BlogHer ’14 was nothing short of an amazing experience. Having twisted my own arm into traveling from Hong Kong to California, I was pencil at the ready jotting down every bit of bloggy knowledge and insight I came across.
Three key themes struck me – balance, video and social influence.
Now before you read on, this post isn’t crafty (imagines 90% of blog readers running for the hills, screaming) but so many people asked me about the conference that I wanted to share what I’d learned. That and it’s taken me a month of writing and editing, people, so be nice! Phew. I hope it’s of interest to you, if not, stay tuned… I promise the next post will be nothing but hand crafted goodness.
Balance: Fast vs Slow
Bloggers have spent over a decade creating the “always on” culture. We’re the content makers, storytellers and visionaries posting, snapping and tweeting our days away. We’re so connected that, as noted by @ariannahuff, we have a better understanding of our phone battery than the state of our bodies. (Mine’s a woeful 34%, in case you were wondering.)
“We’re creating culture with every blog post” Polly Pagenhart,
In the midst of a global shift to reconnect with ourselves and BlogHer 14 asked:
“Will we learn to value the slow as well as the fast? How can we find balance in an “always on” world of our own making?” Barb Dybwad, Engadget
How DO we find the sweet spot between our drive to engage, connect, monetize, and our human need for balance, tranquility and space? More sleep, knowing our bodies and digital detoxes were all suggestions. The rise of technology wearableslike fitbit, nike fuelband, sleep monitors and health apps are helping pave the way. While we don’t have all the answers yet, this quest to reconnect with ourselves is gathering momentum on a global scale.
“Sleep your way to the top. Eight hours a night.” “I’ve learnt no is a complete sentence” Arianna Huffington, Founder Huffington Post @ariannahuff
Go forth and Video
Vlogging. Sounds kind of rude. Fifty shades of something aside, video was a hot topic at BlogHer ’14. Why?
Traffic + relationships (engaged audience) = Compensation (paid opportunities)
While monetization is a golden word, the mere thought of ourselves on camera makes most of us want to run for the hills. No, you’re not going to like how you look or sound on video. Elissa Camahort Page, BlogHer founder, advised us to “get over it”. Video is the single most powerful thing you can focus on this year in blogging.
“If you’re engaging no one is going to care about your hair – content is key.” Jenny Chiu, mommynanibooboo, @mommynanibooboo
Forget about fancy equipment, big shoot budgets and professional make-up. Successful vlogging is about authenticity – useful content wrapped in a personal story told directly to camera.
Practical take-aways on video:
- Grab them quickly – skip the long intro
- Keep it short 2-5 minutes
- Authenticity trumps all
- Smile, you’re on camera
The power of social influence
Connection, we all know it’s important but it rang so loud at BlogHer. I’m not talking about the give you heart palpitations networking the room type of connection… I can tell you I suck at that!
“Digital gives us the power to knit equal world friendships by choice, by shared interests and values, rather than by physical proximity.”
One of the buzz words I picked up was “social influence”. Bloggers have not only democratized publishing, they’ve irrevocably changed the marketing landscape. In a world where we’re no longer listening to traditional advertising, personal recommendations are taking centre stage. Everyday people, telling powerful stories, have become heroes and stars in their own right. The power of your social influence, in this attention scarce economy, grows more valuable by the day, and not just for bloggers. Affiliation was the buzz monetization word but in the future every social connection you have may be worth something.
“Everyday people will become marketers. Everyday people will be able to monetize traffic to brands”. Richelle Parham, CMO of eBay North America
Before you start friending like a mad woman Arianna Huffington had this piece of networking advice.
“The best networkers are givers. Never have an impersonal connection with anyone. Know your Barista, the doorman, your neighbor. This is the start of giving.” Arianna Huffington, Founder Huffington Post @ariannahuff
Very unflattering photo of me with Arianna Huffington. But it’s @ariannahuff so how can I not include it? She was awesome.
While the blogosphere keeps changing and evolving, the life changing connections of blogging haven’t. Sure, there are new tools, apps and ways to make money but, for me, its that moment of friendship “… oh you too?? I thought I was the only one”. That’s what sends me flying around the world to Blog conferences and keeps me coming back to this, my crazy, crafty and wonderful blog. Thanks for reading :).