Sunday, November 28, 2010

BlogWorld 2010: 12 Insights from the World's Largest Social Media Convention: by Expat Women's Andrea Martins

Hi Everyone!  As promised, here is my write-up from the recent BlogWorld conference that I attended in Las Vegas.  This article will actually be featured in our upcoming Expat Women December newsletter (but I wanted to share it with you in advance and would really appreciate both your feedback and/or your insights from other conferences as well). Thanks, Andrea

ps. If you do not already subscribe to our main Expat Women monthly newsletter yet, please support us by signing up now.  Thanks so much!

BlogWorld 2010: 12 Insights from the World's Largest Social Media Convention

In October 2010, I was privileged to attend BlogWorld 2010 in Las Vegas with more than 3,000 other attendees, mostly from the United States, but with a sprinkling of us based elsewhere as well.

As the world’s largest social media conference, many big social media names were there, such as Scott Stratten, Darren Rowse, Michael Stelzner, Mari Smith, Brian Solis, Yaro Starak, Jay Bear, Steve Garfield, Chris Garrett, Scott Monty – and even The Apprentice and Survivor creator Mark Burnett.

BlogWorld 2010 was a wonderful experience - so many genuinely educational sessions, so many networking opportunities, and so much to offer to bloggers and new media people alike.

But if I had to condense everything I saw and learned those three days into twelve key insights to share, it would be these...

The Speakers

1. Famous people, are just people

The more I travel and attend conferences with big name speakers, the more I realize that (most of) the big name speakers are just like you and I – normal, friendly people who are easy to approach, happy to answer questions and more than willing to share advice, tips, and many times, some key contacts as well. To me, this is a really important conference takeaway, because it liberates you from the excuse that you cannot ask them advice or that you cannot achieve what they have achieved.

2. You and I can keynote

BlogWorld 2010 had many speakers. With plenary sessions plus around twelve (!) concurrent sessions per time slot over the jam-packed three days, there were plenty of speakers to observe, enjoy, learn from and critique. Some speakers were awesome, many were 7 or 8 out of 10, and unfortunately others really should have prepared better or spoken more clearly - rather than relying on their laurels or latest book title.

But my message to you is that those speakers at this conference that usually charge US$5,000 - $10,000+ a day outside of BlogWorld, were not always better presenters than you or I (and the same is true for other conferences I have attended). Which begs the question, what can you and I do to package and market our own brand better, so that we can also grab a slice of the speaking action?

3. Learn from Barry Moltz

Barry Moltz is a professional speaker who ran a really enjoyable session entitled “Feeding Your Addiction: How to Create and Market Your Content to Drive a Professional Speaking Career”. Some of Barry’s most useful/interesting tips were:

• Tell people that you speak! Put it on your website. Simple, but not done enough;

• As part of the speaking contract/deal, request that the client passes you one or two new speaking event referrals;

• Think about putting some danger tape around the back row chairs, so people come closer to the front and the atmosphere feels more intimate; and

• Plan each segment of your presentation (such as the opening, part one, part two, part three and so on, and the closing) so that it has all of these three things: a takeaway; a story; and an action. This helps you to prepare more thoroughly with your audience in mind, and helps to keep your presentation valuable and focused.

For Bloggers

4. Say something important

Darren Rowse (who reportedly makes a six-figure-plus income from blogging), founder of Problogger (167,000+ subscribers), got lots of nods from the audience with these pearls of wisdom: “say something important” and “build something that matters”.

Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger (137,000+ subscribers), reiterated: “give valuable content that people want to share and say good things about”. This “share-ability” concept was repeated by multiple other speakers at the conference.

Sonia Simone, also a founding partner of Copyblogger media, on the plenary panel with Darren and Brian entitled “The 7 Harsh Realities Of Blogging For Bucks”, echoed their comments and asserted that “It’s not about you - it’s about your customers. What do they want and care about? If you don’t have a big readership, maybe you’re not writing about something people care about.”

