This could be a pitch for a crappy reality show: “Ok, so we take an introverted blogger who hates big events and meeting hordes of new people, and we send her to this enormous conference with 700 other bloggers, and we see if she survives!”
My fellow introverts probably shuddered reading that sentence, and will totally understand why I packed a book in case I needed to leave the masses and hide in a corner by myself to recover.
I spent the weekend at Build Your Blog Conference in Salt Lake City, along with 700+ other bloggers to learn how to create better content, reach bigger audiences, and make more money blogging. I hadn’t planned to attend—I’ve never been to a blog conference before—but I ended up with a sponsorship from Taste of Home, so off I went.
It turned out to be a really fun experience (despite my nerves!), and I met some sweet new friends. And would you believe it—I never even had to go hide with my book (although I did head home early both days—I can only push myself so far). I learned so much helpful information on how to improve the content I share, and there are plenty of tweaks I’d like to make to improve my writing and photography and site design.
But you know, my main takeaway from the event was that I’m happy where I am in blogging, and I’m not sure that huge growth will ever be my biggest blogging goal.
It seems that a lot of the bigger money-making opportunities in blogging are via methods I have no interest in, either because I find them a turn-off when I see them on other blogs, or because they simply aren’t a good fit for my personality, or they would move me and my blog in a direction I don’t want. Maybe that means I’ll always stay a smaller blog, and if so, that’s fine.
I love what goes on here. I love that I can be open and honest and share my life with you, and I love that you guys visit and read and chat with me. And of course I am thrilled that I can make money on my blog when an opportunity comes along that is a great fit (and I learned lots of new ways to make the most of those opportunities and build relationships with brands I care about).
But when I blog, I think my biggest goals are always going to be about improving my writing, connecting with like-minded people, sharing more of the things that matters most to me, trying to spread some joy and creativity . . . and I’ll let the numbers do what they will.
Some of my favorite notes from the conference:
- Don’t let old posts die. Remind readers—new and old—of the great posts you wrote 3 months or 3 years ago.
- It’s easy to worry about numbers (pageviews, followers, likes, etc.) but engagement and a sense of community are far more important than statistics (yes, this!).
- The main message at the Taste of Home event was to know your readers—know who they are and what they want, and give them what they’re after without worrying about what’s trendy. So . . . maybe you guys can prep yourselves for a reader survey, because I’m going to need to find out exactly what you want from me :-)
- Focus on WHY you do what you do, not HOW or WHAT. The ‘why’ is your motivation and gives your work meaning—the ‘how’ and ‘what’ are just the day-to-day minutiae. It’s easy to get caught up in those details but the WHY keeps you centered and meaningful.