You can’t go to a blogging event and then not blog about it, right?
I’m pretty sure there’s some unwritten rule against that.
I’m trying to up my blogging game in 2007 and you may have noticed that I’m posting more regularly.
Journalism was my trade for 13 years and I’ve said before that blogging for my business helps scratch that writing itch.
I think I’ve actually had that desire to write for as long as I’ve been able to form my own sentences!
So it was great to hear from a host of like-minded people at an event organised by The Culture Vulture (or Rachel Horton to her friends).
She brought together five well-known north east bloggers, as well as herself, to talk about the process as a creative and commercial opportunity.
For those of you who don’t know, a blog, as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary, is:
“A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
The word came into being in the 1990s as an abbreviation of weblog.
Blogs have exploded in the last few years and for some people, blogging is a full-time job.
I was aware of blogs when I first set up Creative Calligraphy, but I only started writing one because I was told to do so “once a week” by my website designer.
It helps with search engine optimisation (SEO), you see, if the various search engine algorithms pick up the fact you’re updating your website.
In theory, you then appear higher in search engine rankings. (This is just one of the many things I have learned on my business journey.)
I enjoy writing my blog and I try and stick to topics that complement my business, from the obvious calligraphy and art to culture and running a business.
I wouldn’t start writing restaurant reviews, for example, or share gardening tips.
There’s a little slice of the internet for everything.
Rachel opened the event, at the beautiful St Mary’s Heritage Centre in Gateshead, by saying blogs have weaved their way into people’s thought processes and decision-making.
“I believe that blogging is the single most multi-faceted communication tool,” she said.
“It is about who you are, what you do, your values, what you stand for, your story and what you champion and people connect with that.
“It can be fantastic when strategically used in your business.”
I’m not sure I have a strategy as such, but the idea of creating one is one of the things I took away from the evening.
I enjoying hearing Canny Food’s Emma Phillips talk about her blogging journey.
She started writing about what she and her son got up to in the north east, then made it more about the food that was offer in the region.
She is now carving out a niche in vegan and vegetarian dining.
She talked a lot about authenticity and the conflict of earning money from a blog and still retaining that voice.
She also mentioned the importance of social media and being active across all platforms.
But the tip that really resonated with me was: “Don’t judge yourself by what others are doing.”
Yep, I’m terrible for that!
Gudrun Lauret had lots of tips about copywriting and how to craft something that will engage your audience, as well as act as a way of expressing yourself.
She also reminded us that once you press publish, the blog is out there and you don’t want it to come back to haunt you in any way.
Ryan Watson, who runs the Juice Festival blog, shared his take on blogging as part of the wider marketing aims and objectives of a large organisation.
Cheryl Lumley is the person I was most looking forward to hearing, as she shares her passion for upcycling and all things creative on her blog, All Round Creative Junkie.
She quit her graphic design job two years ago and set up the blog while helping her husband build his graphic design consultancy.
It has since led to business opportunities with the likes of English Heritage, Age Concern and Rust-Oleum, as well as a North East Blogger of the Year award.
I loved her approach to social media as making each platform work like a micro-blog.
Catherine Hooper and her husband Alan launched Here Come the Hoopers as a way of diarising their family life, to give them something to look back on in years to come.
I love that they work together as team, sharing the commitment of running the blog, which is updated three times a week.
Get your ideas down and keep writing were the tips I took away from her talk.
So expect to hear a lot more from me in the future. I’ve got a Feedspot Top 50 ranking to uphold!