Wondering how to turn your experience at the MN Blogger Conference into real actions that impact your blog throughout the year? Alice shares her experience last year and how MNBlogCon represented a turning point for her blog.
How MNBlogCon Impacted Me
Before I attended the Minnesota Blogger Conference, I felt a bit lost, frankly. I had been blogging for several years, really just dropping my recipes into posts and sometimes I’d take a camera phone photo, but often times not. I started blogging because I was always being asked to share my recipes and I grew tired of always emailing them out so I thought I’d create a space where if someone wanted a recipe I could say, “It’s on the blog.” My blogging increased when I became a regular on Twin Cities Live and then in 2014 I started learning more about SEO, food photography and social media. And honestly, that’s when I started feeling lost. I felt like a hamster on a wheel, spinning endlessly, feeling unrewarded and unsure of where to put my best effort.
I didn’t know what the Minnesota Blogger Conference would be like. I really didn’t want to go by myself, but I took a chance to make an investment in myself and in my blog. I had passion and that was the first step.
I remember driving home from the conference full of inspiration. The organizers gave out a notebook and I filled it with all the wisdom the speakers shared. I lined pages with questions for myself and started a new page filled just with post ideas. My passion was inspired. “Let’s do this,” I remember telling myself in the car. And that’s how blogging after the conference started for me.
Oh, but it’s easy to get lost isn’t it? Returning home with a notebook full of ideas I could’ve easily gotten back on the hamster wheel and started to get lost again. There were so many things I needed to be doing. But I focused on three things. These are the three messages that impacted me from the Minnesota Blogger Conference: create good content, own your expertise and connect with your audience in your genuine voice.
Create Good Content
During the conference, the message about creating good content was delivered over and over. It resonated with me, but I could feel the desire to try and do everything start creeping up and I began to feel overwhelmed. I attended a session with Kristen Brown from Happy Hour Effect on pitching yourself and she said to ask yourself, “Why should they want you? Hook them with what is special.” I believe that translates perfectly to creating good content and giving your readers what they want. After the conference, I signed up for Kristen’s strategy sessions which helped me focus on who I was and connect that to creating good content and engaging in activities that worked towards achievable goals. I love this quote from Kristen, “When you know who you are and what you have to offer, the right people and right opportunities will appear.” Defining who I was and what content I wanted to share, then positioned me to know the steps I needed to take to improve, which now has lead to media opportunities like being on Good Morning America and the Rachael Ray Show.
Own Your Expertise
In the blogging world, it is easy to compare yourself to other bloggers and the activities and opportunities they have. Dan Morris from Blogging Concentrated challenged conference attendees to see themselves differently, “You are an island from beginning to end. Don’t compare.” I stayed after Dan’s session and had an opportunity to chat with him and he asked me about my blog and my expertise, “Do that,” he said simply. So I did. I started focusing on comfort food recipes, motherhood and Minnesota. I wrote my first ebook this past year, Freezer Meals for Moms because I’ve prepared and eaten almost 400 freezer meals. I owned my expertise. (Dan will be speaking again this year – you can check out his session here.)
Connect with Your Audience in Your Genuine Voice
“Do you know your audience and where they are at?” Rachel from Finding Joy guided conference attendees on how they could use their voice with purpose to have genuine conversations and become a trusted leader of their online community. Rachel’s discussion inspired me to change how I was having conversations on my blog. For me, I became vulnerable and opened up about my feelings of motherhood, sharing personal reflections both challenging and joy-filled. My readers stood by me, cheering me on in victories and holding me up when I needed support. It gave me the confidence I needed to use my genuine voice in my posts about motherhood and go beyond my blog and contribute my writing on national web pages like Scary Mommy, Bonbon Break and Mamalode. Readers resonated with my posts and said, “Me too.” The connection was genuine.
Attending the Minnesota Blogger Conference in 2014 had a tremendous impact on me and my blog. This year, I was honored when the Minnesota Beef Council asked if I would present their session, Beef Up Your Food Photography. Join us for food photography fundamentals and a Baked Roast Beef Sandwich photography contest!