Bloggie Wednesdays: 50 Things I Learned At the Problogger Event 2012

A Manifesto for Bloggers

What: Problogger Event 2012 (#pbevent)
When: 12 – 13 October 2012
Where: Etihad Stadium
What it was about: It was a blogging conference organised by the Problogger, Darren Rowse. Hundreds of bloggers of different niches and states descended upon Melbourne for a weekend that is all about blogging.

It was a great weekend for me. There’s still so much to learn, even though I’ve been blogging for a while now.

Here are 50 things I took away from the #pbevent.

1. Being in a room with 300+ bloggers felt pretty darn inspiring.
2. Darren Rowse has a very lulling voice. I think it’s quite sexy :P
3. It’s not rude to use the phone to tweet, Facebook, text, take pictures, etc. and talk at the same time when you’re in the presence of another blogger. In fact, it’s an expectation.
4. It’s not unusual and no one bats an eyelid when someone hands you a camera to help them snap an outfit-of-the-day photo. I did one of Nikki‘s.

Etihad Stadium

5. It takes time to grow a blog.
6. It’s okay to start small with no experience and it’s good to look back to how we started out.
7. One may have blogged for a good number of years but will still be in awe and utterly star-struck by awesome bloggers who have blogged in less time than her (i.e. me)
8. I suck at networking (I left the conference weekend with only 8 new name cards)
9. Look for “sparks” of energy that you can fan into fire and grow them. What type of posts, topics, and categories give you energy?
10. Act on those “sparks” before they go cold.

Camwhoring at the Problogger Event 2012

© Beauty Swatch

11. Ask yourself this question every day: what action will I take today that will grow my blog?
12. Our brand: we are what people say we are, not what we say we are.
13. Create a point of difference for yourself.
14. Bloggers should not work with brands for free.
15. Engage with your readers on the blog and social media.

Beautyholics Anonymous Phone Cover

My idea of a networking tool

16. Google Analytics is the universal web statistics counter that brands use.
17. PRs are contracted by brands to garner free editorial coverage. They are unlikely to have the budget to share with you for sponsored posts.
18. If you want to work with a brand you love, pitch your blog directly to them.
19. Twitter is a great way to build relationships with brands. Look out for the digitally savvy ones.

Problogger Event 2012

20. No blogger should be writing on another brand’s website for free.
21. Keep your media kit short and succinct (maximum 3 pages)
22. Value your blog.
23. For sponsored posts, add nofollow tags to your links (to avoid being penalised by Google)
24. Consider including a “kill fee” clause should the brand decide not to use your sponsored post (e.g. 50% of agreed fee).
25. Write your disclosure policy in a human voice (instead of just using a template).
26. Don’t be afraid to add constructive criticism in your sponsored posts.
27. Look for win/win/win collaborations for the brand, you and your readers.
28. People like to see bloggers post unboxing pictures (i.e. opening the brand new box and showing its contents). Me too!
29. Photography basics: light, accurate colours, composition (make it interesting), edit your images

Christina of Hair Romance Braided My Hair

Christina @ Hair Romance braided a lot of hair at the event. My hair’s been touched by the master!

30. Find role models and like-minded people in different fields.
31. Put forward an agenda. Make sure you’re sharing genuine opinions.
32. Make your work an important part of your life and treat it with the respect it deserves.
33. Advantages of being a Luddite (this relates to how you blog as well): think like a layman, bring outside perspective and simplify the complicated.
34. Don’t do anything online that isn’t measurable.
35. Make your content findable, shareable and manageable.
36. Engage your readers!
37. Engaged readers are more likely to get something out of your blog and visit repeatedly.
38. Turn a visitor to an engaged reader by building relationships with them.
39. Your blog will succeed because of your readers – they read, engage and participate.

Stalking Bloggers At the Problogger Event 2012

I stalked these bloggers for photos: Nikki Parkinson, Danimezza, Lady Smaggle and Sarah Wilson

40. Give your readers a reason to care.
41. There’s a 50-50 balance of creating content and engaging with readers.
42. Success of your blog is attributed to existing readers.
43. When pitching to mainstream media (e.g. television, magazines, etc.), go to the most junior person. Develop relationships with the juniors. You’ll be surprised at how much they can help you out when you make them look good.
44. Focus on what you do, and do it well. People will notice you.

Problogger Event 2012 at Etihad Stadium

45. Value your community.
46. A good way to gauge yourself on social media: would you follow YOU?
47. Stop working for free (can’t mention this enough).
48. When Darren brought all of us out to the empty stadium and showed us how our small voices can impact the world, I choked up a little.
49. I have a very long to-do list for the blog now. So fired up!
50. From little things, big things grow *cue jingle*.

