Blogopolis II – Be true to yourself

After a dash to Degraves Street for fresh air and retail therapy (Quick Brown Fox and The Cat’s Meow in the Degraves St underpass), I headed back to Blogopolis for the second half of the day.

Working with Brands was the blogging story as seen by the brands and the marketing companies. Andrew from such as Reprise Media indicated how they look at blogs, analyse their demographics and content to make sure their message will be conveyed by the most approporiate avenue.

These marketing agencies also advise on appropriate title, structure of page, images with ALT text and providing links from the right text- which is your basic useability and accessibility advice. The advice however comes from SEO and ensuring your post on KIA or Stella McCartney’s fashion foray into Target is picked up and shown on the first Google page.

The somewhat opposing advice of coming to a middle ground with brands and being true to yourself and your unique voice was also put forth. Add to that mix was the advice ‘Don’t swear’, and some people in the twitter stream started mouthing off.

Jaclyn Ely  of Ikon Communication provided tips on knowing your style, knowing your audience, understanding the brief of the brand and being honest. She also advised on going the extra mile to build a relationship about the brand.

 Editorial v Advertorial

This was a panel discussion involving professional bloggers Nikki from Styling You, Phoebe Montague of Lady Melbourne and Arnold Aranez of Mr Gadget as well as David Krupp from Nuffnang. It was eye-opening to hear of the influence that people hold through their blogs, and the remuneration which some bloggers receive for their posts.

Basically, PR people have no money- if you want to talk money, you talk to marketing. Be nice to PR people , be prepared to say no and know your worth.

Also if your readers object to your monetizing your blog, they are the ones who have the problem as its 2011, not 2004. Journalists get paid through advertising revenue, and ‘bloggers don’t live on air’.

I didn’t take a lot of notes on this session. I know the amount of work the panellists do on their sites is incredible and they’re rewarded accordingly, but it made me feel a tad insignificant. The minnow v whale metaphor comes to mind…

Blog Branding and Marketing by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger was impressive. Darren’s presentation was warm and inspiring, and by showing pictures of his children (aka ‘projects’ and ‘prototypes’) endeared him to everyone, myself included :)

Darren advised to forge your own way, to tinker and experiment and aim for long term growth. Look after your readers and also be aware of how you are part of a community, either through social media, and through the community of bloggers.

Content is key, not the design or the logo- content which draws readers in through its informative or inspriation nature is paramount.

If your blog is opinion-based, are you willing to deal with the consequences if your opinion is unpopular, ie will creating a discussion create or destroy your brand?

Darren also advised getting off your blog, through engaging in social media, commenting on posts and in forums, guest posting and collaborating.

The final message came from an anecdote in which his son advised him while he was at the computer working to ‘write something important’.

The State of the Blogosphere was a panel session which included Darren Rowse again, Candice De Ville of Super Kawaii Mama, Eden Riley of Edenland and of Helen Yee of Grab Your fork

From the viewpoint of the panellists, the Australian blogosphere is becoming cohesive and is far more nurturing and supportive than the more competitive blogging community in the United States.

According to Helen, there are 1000 food bloggers in Australia, 350 of them in Sydney and approximately 40% monetize their blogs. The relationship between food bloggers and restauranteurs is quite uneasy with some bloggers overseas subject to litigation due to unfavourable comments.

Fashion bloggers can be about street style, reportage, runway, the ‘what I am wearing’, particular styles, designers/trends. Increasingly designers are looking to bloggers to discern trends.

The final message from this session was that bloggers have a growing responsibility on what we write, due to an

Goody bag was good- library conferences should do deals with Lindt to have chocolate in the library satchels. Catering could have been better- dry cupcakes and lukewarm coffee were pretty blah.

Ultimate impression- as Blogopolis was put on by Nuffnang it was always going to be about branding, reaching out to an audience through effective SEO, and selling yourself (and possibly selling yourself out).  While people talked about content being king, there was more talk on how your content could be used to market a brand. That’s not for everyone, and it wasn’t for everyone in the room.

I met some wonderful people, discovered more blogs to read, more people to follow on Twitter and saw an incredible rainbow. And Geelong won the footy!
Double Rainbow, Federation Square

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