This is the last blog post I have planned for this year’s Northern Voice. Blogging is something that I’m still learning about, and so many of the sessions I attended were about this very topic.
Most of what I’m covering in this post are from the following NV11 sessions:
- Intellectual Property and Your Blog
- Be Rocktacular: Stories from a Music Blogger and Indie Rock Nerd
- A Bloggable Feast: Food Blogging
- Blogging In Real Life: Building Community through Hyperlocal Blogging
- Altruism vs Narcisscism: what’s in it for the online reviewer
Just start blogging.
Oftentimes I hear people complain that they can’t really blog because they don’t know what to write about. That, or that they have no “niche”.
What I’ve learned from the panelists is that you really should just start blogging asap because you don’t know where it will lead you.
Give credit where credit is due.
This might seem like common sense, but the reality is that many bloggers (either intentionally or not) do not always give credit where credit is due.
Using someone else’s picture? Make sure you let your readers know where it’s from. Got your info from someone else? Why not link to it so your readers know you’ve done some research.
Truth be told, the issue of intellectual property is a bit more complex than I anticipated. In some instances, even attributing where an image came from isn’t enough…. because you shouldn’t be using the image to begin with!
The Creative Commons has lots of info, but I think that Lynn Robson‘s PDF (available on her website for free) provides some good basics. If you use images, Flickr also has some rich info regarding creative commons.
Personally, this is something I need to learn more about, so I’m glad I caught Lynn’s talk. Here are some good resources that were suggested at the session:
- http://search.creativecommons.org: Good resource if you’re looking for images, music, etc. that you can use.
- Firefox Plug-In CC Attribution Helper
Go out and meet people.
Visibility is important for you as blogger. Make sure you go out and actually meet people. Tweetups, meetups, and conferences (such as Northern Voice) can help you connect to other bloggers and to other awesome folks.
Going to events will also give you something to write about, so it helps you get content for your blog.
Audience, audience, audience
Several of the panelists talked about the importance of knowing your audience when you blog. This might seem basic, but I know first-hand that sometimes, it’s easy to forget that you’re writing for an audience.
I also noted that one of the panelists from the hyperlocal blogging panel mentioned the importance of not looking at your audience as an aggregate. I’m not quite sure who said this, but I wish now that I asked for clarification because it’s not an idea I intuitively agree with.
Passion trumps everything else.
One common thread from all of the blogger panelists is that they were all very passionate about what they write about. Whether you’re blogging about food or music, whether you’re writing reviews or about something local, you need to be passionate about it to keep on going. If you’re writing about something that’s already integrated with your life, finding time to blog isn’t all that hard.
Also, I thought it was also cool that it was pointed out that blogging shouldn’t necessarily be about money. Sometimes, the job leads and opportunities that come as a result of your awesome blog should be enough.
To make money off a blog, you need a ton of traffic — not really impossible, but not easy either. Your passion for what you blog about should be the primary driver of your work.
Even more resources
I missed a number of sessions that received great feedback on Twitter. I regretted missing those sessions, but with concurrent sessions happening, that’s just the name of the game.
First,was the session ran by Syx Langemann and Morten Rand-Hendriksen. Your Blog is Boring and Your Photos Suck looked at photoblogging and blogging in general. Both Morten and Syx are self-professed geeks, and looking at their slides, I can tell that their presentation was a lot of fun. They provided a lot of good examples and some actionable tips (always a plus).
Morten also had a session on Saturday about ethics in the social web. Just like his session the previous day, I’ve seen many tweets praising this one. Morten has a draft of Code of Ethics for bloggers, social media, and content creators on his website — I recommend at least looking at the short version.
Finally, Alexandra Samuel’s session regarding people’s online VS offline lives was easily one of the most popular sessions of the second day. I regret missing this session, but Alexandra has posted a blog post summarizing her key points.
Northern Voice 2012?
It has been more than a week now since my first Northern Voice, and I’m still mulling over a lot of information. There’s a wealth of information out there, and I’m pretty sure that my recaps here do not capture everything.
Needless to say, I do plan on coming back next year. The cool shirt alone makes it all worth it. 🙂