Apart from wondering where the time has disappeared, it set me thinking about what this event really meant to me beyond the camaraderie, freebies and cupcakes.
Looking back at the notes I made at the conference, I discovered a few valuable points picked up not just during the talks but also in conversation with other bloggers and in general observation of some mamas already at the top of their blogging game.
So if you’re a new blogger or considering starting a blog, here are 10 Blogging Commandments adapted from Cybermummy with a little twist from yours truly.
1. Know your blog
If you jump into blogging without really figuring out the who, what and why of your blog, it’s easy to get lost in the blogosphere. Have you defined your niche? Do you have a mission statement? Can you sum up your blog in one catchy phrase?
2. Know your audience
Ask yourself three questions a) who are you writing for? b) who is reading your blog? c) who would you like your audience to be? Use research and stats trackers like Google Analytics and Survey Monkey to find out who your audience is, what they want and how you can tailor your content to serve those needs. Write for yourself, first and foremost. If you find your own writing entertaining or useful, it’s likely you’ll attract readers in your key demographic.
3. Be social
Don’t look at other bloggers as competition. Reach out to fellow bloggers to find friendship, inspiration, support and maybe increase your own influence. Join a blogging network (like SITS or British Mummy Bloggers). Launch a Facebook group. Start Tweeting. One Cybermummy revealed her hits doubled just from engaging more with others on Twitter.
4. Create good content
This seems like a no-brainer but while you’re busy tracking your stats or being a social media maven, don’t forget the main ingredient of successful blogging: content. What is good content? According to Cybermummy speakers, it’s writing that’s engaging, useful, insightful, truthful and strikes a nerve.
5. Promote your blog
Explore every outlet: social networking (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube), social bookmarking sites (Digg, Stumble Upon), marketing literature (business cards, flyers), press releases, media appearances, free article directories, mailing lists and plain old word of mouth. Become a guest blogger. Don’t be shy about spreading your blogging wings.
6. Think outside the money box
Don’t expect to hit the jackpot but you can make some money via your blog, if you think creatively and don’t rely on one source of income (certainly not just AdSense!). Cybermummy tips include not just selling ad space but also doing sponsored posts, writing e-books, offering consultancy services, public speaking/seminars. Think not so much in terms of cold hard cash but value – in what ways could blogging add value to your personal brand/lifestyle?
7. Be brand savvy
If you’re prepared to work with brands, it’s essential to understand what type of brands have a natural affinity with your blog, how to handle PR requests and the importance of transparency. Once you form a relationship with any brand to write reviews or sponsored posts, always make sure your readers understand the nature of that relationship.
8. Bring your blog/brand to life
Your blog is a brand in itself and it’s a good idea to make your brand tangible. Develop a product, experiment with vlogging or throw an event related to your blog that allows your readers or clients to connect to your brand in a different way.
9. Don’t compete with traditional media
It’s useful to check out traditional media for inspiration but don’t try and compete with them as you’ll always come up short. Instead take advantage of the freedom of being a blogger to write what you want, in your own style and in your own voice.
10. Blog from the heart
Write what you know and what you’re passionate about and what is true to who you are. The most important message hammered home by everyone at Cybermummy was to ‘keep it real’. Whether you’re a confessional-style anonymous blogger or a product reviewing guru, the important thing is that you stay truthful to yourself and to your audience.