Snack Time: Blissdom09 Sessions

So, I know it may have sounded like Blissdom was just a bunch of women getting together and talking, laughing, eating, being silly and all that jazz. And, if you read the tweets throughout the conference, well, you probably thought something a LOT different too! But, we actually did learn something.

There were 12 sessions of information to help you make your blog your bliss. These sessions were split so there were 6 sessions for each: Apprentice (beginner) and Maven (not a beginner, I guess) making 12 sessions total. I attended the Maven track and can share my notes from that.

Making your blog your bliss is so different for every person. I think regardless of our niche or writing style, the overwhelming desire was to have our voice be heard.

Friday – Session 1: Content/Readership

Write to help others with their real life so that they can get on with their real life.

Translate: be clear and to the point with the information you are trying to convey.

Make your content timeless so it's easy to re-syndicate.

Translate: It's like a black dress – it's always in style and it's possible to make your content the same way. Syndication is a good thing!

Show readers, don't tell them.

Translate: Images are a good source of information that can inform in a way. Each person reads/interprets what you share differently.

Use your niche and your voice inter-changeably.

Translate: Your voice is who you are and your niche is a huge part of that and your success. I think it's a good point, and I read that a lot. But, while I don't stay in my niche (frugal) I do inter-change my voice with the niche I'm “in” at the time.

Have your readers leave your blog with an emotion.

Translate: Memories and feelings will keep them coming back.

Find a rhythm to your blog that suits your style.

Translate: Predictability is a good thing and it helps to find your voice and style. But, I'll admit, too much rigidity can cause some sterility and burn-out.

Set boundaries so you have inspiration.

Translate: If you get burnt out, your passion will fizzle too. Take time off to get inspiration for new content and your readers will thank you.

Use intuitive post headers and/or re-name the photo jpegs to help increase page ranking.

Translate: The easier the webbiness of the internet can find you, the better.

Build a network and friendships.

Translate: The broader your network the larger your success. And, the best part is seeing them be successful (and get new *stalkers*)!

Saturday – Session 1: Affiliate Marketing

I have shared about my success using affiliates. The panel discussed all of the affiliates I use. I would recommend reading the information to better understand affiliate marketing too. There were a few more affiliates discuseed that I use but just haven't shared for lack of time.

And, if you ever want to see my earnings, I list them in my PayDay snacks. Many seemed very interested in that aspect. I haven't published a PayDay since November but I have earned a decent amount since then! I will share earnings later this month!

Know which affiliate has the best price.

Translate: Before you publish a post, check each affiliate site to see where there is duplication of companies. Ensure you are using the link that will give you the highest dollar when it makes sense.

Personally, if there is only a ten cent difference and I earn a lot more faster with another affiliate, I'll forego the ten cents (depending on the popularity of that specific offer too). You can also request the affiliate match the pricing, which they have done for me before.

Experiment with ad placement to see what works.

Translate: If you have an ad placed in a side bar that has never received a click, it may be time to move it around somewhere. Take a few weeks to analyze your earnings and see if the placement is working.

Have text links all open in new window.

Translate: I do this with all my external links, actually. But, having a new window open up will ensure they can easily go shop and come right back to read some more!

Monetize your feeds.

Translate: Set up Google Adsense to display in your feedburner for subscribers. You may make only two cents a day, but it will add up in a few years :-)

Consider doing gift guides.

Translate: Readers look to these guides for ideas and will more than likely click on your site to place an order. If I personally see an item at someone's site first, I always go back to the site I found it (if I can remember) as a courtesy. You can create gift guides for each holidays: Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Birthdays, etc.

Create a Media Kit.

Translate: The more you are organized and can quickly send out media/PR pitches, the easier life will be. You can find a media kit template at Mom Bloggers Club.

Ultimately, what are you goals as a blogger? To make money or find a voice. I think those two can work together but the bottom line is you cannot compromise your integrity for a buck. Your voice is worth more than that!

I personally never started blogging to earn any money. I started and continue to write to help people Save, Earn, Live and Learn – all areas I need to work on myself. The fact that I was/am able to earn doing this is just a bonus for me.

Please don't start blogging seeing $$. It will become like a job and there is soooo much more to it than that. I have some amazing friendships now thanks to blogging that when/if the money ever does go away, my friendships – the PEOPLE – will still be around. ** Off soapbox :-) **

Saturday – Session 2: Maximizing PR/Marketing Relationships

This is the session I was most excited about for a few reasons. I knew so many of you had questions on finding PR contacts for giveaways. I also wanted to understand from a PR perspective how to best work together in order to ensure the exchange was value added for both parties.

It's all about network.

Translate: Even if your traffic isn't large, your readers obviously value what you have to say since they read and subscribe. Work to expand your network if that's your goal.

Pitch PR the ideas.

Translate: I think just about every blogger has received some sort of cryptic PR pitch, almost like an infomercial or something. We learned that the most junior associates in the company are the ones searching for the blogs to pitch to, so the pitch may not be as polished as you are expecting.

The bottom line is if we want to establish relationships, we need to do the pitching to PR and not get offended if we get a canned letter. Be proactive and seek the contacts to share your ideas. That shows you are interested and excited about their product. I've done this several times and it's paid off!

Join an Ad Network.

Translate: Know what I said about traffic, well with ad networks, they want to see your traffic. There are two ad networks that were discussed at the conference: RGM, BlogHer and Lijit. Most of these only accept applications at certain times. You can see I currently have a BlogHer Ad on my site. Without going into a lengthy explanation, these ads earn me money.

