What I would have done differently at Problogger…

In August 2014 I attended my first Problogger event….

Is this your first ProBlogger event?   Being a newbie proBlogger attendee I had no idea what to expect, no idea what to wear, no idea how to act. I was dreading Problogger. Pit of my stomach dread.  Ofcourse I was excited and wanted to go, but there’s always that little voice in your head that tells you that you don’t belong there.   I wrote this post the day after Problogger – I survived my first Problogger and you can too! My First Problogger Gold Coast Blogging

Blogging since 04’ and only met my first blogger in 2014

On August 29th 2014 I went to my first ProBlogger training event held on the sunny Gold Coast at QT hotel. ProBlogger is 2 days full of sessions aimed to help bloggers build profitable blogs. The  Problogger training  events is now in it’s 5th year and was started by Darren Rowse  – a man whose name is synonymous with blogging. Darren can be credited to inspiring the launch of hundreds, if not thousands of blogs world-wide.  The attendees vary from new bloggers, wannabe bloggers and long-time bloggers.  I’m not sure where I fall into that category. Theoretically  I have been blogging for 10 years.  Yes 10 years. My first blog was in the wedding niche and did quite well until I made a realisation that blogging about weddings doesn’t interest me!  I have had a few other blogs that I played around with.  If I am really honest I will admit to my one and only fan blog – a Sliders fan page blog in the late 90’s and hosted on Geocities.  After 3 seasons I let that one go. If you ever watched the show I’m sure you would agree with me on that.

Problogger 2014

ProBlogger 2014 Speakers: Image source: Grace Henley Photography

Those first blogs no longer exists and I stopped blogging for a few years-  life got in the way. The crazy thing is that I have been blogging on and off since 2004  and ProBlogger is the first time that I have ever met a blogger before. I know people who have folio websites  or business standard one page business websites which are usually set up by other people, but no one that actually practices blogging on a consistent passion. Most people I know still think that blogging is an online journal platform. I got such a buzz actually having one-on-one conversations about blogging with other people! A very surreal experience for me indeed!

It has really only been  the last 24 months that I decided to get really serious about blogging again and dust off those wordpress sites.  I feel that I haven’t even scratched the surface on what there is to learn. Fortunately the ProBlogger training event had some pretty informative sessions with take-away action steps that I could implement into my own blog.  From all the sessions the one that will probably have the most immediate impact on my blogging is the  Rande Fishkin’s session on Google+  Before that session I had always known that I needed to look into Google+ but didn’t really know where to start.   Google+ was just another social media platform to me. I jumped onto Friendster (showing my age here) bandwagon right before MySpace become the next best thing and by the time I joined Myspace everyone was on Facebook. I only joined Twitter 5 days ago so there was no way I thought that Rande’s presentation could make me TeamGoogle+

I was very wrong.   Rande broke it down in a way that was really easy to digest and follow along to and I came away from the presentation really excited to actually open up a Google+ account. In my Feedly account I have months worth of whiteboard Friday posts (Rande posts an tutorial video each Friday) but never got around to watching them any of them, because I assumed they would be like every other SEO tutorial – mind numbing!   I wont be so scared anymore the next time a whiteboard Friday post pops into my Feedly app!

My other two favourite presentations were by Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker. I was fortunate enough to attend the guys 1-Day business Breakthrough (round up post coming soon) the day before so getting to see their presentations was icing on the cake! Pat kicked off the event as keynote speaker with his presentation ‘How to Convert Your Casual Readers into a Thriving Community of Raving Fans’ and really broke down  the different types of readers that visit our blogs. He also shared practical tips to help convert casual readers into raving fans and he should know! Every time he posts something on social media or on his blog he gets flooded with comments.

Pat Flynn Keynote presentation: Image source: Grace Henley Photography

Pat Flynn delivering his “How to Convert Your Casual Readers into a Thriving Community of Raving Fans” presentation: Image source: Grace Henley Photography

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Chris Ducker delivering his “The Business of YOU: How Building Your Online Brand Will Unleash the Influencer Inside You!” presentation Image source: Grace Henley Photography

Chris Ducker’s presentation “The Business of YOU: How Building Your Online Brand Will Unleash the Influencer Inside You!” was a highlight for me.  I recently read that a new blog is launched every half second so launching a new blog in 2014 can be pretty scary.  Chris’s talk made me realise that personal branding has to be that point of difference as the “business of you”   is 100% original.  His presentation went through the different types of content and tips that we could easily implement to boost our own personal brand.

