If there was a loyalty card for the Problogger Training Event in Melbourne, Australia I’d have three stars for a perfect three years of attendance.
Evolution of the Problogger Training Event
The first Problogger Event with Darren Rowse in 2010 saw 150 lovely blogger crammed into a dodgy hotel in Melbourne. I flew in and out again on the same day so it was a whirlwind of excitement, a chance to meet some well known bloggers and meet some Twitter friends for the first time.
I only had one blog, my trusty travel blog Get In the Hot Spot, and the excitement was palpable, the room filled with people who were thrilled to talk about their passion for blogging with other people who not only knew what blogging was but loved it too.
150 people sounds like a lot but we all got a chance to mingle and I even managed to get the Problogger himself to pose for a pic with me. Look how young and lovely we were back then.
Being a pro Darren was much cooler than me but I was a blogging innocent, loving my new discovery and creative online playground. No prizes were awarded for the best post-Problogger Event 2010 headline but, modesty aside, if there had been, it’s hard to believe that my post Would you Travel 1,846 Miles for this Man? wouldn’t have crossed the line first.
Lesson learnt: It’s worth the time and financial investment to go to blogging events, meet your blogging heros and hang out with other like-minded bloggers.
The 2011 Problogger Training Event was bigger but not necessarily better. I’m probably not the best person to ask though because I live blogged the whole thing.
What that means is I sat there the whole day taking dictation and making as many notes as I could to share on my blog. I live posted 5 Bonza Blogging Sessions from the Problogger Event that day but I didn’t really enjoy myself. It was too much hard work and, although I was taking notes, I didn’t really listen and I couldn’t really connect with the speakers because I didn’t have time to laugh if they made a joke. I was too busy blogging.
That’s an experiment I definitely won’t repeat and a lesson for all of us: don’t let blogging take over your life and real time interactions.
Problogger Training Event 2012
This time around it was a two day event with 300 people attending. Thankfully I didn’t need to live blog the event this year because virtual tickets are available. If you didn’t make it to the event they are well worth the cost and offer massive value.
I will be listening to many of the tracks I went to again as well as all of those I missed because two tracks were running. Even just one of those sessions delivers the full value of the cost. Find our more about virtual tickets now.
First a huge thank you to my blog readers and everyone who came up to me and said they love Successful Blogging or Get In the Hot Spot. I so appreciate that.
It’s humbling, exciting and concrete proof that the work we do on our blogs does make a real and measurable difference to peoples’ lives. It was fantastic to meet so many of you for the first time and see some familiar faces too.
Other Personal Highlights
- Darren Rowse - I love hearing the Problogger himself talk because he always seems so cool, calm and collected even though he says he’s very shy so must be feeling nervous. His session on email newsletters was GOLD. Literally. Don’t forget you can listen to it and see the slides if you buy a virtual pass.
- Chris Guillebeau – Another huge blogging inspiration for me, Chris is the mastermind behind The Art of Noncomformity and the author of the surprisingly superb The $100 Start Up. I say surprising because business books can be deadly dull but The $100 Start Up excited me more than 50 Shades of Grey and for longer. Chris’s Empire Building Kit also helped me focus on growing my business and improved my bottom line thanks to his product pricing tips.
5 Stand Out Speakers
I took reams of notes in every talk but some people deserve a special mention. I’ll explain why and although some of these things may not seem like blogging tips but they are. Let’s apply them to our blogs.
- Shayne Tilley – For his willingness to listen to, talk with and workshop ideas with individual bloggers like me. Shayne’s generosity blew me away.
- James Tuckerman – For being funny, smart and thought-provoking even though it was early in the morning.
- Nikki Parkinson – For being smart, approachable and telling it like it is. Nikki is the ultimate myth buster for that stupid “dumb blond” thing.
- Sarah Wilson – For sharing her personal experiences of blogging, publishing and advertising along with how we can do it better ourselves, and for using interesting words. Brilliant I liked that. It made me think and kept me wide awake even though it was the last final session on day two.
- Darren Rowse – For being our fearless leader in how to make money online without being a slimy sleazeball.
I also got excited about hanging out with some of my blog readers and many of the other talented and lovely bloggers who weren’t talking this time. There are too many to mention but special props to Seana Smith, Eden Riley, Caz Makepeace (but definitely not you Craig), “Tasty” Jenny Freedman, Brooke McAlary, Grace Titioka, David Wang, Al Tait, Andrea and my delightful roomie for the weekend Johanna Castro.
Some of the party animals at the evening cocktail party on Friday night:
So what about blogging progress? Are we getting anywhere?
They say that Australia is two or three years behind the UK and the USA when it comes to social media marketing and branding but over the last three years more bloggers than ever are now making money from their blogs through advertising.
Many bloggers have scored fabulous opportunities like book deals, becoming the face of a brand and creating TV advertorials (I’m looking at you Nikki Parkinson) or been offered a plethora of personal and business opportunities.
Personally blogging has helped me get new clients all over the world for my blog design and web copywriting business, score some great travel writing gigs, get invited to China, Canada, Japan and work with some amazing brands like Qantas and Jetstar for the launch of their new travel site Hooroo.
I’m not sure if there were any sponsors at the inaugural Problogger event but this year 10 brands came to the party and sponsored the event. That and the stories from the bloggers I spoke with are real proof that more and more brands understand the value of working with us and realise bloggers are well worth paying for. Hallelujah.
The biggest lesson for me is to focus on the brands who do understand the power of social media and want to work with bloggers and don’t worry about brands that don’t get it.
They will catch up but it takes time to educate people so if you want to work with brands it’s much wiser to choose brands that want to work with bloggers already and appreciate their value. With that in mind a big thank you to the event sponsors for appreciating us bloggers.
I love meeting all the other bloggers, going to the parties is fun but the most exciting thing is watching bloggers and the industry of blogging itself progress.
These days it’s not just us bloggers who get blogging. Brands are willing to spend money to work with us - even here Downunder!
So I’m awarding Darren those stars for organising the event, for being our fearless leader and inspiring us all to blog better.
Thanks Dazza, for hosting a five star blogging event right here in Australia.
Thank you also to the Holiday Inn for hosting me in a comfy king suite for three nights. I needed that sleep and the location was perfect.
Now You Can Hear All the Conference Sessions Too
I hope to share my main takeaways from the sessions I went to with you here but there’s no way I can tell you everything I learnt in one blog post or explain it as well as the speakers.
If you want to get all the tips, tricks and inspiration from the event I highly recommend you invest in a virtual ticket. I’ll be listening to many of the tracks again and all of those I missed. Most sessions delivered the full value of the cost in just one hour but you get over 15 hours of audio recordings. Click here to find our more about virtual tickets now.
If you were at the event what were your personal highlights? If you couldn’t make it what sounds the most useful or fun? Apart from kissing Chris Guillebeau’s ear of course…