Be honest.

Translate: Don't try to throw in a few extra hundred unique visitors or page views for the sake of hoping to get PR attention. Be honest (in all things you do as a blogger). If your traffic isn't where you want it to be, explain to PR what your network potential is.

What is your social media footprint.

Translate: This was the most interesting point, I thought. It's not necessarily about your blog,. It's about the entire package of YOU as a blogger.

Where do you share pieces of yourself: Blog, FaceBook, Twitter, Flickr, You Tube, etc. Those are part of showing how large your reach/network as a blogger truly are.

Working with you…works.

Translate: When you have a giveaway published, send PR a link to it. When the giveaway is over, give them an overview of the giveaway results, stats, trends in comments, etc. Ultimately, PR works for their clients to show them that the money they spent to offer you products to test/give away worked.

I'll be honest, people may think that giveaways are simple and quick – and to some they may be. But, for me, I take a lot of thought into what I am going to say. Finding related links or topics from the company engages others in the brand. I need to ensure I cover topics as requested by PR but in a style that my voice showing my transparency. And, obviously if you aren't comfortable sharing certain requested information, pass on the pitch.

Build Relationships.

Translate: If you had a positive experience working with PR, continue to develop that relationship! I have done a few giveaways with the same PR because we worked well together (and I'm hoping they liked my excitement, of course). I have also pitched ideas for upcoming topics to see if they have clients they want to promote. That's worked.

These opportunities wouldn't have happened if those relationships didn't exist. It's just like life, you have to nurture relationships that are valuable to you. Sharing first-hand product information or receiving nice giveaways or for your readers – your shareholders – are VALUABLE to you!

Are you open to PR?

Translate: When PR is looking for interested blogs, they may not pitch to you if they don't know that you want to hear a pitch. So, the suggestion was to put a Green PR-OK button on your site.

I am actually working on a media page, which I'm assuming will work as good. Bottom line, they need to know you're interested – but not in an “GIVE ME FREE STUFF” kind of way. Got it?

Reviews/Giveaways must relate.

Translate: The reviews or giveaways you are doing should relate to the content/niche of your site. I have received pitches on some interesting stuff because companies read my casual tweets. I didn't accept them because they were completely off of what I discuss. I did, however, go back to them and share a bit about my site and ask that they keep me in mind if client needs related to my content came up.

Another suggestion on an un-related pitch is to pass it to someone in your network. PR needs a network of sites they can utilize. So, you can help a fellow blogger by passing along a name and a new contact, and also help PR by giving them a reputable source to help their client's need too.

And, while PR doesn't expect a response on a pitch (as shared in the conference), I personally think it's just a courtesy to respond. And, by responding that opens up the door for them to keep you in mind for future opportunities.

Those were the few notes I took. I hope you gleaned a big of information from it. If you are interested in hearing the entire session, you can purchase the transcripts here.

If you have any questions, please leave them here and I will respond so everyone can see! There may have been something else related that was covered that I didn't necessarily write down, so can provide some sort of response!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on February 11, 2009


  • Vintagesquirrel - February 11, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    Wow Girl,
    You really were paying attention. Thanks for taking much better notes than I. Really. I’m going to read and reread this post.
    Sorry that we didn’t get to spend time together. I’m already squirreling away my loose change so that I’ll be able to attend Blissdom10.


  • Vintagesquirrel - February 11, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    Wow Girl,
    You really were paying attention. Thanks for taking much better notes than I. Really. I’m going to read and reread this post.
    Sorry that we didn’t get to spend time together. I’m already squirreling away my loose change so that I’ll be able to attend Blissdom10.


  • Shop Without Money Sisters - February 11, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

    Wow!! Thanks for the great advice/information!!! This is just what I have been looking for!!!

  • Musings of a Housewife - February 11, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

    This is an AWESOME recap. I thoroughly enjoyed it. THANK YOU!

  • Amy in Ohio - February 11, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

    I second VintageSquirrel. Maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much time arranging my next meal all day long – I might have learned something?

    So great to meet ya lady!

  • Coco - February 11, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

    WOW! Thank you so much for sharing such valuable information. Your translation especially helped. BTW, I am one of your “STALKER.” :)

  • Stephanie - February 11, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

    Thanks for posting this Andrea! I learned a lot! GREAT info!

  • frugalisfab - February 11, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

    Thanks so much for the great information! I so wish I could have gone. Next year baby!

  • Sandra - February 12, 2009 @ 1:12 am

    Thanks so much for the great post filled with helpful information!


  • Marianne Thomas - February 12, 2009 @ 1:31 am

    Andrea, I knew I could count on you to take exhaustive notes for me!

    This is SUPERB info; I’m def going to be back to read more/take notes myself when I’m over the second-grade flu.

    Thanks, girl!

    Marianne @ The New Frugal Mom

  • Kate - February 12, 2009 @ 6:26 am

    Wow, what a great job getting all of this info in one spot. I learned so much and am trying to implement it all.

    It was so great meeting you!

  • NY Office Mom - February 12, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

    Hi Andrea,

    So great to meet you at BlissDom. Thanks for the lovely posts…it’s great to recap those 2 fun packed days from different perspectives.


  • Shannon - February 13, 2009 @ 12:16 am

    Thanks for sharing what you learned! I was so bummed I couldn’t go, so I was excited to read your recap. :)

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