 Biggest take-away

The biggest take away for me was that you need to act on your post ProBlogger momentum and write down an action plan as soon as you can.  From my own experience and speaking with other bloggers I found that at the end of day 1 you are buzzing and  full or inspiration and you kind of have that Christmas Eve buzz happening but by the end of day 2  the reality hits and you think- s*** I have work  I need to do! It’s so easy to want to deflate pro-ProBlogger and you will likely  want to think about anything other than blogging for a day and thats fine, but don’t let the post ProBlogger momentum dwindle before  you really spend at least an hour sitting down and planning where you want to be this time in 12 months.  I have created a printable action step worksheet for my own use that I plan to stick over my desk as a constant reminder of what I need to do and where I am heading.   I am happy for fellow bloggers to use  this if it helps you too . You can download it below

12 month blogging goals worksheet by website confetti

What I wish I had done differently

I don’t regret the way things unfolded, but in hindsight, knowing what I now know this is what I would have done differently before attending my first Problogger. I’m compiling them here for other first timers in future years.

1. Get active on the ProBlogger Facebook event page earlier

The ProBlogger  2014 event page is full of bloggers wanting to connect. I didn’t really take advantage of this and really only joined the ProBlogger Facebook page a week before the event – hardly enough time to establish meaningful connections.  Quite a few local meet-ups were started from this event page which meant that local bloggers met each other before the actual event in August.  If you want to be able to know some people before the event I would strongly recommend setting up a few meet-ups on the Facebook page early on.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be spam girl (or boy) Unless someone asks don’t keep posting your blog’s link. There is usually an introduction thread broken down into states for blog introductions to be made.

2. Get a Twitter handle

I think I exchanged more twitter handles than I did business cards!  Don’t worry if you only have a new twitter account with no followers.  I only started using Twitter the day of ProBlogger  with zero followers and ended up with around 40 followers in 2 days. If you hit it off with a fellow blogger follow them on Twitter and they will likely reciprocate, but don’t expect them to be reciprocate or be hurt if they don’t. Ultimately you want someone to follow you on social media because they believe you have value to offer and and are worth following. You don’t want someone to follow you just to return the follow.

Bonus Tip:  If I had to do it over I would have followed fellow ProBlogger   attendees  and speakers on Twitter earlier on to get a feel for who they were and what types of blogs they had. This would make for a much better ice-breaker!

Chris Ducker, Darren Rowse, Pat Flynn

Chris Ducker, Darren Rowse, Pat Flynn: Image source: Grace Henley Photography

 

3. Get a few business cards

I never met a blogger who didn’t have a business card, then again before the ProBlogger   I had never met another blogger !  ProBlogger  kindly had put together a special offer in conjunction with Moo cards that offered Problogger  attendees 50 free business cards. Obviously I have no idea if this deal will be repeated in 2015 but ordering 50 cards is a good ball park figure if you are wondering how many to order.  Order  your cards a month in advance, longer if you are ordering online and require delivery.

Bonus tip:  Don’t forget to add your  twitter handle on your business card.

4. Don’t stress about what to wear

As a first timer at Problogger I had no clue what to wear. I think the first day I must have changed outfits 3 times.  I quickly learnt that although there is no one particular dress code at ProBlogger , smart casual seemed to be the norm. I saw people in jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, suits and the best part – nobody judged. The focus of the event was growing profitable blogs so nobody cared what each other wore – well after that first morning when all the newbies where checking out each other’s outfits to see if they fit in or not!

Bonus Tip: In the lead up to ProBlogger a bunch of  bloggers who attended the previous years put together some ‘What to wear to Problogger’ posts.

5. Make the most of breaks

I met most fellow bloggers during break times.  During the sessions you don’t really have time to chat with others so make the most out of the lunch breaks.  David Findlay  over from Digital TV Help  said something to me on one of those breaks that really stuck with me “everybody wants to talk to someone.” If you see someone standing by themselves go and introduce yourself as chances are they are waiting for someone to talk to. Just asking someone if this is their first time to ProBlogger  or asking them what their blog is about is enough of an ice-breaker to make a new connection.  

