Cosmo Super Blogger Masterclass
This Monday I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Cosmopolitan Super Blogger Masterclass in Westminster. It was a conference with a fantastic panel of established bloggers, industry experts and Cosmo journalists, including the blogger behind ‘Rock n Roll Bride’, Kat Williams, who has the incredible dream job of being a full time wedding blogger. The event was so interesting and inspiring, and although my blog is nowhere near becoming a business, or a full time job, it is an option which I would absolutely love to pursue in the future. I gained a lot of motivation to carry on working on my content and consistency, and some great advice about exciting ways to move forward.
The event itself was so well organised, and even though I went on my own, I felt really comfortable and there were so many other bloggers and aspiring bloggers (mostly women, which is probably not surprising as the event was organised by Cosmo) which was really fun to see.
I wanted to share some of the main things which I found helpful from the conference, I learnt so much and this is all stuff that I’m going to try and start doing! I hope that I can pass on some tips which will be helpful to some of you, too. (Sorry about the wordy post – I went into full on English student mode and took a ton of notes. Second year theory lectures, come at me…)
1. Use Social Media to promote your content and build an audience (and to show off bits of your personality that might not come through in your blog)
I was kind of hesitant about this one, but the panel made some really good points about the real value of social media platforms. I already post regularly on Instagram, and we discussed how useful this is for building a brand (or, a blog) that is based around your personality, as well as your content, because ultimately readers want to read content from somebody they like and find approachable. Twitter is also a good platform for networking (hashtags are useful for something!), and building an audience on platforms like these allows you to have more casual interaction with followers and people with similar interests. Even mediums such as Pinterest allow you to announce (or ‘pin’) new content, and makes it so easy for other people to share any projects that they have been inspired by.
Kat did point out that in order to get people excited about sharing your content on social media, your content has to be good. This may sound like I’m majorly stating the obvious, but it’s important not to get too caught up in tweeting, and to remember to focus on producing good quality content that people will be excited to talk about!
2. Get to know your community, and interact as much as you can.
Fleur (of fleurdeforce – a YouTube channel and now blog focusing on beauty and fashion) explained how her YouTube channel grew from her love for other YouTube channels which she watched for fashion and beauty tips. By interacting with these channels on social media, at meet ups, and through collaboration, she was able to grow her own channel and make valuable connections within the industry.
Joe (from Zen Optomise, a company which provides advice for bloggers on optimising their blogs for their audiences) suggested guest blogging as a great way to make connections with other bloggers who have similar interests, and also to give your blog more reach. If you are gong to pitch a guest post to another blogger, says Joe, make your pitch as well thought out as possible, and make sure that if you do guest post on their blog, you will be addressing an audience which is likely to want to come and have a peek at your content. Kat said that she regularly gets requests to write for cooking blogs, travel blogs and all sorts of things totally unrelated to weddings. People who are into cooking blogs are unlikely to click through to see a wedding blog, even if the guest post is really good. (I know, I was also shocked to discover that there are people on this earth who think cooking is more fun than planning a wedding. Crazy madness…)
3. Be yourself, and make the most of what makes you different.
All of the panellists agreed that readers appreciate genuine bloggers who really are enthusiastic about what they post. Write about things you’re interested in, and you’ll be able to build a following of people who are also super interested in whatever it is you write about. (Unless you write about, like, your love for sushi, and your obsession with the colour yellow. Which I have never ever done ever in my whole life… err… nope. Not me ever.) 😉
I was able to ask Kat and Fleur what their advice was for ‘specialising’ a blog so that you only write about a certain number of subjects. I’ve always felt like my blog is a sorta mess of different topics, which works for me, but I think that pinning it down to a more specific type of content would give it more focus. They both suggested focusing on your audience first and foremost. If you write a blog which is designed to interest a certain age or gender, write all your posts with that audience in mind, and as long as it’s something which appeals to that audience, it’s fine. Trying to interest everybody will leave you with a lot of content which many of your readers just aren’t interested in. For example, I started this blog as a travel blog, and then kept writing it because it made my sister laugh (and, as she often reminds me, ‘nothing is more precious than a child’s laughter’ – which sounds surprisingly creepy coming from a twenty year old, but anyway…) So in my mind anything which would interest my sister (or a similar demographic) is good to go on the blog. I should probably be careful with this one because my sister can be a right weirdo, (sorry, Abi) but it gives me a good starting point.
Another way to provide more focus without limiting content is to maintain consistency of posting, like posting certain subjects on certain days, or to stick to a regular schedule of posting so people don’t have to click back and forth on to your blog waiting for uploads whenever you feel like writing a post. (Obviously, I do this all the time, oops, maybe I should stop posting whenever-I-damn-well-please and start posting on, say, Monday, Wednesday and Friday?) Finally, adding categories or sections to your blog means that people who may not be interested in every single post can choose to avoid, say, the one where you moan about your dentist for five hundred words (again, oops).
The panellists were so helpful and we covered everything from the use of tags, Google SEO tricks and Blog platforms, to ‘how to tell your family about your lame wedding blog’ (Kat) and ‘how to get followers that aren’t your Mum’ (still working on that one!) as well as ‘should I go to University?’ (Agh! Don’t know how the panellists kept so cool, I would have immediately panicked if anybody asked me a question nearly half so serious or important!)
The whole night left me feeling excited about continuing to develop my blog, and also pretty excited about the blogging community in general. Cosmo put on an amazing event and I even left at the end with a massive goodie bag full of treats.
Big Love, PV x