Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lessons from BlogHer '13

Wren at convention

BlogHer '13—my first blogging convention—was last weekend. And I learned a lot! For example:

#1 No Russians are reading my blog.
When I look at the statistics for who's looking at Smalltropolis, it's very impressive. For example, today I have 43 pageviews from Latvia. Switzerland is represented, as is France, Denmark, China. Just a world-wide appeal I have goin' on. (Gloat.) Thing is, as I learned at BlogHer, that's almost certainly because the analytics I'm looking at aren't very accurate. Lots of spam is included. To get the real numbers, I need to sign up for Google Analytics. Блин!

#2. Great photography doesn't come from the womb.
The kick-off keynote speaker was Ree Drummond. I'd certainly admired the beautiful photography on her blog, The Pioneer Woman multiple times, so it was pretty enlightening when she showed some of her early photos. They were, quite simply, dreadful. It really drove home how good writing and good photography aren't talents people are born with. They take work, which gives me hope, because this blog certainly isn't where I want it to be yet. I mean, what is going on with the photo-shopped quality of the pic above? And if no Russians are reading this, how funny is it really to throw in a (mild) Russian swear word that few American readers will get? No question, I have a lot of work to do. (Блин!)

#3 Make the small feel big.
At the "Newbie Breakfast" we were given thoughts on how to network: Be curious about people, initiate conversation, be the one who notices those hovering on the edge of a group and invite them in. Make people feel important—it's good advice. I vowed to try it.

Towards the end of the day, I was walking down a fairly empty hall. Lisa Stone, one of the co-founders and CEO of BlogHer, was walking towards me. As we came closer to each other, she said hello. Nothing surprising there, except in the way she said it. It was as though she knew me, as though she cared, as though, well, as though I was somebody.

"That's why she's the CEO!" I thought to myself. I need to learn how to do that. "Hello!!" I said back to her.

She smiled. My technique wasn't quite there. I guess it's something else to work on. (Блин!)