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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016

So yesterday I attended my first ever blogging conference with Karen and Lindsay. Blog On is held in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (which looks fab by the way) every year and you can attend for a rather bargain £40 ish which included breakfast, lunch, wine, drinks, snacks, three MASSIVE goody bags, the chance to network with around 20 brands (who actually want to work with bloggers), the opportunity to socialise with other bloggers plus a day packed with blogging seminars.

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016
Re-united with Hotter Shoes

Although it was my first blogging conference, I have been blogging for three years now, I run a successful bloggers network with Karen and have been in the Tots top 100 for the last year or so with North East Family Fun (not meaning to blow my own trumpet or anything here) so I did wonder what I could actually learn from a blogging conference. It turns out that actually, it's quite a lot!

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016

1 - Use analytics to my advantage


I do use analytics a little, but I really don't make the most of them. I attended the lovely Emily's session (from A Mummy Too) about earning beyond your blog and she mentioned quite simply if a brand would like to target a female audience and your blog has 10,000 readers of which 90% are female, this is more valuable to them than a blog with 30,000 readers of which 10% are female. In the next month or so I am going to make a detailed audience profile and really understand my readers and mention this more to brands.

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016

2 - Blogs change perceptions


Another tip from Emily - remember your blog isn't there to generate sales and it is more a tool that can help change perceptions and 'improve brand warmth'. This is particularly useful to remember when brands are asking for a follow link. As @Justhipper mentioned too - it is the job of a brand's SEO team to improve their google ranking - not the job of a blogger.

3 - Discover your best content


Third tip from Emily - use your analytics to find out your most popular content and write more of the same. SIMPLE!

4 - How can you make your blog stand out?


Graham and Mindy from ICOM/Portland Street shared lots of tips during their 'content tips that inspire' session. There are MILLIONS of blog posts published every day and competition has never been higher. We were asked to think about our own blog - do we follow the same old format every post? Is our format the same as other blogs we read? Why not mix it up - draw pictures, add GIFs, create a podcast, use video, create our own infographic.......how can I make my blog stand out has really given me food for thought.

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016


5 - Read these publications and research before pitching


NEVER cold pitch a brand - always make sure you do your research. Emily recommended dipping in and out of Marketing Week, PR Week and good old Google News. Spot that Tesco are pushing children's toys? Might be worth an email. Read that your favourite hotel has a new marketing assistant? Again, could be worth an email to introduce yourself. The best way to pitch to a brand is to reference previous campaigns (which proves you have researched the brand) and ask if they work with bloggers or have any relevant campaigns at the moment which opens a conversation.


6 - It's not about the product it's about the brand


Sorry to keep going on about Emily (but I think her session was the best!) but another tip was to not think about a product. I'm sure we all have something in mind that we would LOVE to blog about (for me it is definitely a family holiday abroad). Instead of getting hung up about our dream product we should instead focus on dream brands - which brands really fit our blog's ethos and audience? These are the people we should want to work with. Then when we are paid, we can pay for our own dream product (or in my case holiday).

7 - Where to search for content inspiration


Graham and Mindy from ICOM discussed writer's block and how when you blog for a living, it's not really an option. They provided us with LOTS of places to search for content ideas. As well as the more obvious Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner (which I have used before) we were pointed in the direction of the rather fabulous 'Answer the Public' website. You simply type in a keyword and then choose 'questions' and are provided with a visualisation of the questions the public are asking google for around that subject and are therefore provided with LOTS of ideas for future blog posts. I love it! Here are the suggestions for 'Northumberland' (I know you probably can't read this but take my word for it and go and try for yourself).

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016

Another place to try if you are really serious is Buzz Sumo Pro which is where you can find out which content performs best and check out your competitors too. This does cost around £60 per month though so probably not accessible to most of us. 

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016

A final simple idea if you are suffering with Writer's block is to sit in front of a piece of paper and write down 50 questions your audience may ask themselves around the topic of your blog. Don't stop until you have 50 questions and then choose the best ones to turn into a blog post.

8 - YouTube subscribers don't matter


I attended a session by Channel Mum who work closely with YouTube and were able to give us lots of insider tips and knowledge. The main tip is that YouTube don't care about subscribers and you shouldn't either. YouTube focus on audience retention and the number of people who watch your video right to the end.

The best way to tackle this is if you try to have something to add interest to your video every 30-40 seconds whether this is a flash of text or change of music, it all helps. YouTube use this metric when deciding which videos to put on their homepage. 

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016


9 - First two hours of a YouTube video going live are vital


Another tip from Channel Mum is to make sure you have a YouTube schedule and stick to it - even if this is 'I will post a video on the first of every month' or maybe 'every Friday', like scheduling with blogging, it really helps. The first two hours of a video being published are vital to it's success so make sure you publish during the day then share across social media and comment on other videos in the community straight away. 

10 - Don't share YouTube videos to Facebook


I have already learned this for myself but more advice for Channel Mum is not to share YouTube links to Facebook as they notoriously don't work together and are unlikely to achieve a high reach. Instead, make a 30 second intro trailer to your Youtube video specifically for Facebook and upload it directly to Facebook. You can link to your YouTube video at the end of your trailer. If you are really keen you can create a 15 second trailer specifically for Instagram too. 

This is just a snippet of everything I soaked up - I have a notebook full of ideas to get my head around now. Thank you so much to Laura who organised Blog On - it really was a superb day. We had heaps of fun chatting to the various brands who were there too as demonstrated by Karen below :D

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016
Haha!

We are definitely returning to Blog On next year and I would recommend it for bloggers old and new.

Top 10 Blogging Tips from Blog On 2016


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20 comments

  1. Some great tips there. Looks like you had a fab day too! I'll definitely be going to the one next year!

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  2. Fabulous tips here for a newbie like me! Although it sounds like there was something for everyone at the conference, and it never hurts to be reminded of things you could do more of. I'd definitely like to go next year. Thanks for the info.

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    1. Definitely agree with being reminded of things you could do more of xx

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  3. Great tips. Thank you for sharing Sam. I get stuck for content ideas for my blog so I am going to use the tools you have suggested

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  4. Some great tips there Sam, I will be looking out for tickets to Blogon next year for sure. I went to Blogcamp a few times years ago and love networking and meeting other bloggers. :)

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  5. A great post again Samantha. Thanks for sharing. It's reiterated some things I already know and given me some great new insights. Can I just say it's actually quite heartening to hear a pro like you say you've not made the most of analytics as although I know using them is key to good results, I find it tricky to analyse the analytics! if you know what I mean ha ha! I'll look at them more closely now!:)

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  6. Wow, was Blogon old #40? Sounds like there was a lot going on and you've come away with lots of information. Thanks for sharing, I will have to give this conference a go next year!

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  7. oh, you're good! I wasn't feeling 100% and I feel like the information didn't make it all in. This is perfect. I thought Emily's session was amazing and now I wish I had attended the content session as well (although I have your notes now!) Thanks!

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    1. I was taking notes in my little Pinterest notepad all day. It's hard to take it all in! :D

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  8. Fantastic post Samantha, a great round up of all the important bits I picked up from Emily's session too! Thanks for sharing x

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  9. Great tips - I would have loved to have gone to Blog On this year but we were away, so thanks for sharing the best of it!

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  10. I am definitely saving this post for when I get stuck in a rut, thanks Samantha! I only wish I had more time to put some of these tips in to practice, I dream of the day I could blog full time, till then I will follow your lead and keep trying to make the most of your ever useful advice!

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