5. Improve your site’s call to action

Brian said that “free content is an attraction, but free is not a business model” – you need to sell directly-related products that solve problems, to make money – and you need to be good at asking people to buy your products. Brian used the bikini concept analogy to prove his point: he said that even if a site showed someone in a bikini that revealed nearly all of someone’s body, many people would still pay to see what was under that bikini – if you just asked them.

6. Focus on evergreen

Wendy Piersall is the founder of the new kids’ activity website Woo! Jr, who successfully sold her previous site, Sparkplugging, to a group of private investors in the fall of 2009. Interestingly, Wendy said that her strategy was not to get too caught up in Facebook and Twitter, but rather invest more time on creating evergreen content (aka content that does not really date) for her website that others can tweet, put on Facebook, link to, and which historically does well over time in the search engines.

7. Create your unique angle

Mark Burnett, creator of The Apprentice and Survivor, shared his advice, which was: don’t just copy what others are doing – you need to “take the risks…do things differently… and create things that other people want to talk about”.

Mark went on to give the example of Sarah Palin. He said that many media networks wanted to do a television series or documentary about her, but no one was able to secure a deal. Mark knew that Sarah loved both Alaska and adventure, so he proposed “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” to her – an eight-part television event that “takes viewers into the country’s ‘final frontier’ through the eyes of one of its most famous citizens”. Sarah loved it – and Mark successfully produced the series! (It was scheduled to premiere in the United States on 14 November 2010.)

For Authors

8. Bloggers can be better than Oprah

Ellen Gerstein, Director of Marketing at John Wiley & Sons, who has published many books by bloggers and is a great champion of social media, said that getting prominent bloggers to talk about your book can in fact be a more powerful force than going on morning television shows, or even Oprah!

9. Your books need to be e-books too

Justin Branch from Greenleaf Publishing revealed something authors should find scary: traditional books are now getting bad customer reviews on Amazon if the book is not available as an e-book! This means that regardless of the quality of your book, your book could potentially suffer from bad book ratings just because you did not offer your book in the medium that your potential customer wanted to buy it in.

10. Promote your book on the radio

Justin gave another great piece of advice: “The best way to promote your book is to do radio… you can do eighteen interviews a day from home – which is a very effective promotional strategy.”

11. Think about a manifesto

I am not sure which log I had been hiding under to miss the whole “manifesto” wave, but Jonathan Fields of Tribal Author book filled me in and I found it all truly fascinating.

Jonathan’s manifesto was The Fire Fly Manifesto, which served as a great prelude to his very successful book Career Renegade. He also talked about Chris Guillebeau’s manifestos: The Art of Non-Conformity; and the Unconventional Guide to Discount Airfare: Surviving Stress and Maximizing Fun.

In short, a good manifesto is an attention-grabbing, short book with an exceptionally-designed cover that is used to promote your main book, product or service. They can be a clever and potentially lucrative promotional strategy – think about them.

The Audience

12. Tech-savvy audiences are redefining our conferences.

As I mentioned in a recent blog update Taking Expat Women Around The World, never before have I seen what I saw at BlogWorld 2010 in Las Vegas. At every presentation, at least three-quarters (!) of the audience were always either blogging, typing, foursquaring, tweeting or reading Twitter updates from others in the room (or from other sessions at the conference), instead of looking straight ahead at the presenters. It was a real eye-opener – and I found myself mimicking this multitasking behaviour – tweeting things I was learning and reading the tweets of others around me.


• Think differently;

• Act creatively;

• Produce awesome content/products/services; and

• Believe in yourself – you are just as good as many of the famous people!


Barry Moltz said...

Thanks for the callout! I feel privilege to be in such good company!

Expat Women said...

Pleasure, Barry, you deserved it, your session was excellent. Andrea

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great wrap up post! You are so right about the potential speaking opportunities for many of our attendees. Many of our attendees would be considered "social media experts" within their own particular niche and could share some very valuable information and experience with their peers.

Ceo & co-founder
BlogWorld & New Media Expo

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