Today I’m finishing up my recap of the conference. Mainly I’m sharing notes I jotted down from some of the sessions I attended. After all, I know you’re here for blogging tips.
But let me first just get kinda sorta mushy and tell you that attending a blog conference is one of THE most important things you can do as a blogger. I mean it. If you can’t afford a conference or can’t travel much, then find a local blogging group or start one of your own. Nothing leaves you feeling more like you are part of a community than hanging around like-minded people. And it really does leave you feeling like you MATTER in this big world of blogging. I don’t think that every single blog conference will leave you feeling this way but Type A surely does.
I mean look at this Star Wars party… where else can I do a human pyramid these days? (And seriously how cool was this party!)
Okay okay now that I got the mushy stuff out of the way, here are some pretty awesome things to know from the sessions I attended.
Blog Photography for the Photographically Challenged- @jennhethcoat
Jenn rocked her presentation! She offered so many useful, practical tips for newbies and not-too-new newbies. I loved watching people around the room nod “ooooh” and furiously jotting down notes. Go Jenn!
- If you’re looking to create a silhouette, put light source behind the subject.
- Use flash when shooting outside in bright sun. (That’s GENIUS!)
- Take notes of the times of day where your house has really good light. That way it’s easy to know where to go next time you take pics.
- Use what you already have to make your photos interesting– Jenn used an ugly green planter for close up shot of a necklace. The planter added texture and you didn’t even know it was a planter.
- Check out #keepingitreal on Instagram to show behind-the-scenes pictures of photo shoots.
- Make images pop off your screen within your blog posts: add a little shadow. In Photoshop go to Dark Edges to add an edge to photos.
- To fix glare, adjust your angle when you are shooting.
- Get thick piece of black felt and cut hole the diameter of your lens. You can then put over your lens to control glare.
- If you use an in-camera flash, use a coffee filter and rubber band on your flash to diffuse it.
- To create a bokeh effect, use a higher aperture. The higher your aperture, the smaller the number.
- Try shooting in AP (aperture priority) mode. This lets you control the aperture while the camera adjusts the rest of your settings automatically.
- If you’ve ever tried to take a picture with a DSLR and it wouldn’t let you, try adjusting the focus mode.
- AF-S (single servo autofocus) focus is locked if shutter release button is kept pressed halfway down
- AF-C (continuous servo autofocus): camera will continue to focus after the shutter release is pressed halfway down until you take the picture– good for objects in motion
Email Marketing and Monetization- @phollows
Email marketing is something I’ve done as part of my past jobs, but I’m only so-so when it comes to my own Momcomm list. That changes NOW! Phil’s session got me motivated to try new things and really make the time for email campaigns. Pssst- if you want to join my list, just sign up here and get a free e-book giving you the low-down on all the resources I use to run Momcomm.
Phil says there are five core steps to growing an email list:
1. Make your email subscription box above the fold.
2. Provide a visible form of social proof (aka number of subscribers)– people want to know they aren’t alone.
3. Offer an incentive (like an e-book, checklist, printable).
4. Use respectful popups.
5. Don’t get complacent. Test your call to action text, form location, graphic elements, etc. and see what works.
Other great tips and tidbits from Phil:
- Headlines- keep them short and imperative as well as keyword rich.
- Open rates decline as you grow your list- 20% open rate is average.
- 80% of people live on the eastern or western time zone so consider that when deciding what time to send out emails.
- Approximately 30% of emails are opened on mobile devices
- Incorporate affiliate links, sponsorships and advertising
- Set a rate to sponsor your mailing list– maybe it’s a spiff (freebie like if someone purchases your site)but then start to charge. You could also do dedicated email blast featuring that sponsor.
- Promote e-books and house ads to your email list as well.
- Sell inside transaction email (ex. when you send an order confirmation, use it as a chance to sell something of value)
- Spam is in the eye of the subscriber.
- Don’t overwhelm readers with too many messages. BUT… Send one more email than you are comfortable sending. You will get results!
Disney Keynote- @gary_jerry
This was the second time I’ve seen Gary Buchanan, the Social Media Manager for Disney Parks, speak and he never disappoints! If there ever was a person that epitomized the essence of a brand, it’s Gary. During his keynote, he shared stories of Walt Disney and of imagination. I think all of us at one time or another feels that we aren’t creative. Right? Well, Gary encourages us to keep going down new paths and to just play.
- Walt Disney wanted his theme park to be like going to a movie theatre. Think about how Disney World is laid out with you coming through Maint Street. Disney considered Main Street USA as the appetizer. You even smell popcorn when you walk in because Walt wanted it to smell like a movie theatre as soon as you walk through the gates.
- “If you’re coasting it means you’re going downhill.” – Walt Disney
- Disney would rather entertain someone and hope they are educated than educate someone and hope they’re entertained.
- Bring your content down to the human element.
- Keep going down new paths.
- Have a short memory (about the things that don’t work) and move on.
- Every time you have new idea, you have people who are “idea killers” - don’t have time, money, resources – don’t listen to them.
- Date an idea but don’t marry the idea. You CAN change it.
- Play and have fun– have a haha to the a-ha moment.
- Why do you get ideas in the shower? Because your mind is relaxed.
- Think like a kid– when we were kids we were so proud to show our creations to others versus worrying about what others think. Be proud of your ideas.
Oh and did I mention that Gary made the entire room cry? If you love Toy Story, then you’ll love hearing the story of the cloud wallpaper in Andy’s room. I would share it here but Fadra explained it so perfectly I’ll just send you her way.
Well, that’s my recap of another great year at Type A Parent. You can find ALL the session presentations on the Type A Parent website.