It wasn't the best lead up to my first ever blogging conference...
Unprepared, overworked and knowing no-one, I rocked up Thursday evening to survey the scene at the RACV Royal Pines resort full of nervous trepidation.
Whilst experienced bloggers packed their conference essentials: cameras, computers and copious amounts of sparkling talent. I travelled light.
Just little old me @blogspot.com
Except that, I came with 20 kilos of addition baggage just in case, AND two non-blogging friends, happy to be my roomies for a girls Gold Coast weekend away. There was always that thought that I could always join them if required...
Not that I needed a blogging bolthole as it turned out, happily we all survived. Me with a big grin. My girlfriends got a much-needed break and I made some great new connections in the Aussie blogging world. Woo Hoo!
|A billboard advertising the Australian Survivor TV show seemed rather apt!|
Lesson One: Work out who you are and why you're of interest?
Leading a life where I'm often the new kid in town, I'm not adverse to the 'take a deep breath and introduce yourself' malarkey. But this time, It's not all about me and I'm not quite sure what to say.
I'm a crazy soccer Mum on Twitter, with a crazy poodle on Instagram, living in a Melbourne madhouse on my blog, but with enough emotional intelligence to sense this may not be exactly endearing to a room full bloggers searching for great social and professional connections...
I had a few false starts, where I seem to remember describing myself rather rudely as a ditsy blogger, with the memorable utterings of 'my blog is just about my life'
Before I gave myself a serious 'get a grip' talking to, and perfected my spiel to:
Hi, my name is Wren & I'm a personal blogger
Writing about my wanderings here, there and everywhere!'
I figured that gave me enough to say to sound like I knew what I was talking about, whilst giving the listener not the foggiest clue. Perfect - why does that quote on surprising, mystifying and misleading comes to mind?
|Thanks to all the amazing sponsors: Principal sponsor Olympus|
Lesson Two: If you don't know 1 above, let others do the talking!
Some politely asked where I wandered, whilst others moved smoothly onto taking the safer ground of talking about themselves.
Both responses I considered wins!
I listened to who they were and what they were wanting from their blogs and lapped up all the words of wisdom from the speakers before I came away with a list of inspirations a mile long.
|Surfing the web at the Gold Coast|
Lesson three: For virtual travel at it's best,
dine with the travel bloggers!
On Friday night I ate pizza with the travel bloggers and met some awesome Mummy bloggers. A more impressive bunch of women you will never meet. Full of stories of travelling around the world with their families, juggling homeschooling, airports and a whole heap of affiliate links and appropriate sponsors with ease.
Whilst we flitted from Colombia to Calcutta to Coolangatta without a single yell of 'Are we there yet? Or 'I need to poo' I smiled at their confidence and charisma and remembered when I arrived in Belgium twenty plus years ago, with a ten-day-old baby, a toddler and without even a 'Bonjour' of Flemish.
A quick flashback to my giant green double buggy that wouldn't get through the security barrier of my local Delhaize Supermarket, and I'm in awe of these Super Mums.
Where was blogging back then, when I needed it?
Keeping quiet about my roots in the crazy soccer mum world, I was happy to be flanked on either side by strong American women who'd landed on these distant shores having fallen for their Crocodile Dundee Aussie men.
I'm more at ease with fellow first generation Aussies who can talk about their love of life and their love-life Down Under whilst in the next breath talking wistfully of their motherland.
|Thank you to Problogger for a wonderful conference|
Lesson Four: You don't need to have a perfect blog, or to have a well-formed plan, you just need to get your (excuse me for this) arse into gear,
and at the very least have your back end under control!
Ha! Such an Aussie approach to it all, which I loved. The kind of bottom line message was a 'no worries' approach meets 'Crickey! Get a grip.'
The greatest thing about attending Problogger was (unlike at other conferences) it is pretty difficult to tell across a crowded room, who are the most successful bloggers, or who has the words Top Influencer on their business cards.
I love the messages of the likes of Emilie Wapnick from Puttylike, that some of us are a little bit complicated and that it's ok to do, and be many things.
Indeed the written and technical skills needed to produce a beautiful blog do not transfer necessarily to amazing public speakers. But nor do they need to be, if you have a passion, a belief or something unique to say, your on-line audience will love you for this.
Attendees at Problogger 2016, were primarily newbies and indeed from the one's I spoke to quite a few who were yet to start a blog. Which meant far from being the underachiever, the fact that my blog had survived the two-year mark, was an achievement. I'm giving myself a pat on the back for this ;)
I do need to get my design and my backend under control. I did not meet a single Blogger blogger. So at some point Word Press here I come... when I have figured it out and when I have the time. If you have done this and have any tips for me, please let me know how you did it!
|Bloggers find a possible post in everything!|
Lesson Five: Create evergreen content
Only once did I get the unexpected response of
'Oh how lovely, you must have a load of fantastic evergreen content with that?'
Of course, I agreed, making a mental note to do more gardening posts if the evergreen content is seen as desirable!
|Evergreen view from our room|
Ha Ha what a laugh ... oh well it seems I have quite a few things to work on
Wish me well... Does anyone out there in blogland have their backend under control?! Silly me, of course, you do!
Linking with Blue Monday thanks to Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor
and the wonderful hosts at Our World Tuesday