While my fellow blogging buddies were tweeting their insights from Saturday’s Kidspot Voiced of 2015 masterclass, I was busy taking notes on my laptop like the good little organised blogger I am. Twitter and me aren’t friends, but my laptop and I go way back.
So, after pulling my cold, tired body from bed at 4am for my Melbourne bound flight, here is what I learnt. Prepare… this is LONG!
The first session was all about SEO. This was the session I was most looking forward to as Google and I are yet to really form a bond. Then there were sections on influence and community and some presentations from bloggers (I was running low on steam by then so there aren’t many notes!)
How search works
Organic search, the basics…
It’s all about code, content & links!
- This side of things is mostly taken care of by WordPress (or blogger if you are there)
- Optimise your template for topical relevance (not quite sure what this means yet, perhaps I should google it?!)
- Make sure your blog is reader friendly on all devices
- Make it easy to navigate and discover for readers and search engines
- Based on search insights for demand, basically looking for what people are searching for.
- High quality unique content isn’t enough
- You need amazing content that is helpful and better than what is out there. Solve a problem with your content, write about what people are looking for.
- Google values links and they are still important for the algorithm, BUT
- Don’t overfly focus on them, they are not totally within your control.
- Remember not all links are equal so focus on quality. Don’t EVER EVER EVER buy them.
Some tools to use…
Google keyword planner
- Find it at https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner You just need a gmail account to login
- Target your location
- Enter your keywords
- Work out what terms have the best search frequency
- Aim for the “low lying fruit”, don’t target hugely popular keywords
- Aim for long tail keywords that are more specific
- Put keyword in to look at trends, where the most interest is and any seasonal influence.
- Can help you plan the timing of posts.
- Basically this is just a process of going into google and start typing a key word to see what phases come up.
- Use an incognito window so your past searches don’t influence results.
- You could also consider Ubersuggest for keyword ideas.
Some more hints and tips…
Google likes internal links within your website. This is also good for readers as it encourages them to look around.
Ask an influencer for a compelling quote related to the content of your post and then send them the link to your article, they might just share it 😉
Reach out to people you’ve mentioned or who you think would like your content.
5 Do’s & Don’ts for the Google naughty and nice list
Googles Nice List
- Create content people are looking for that is great quality.
- Optimise images and descriptions.
- Tag your posts properly, using meta tags etc (Yoast SEO is a good plugin for this)
- Don’t forget internal linking
- Promote your content
Google Naughty List
- Don’t keyword stuff
- Don’t buy or sell links
- Don’t duplicate content. You can have an article published in multiple places if you link back to the original source AND you’ve got their permission, it’s more about skimming and plagiarizing content)
- Don’t use unnatural anchor text linking (not totally sure what this means yet)
- Don’t get involved with forum spamming or attempting to gain links.
How Influence works
Phoebe Montague- Lady Melbourne
Craig Page- Ogilvy PR
Anna Hickey- Etsy
What defines an online influencer? Is it just about numbers?
Craig Audience numbers is part of it, if brands want to meet a large number of people from a particular demographic they can do that cheaper than bloggers. It’s about relationships and how to blogger interacts with their audience.
Phoebe It’s the effect you have on your readers.
Anna “An exceptional dinner party host”. They are authentic and make people feel welcome. Numbers are important for brands but how you engage with the audience and how your values align with the brands approach matters most.
What are your best ideas for interacting with brands?
- Have a mission statement.
- Identify key brands you’d “like to invite to your dinner party”
- Write about brands and send it to them! (Pip “does that just make you a self promotion suck up?!” NO )
- Be authentic!
- Are you a figurehead for a community?
- Can you weave brand partnership into your blog in a natural way?
- Make your imagery beautiful!
- Consider incorporating brands into your photos.
What should bloggers have on their reading list?
What are brands looking for? What makes a great match?
- Have a common ground with the brand
- Feel free to approach a brand directly.
- “What’s the worst they can say? No?”
Are there any “rules” around transparency and disclosure
Disclose and be honest. Work in the way that suits you and your audience. Consider the expectations of your audience.
How selective should you be when working with brands
Anna Be very selective! Make sure it matches with your values. Be authentic and transparent. Always write back and keep good relations even if you are going to say no.
Craig Your “product” is your relationship with your audience. The wrong partnerships can erode that.
Media kit… what goes in it?
- Make sure you include unique monthly users and your social media numbers.
- What is your USP (your unique selling point)? Why should they work with you?
Advice for when working with a brand on a sponsored post
- Be clear with brands about exactly what they want.
- Do they want to increase a certain social media following? Increase a particular products awareness? Put in the work before you hit publish
- Don’t rely on sponsored posts as your major source of income
- If things go well find out and ask for a quote for your media kit!
