This post is the fourth post in a series I am writing about my experience at the 2014 Type-A Conference on social media.

Cecily Kellogg's Type-A Conference Session: What You Don't Know About Content Creation #typeacon 2014

Blogging has remained the same in some ways since I started this blog in June of 2008, but there are changes being made as well. As with any business, hobby, or even life as a whole, we need to grow and change. Without change we become stagnant and bored. For bloggers, this means our readers and business partnerships can grow stale. At the Type-A Conference I attended a session held by Cecily Kellogg who has blogged for longer than I have. Currently she has moved away from personal blogging and is now focusing more on the business end which includes content creation for brands. One of Cecily’s points is that traditional blogging, as many of us know it, is really on a downward slope. While I do talk about my personal life here on my blog, it has never been all personal stories alone. Since the beginning I have shared my personal experiences with brands with you all and it seems to be something that resonates with my readers because you all are still here and growing. So for me, I do not feel that downward slide as much. However, I will be rebranding (renaming) my blog at the beginning of 2015 and sharpening my focus just a tad to keep growing and hopefully these changes will be reflective of what you, my readers, like most about my current blog.

Here are my live notes, via Twitter, from Cecily’s session, What you don’t know about content creation, and my thoughts on them.

The way most of us read online has changed over the years. Many of us would read much longer posts in the past, but now it seems that smaller posts and more “snackable” bits are what readers are looking for. Regardless of the size of our content though our writing needs to remain valuable to our readers.

This is where the personal opinion and experiences fit in with my blogging. I can write a totally fact based post about something and it still has some value, but it is when I interject my own personal thoughts that make it more relatable to my readers. It is like reading an instruction manual, it is useful, but it is not something you recommend reading to your friends just for enjoyment.

During the session on how to Write Posts People Can’t Stop Reading the same point was touched on. We need to infuse our posts with words that help our readers feel like they are right there with us. While actual images still are crucial for most of us, we still need to implement imagery with our words.

We can still weave in the crucial elements of marketing, urgent, relevant, real, clear, and concise, into our posts without creating an advertisement I think. I tend to add some of these things already, but not all of them. For brands, this is what they would like to see more of in our sponsored posts I think, but again, without it reading like an ad.

Many times my posts will include notes to follow a certain brand on their social media channels, check out their website, find where you can buy a product in local stores, or take action for different causes. Generally I end posts with a question as well, this is my “call to action” for my readers to leave a comment on my post.

This was my least favorite point in the session. Not that I disagree, but I just do not want to feel like I am leading my readers as though they are sheep. I’ve never been one to feel the need to do something because that’s what all the “cool kids” are doing and I don’t want my readers to feel that is what I am asking of them either – but I am sure at some points I have sounded a bit like that. This seems to be a very, very fine line and it is hard to not fall off onto the other side.

So very true regardless of what your business is. Cecily talked about when she worked for a company and how they would sit down at the beginning of the year and make a five year plan – they did this each year. At that meeting they would review the previous plans and make needed changes. Throughout the year though they would check in on their goals. What steps were they taking to achieve those goals?

Setting a goal for conversions on my blog I think is having readers return, comment, and share my content.

Cecily suggests creating a persona of who your reader (or client) is. What are the demographics of that said reader? What do they want from you? How can you best serve them? You may need multiple personas of your client if you serve a wider range of people.

I have made editorial calendars in the past – some things I am better at sticking to than others, like Saturday infographics. Recently I started using a tool for my blog called CoSchedule (disclosure – that link is my referral link) that has a plugin for my blog that I can use as my editorial calendar. There is much more to CoSchedule than I am currently utilizing, but I am planning on delving into its features more to improve my editorial calendar and keeping on track.

There are many tools available to bloggers to help track our goals. Google Analytics is probably the most used tool but I admit, I find it a bit confusing. Note to conference schedulers – have some sessions about using Google Analytics and other tools to help us all, I would totally attend those sessions.

How many of you are reading this on a smartphone or tablet? Those are all mobile devices. I had a specific plugin I was using to make my blog more mobile friendly, but frankly it was ugly. I’m still working on finding what is the best way to make my blog more edible on mobile devices.

Many of us spent a great deal of time figuring out how to implement Google’s authorship on our blogs. And while that feature has already been killed, the portion of author rank is still incredibly important. There is a good post on Moz about these Google authorship changes in 21014 and what remains and what has gone.

I was giving Cecily a little ribbing for this comment, but it is not untrue. So many times you hear and read do not blog for free. This pertains to working with brands but it is not a complete truth. Brands need to see what we can do and we need to see what brands can do. At the beginning of a relationship some free work might be valuable. However, if you continue to work for free with a brand on an ongoing basis then you need to rethink that. Note also that free means of no benefit to you – sometimes there is other consideration (payment) besides cash to be gained from working with brands.

Marketing + Personal Blogging via @cecilyk #TypeACon

I included the above tweet because it really is relevant. Attending conferences and workshops on blogging (or whatever your business is) is vital to help you grow and change. While I love learning from online courses and blog posts, there is something more to when you attend in session. Not only do we gain the insight of the speakers and presenters, but also from those in the audience who will share some of the same questions you may have, their own experiences in the area being covered, and even adding their own tips and advice.

Did you learn anything today from this post about content creation? What action will you take based on what you have read?

Robyn    

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