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.
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45 comments… add one

  1. Tegan @ Tegania's Thoughts

    what a great wrap up! Thank you so much Tine :)

    Wish I could have attended! There is always next year though :)
    Tegan @ Tegania’s Thoughts recently posted..Mossman Gorge and Wonga BeachMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Tegan: Come next year! I’m counting on you to come, k? You’ll love it ;)

  2. Saumya

    Awesome Awesome post .. Thank u so much Tine ..So looking forward to the next Wednesday post :).. Was this an invite only event ? If not wish I could have known …
    Saumya recently posted..EOTD – Wearable Coral Eyes for this Spring/SummerMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Saumya: Nope, it wasn’t an invite-only event. Anyone could come. You have to pay for it though, and it wasn’t cheap (about $300 regular price. I managed to get on early bird discount). But the amount of stuff I learned, including food and drinks throughout the two days… it was worth every cent :)

      Keep a lookout for next year’s event on http://probloggerevents.com

      1. Saumya

        Yes I agree, your post only seems so useful :) Thanks, I sure will keep an eye out next year :)
        Saumya recently posted..Cheap but Chic Diaries – Neon Watch from ‘Diva’My Profile

  3. Nikki @ Styling You

    Awesome list here … so, so lovely to meet you and stoked you didn’t blink at the photo request!
    Nikki @ Styling You recently posted..12 ways to support Frocktober 2012My Profile

    1. Tine

      Nikki: Hahahaha it was an honour to take pictures for you! It was so clear I’m definitely no fashion blogger when you did a test shot with your camera. I just stood there with my arms on my side like a robot! :P

  4. Kate from Seduced by Beauty

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge from your time at the Problogger event. It has been great reading the attendees tweets and posts as it helps us who weren’t able to be there feel a part of it.

    As a new blogger I particularly like the reference to the fact that it takes time to build a blog. Sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed when reading other more established blogs, but I keep having to remind myself that they started out at one point and probably had the same self doubts that I have.

    I am sure that I will be referring to this list many times as I go forward. :-)
    Kate from Seduced by Beauty recently posted..Nad’s Nose Wax for Men and Women–who uses it?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Kate: That’s right. Every blog has to start somewhere. I remembered when I first started blogging, how stoked I was to get my first comment. Didn’t even think people would read my ramblings.

      Don’t worry so much about the lack of traffic either. During the conference, Darren Rowse told us he met a blogger at a blogging conference in the US. She only had about a few hundred readers on her site a month, but she managed to go full-time as a blogger, earning quite well. Almost every attendee in the room gasped :P Another blogger at the pbevent mentioned that she only blogs once every 4-6 weeks, but it has brought in more clients for her than before she even started blogging. Man, those were inspiring stories.

      Good luck in your blogging journey! :)

  5. Nikki

    Great tips! I wish we’ll have one down here! Though I’ve been blogging for years, I know I still have so much to learn!
    Nikki recently posted..AMW Reviews: Face of Australia Divine Shine Lip PlumperMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Nikki: Me too! I love how blogging is a journey where you never stop learning from other people, don’t you? :)

  6. Jeanie

    I was one of the few you exchanged cards with. Was awesome to have met you. This list is awesome. I was there and you just reminded me to add a kill fee into my Media Kit (thank you) LOL. Love what Christina did with your hair. That braid is stunning. Wish I’d known she was doing that, would’ve been great to watch. The whole event was so inspiring.
    Jeanie recently posted..Aussie Curves – KnitsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hello Jeanie! So nice to see you here :D

      I don’t even have rate card in my media kit, much less a kill fee. So much to do post-conference! :P

      Christina’s an amazing blogger and such a lovely person. She went around doing people’s hair during the event. How’s that for awesome networking? :P

  7. Rebecca@MidCenturyModernRemodel

    Thanks for summarizing the conference. I hold a virtual ticket and will have to go through the presos in my 15 minutes. :)

    1. Tine

      Rebecca: That’s great that you have the virtual ticket. I was going through the audio MP3s yesterday along with the slides. It was great to recap what I’ve learned, and to listen to the sessions I didn’t attend.

  8. Norlin

    Great wrap up Tine! I agree how not rude it is for us bloggers to be at an event and be glued to our phones! :D
    Norlin recently posted..From Little Things Big Things GrowMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Norlin: You know what, funny thing is, I don’t like using the phone at the table when I’m out with Tim or family. BUT amongst bloggers, I gotta do it. It’s like, it’s expected or something. And it feels damn good. Hahahahaha! :D

  9. Megan

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I’ll be bookmarking and referring to this post since you’ve given me so much to think about :)
    Megan recently posted..theBalm OvershadowMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Megs: I highly recommend getting the virtual ticket if you’d like to learn more. It’s a lot of money, I know, but the stuff you learn is really worth a lot more. If you’re interested, do let me know, so that I can *ahem* share the affiliate link with you (y’know, help a sister out? :P). But really, no pressure at all because like I said earlier, it’s not cheap :)

  10. Ling

    Wowee! 50 amazing things!! Dang…now I wish I skived off work and went to PBevent! :P
    Ling recently posted..My Newest Online Purchases from Lime Crime & Hair Romance – and why you need to buy them too!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Ling: Man you should have come! I was like, oi where are you?? :P

      If we were to attend every session, instead of having to choose one out of two per hour, I’d have 150 things I’ve learned! :P

  11. Jyoan

    Wow! It’s nice to read the tips from your perspective.

