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10 Takeaways from Day 1 of the BlogWorld Expo 2010

Written by Sherry Shaffer  · October 14, 2010

Good evening from day one in Las Vegas!

As my own blog is still pretty young, I figured today I would do the Problogger track and sit in on the four connected sessions by Darren Rowe and Chris Garrett. They covered creating killer content, finding readers, building community, and monetization. Basically, everything you need to know to have a successful blog. There’s a good deal of rave reviews about these guys and now I know why.

Without going into the deep particulars and trying to recreate the several hours’ worth of material, I thought I’d give you my 10 biggest takeaways from the sessions.

1.Make each post count – Garrett echoed the morning keynote speaker, Scott Stratten, when he emphasized that if you don’t have anything to say, don’t try to force meaningless filler on people. Your readers remember your last post; your previous stuff may have been killer, but if that last post was no good, they may not come back.

2.Know your audience – If you don’t know who you’re writing for, find out. Take a look around, do some research. When he began his photography blog, Rowe sat down and wrote out bios for three of the potential types of readers he expected to get, then wrote for them. It changed over time, so he tweaked the bios and still writes with them in mind.

3.Don’t write for SEO, write for people – No one is going to read your stuff just because there are a lot of keywords in it. Don’t find popular search words and write around them. If you’ve got a good post, maybe you can refine it and work some keywords in, but remember it has to be interesting and readable.

4.Get off your blog – If you want people to read and continue to read your blog, go where they hang out online and interact. Comment on other blogs, use social media, maybe guest blog a little.

5.Give back to your readers – If someone has made a comment on your blog, answer back. Acknowledge your readers by checking out their blogs and recommending them to others. Thank them for participating. Reciprocity can be a powerful tool, and it’s just polite, darn it.

6.Invite interaction – Set little challenges for your readers, ask opinions, ask for their tips and advice. In other words, build a community.

7.Start small with advertising – Got a little blog? Find little advertisers. Team up with bloggers in your niche who could offer a new advertiser a package deal, then grow as your audience does.

8.Monetize progressively, don’t be stingy – Give away a really helpful Ebook. (Yes, don’t hold back all the good stuff. They have to know you aren’t blowing smoke, you really have valuable information.) If you see people like it then go for a low-priced product. Work your way up to that big consulting contract, service or product.

9.Trust is key – People will only do business with those they trust. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate, be up front and forthright. Don’t be a jerk (this was emphasized quite a bit today, using several different synonymous words.)

And the biggest takeaway for me today:

10.Don’t give up – Building a good blog takes time. With few exceptions, most blogs don’t gain success overnight. Rowe’s first blog took a year and a half to really get a good readership and begin to make money. There are a lot of bloggers out there; it can be tough to build a readership when so many people are attempting the same. But if you persist and have good, valuable content, you really can have a successful blog.

There are two more days of the expo, if they’re anything like today, I’m definitely getting my money’s worth. Until then, keep blogging!

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3 Responses to “10 Takeaways from Day 1 of the BlogWorld Expo 2010”

  1. Jill Manty on October 15th, 2010 1:18 pm

    Great roundup, Sherry! My favorites are #2 and #8— mainly because these were newer concepts for me.

  2. Jason Boom on October 16th, 2010 8:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experiences from the expo. I’m jealous.

    I really like most of the list, but felt like #3 could be misleading. I think it helps a bit to write for search engines since the people those articles target will be ready for your message. They’ll become readers, share you article, use it for reference, or whatever. I think I’ve found numerous new blogs from doing simple Google searches.

  3. Sherry Shaffer on October 20th, 2010 6:11 pm

    I agree, you should keep in mind what the search engines are looking for. I think the point here is that SEO shouldn’t be your only reason for writing a post. If you’ve written a well thought out article with valuable information and you’ve taken the time to put in key words, you’ll do great. But writing an article with tons of search words and crap content is not going to have readers coming back for more.
    I think it’s just a matter of putting content over marketing.