If you didn’t join us in October, you missed a great meeting. Our Blogging 101 panel covered top blogging tips to help us stand out online and in social media. From newbies to pros, everyone left with a few actionable steps for their blogs.
Here are a few nuggets from each speaker:
Heather built her blog, Local Mom Scoop, as a destination website for South Florida parents and now gets calls from brands as an influencer and brand ambassador. In an inspiring talk, Heather shared how she grew her site by reaching out to local businesses.
- “Asking for money can be scary and you’re going to get rejected. But you have to keep putting yourself out there. Build a hard shell and keep going.”
- “I’ve been doing this for three years and now I feel I’m worth it when I ask for something in return. It took me a year to go from having a hobby to a business.”
- Also, build your blogger tribe. Get a bunch of blogger friends you can call to bounce ideas off of or get input. We’re all here for each other.
Holli uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist and her skills in photography to run her food and drink blog, The South Florida Sage. She offered photography tips that have helped her stand out.
- When setting up Instagram, realize that the way it’s set up is part of your branding. You may want to pick a theme, 3 or 4 colors that match your brand or pastels, for example.
- Holli uses a mix of iPhone and DSLR photos (from a Canon Rebel), but emphasizes that you don’t need a fancy camera. “You just need to refine your process for taking pictures. For example, don’t be snap happy. Look at a frame before you take a picture and use at least 3 to 4 frames when you take one.”
- Her recommended tools and apps: the Pocket Spotlight from Photojojo for an extra spotlight when you don’t want to use flash on your phone camera, VSCO photo editing app and the Over app to watermark images.
As the vice president of public relations at Kip Hunter Marketing, Aimee has worked with many bloggers. She shared what her firm looks for when considering bloggers for her clients.
- She checks web stats when vetting bloggers, as well as social engagement, such as how many likes, comments, and shares they receive. Tools like Siteworth Traffic, Quantcast, and Compete help her check web traffic.
- She also uses Vocus (now Cision) a PR tool and media database. She encourages bloggers to submit their information if they want to get contacted by PR firms.
- When hosting media tastings for clients, she invites bloggers, but can’t compensate them because of the editorial nature of the event, which includes print and TV journalists, as well as the budget. “It can be hard to convince a client they should pay a blogger when we don’t pay other media.”
- She works with bloggers to help them with story ideas and also tends to share their blog posts through the client’s social accounts as a thank you.
- Aimee also reminds everyone to spell check and proofread before publishing. A tool like Grammarly can help.
As an influencer and consultant, Evan uses social media, live streaming, and community building to support his #Choose954 movement and others. Since his days with AT&T and Verizon, he’s seen the rise of many trends in technology and looks forward to what’s coming next.
- Evan developed the #Choose954 movement to try to help revitalize Broward and Ft. Lauderdale from a cultural perspective. “I leveraged the mobile tools we now have at our fingertips to promote this, primarily by live streaming. I felt it was my calling to use this platform to serve communities that were underserved.”
- Influencer marketing is when brands use influencers to market the brand to that person’s followers. He has successfully partnered with brands to promote the local community and advises bloggers: “If you guys haven’t thought of yourselves as influencers, you should.”
- Be strategic. Use tools and resources to help you. He recommends IFTTT.com to sync accounts, share messages and save time.
- His networking tip is to “network up” or network strategically. Try to get introductions to people you really want to meet.
- In the words of another entrepreneur, he admires, “Be kind. Be genuine. Be authentic and pursue your passion.”
A former TV anchor and reporter, Christina owns a PR firm and blogs about business on Media Maven and lifestyle on Mascara Maven. Christina moderated the panel and offered a few tips as well.
- Try to add video content to set your site apart. Using Facebook Live will show your content to more people.
- Pick your niche and niche down with your blog. Also, pick colors, fonts, etc. and choose the way you want your brand to look.
- Networking is important. Remember, we usually get most of our business from referrals.
Thank you to all of the speakers for a great panel. A big thank you as well to Ciao Cucina Bar in Coconut Creek for hosting us and for the wonderful food!