Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blogger Boot Camp Event - Recap

This past Saturday night I attended a blogger event put together by The SITS Girls and sponsored by Invisalign.

This was a free event for Boston area bloggers and it was held at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge.

Here are the main things that I learned.

Blog Posts
  • A good post entertains and informs.  It tells a story.
  • Talk about how the content applies to your life.
  • Always use a photo that is clear and large enough to see the contents of.
  • Let your blog post "simmer".  Meaning, don't hit "publish" right away.  I already do this because I write up my posts in advance and always re-read them a million time before they're scheduled to be posted.
  • Link back to yourself in each post when relevant.
  • Use SEO friendly words in the first 100 words of your post.  For example, if you're writing about a mascara from Sephora, use "Sephora", "mascara", "best mascara", the brand name, etc. in the first 100 words of your post.
  • Share each and every post to Google+.
  •  On your and other blogger's posts, click the "+1".  This tells Google that this post is important and will tell google to "index" it.  I think this means that the more it's indexed, the higher it will show up if someone is doing a google search on your blog post topic.  Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.  I plan to click the "+1" more on my blogger friend's Google+ posts and hope that they'll return the favor.  Us bloggers gotta take care of each other! :)
Facebook Page
  • When you post your blog post use the photo that automatically pops up from your webpage even if it's bad.  If you don't use that photo and upload another photo, no one will see your post!
  • To get more engagement and followers they suggest posting up to 15 times a day.  Since I'm a small time blogger and not a business, I don't plan to take this advice.  
  • To get more engagement, post different kinds of things like a quote or ask a question.  Right now I only post on my Facebook Page a few times per week.  I'd like to try to post more often perhaps with a beauty tip or a question of some sort.
Sponsored Posts
  • For sponsored posts from SITS in particular (and probably most others), they prefer blogs with at least 10,000 pageviews/month.  I am definitely not at 10,000 but hope to get there in the next few months.  Side note: ever since I changed my comments to the Google+ comments system, my pageviews have increased significantly!
  • They prefer at least 1,000 Twitter followers.
  • Sign up for the SITS newsletter and for Massive Sway in order to get on their mailing list and to be considered for sponsored posts.

Please note that when they were discussing sponsored posts, they were referring to paid posts.  As a beauty blogger, sponsored posts for me also includes compensation in the form of products.  After the talks, I spoke with Tiffany (one of the founders of SITS Girls) about her thoughts on doing "free" posts.  By "free" I mean that although the post is relevant to the blog, there's no compensation whatsoever (except perhaps a promise of MAYBE some blog exposure after the post is published).  Her opinion, and the opinion of the many women that I were also present during this discussion, was to NOT do "free" or uncompensated posts.  You are basically giving that person or brand free advertising and you're using your time and resources to do so.  Think about what your time is worth.  However, if you truly believe in the post or truly want to write it or think that it will lead to future opportunities with that brand or person, then go for it!

I know that sponsored posts can be a sore spot for some.  I see nothing wrong with them as long as not every single post on your blog is sponsored.  Right now blogging is my hobby but I've put in a ton of time into my blog, not to mention all the money I've spent to attend events, buy products to review, business cards, etc.  To be able to supplement those costs by doing a few sponsored posts here and there sounds great to me!

Of course since this conference was sponsored by Invisalign, there was an informational segment on that which I will discuss in a separate post.

The best part of the night was the end where we had some wine, food, and were able to network and chit chat.  I met several new bloggers and got to meet some girls that I follow but never met in person.  Overall, it was a great night!

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