Put 550 Australian bloggers in a room together for two days and what do you get? Energy. Ideas. Inspiration. That’s what happened last weekend at the fifth annual ProBlogger Training Event.
It was my second ProBlogger event, held – as it was last year too – on Queensland’s Gold Coast, conveniently less than an hour’s drive from my home in Brisbane. And as it was last year, an event that made me leave marvelling at the variety and enthusiasm among bloggers out there.
Efficiently organised by a team led by ProBlogger’s founder, Darren Rowse, it was two days of intensive talk and listening. Three session streams ran across each day – tailored to those just starting out (or pre-bloggers), those “going pro” and everyone. And best of all, everything was recorded, with the audio available online to attendees so we can later catch up on those we couldn’t physically get to (or want to see again). Such great value for money!
After a welcome and introduction by Darren, keynote speaker Pat Flynn used a few magic tricks to show us how to convert casual readers into “raving fans”. Then I moved on to a panel discussion on “Brands, Blogs and Readers”, one of several on how to monetise a blog. Then there was Nikki Parkinson, of Styling You, who gave an interesting presentation on how to build “an online community that you love”.
There was more too…a lot to take in over the first day, but whenever our energy started to flag there were healthy snacks and drinks to keep us going.
And we needed that energy later too, for a soiree at Helm Bar & Bistro on the riverside at Surfers Paradise. The theme for the night was “nautical” and the place was brimming with sailors, pirates, mermaids, lifeguards and surfers. My Brisbane blogging buddies (we found that we’d pre-empted one of the recommendations of the conference, which was to form a small blogging buddy group) and I had decided to go as a “team” and wore beautiful reef-themed kaftans by Australian designer Desert Poppy, which we bought online. Someone described us as “Queensland’s living ribbon reef” – how lovely!
Here we are, left to right, me, Danielle Lancaster of Bluedog Photography, Kerry Heaney of Eat, Drink + Be Kerry, and The Global Goddess, Chris Retschlag. (Now we just have to consult each other before stepping out in the kaftans again!) Thanks to the Olympus photo booth for this great shot!
With a later start the next morning, we were all ready to go again. There were sessions on email marketing, blogging and the law, the business side of blogging, and how to use social media for social good.
I became a raving fan of Matthew Michalewicz, who was the keynote speaker for day two, when his parting gesture was to give everyone in the room a free copy of his book Life in Half A Second, which is currently my bedtime reading (possibly not a good time to do it, as it makes my head spin with ideas). Then I went along to Rand Fishkin’s talk on how to use Google+ to better promote my blog, and to hear Lucy Feagins, of The Design Files, outline how she works with advertising on her blog. I picked up a lot of tips on how to make this a better blog.
The very entertaining Chris Ducker, one of several international speakers on the program, had a useful session called “The Business of You: How Building Your Online Brand Will Unleash the Influencer Inside You”. Interesting stuff.
Action. Goals. Milestones. Tone. Authenticity. Advertising. Sponsorship. Engagement. Collaboration. So many words, so many ideas. I’m ready to move onward and up, and look forward to showing you – my readers – some of what I’ve learned as I go on. Thanks ProBlogger team, it was fun!