I got a comprehensive hours report yesterday, and lets just say I could probably take off the entire month of June and I’d still be at/around target. It’s been that kind of spring. So when I say I need a break, I mean I NEED A BREAK. Good thing one is right around the corner (OMG LEAVING FOR AUSTIN ON WEDNESDAY)
Today I had “vacation light” by playing hooky from work and spending the day at the ever-awesome Visit Pittsburgh Like, Tweet & Be Social! Social Media conference. This is my second year in attending, and although it is geared toward marketing professionals, hobbyist bloggers are equally welcomed.
The big takeaway today was AUTHENTICITY. Be true to yourself. Be true to your voice. Be true to your message. If you are genuine, your content will be compelling, and readers will become advocates. They will naturally want to share your work, and your reader base will grow. Also, everyone seemed to be SUPER excited about Vine. I have heard of it, but didn’t think much about it, and because of how excited everyone was today about it, I’m excited to try it out.
The opening keynote was an inspirational presentation by the brilliant women behind eatPGH. It was fascinating to hear how they followed their interests and their hearts, collaborated so skillfully with goal in mind, and had great success. It was so obvious that they blog for the love of it (not for the fame of it), and because their humor and passion are so apparent, readers come to them. During a break I had a few minutes to meet Sarah Sudar, and we chatted about the things we like best: food and Pittsburgh. I couldn’t help but gush about my excitement over my trip to Austin for BlogHer Food next week and to The Big Summer Potluck later in the summer. Such a food enthusiast herself, she totally understood my excitement.
I also attended a very insightful workshop on personal branding by Aire Plichta of Modcloth. The key takeaway, again, was authenticity. Personal branding is not about creating an image and projecting it out to the world. A brand, instead, is the perceived amalgamation of all the thoughts, images and experiences you share with the world. Being true to yourself will generate a genuine brand.
The SEO workshop by eyeflow I attended was also fantastically helpful. The theme was “Old SEO vs. New SEO” because apparently Google’s SEO algorithm has changed significantly. I never knew much about the “Old SEO” to begin with, so any SEO help is a plus for me. The driving theme of this talk was QUALITY. Quality writing, that interests readers, and that readers feel inspired to share with their own contacts, is what gives you high SEO marks. Three high-quality posts a week is worth far more than 7 mediocre posts.
I also enjoyed listening to a talk by Visit Pittsburgh representatives about social media frustrations and how to work with them. I’ve faced a frustration lately– instead of promoting my BeezusKiddo posts on my personal facebook site, I’ve only been promoting them on the BeezusKiddo page on facebook. As a result my site hits have gone way down, and I think it’s because facebook’s algorithm is pushing out my personal page status updates to way more newsfeeds than it is pushing out the updates from the BeezusKiddo site. I was afraid it would be duplicative and annoying, but I am going to promote the posts on both facebook pages for a while and see how that goes. When I asked the panel about this, the consensus was that it probably won’t be duplicative (if no one is seeing the BeezusKiddo page updates anyway, promoting on my personal page isn’t going to get the BeezusKiddo page sites on the newsfeed).
The conference wrapped up with a closing session by Belinda Yeager Carter, who eloquently summed up the themes of the day (AUTHENTICITY! AUTHENTICITY! AUTHENTICITY!) and shared innovative thoughts about the brand/social media integrative experience, and possible things we might see with social media on the horizon.
Social media is more of my hobby than my business, but events like this get me so excited to work harder to make this blog better. I work really hard to try and make this blog the best it can be, and I love learning new skills to make it even better. With the two food conferences coming up and PennWomen in October, the next several months will be so full of growth. I am incredibly excited. Despite my nerves about approaching people I don’t know, I confidently marched up to some new people and proposed some new collaborations that could be very exciting. I met new people, learned new things, and can’t WAIT for my next conference! (Good thing I’m feeling inspired, because my next Legal Intelligencer article is due Monday! Boy do those deadlines come up fast!!)