Heading over to the Gold Coast this month for the Problogger conference gave me the usual massive dose of new knowledge and vital inspiration. I’ve got more to talk about it in future posts but the single most important part was the keynote address from Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike. She pioneered the term multipotentialite and basically I love her for it! Continue reading “Being a multipotentialite: Believing it’s OK to follow multiple passions”
Last week, after a beautiful Tuesday evening meet up with a bunch of Perth bloggers who are heading off to the big Problogger event next week, my friend Jo and I were standing at an intersection in Leederville, watching the pedestrian light cycle through green about twenty times because we couldn’t stop talking.
Most of our chat was about our excitement about the pending Problogger experience although we did briefly complain that the plane trip(s) from Perth to the Gold Coast take a LONG time. But Jo and I are both pretty positive people, and when I mentioned that last year I wrote a crazy number of blog posts on my Problogger flights (yay for batching and no internet) we came up with the challenge:
Who can write the most blog posts on their way to Problogger?
Well, we Perth bloggers are definitely up for this challenge and have a big advantage of practically a whole day’s travel time in which to do it in. At least four of us are on the same flights and although we won’t sit together (hard to blog and talk, right) we will meet up in Sydney for a progress report.
But we’re prepared to find other non-Perth bloggers who can be even more productive than us, so we are issuing this challenge Australia-wide – make that worldwide – and we’re keen to hear just how many blog posts you can draft between your hometown and the Gold Coast.
If you’re going to be at Problogger this year, please feel free to take up our challenge – leave a comment here and tweet me (@amandakendle) with your progress report. The winner gets … lots of glory and a well-deserved blogging break thanks to getting a bunch of posts at least into a decent draft form!
PS: Do you know the Perth bloggers making the PERTH sign up the top of this post? You should! From left to right:
- me, Amanda Kendle, from the Not A Ballerina travel blog
- Rae Hilhorst from the hilarious I Opened My Mouth and it Ran Away Without Me
- Carmen Jenner from Fluffy Towel
- Dianne Bortolletto from Travelletto
- Kristy Morton from LouLou Zoo
Anyone who follows my Facebook page will know that I was ultra-excited when I got a ticket for the next Problogger conference in late August this year. The Problogger event is “the” conference for people in my industry in Australia and I was lucky enough to attend Problogger for the first time last year; until then, the long trek to the other side of Australia had been too tricky to navigate with my small son. Now he’s bigger and attending conferences is easier.
It is now just over four months until Problogger 2014 and first up, I have a confession to make: I actually had a post title in my editorial calendar called “Preparing for Problogger – five months out” but I’m obviously not as organised as I had hoped to be, and four months will have to be enough. This is in some ways a selfish post – it’s a public to do list of what I want to or need to do to get ready for the ultimate Problogger experience – but I hope it also helps others (especially solo business mums like me) as they head to a conference, be it Problogger or something else.
The people of Problogger
|Meeting Valerie Khoo|
For me, meeting new people and catching up with people I’ve met before is the top reason to be at Problogger. (The stuff I’ll learn rates a very a close second, but the people are #1.) Last year, I set myself a goal of speaking to three people: Darren Rowse (Problogger himself), Valerie Khoo (famous to me for so many reasons) and (even though she also lives in Perth) Kelly Exeter (of A Life Less Frantic and Swish Design and general all-round clever thing). I’m very pleased to say that I managed to meet all of them. I also met numerous great bloggers in person who I knew from Twitter and other places online and it was brilliant to see them in real life; plus I met people who were previously complete strangers but have now become online friends.
This year, I have planned to stay a little bit longer both sides of the conference (last year I was insanely nervous about leaving my son for the first time and kept my trip short) and hope to have some more in-depth catch-ups with some great fellow bloggers. I haven’t yet made my “must meet” list (adding that to the to do list now) but it really helped to have that (kind of crazy) little goal last year. One of my major personal heroes will be there, Pat Flynn, and I would like to figure out how to have a normal conversation with him without me going all fan-girl crazy. (Although his keynote is all about creating “ridiculously supportive raving fans” so I guess I might just fit right in!)
