I had the pleasure of attending the Financial Blogger Conference in Denver earlier this month, and just like last year, it was chock full of great information. This conference, in particular, is a great place for financial bloggers to meet and discuss. There were many great meet ups outside of conference hours. (Who knew so many financial bloggers really know how to party!?) But the sessions were also useful.
Here are the three main takeaways I got from attending the sessions:
More and more readers are using mobile devices. Most blogs are set up to be read on a laptop or desktop computer, but increasingly, that isn’t the way our readers are connecting with our blogs. Instead, they are using iPads and iPhones. Is your site easily readable in these new formats? If not, you may want to redesign your site or hire someone to do so because the number of readers using mobile devices is only going to increase in the next few years.
Make sure you are helping your readers. To grow a blog successfully, you need to write not only about yourself, but about ways you can help the readers. While readers do care about the person behind the blog, the financial blogs that are more than moderately successful seek to help readers with questions or problems. Think I Will Teach You to Be Rich, a blog that helps young professionals increase their income and earning power.
Speak the language of your readers. Do you know who your target audience is? It is not enough to simply say your readers are people who are getting out of debt, for instance. Are they 50 year old men getting out of debt, or 35 year old mothers, or college students? You need to pinpoint this so you can speak their language and relate to them on a more personable level.
Increase your interaction on Facebook. Twitter is an important way of connecting, and many financial bloggers prefer Twitter while their readers prefer Facebook. Making a Facebook presence is important to better connect with readers. Ramping up your Facebook page can lead to more engaged readers if you know how to use it to connect with your readers. Try asking questions for your status updates as well as sharing some parts of your personal life and sharing the occasional joke or picture.
Use your own voice. So many bloggers worry about using perfect grammar and writing “professional” posts that they lose their own voice. The readers want to make a connection with you, so write like you talk. Freely express who you are; don’t worry about trying to portray yourself the way you think readers want you to be. If you suddenly start to write like you talk, you may lose a few readers, but you will ultimately gain more.
Make connections and help each other. Some bloggers think of others as competition, and that thinking is extremely limiting. Instead, see how you can help one another. As you are able to help each other, both of your blogs will grow stronger. Take the time to get to know people online, but also attend conferences like the Financial Blogger Conference so you can meet people in person, which helps to build trust and friendships more quickly.
Of course, these are the six most important takeaways I had. Ask five other bloggers, and they will likely have different, important takeaways.
Here are some other great recaps about Fincon 12.
Did you attend the conference? If so, what did you find was most important?