So first things first. If you really want to enjoy Word Camp you can also do that from the comfort of your own home through the live streaming they offer of different workshops. Which I may actually take advantage of at a later date because I would like to see the difference of some of the other word camps around the globe.
I attended two workshops yesterday before ditching the rest of the conference to hang out with Saladin128.
The first workshop I attended was how to make money with your blog. The facilitators asked several questions that I thought were really helpful in guiding blog development.
1. If you haven’t uncovered it yet – figure out what your purpose is in having a blog.
2. Identify what you are already doing with the blog. Are you writing in a specific voice? towards a specific audience? or on a specific topic?
3. Be specific with your writing. Blogging is the place to story tell – that is what makes posts interesting – so get detailed and specific.
4. Gut Check. Are you happy with the post? Need a rewrite? or is blogging not for you? Check in with yourself about where you are at – its ok to take a break if its starting to burn out the creative muscles.
As for finding a way to make the blog pay – they suggested of course putting ads up but that isn’t going to generate a livable income 99% of the time. So the ladies who ran the workshop suggested looking into professional writing jobs with ad agencies, PR agencies etc – that would allow for using the writing skills for others on a blog or micro blog such as Twitter.
The next workshop- entitled “Are you cheating on your blog,” was about using social media platforms to increase readership. The facilitator had excellent insight into what works and what doesn’t.
1. Facebook and Myspace are walled cities. Content goes in but viewers rarely go out – so don’t waste your time.
2. Twitter- has a nano second shelf life. So.. although your blog may post to Twitter – unless your twitter account is only for the blog (which is SUPER spammy) its not highly effective in increasing your readership.
3. Email Newsletters – this is your best bet. Design a template and create an email list for people interested in the blog. They get an email saying – New Blog post – check the blog and they go read it in their spare time etc. This can be really good for artist building up an independent following outside of galleries.
4. If you can – integrate a Facebook “Like” button on your blog.
5. Don’t spray and pray – Be very deliberate about how and where you post.
6. Direct posting to FB allows for greater control of content – choosing the photo you want for the post and what message you want to put out to the world.
7. While networked blogs might seem like a wonderful thing – in reality it just creates an extra step for the reader.
8. You can also help other people connect with your blog by creating a RSS feed. The facilitator suggested RSS Graffiti as a good app for posting the blog. He also suggested Twitter Tools by Alex King.
In the end – don’t make your reader have to click twice to get your content. Make it easy and the readers will increase.