The knowledge of Problogger
Oh, the learning, the learning. I was nearly overwhelmed by everything I learnt at last year’s Problogger and my blogs are still living off some of the ideas for posts I generated during those two days. There are still items on my long-term to do list (like SEO stuff, for example) that I haven’t yet done. One of the other reasons I’m going to stay a day longer is to get some of them done! Someone I met there was staying about three days longer and hadn’t explicitly told anyone back home the length of the conference in the hope that nobody would disturb her and she’d have a few days to implement some of her new ideas. SO clever. If my Mr4 was a bit more self-sufficient I would do the same.
This year I plan to be a bit more strategic about my “knowledge gathering” and for a start, be a bit firmer about the choices I make for which sessions to go to. Last year I was so busy just trying to get there that I didn’t really think this through ahead of time. If I know which sessions I’m attending I can think a bit more about what I plan to get out of it, set some mini-goals perhaps. I’m also in a different kind of place in regard to my business(es) this year compared to last year so it’ll be quite different.
|View from my Gold Coast apartment, nice ocean but so much under construction|
The nuts and bolts of Problogger
Given that the conference is taking place on the opposite corner of the country, the logistics of getting there and being away from home for so long is no small feat. I never even wanted to return to the Gold Coast and was hoping it would be in a more accessible city like Melbourne again but I’m sure it’s karma, because I blogged about how the Gold Coast didn’t grab me and now I’m being forced back there to find its good side! Anyway, getting everything organised is not my favourite part but it is supremely necessary.
My personal pre-Problogger to do list
- Book my flights!
- Confirm accommodation arrangements.
- Figure out school pick-ups, drop-offs, etc etc for my son.
- Make a list of the three people I most want to meet. (I already know one of them will be Emma Grey of WorkLifeBliss as I have “known” her online for ages but never met her.)
- Figure out which sessions I want to attend and what I want to get out of them (they already have some details of the schedule online).
- Message/tweet/email/courier pigeon all the attendees I know (virtually or otherwise) and want to meet up with.
- Check if I have enough business cards.
- Gather some clothes that will work for the Gold Coast in late August.
- Block out time in my schedule for September/October to work on stuff arising from Problogger (a big downfall last year).
- Lose a few kilos in preparation for all those desserts and afternoon teas.
I have lamented (often) that my lovely home city is the most isolated and oft-neglected city on the planet, but today, a megastar in my universe was here. Yes, “the” Problogger, Darren Rowse, came over to run a small Problogger Event (big shout out to Kelly Exeter for convincing him) and it was marvellous.
In all honesty, I was expecting to feel inspired by whatever Darren had to say, because he’s an inspiring speaker, but knowing that it was just a 2-hour event for bloggers of all kinds and stages, I didn’t expect to actually learn a lot. But I did! I have pages and pages of notes, and while most of it I “know” (and quite a lot of it I have even told my students and clients in the past), I don’t actually always DO it. (Which is a point Darren himself made in his talk.) I think that my new emphasis on my own travel blog and my plans to monetise it probably had me sitting there with a completely different perspective to usual and I really did learn a bunch of things that I want to share – both as a reminder to me and for those poor pals of mine who couldn’t make it today.
|Darren Rowse aka Problogger speaking at the Perth Problogger Event|
Darren shared a huge number of lessons and tips from his own blogging experience and I’m going to pick out the best – well, I’ll admit, the ones that are most useful for me, and are sitting in my notebook with a big asterisk next to them:
- Your blog won’t become big overnight – it’s about lots and lots (AND LOTS) of small, consistent actions over a long time. (A tweet here, a Facebook update there, a connection here, and of course, a post there …)
- Whatever your goal is for your blog (income generation, world domination, whatever), take it seriously and take the next step towards your goal (right now).
