I have been thinking about revamping this blog for a long time now but I never found the time to sit down and make a plan. Well, I had some time, but I didn’t have enough knowledge of what I need to do and the proper tools to move forward. I tried reading a lot of How-Tos and knowing the available tools out there but given that there are so many (and I mean, soooo many) resources available online – both free and paid, it’s just not easy to decide which one applies to what I want to happen and which one doesn’t. That’s when I realized that I needed to get myself “trained” to learn the skills necessary for me to be able to plan and execute the changes I want to make. That sounded too corporate-y, don’t you think? In a nutshell, I need to learn from experts.
I’ve seen a few seminars and workshops about blogging before but the schedule didn’t fit mine. I also found those to be on a more advanced level than what I wanted at the time. So when Ms. Frances of Topaz Horizon posted that she will be holding a blogging workshop, a immediately signed up. It didn’t matter that the initial schedule published would have coincide with the tactical planning session at work had it not been rescheduled (thank goodness since I no longer want to work on weekends as much as possible). Why did I sign up? The topics she planned to cover was exactly the information I was looking for. But what I got out of the workshop was so much more.
Let me share 3 of my take-aways from the workshop:
Focus on content.
Create content that is useful, inspirational, informative. Write content that will be helpful to readers. An example of this is when writing product reviews. It’s not enough to say that you liked/loved the product and that you’ll keep using it. It would be helpful to readers if we include specific information like: 1) what our reason was for trying it out in the first place, 2) what was the effect that we experienced, 3) how to avail or where to buy that certain product.
Write in such a way that the readers are enticed to read more of your story. Make it worth their while.
Work on the traffic.
If we have good content but we don’t make an effort to share it to others, expect that there will be very minimal traffic. Increasing traffic is important especially if we are planning on monetizing our blogs. Social media is very powerful so let’s make use of it to build traffic. 4 tips that was shared are:
- Devote 10 minutes to distribute your content.
- Share your post in all your social media accounts or share in relevant groups/communities as well. Visit other blogs, too, and comment on their posts (this does not necessarily mean that you leave your post link in their comment box and that’s it. While it is possible to share your own content when leaving a comment in other blog posts, make sure it is relevant to the topic at hand).
- Write a good headline.
- It’s no longer enough to just share post links as it is. Write a short description of what the post is all about. Make it catchy to attract readers’ curiosity. A good example would be clickbaits. LOL! But don’t just write post captions that are totally irrelevant to the content you are sharing.
- Use images.
- Beautiful images attract readers. This doesn’t really mean that we need to be professional photographers just to be able to come up with a pretty photo, you know. A very good example for this that I can think of would be recipe posts. Majority of the blog posts that shares recipes I’ve read contains lots of photos that makes my mouth water while reading. 🙂 Probably I would have closed the post link had the photos shared with the content were of blurry images of the food which is being presented.
- Use hashtags!
- This was written in the presentation material with an exclamation point. I kid you not! This goes to show that, in the social media realm, hashtags are very powerful. It makes it easier for readers to look for content using a certain hashtag especially if they are looking for something related to an original post they’ve come across. Let’s use product reviews as an example. You have the content, you have the photos, you are sharing the post link in social media and you used a particular hashtag that is relevant to your post. Here comes reader who stumbled on the same hashtag that you’ve used on a different post and got curious so he searched related content based on the hashtag. Reader then gets to see your own content.
- As they say, the more the hashtags, the better your chances of getting traffic.
In short, you can’t monetize without traffic.
How to attract brands?
A few points were discussed regarding this topic but I’ll share two important take-away about attracting brands. Brands usually have promotional events or they sponsor other big events. So when you are invited to one of these events, always look good. This doesn’t mean that you need to have full make-up on, complete with a ball gown and stilettos. Simply put, be presentable. Dress appropriately for the occasion. And on the day of the event, be sociable. Go around, meet people. Find the organizers or even the brand manager and just say hi. Thank them for inviting you as well. There’s no need to rave about how grateful you are for being invited and making promises of writing great reviews and all that. Keep it simple. 🙂
A lot more were discussed during the half day workshop but these points are the top 3 that I need to work on.
Anyway, here’s our class picture: 🙂
I really don’t get starstruck with celebrities I see anywhere (and I’ve seen and bumped into a few of them). But meeting people that I admire and respect because of their expertise and experiences, that’s a different story. So when I came face-to-face with Ms. Frances, man, my brain went to down the drain, leaving me on my own as I try to come up with something intellectual to say. LOL! Good thing that I was still able to ask if we could have a photo together. 🙂
So there. I am so happy that I attended. I would definitely love to attend a part 2 of this workshop. Here’s hoping for that part 2. 🙂 For now, please excuse me as I go finish my homework. 🙂