ProBlogger Training Day Wrap-up (PART I)

Today I was inspired, so much so it made me tired. I could have gone to bed, but I decided to blog…. instead.


I came to the ProBlogger Training Day today with 2 goals:

  1. To learn more about how Bloggers are monetizing their blogs. (relevant to my position at Myzerr.com)
  2. To get some tips to kickstart my new blog – www.documentariesblog.com

Here is a quick wrap up of the day. If you want a more detailed outline of each presentation, I suggest checking out Kimberley L’s blog.

Presentation 1 – “Creating Killer Content” (Chris Garrett)

The first presentation was by Chriss Garrett, a Blogging & Internet Marketing Consultant and co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. (Affiliate Link – you can’t blame me can you? hehe)

The presentation was aimed at beginners, but provided a good reminder to the seasoned pros what blogging is all about. The presentation was well structured and provided a clear explanation of what defines great content.

I had a good chuckle at the slide “10 proven headline formulas that really work”, it reminded me of an article I once read in a Black Hat SEO forum entitled “How to get on the front page of Digg”.

I think I’ve got to the point now where i view topic names like “36 tips on how to do xyx” with a slight air of cynicism, however it stills gets my attention, as much as i don’t want to take notice, I can’t help it, there is something about this structure of topic name that just sucks you in. For me, there wasn’t too many nuggets of value in the first presentation, but thats to be expected when catering for everyone. Overall it was a great start to the training day, it set the tone for the rest of the presentations.

Stand outs / Take-Aways

  • Choosing a great topic title is vital. If you read your title amongst 10 others, would it stand out?
  • Avoid filler content. If you’re writing content ONLY because you haven’t written in a while, you’re doing it wrong.
  • Provide ‘Social Proof’ that others are reading your blog. (e.g. Feedburner count, Retweet box, Facebook like count / fan box etc)
  • Multi-media is persuasive & makes your post ‘stand out’.

Presentation 2 – “Finding Readers” (Darren Rowse)

The second presentation was by Darren Rowse, owner of ProBlogger.net, the other co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income and organiser of the event.

Darren started off with a question: “What was your biggest day of traffic?”.

  • For this blog, the biggest day was when I released my article, titled “How to SEO your Blog using WordPress Plugins (3 Useful Plugins)” and promoted it to my friends and colleagues on Facebook & Twitter.
  • Another example was when I was working at an SEO firm and we had built up a blog about Melbourne Cup, entitled simply “2009 Melbourne Cup”. This blog was geared specifically for SEO and there was a blog almost every day about each horse. The whole site, including the URL was completely geared towards ranking for Melbourne Cup 2009 (and related keyphrases). The site’s traffic was dormant until approximately a week before the event, then on the day, we had 30,000 uniques and it crashed the server. This was an important lesson in the power of blogging about events and how you can capitilise about blogging about something, before it happens. One of the presenters made an excellent example of this when they blogged about the winner of Australian Idol, before it was announced.

The presentation goes on to discuss methods of finding readers for your blog, but the most important concept I got out of this presentation was Darren’s concept of “Get Off Your Blog”, he makes a great point about not obsessing with your blog, go out and make connections, post content on other social sites with some sort of link and reference back to your own site, or to your presense on another site. (It will eventually lead back to your main blog)

Stand outs / Take-Aways

  • Build anticipation with a series of articles, this will increase your subscriber numbers. (if done properly!)
  • Build ‘sneeze’ pages. These are pages that offer a gateway to the rest of your blog for first time vistors. An example is a ‘beginners guide’ or ‘getting started’ style of page.
  • Contribute & Communicate through other mediums, both online & offline.
  • Get off your blog!

Presentation 3 – “How to Build a Community” (Darren Rowse)

The third presentation tackled the concept of building your community. A community is more likely to grow in numbers, contribute & ultimately purchase than just a ‘bunch of readers’. The principle concept that portrayed was the idea that your initial intent is to communicate with your readers as much as possible, then through this communication, encourage your readers to communicate with one another. An example was initially communicate with them through the comments on your blog or ask them to contribute to some sort of project (e.g. submit your best travel photos). Once you’ve done this, then go on to encourage them to communicate with one another, you can do this initially by publishing their content and getting feedback from the community, or by opening up a forum for the readers to communicate with one another irrespective of your involvement.

This presentation reinforced a lot of concepts that I deal with on a day to day basis, how do you build a community of people & keep them happy? This ties in very well with what we are currently trying to achieve at Myzerr.com, we’re trying to build a social platform for communities to run their own member benefits program & ultimately profit from the experience. We want to communicate with our users & make sure that they are getting the best experience possible, but ultimately, we want them to communicate with one another.

Stand outs / Take-Aways

  • If you can, expose the personal side to the author of the blog
  • Use language that identifies your community & readers as just that. “We” or “You”
  • Encourage and incentivize your natural leaders
  • Encourage your readers to contribute and be involved
  • Reward your members