of these, this post is for you.
Ironically, they are messages I already knew before Blogworld – I just did not know why they played such a central role to thriving in the ever expanding blogosphere.
At its core, when you strip away every layer of noise, clamor and complexity, the primary message is simple, logical and sensible. Of that you would have had no doubt when you heard the same core ideas echoed from every professional blogger and respected speakers at the conference but you may have realized, as I did, that it takes inordinate levels of practice and self-discipline to put these simple messages to work. It takes living and breathing these words to make them come to life and to have them set you apart from the rest.
That is the real message to take away and the real change to make because simple and repeated as this fundamental advice may be, you must consciously make it a common practice to see its fruits. Knowledge without action is hardly better than no knowledge at all.
You are reading Part 3: The Knowledge of a 3-Part Blogworld 2010 series.
Blogworld offers hundreds of sessions in the 4 days of conference and the best ones, it seemed, overlapped this year. It is imperative that you not only choose the sessions carefully in advance but that you have the courage to politely walk out of a session which is not immediately worth your while – finding those best suited for your goals is your mission. It may take only one unforgettable speaker and message to hit the right chord within you and spring you to action. Here are the precious few which hit that strong chord with me:
Core Messages from Scott Stratten Keynote Session:
“When you don’t blog awesome, you hurt your blog!”
Scott was no-nonsense, straight from the gut, smart beyond words, and hilarious to boot. His brilliant messages can reshape and fine-tune the thinking of the best of us.
1. On Passion: He did not advocate blogging on a schedule (so much for my well-established habit!!). Blog when you have something to say! Blog when you are passionate, he told us, because passion spreads.
2. On Immediacy: Write so that your audience wants to consume it right away, not save it to some to-be-read folder for later. It is never read later. It must be so good, so brilliant, so passionate that it is immediately consumed.
3. On Consumption: It is not your job to tell your readers how to consume your information, only that they do. You must make it available to them in their desired format. An old Motorola phone may be the choice of one of your most loyal readers. Email might still rule for another segment of your readers. Making your content available for all forms of consumption should be your focus.
4. On Social Media role: Scott did not believe in Twitter at first but he gave it a month; it worked for him. It can work for you too because your readers and customers are everywhere, regardless of your niche. Understand that social media only “amplifies” your messages, products and relationships – it does not “fix” anything. You get new followers by being re-tweeted but you build relationships by having conversations, he emphasized.
5. On Marketing: Or unmarketing, his term for a radical approach to an age-old concept. It is not a task, it is not a department, he said. You are marketing everywhere, your blog is your marketing department and so is everything you do, say or believe. He believes people do business with those they know (easy part), like and trust. Be that person.
Core Messages from ProBlogger Sessions:
“Content is not king. Your readers are.”
Problogger offered 4 sessions on Thursday and I loved them all. The true probloggers, super smart and genuine Chris Garrett and the funny and sincere Darren Rowse, teamed up and here are the best takeaways:
1. About Your readers: Learn to imagine your readers (when you write) and to listen to them carefully. What do they want and how can you help them? Give away tips and ideas. Find a way to simplify complex things. Close the gap between what you know and what your readers want. Your content is not there to show how smart you are, it is there to appreciate your readers, Chris told us.
2. On Approaches to writing: Remember that your readers associate you with a certain expertise and reputation, do not let them down. Stay consistent in your messages but creative in your approach to delivery. Here are a few more notable writing ideas by Chris:
Do you make these … Mistakes?
The Secrets of ….
What .. Can teach us about …?
Everything you wanted to know about …?
If you can …, you can …?
Finally no more …
How to get better cheaper …?
Interviewing experts… And using their names and knowledge, you borrow their authority!
Jedi mind tricks such as Authority, Proof, Story, Conversation, Reciprocity, Polarity and Commitment
3. The Smart and Quick Tips: Have a Twitter landing page. Think about policies and standards before you need them. Only ever promote products you have used and believe in. Always link to posts not, to front page of your blog. Direct readers where you want them to go.
4. On Building a Community: It is imperative that you build and foster a community. Invite interaction. Ask for action. Have dialogues in the comments section. Ask for polls and reader requests. Create a forum (if you have sustainable readership, ~1000 or more). Give your readers a chance to show off. Involve them in decisions and change. Include them in your accomplishments, i.e.) “We have reached a milestone!”
Core Messages from Scott Ginsberg Session:
“There is no such thing as ‘writer’s block’!”
Scott Ginsberg made an indelible impression on me, as a speaker and a person. He took an unusual idea – wearing a name-tag 24×7 – into a 6-figure a year enterprise. He is brilliant, genuine, trustworthy and terribly likable. He is a writer (and maybe a part-time blogger!) and all his advice was universal and golden:
1. On Consistency: He showed us a fast played video of a day’s life captured on his PC and 90% was spent on a Word document! Scott writes 4 to 7 hours a day. Every day. That is consistency and consistency will lead to greatness (if you are consistent about your passion!)
2. On Writing Well: Much like this book on writing, Scott’s advice was solid. Writing every single day is imperative. He asked us what content we have written that day. Writing well comes from hours of practice. Writers are not born and writer’s block does not exist. Reading frequently – Scott reads a few books a month – compliments writing, a message to which I fully attest, as I too love to read (books!).
3. On Ideas and Organization: Inspiration is for amateurs…If you don’t write it down it didn’t happen, he said – and much as I love inspiration, it alone does not drive ideas and their organization; real action does. However is it possible to run out of ideas to write about, he asked us? I love to use my digital world in which to capture my ideas but Scott recommended sticky notes. So long as you capture your every idea….
4. On Asking for the Sale: A repeated message yet again. One day in his email, he asked the reader to buy something and surprise, they did. I have already given them value, so why not ask for them to buy something, he suggested. Asking is sometimes all it takes when you have a solid brand and your audience knows, likes and trusts you.
5. On Loyalty to your Brand: Wearing a name tag for Scott is how he displays loyalty to his brand. He talked about living and breathing your brand in everything you do, in what you write, in every message on your website, in how you help others, in your public presence, on Twitter, everywhere. Make a name for yourself. What does your name tag say, he asked us on closing?
“Disturb you enough so you do something that really matters!”
Scott – among others – certainly did that to me. Now the question is, have I done that to you to make any changes or take any action? Share your thoughts, tell me your opinions on these golden nuggets and thank you for reading the last part of Blogworld 2010 Series.
Photography and Editing by Prolific Living. The quotes are courtesy of Scott Ginsberg‘s presentation, thank you Scott.