- Take time to properly identify who your readers are. Darren suggested creating profiles/avatars of your typical readers and I can see how this would really shape the content you write and, well, pretty much everything you do with your blog. It made me realise (big whack in the head moment) that I actually have very little idea about the audience for Not A Ballerina and it’s intensely obvious that I should figure this out.
- Darren talked about how a blog post should either inform, inspire or encourage interaction. Some might do more than one but I can see the value of focusing on just one at a time. And your particular blog might have a bias towards one of these. But he spoke about how they do this on Digital Photography School and on Problogger – eg a post early in the week which is a “how to” about a topic, a mid-week post showcasing an inspirational version of that “how to” (an interview; some amazing photos; whatever) and then a late-week post encouraging the readers to get involved – setting them a challenge, encouraging a discussion or debate, or something.
- As usual Darren talked about what I call the soft side of blogging – the human side, perhaps – stuff like figuring out what really gives you energy about your blog and doing more of that. So important, I think.
- And finally, another point about the readers – focus on the readers you already have, aim to have a big impact on them, and (basically) getting new readers will arise from a lot of those efforts anyway. A lot of bloggers are focused simply on getting more readers. Don’t be. Excellent advice.
|Bloggy friends at PBevent|
And so – a huge thank you to Darren Rowse for making the trek over here – as Kelly mentioned in her introduction, we are so lucky (and proud) that one of the biggest bloggers on the world stage is just a normal Aussie bloke from Melbourne. She also made the point that she thinks it’s because of Darren that the blogging community in Australia is so friendly and cooperative, and I agree. Here’s to many more years of blogging and Problogger events!
I’m going to ProBlogger!! Call me a geek (I’ve heard geeks are the new cool, anyway) but I am VERY excited to be going to a conference where every single person I see will not only know what a blog is, they will LOVE blogging. I was so thrilled when I got a ticket a few months back, especially as the Earlybird tickets sold out within hours but I managed to get one!
In one of my former lives as an academic I got quite used to going to conferences and I mostly enjoyed them, but in the last few years I haven’t had as many chances. Apart from attending the Media140 conference in Perth in 2011, and speaking at it in 2012, I haven’t had much chance to meet many blogging and social media world identities up close, so you can imagine I’m a bit excited. Will I get to speak to Mr Problogger himself, the delightful Darren Rowse? (I hope so!) – and will he serve up a keynote address something like the one below from the recent World Domination Summit (worth a watch!)? Plus there’s a huge list of other people I’m hoping to meet. Just the list of speakers is amazing – practically a wishlist of people I would like to listen to (and meet).
The biggest problem I see will be selecting which session to go to as a number of the concurrent sessions are about topics I’m interested in – for example, at some stage I’ll have to choose between a session run by one of my online world heroes, Valerie Khoo, about business blogging, and another on building community (so important too!) from a panel featuring bloggers I have followed for years like Craig Makepeace and Nicole Avery. Pretty sure it will have to be a coin toss for some of them. Thankfully I can catch up later by accessing it all online but there will still be some tricky choices.
(Speaking of accessing it online – there is a “Virtual Pass” which will give you access to all of the recorded material from the whole conference, plus slideshows etc and a few webinars – available to download or listen to whenever you want. If you’re interested head to the Virtual Pass page – disclaimer from me, that’s an affiliate link so I get a commission if you sign up.)
Anyway, once mid-September hits I’m sure you’ll hear a LOT about the ProBlogger event from me on all my social media profiles, and I will definitely have a bunch of blog posts coming out afterwards with the most exciting things I’ve learnt. I have a feeling I’ll be filling pages and pages (or virtual pages at least) with ideas of what to do with my blog and my business to keep moving onwards and upwards and no doubt I’ll have lots of new ideas for my regular clients, too.
So, if you’re off to ProBlogger too, I’ll see you there (like my dear friend Jo of Zigazag who is brave enough to room with me!) and if not, watch this space and you will find out what I’m up to there.