Even though I’ve been blogging on and off for four years now, I’m always interested to learn tips from other bloggers. So I was excited that the North Shore Writer’s Festival had a Secrets of Successful Bloggers panel made up of some of the city’s top bloggers:
Sean Cranbury – Books on the Radio
Rebecca Bollwitt – Miss604
Kelsey Dundon – The Anthology
Jeannette Ordas – Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Jenn Farrell – Canada Fancy (moderator)
Here are some of the great advice and stories they shared:
On Starting a Blog
Sean: I lost my job and wanted to go back to writing and books. About 3 to 4 months in, I realized that it wasn’t just about my voice and what I wanted to say… it was about my readers.
Rebecca: You have to be passionate about what you’re writing about since it’ll be easier to write topics and find weekly themes that way.
Jeannette: I liked food. Starting my blog encouraged me to explore more in the kitchen.
Kelsey: Getting comments from people who aren’t your mom is a big deal. I learned quite early to respond. Eventually it made me realize that I had a brand.
On Promoting your Blog
Sean: I do participation by engaging with other people on their blogs. You have to hustle to make connections. Share other people’s work on your Facebook page. Post relative information everywhere. Don’t give people the sense that you’re promoting or selling something.
Rebecca: My #1 referrer is Google, so I use keywords in posts and titles, but don’t overuse them.
Jeannette: I promote just by being engaged and being part of a community. When you leave a comment, make it an engaging one so you’re starting a conversation.
Kelsey: Put out content that your readers will share on your behalf. When it’s compelling and unique, your readers will hopefully fall in love with it and want to put it out to their communities.
On Engagement Outside your Blog
Kelsey: What drives traffic is being on Facebook and Twitter. It’s about having different touchpoints and finding new members of your audience. Play around with analytics and pay attention to who’s coming from where and why.
On Making Money Blogging
Rebecca: Don’t go in wanting to blog for the sake of making money. Some ways to do it are through Google Ads, paid content (I don’t do this), and Google Adsense. If you’re fully committing to monetization, you can try image advertising, speaking opportunities, and side business referrals.
Jeannette: My blog works as a calling card that leads readers to my side business.
On Staying Motivated
Kelsey: Motivation is different from inspiration. Set deadlines and encourage interaction to slowly build that readership. For inspiration, keep bookmarks of sites you love. Look through magazines, go to events and art shows etc.
On the First Things to do When You Start a Blog
Kelsey: Choose a name based on what you ultimately want it to be and then brand yourself in that way.
Sean: You don’t start with the blog you’re going to have 6 months from now. Your blog will change as you learn.
In case you missed it, I also attended a really cool session at the festival all about writing and how to get published – it’s all here.
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