    Etihad Stadium? Is it Australia or Manchester?
    Jyoan recently posted..Johnson’s Baby Top-to-toe Self Foaming WashMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Jyoan: Haha it was the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. No money to fly to the UK for conference, unless someone sponsors me :P

  12. xin

    Thanks for sharing tine! Some of the tips are awesome as new tips and some good as reminders :D

    1. Tine

      So much to learn, Xin. The biggest takeaway from the conference for me was: stop doing stuff for brands for free >.<

      1. Silver

        YES! STOP DOING FOR FREE!!! (And don’t you wish they just stop expecting it too?)

        1. Tine

          Silver: Oh most definitely. Problem is, they get back to you with “erm, so you’re charging X amount of dollars to do sponsored content for this, but I can get a hundred other bloggers who are willing to do it for free”. And that annoys me big time because they exploit other bloggers in order to feed their clients with links. All for free lipstick? It’s time to draw that line in the sand and say no more!

  13. Kaye

    Oh Tine! I can’t tell you how much this has been a pleasure to read. I thoroughly enjoyed your tweets over the weekend and was hoping you would share more! I also really loved the behind the scenes look at the whole event. Thanks so much for sharing the love :)

    There’s so many things I will take on board, you inspire me even more than you did (is that possible? Lol) Two words. You. Rock.
    Kaye recently posted..Halloween Makeup Flashback To 2010: A How ToMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks Kaye! It was difficult for me to tweet and type on the Notepad app at the same time. I wanted to make sure I squeezed max information out of the conference as much as possible. Y’know, make my money’s worth. Hee hee hee!

      There were so many things to take on board that day, even though we couldn’t go for every session (we had to choose one out of two sessions to attend per hour). Biggest lesson was to stop working with brands for free, something all the bloggers were drumming into our heads. To be honest, I still don’t know how to get about this, especially on blogging about beauty. Will see how that goes and report back :)

      Aww thanks sweets. You rock too! :D

  14. Carleen

    I love attending blogging conferences and events. I have met Darren Rowse on a couple of occasions and have always found him to be very nice and information. Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Carleen recently posted..Coming Soon MAC Guilty Passions Holiday Collection 2012My Profile

    1. Tine

      Carleen: He’s such a humble fellow for such a big big blogger. My mistake for not stalking him for a photo, especially when he was in a dress at the end of the event! :P

  15. emmabovary

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us Tine, it would’ve been great to attend but I’m glad I still get round ups like this to read!
    emmabovary recently posted..IMATS HaulMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Go for the one next year, Emma. The way I see it, they’re just getting better and better, with more things to learn. I’m secretly hoping that one day, Darren Rowse will bring in Seth Godin. I swear I’ll stalk that guy for a photo, even if he’s in the loo! :P

  16. Silver Ang

    Very inspiring!!! I’m all fired up too! It’s always nice to have reminders like these so we don’t lose our direction blogging. :)

    1. Tine

      Silver: Hahaha I know, right? I have so much to do for my blog now. First up, work on my goals for the blog and then move from there :)

  17. Efrain

    Wow I really love this list, you’re right in every point. Now I’m going to use it in my blog.
    Efrain recently posted..Mi opinión sobre: Crema limpiadora facial no. 3 Botanical effects de Mary KayMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha go for it Efrain! Good luck :)

  18. Lisa

    Thanks Tine, for all this info-so generous to share it with us! I have booked in for Digital Parents blog conference next year, maybe I can persuade hubby I need to go to Problogger as well for “blogging business purposes”..Ps Darren’s voice is very easy to listen to isn’t it. He could read the phone directory and I would be captivated. Showing my geeky side now! Thanks again xlisa
    Lisa recently posted..Will Nice Boys finish first?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Lisa: Oh most definitely! The Digital Parents Conference isn’t my niche nor am I their target demographic, but the Problogger Event was definitely very informative. Do do check it out next year. I hear it’s going to be even bigger!

      PS: Hahahahahaha I love that reference to Darren reading the phone directory! :D

  19. Beauty Box

    Wow I’m so inspired just reading this post. Blogging is pretty isolating, esp if one doesn’t have a full time job, so to connect in the real world with fellow bloggers must be so so so amazing…they can relate!
    Beauty Box recently posted..My Favourite Lip Balms Of All TimeMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Thanks Yu Ming. Meeting with other bloggers is such an amazing experience. It’s the one thing you know you have in common with, even if you haven’t even spoken to the person before :)

  20. Hannah

    Great post! That really inspired me-I’m a new blogger and I will keep that with me whenever I forget the real reason I am blogging.

    1. Tine

      Thanks Hannah. All the best in your blogging journey. You’ll love it :)

  21. Helen Edwards

    thanks for the great advice! Good to have going into this year’s event

    1. Tine

      Thanks Helen! Looking forward to meeting you too if we can find each other in the sea of bloggers. :P

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