Hi again! Did I say tomorrow? I meant later this afternoon.
This morning I talked about the first half of the Central Florida Bloggers Conference that I attended in Orlando Saturday. I have so many notes and awesome takeaways to share with you from the post-lunch sessions, so let’s dive right in.
After the awesome yoga session, I made my way towards an analytics presentation given by Mark Krupinski from Social Rubicon. I’m already implementing a lot of the things he discussed, but he emphasized the importance of continually checking and analyzing the tools you’re using.
Takeaways: Analytics #FTW by Mark Krupinski
- Keep a milestones document- unique page views, returning visitors, etc.
- Check it quarterly, monthly, weekly to track the effectiveness of your promotions.
- Make sure your metrics tools are relevant to your objectives.
- Constantly scrutinize data and adjust your strategy.
That’s Danielle next to me, who doesn’t have a blog yet, but already got her adorable domain name (I won’t spill it) and is ready to start blogging. Make sure to follow her on Twitter to find out when she launches it!
I was really excited to hear Julie Deily from The Little Kitchen speak about working with brands. I recently got offered to work with my first two brands, ENERGYbits and DrinkChia, and I wanted to learn all about the proper etiquette before I unwittingly my foot in my mouth. Julie really knows her way around brands, having recently received a full set of kitchen appliances from KitchenAid, and I was excited to get her expert advice.
Takeaways: Working with Brands by Julie Deily
- Find the right contacts, such as the PR person or brand manager at a company.
- Respond to all pitches, whether or not they’re the right fit for you because you never know what they can offer next time.
- Agree to work ONLY with brands relevant to you. It builds trust with your audience.
- Have both contact form and e-mail address on your site to make it easier for brands to contact you. I need to get working on this contact form stuff!
- Use reader demographics in your pitches to tell a brand how they align with their target market.
- When accepting freebies, make sure it’s something you want or you’ll use, or say no (or ask for a compromise).
- *Use the term “proposal” to transition from getting freebies to paid gigs. I really liked this tip. If a company offers to send you a freebie, send them back a “proposal” asking for whatever you think your value is.
The next session I went to was the one that made me laugh the most. Mark Baratelli, a funny, charismatic writer at the The Daily City, talked about finding and sharing content that leads to a passionate following. He definitely stirred up a little controversy with some of his views, but it was one of my favorite presentations of the day and a lot of his points hit home.
Takeaways: Finding & Sharing Content by Mark Baratelli
- Be broad to drive more traffic. Don’t get stuck in a niche. “Insert funny quote about scarves here.”
- Walk the town and look to your local business journals for sources. For a fitblogger, this can apply to new gyms and restaurants opening locally.
- Don’t work for free with other writers. It’s your content. Here’s where he begins to get a little controversial.
- Write about your take on well-known trends. Anyone know what the fuss about gangnam is all about?
- Avoid what’s been written about by competition, unless you can add to it or make it better.
- Have the mentality of “How does this benefit me?”
- On a media panel, always be the only blogger.
- Don’t do giveaways unless you’re paid, but take the free dinner if you want it. More controversial stuff.
- Follow entities and businesses on Twitter, not just people. Use their stories for sources of inspiration.
- Your competitors should be bigger than you.
I asked Mark how someone in a small town like Gainesville could reach out on a nationwide level, and he gave me some great ideas. Instead of complaining about living in a small town, I can start a “Bring to Gainesville” series, where I can gain national attention from brands by asking them to “bring” something to Gainesville. (Sweet Tomatoes, can you hear me?!)
He also inspired me to try doing a local event, since I’m always talking about how there’s nothing to do here. How great would it be to get some restaurants together to do a health food tasting for all the health-conscious folks in this town? Mark’s session was so refreshing and really got the wheels turning on how I can take my blog to the next level.
Mark’s session would’ve been hard to follow for anyone except for Jeanette Scott from J’s Everyday Fashion. She gave a stellar presentation on how to use Facebook to drive more visitors and help monetize your blog.
Unfortunately, this is running a little longer than I expected, so I’m going to save those notes for tomorrow (for real this time.) I hate to leave you hanging, but trust me, there’s some good stuff to come!
A huge thank you and shoutout to Macbeth Photography for taking some great pictures of the conference! Please keep them in mind for your Central Florida photo needs!