So I owe you guys a little recap of my Newbie Q&A panel, don’t I?
First, let me just say that I had a blast. Last year, I was super nervous leading up to my panel and had butterflies for practically the entire morning. But this year? Despite the fact that I was feeling totally unprepared, I was actually feeling pretty cool and collected about the whole thing.
We started out with a quick introduction from Heather, who we then coerced into actually joining in our panel.
Originally, there was supposed to be four of us, but one of our panel members had to back out at the last second. I’m sure that Alicia, Chase, and I would have been fine, but I was soooo happy to have Heather’s insights as well.
Now when I was saying that I felt totally unprepared, I’m really not kidding. About two days before, I put together a very brief outline for me and my panel mates to follow, but that was it. No fancy PowerPoint presentation like everyone else…just us and some microphones.
The whole panel session (I felt) was very relaxed, lighthearted, and touched on a variety of good topics.
The one thing we banked on for our whole session to go smoothly was audience participation. Since the panel was a “Newbie Q&A,” we really wanted to make sure that we were answering questions from those who needed it…not just a list of prepared topics to cover. We did have a list of backup questions just in case we needed them, but thankfully there was plenty of audience participation to keep the conversation flowing.
Perhaps the fact that I told everyone who was planning on coming to the panel earlier in the day that if they didn’t ask questions I was going to call them out…but I like to think not.
I’ve been trying to decide what the best way is to recap everything that was covered in the session, and even though I know there’s going to be things that I’m forgetting, I think it’ll just be easiest for me to list them out for you as bullets.
SO…here’s some takeaways from our Newbie Q&A’s…
- Figure out what works best for YOU and don’t feel pressure to post all the time to “become known.”
- No matter how many times you blog – be it 3 times a day or 3 times a week – just be consistent. That way your readers know what to expect and will continue coming back.
- NetworkedBlogs and TwitterFeed are easy ways to share your blog posts on Facebook and/or Twitter automatically. PROS: it makes sharing easier and you can potentially reach more of an audience. CONS: You may not want to clog up your personal news feed and you may potentially reach less of an audience than if you were sharing manually.
- When commenting on other blogs, make sure you’re contributing to the conversation and not commenting just to comment and get your name out.
- The number of comments a blog post can get definitely does NOT reflect how “successful” a blog is. Some of the most successful posts have very few comments.
- Get some business cards made for your blog. Sites such as Vistaprint are cheap, affordable options. Then go ahead and leave them in local shops for people to take.
- If you don’t have anything to post, don’t post. Readers can tell when a post is forced.
- Paying $10.00 for a membership to Healthy Living Blogs is a great way for you to get connected with other bloggers in your area.
- A combination of both long and short posts can be good. If you’re writing a long post, pictures are a great way to help break things up and keep readers interested.
- If you’re going to consider investing in your blog, but not quite sure what to do first, I suggest these two things: Have a custom header made and purchase your domain name. Both are fairly cheap options (I believe free WordPress blogs have that option within the dashboard or you can search sites like GoDaddy), and there are plenty of freelance graphic designers out there who are just itching to get their work out! (If you’re one of them, feel free to link up your info below!) Custom headers can also be done without switching your blog over to self-hosting.
- If you are ready to switch to self-hosting but don’t quite know how, don’t be afraid to hire someone to do it for you. It may cost a little extra, but it’s probably worth the piece of mind. I know that Ryan from WPSiteCare has been an absolute lifesaver for me!
- If you own a PC, Windows Live Writer will change your life. It makes blogging so much quicker and easier. If you own a mac, try ecto or marsedit.
- If there’s a company you truly feel passionate about, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. More often than not, you’ll get a response and most companies are usually very eager to work with bloggers.
- If you want to get your readers to comment on your blog more often, give them something to comment about. Get a conversation going. Think of topics that you think you’d be most likely to comment on.
- Ad networks are one way to make money from blogging, but not the only way. Building relationships with brands is a great way to potentially earn extra money.
- Blogger meet-ups are a GREAT way to get together and just start bouncing ideas off of each other.
- The more you write and the more you post, the more likely you are to find your true “blogging voice” <—I think it took me almost a year and a half to really find mine.
- From Heather: “After writing your post, go back and remove 10-15% of your wording and try to find better adjectives.”
- If you aren’t already on Twitter – SIGN UP!
And finally, you can feel free to check out the Twitter hashtag that we had going during our panel (#HLSblognewbies) HERE.
WHEW! Talk about information overload…
Three cheers for a successful panel discussion with my awesome panel mates!!
There was so much going on that we didn’t even have a chance to cover everything, but overall, I think the session went really well.
And I realized just how much fun I can have speaking like that…despite the fact that my public speaking skills may be lacking slightly.