Bonus Tip: Get up early and have breakfast at the venue as that’s where most bloggers will be. This will give you another opportunity to connect.

6. It’s okay to have an introverted moment

I have a confession to make – I skipped one session. On the second day my head was buzzing with so much information that I just needed to have some “me” time for a little while. I headed outside and went for a short walk and found a nice trendy beachside cafe to chill out in.   I remember it so well.   I was sitting their drinking my watermelon juice  and feeling so darn empowered about blogging and all the possibilities that were available to me. If I could have bottled up and sold all that warm fuzzy feeling I was having, I would be rolling in the riches.

  I know some other bloggers went into their hotel rooms for a quick nanna nap (no judgment), and some others just chilled out at the bloggers lounge set up at the QT hotel. I wouldn’t reconmended missing too many sessions, but don’t feel bad if you need some time out.

Bonus Tip: Don’t confuse the need for an introverted moment with a socially scared s***less moment. If you are wanting to run and hide to avoid the sometimes awkwardness of meeting new people you will regret it.  If you genuinely need a moment to recharge then go and have that introverted moment.

7. Everyone at the conference has been where you are right now

Not one person at the Problogger training event has not been where you are right now.  Are you intimidated by the power bloggers with a massive audience? It might help to remember that when they first started blogging they had no traffic either. They had the same nerves and doubts that you had.  Are you intimidated that this is your first Problogger conference? Everyone has been a ProBlogger  virgin at some stage and it’s quite likely that they had those same butterflies that you are having right now.  Bloggers are a friendly bunch. I didn’t meet a single blogger who I thought was pretentious or rude. It was a friendly mob.

Bonus tip: Don’t be intimidated by bloggers who are have successful bloggers. Perhaps you have met someone who has been blogging for 4 years and has traffic numbers to match a small island. Just tell yourself that you exactly were this blogger was 4 years ago.  Don’t be intimidated – be inspired and let that inspiration motivate you to take action.

So there you have it. That’s my take on ProBlogger 2014 and what you can do to survive your first ProBlogger . If you are going to your first ProBlogger  in 2015 and have more questions for a former first-time attendee please feel free to leave me a comment below or contact me directly using my contact form.

  • http://loulouzoo.com.au/ Kristy @ Loulou Zoo

    I love your list of what you would have done differently – there are a few on there I agree with! Twitter especially…and the breaks. I think I should have had a few more breathers!

    You should post this in next years facebook page when they ask for posts about the event! I’m going to include this in my Sunday Sleep in summary this week as I love the tips!!!

    :)

  • WebsiteConfetti

    Thanks Kristy:) I had no idea how many bloggers swap Twittter handles at these events! Next year I will definitely be prepared! Look forward to reading you Sunday Summary:)

  • Jo

    Awesome tips Vanessa! I’m a new kid on the block and just found you on Loulou Zoo. (I’m on there too Jo @You had me at hello). I’m hoping I can get to next years Problogger – if I do I’m tracking you down so we can catch up for a laugh/walk on the beach/sneaky drink with Kristy in tow ok?!! I haven’t found my tweeting voice yet – must figure that out

  • WebsiteConfetti

    Thanks Jo for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it. Please let me know if you end up going to next years ProBlogger – a sneaky drink sounds great:) And if you do find your tweeting voice let me know!

  • http://www.greekweddingtraditions.com Sia Aristidou

    Great advice Vanessa :-) I have been to 2 PREVENTS now and tomorrow will be my 3rd. I agree with everything you said and I’d like to add… have confidence to go up to someone new and say hello! If there is someone standing in the corner, it’s probably just because they are shy or don’t know anybody. Go up to them and introduce yourself. The rest will flow from there.

    • http://notjustretro.com.au/blog Vanessa [email protected] Confetti

      Thanks for dropping by Sia. I love your tip! It’s so easy to think that the person standing in the corner is being anti-social but they are just probably shy. Even though Ive been to problogger before Im still getting butterflies about the Brisbane one – Ill just have to force myself to step away from the corner!