How do you get noticed within a PR environment.
- Have a good media kit.
- Make sure you stand out from the sea of other bloggers. Be unique in your voice.
- Be nice to work with!
How community works
Zoey & Kate from Operation Move
From engagement to community
- If your audience could talk to each other, what would they say?
- When building a community, identify where your readers want to be in terms of the type of social media. Are they already on Facebook? Meet them there!
- If you build it (such as a web forum), make it user friendly.
- It’s not all “on you”, people can form relationships without you even being involved.Find out where your audience is.
- Give your community a voice.
- Develop a culture of shared goals.
- Build community within your blog, respond to comments, interact and engage. If your community is talking, talk back!
- Consider Facebook groups. Forums not as effective generally. They are already ON Facebook.
- You can use a group for market research and fine-tuning of your approach.
- Consider settings for your Facebook group (secret, closed, open)
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. Prioritize.
Creating paid community programs
- If it’s free, why would they pay?
- What value does what you offer have? How is it different to what’s on offer?
- Focus your attention to develop something unique and worth paying for.
- Facebook is great for support, can add files, videos etc but using a course portal is more flexible for the actual course.
- Finding a balance of affordability.
- Have key tools for paid groups and programs that is different to the free offer.
Dealing with community leadership and moderation.
- What happens if you lose an authoritative voice? Aim for good partnerships and if you have a partnership make sure you are 100% in agreement on core values.
- Moderate your groups to ensure shared goals, provide support and direction.
- You set the tone and the group expectations. Create that.
- Know that you WILL receive criticism and complaints.
- Have strategies for handling issues.
- Make sure you look after yourself.
Creating visual content
Amanda- Cooker and a Looker
- 99designs (tasks is a cheaper section of this)
- “studio and vsco are android options
- Facebook size 940×788 (images get 34% more interaction than link posts). Multiple photos that people scroll through do well.
- Pinterest size 735×1102. You want to take up as much “real estate” on pinterest as possible. Close ups, warm colours, not so much faces get pinned better. Label your images properly.
- Create visuals to make content evergreen.
Danielle- Miss Chardy
- 1.7 million acres on a cattle station in the NT!!
- Internet and blogging opened up opportunities to interact, create community
Authentic social media
Nathalie- Easy Peasy Kids
- Social media isn’t about “selling” (your product, service or blog). Relationships are built over time, not overnight.
- Aim for authentic connection. Followers that engage are better than having lots of followers. A following with no interaction are “dead numbers”.
- Don’t spend forever over-analysing when to post. She feels there is no “best time” to post (I personally find for my readership that some times are better than others).
- Don’t overthink lost followers. You can’t keep everyone happy all the time.
- You don’t need the loudest voice. It doesn’t equal quality. Use your voice for good, reach out, support others.
- Think before you post. Don’t fight every battle. Don’t post when angry.
- Connect, interact and value your followers.
Lucy- Bake Play Smile
- Pinterest is huge! You need good visual content.
- Particuarly good for blogs aimed at women.
- Most are aged 25-44.
- Huge traffic referral (but remember a lot will be US)
- Viral tag is amazing
- Reliable and consistent traffic source
- Repins mean older posts become popular again
- Fast becoming the number 1 social media referral
- Massive rewards for very little investments
- (At the moment) Every follower sees your stuff.
- Pins stay searchable.
- Easier to get followers on pinterest.
To get started…
- Set up a Pinterest business account
- Add a pin it button
- Follow quality pinners
- Set up boards with categories, clear names and descriptions. Decide is “rich pins” would work for you.
- Always fill in your Alt text on your blog images.
- Pin regularly. 5 time for 5 minutes
- Pin a wide variety
- 80% others, 20% yours
- Pin at different times of the day
- Pin to multiple boards.
- Make quality images.
- Long skinny, collages. 735×1102.
- Include a catchy title
- Use a scheduling tool. ViralTag or Tailwind (or use an excel spreadsheet)
- Join group boards
- Join pinterest groups on Facebook
Ford has been involved for 4 years with Voices.
They are bringing out new vehicles and new experiences this year.
#fordthinking sponsor challenge. Grab a vehicle for 6 weeks. How can you bring to life the things you do and the places you visit with a Ford.
Ford wants you to create experiences (and win prizes!) Show of your new and fresh ideas.
Most creative will receive $13,500 in cash, $4000 blogger prize pack, a 12 month car. Prize announces in November as part of the Gala.
And in conclusion…
Ok… so that is it! It was a great day and I loved meeting some other bloggers for the very first time.
I was also SUPER excited to be named one of the Top 30 in the Home and Wellbeing category for Voices of 2015. Thank you xx
p.s You might also like “How I grew my Pinterest by 2500% and doubled my followers in two weeks”