Tribes vs. Businesses with Sonia Simone (Live Blog at Problogger Event)

live-bloggingToday I’m at the Problogger Conference in Melbourne, Australia where over 300 bloggers have gathered to listen, learn, and share blogging tips.

We’ll also be meeting, greeting and taking copious notes.

I’ll be sharing my notes here live from the event so, even if you’re not here in person, you can still get all the hot blogging tips instantly and share a bit of the excitement.

Let’s get to it.

Blogging for Social Good with Sonia Simone from Copyblogger

Tribes are created by what people are passionate about and values. Those people are passionate about the way  you approach your topic.

Sonia learns from Dan Kennedy who is her polar opposite. The best way to find a tribe is to find a juicy topic (parenting, weight loss etc) and use your approach which is unlike any one elses.

Not every topic is suitable. There are many paid membership sites for weight loss because people are willing to pay for that information or to solve that problem.

When you’re building a tribe you start by offering free content.

The tribe will manifest themselves in the comments so new bloggers who are trying to establish a tribe should keep comments turned on.

Beware free forums. They are a great way to build a tribe but you will get a lot of trolls and spammers. They take a lot of passion and commitment.

By making them a paid membership site you will avoid those people. Even if the cost is only $5 per month.

Forums encourage interaction and conversations but lots of work moderating that.

How you define your tribe comes from you.

How to move from free to paid gracefully

Find out what people are willing to pay for. This is:

  1. Increased access to you – Because you can’t be accessible to everyone all the time.
  2. Escape the trolls – Tell people why you’re charging – if we try to do this free we’ll be inundated with trolls and spammers.
  3. Advanced training – People want to discuss, talk and they will pay for that.
  4. Better format – More user-friendly – Include audio with a transcript and an action list. Sonia loves this format and so do her students. It gets them to take action. Put your videos behind a pay wall.

Don’t try to sell the community aspect because people won’t pay for that until they’ve tried it. You can’t sell them on it before hand though, they won’t know the value of that until they’ve tried it.


Know where you are going – you won’t know every step of the way.

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers is the best implementor she knows (no kids probably – Annabel)

Tribal Drama

Every tribe has drama and conflict because they are built around passion. Tribes are emotional. It’s not all love and peace. You are the sheriff. The tribe needs you to be the leader and stop people from trashing each other.

You need to allow space for quieter people to join in.

Democracy doesn’t work. The tribe needs a leader.

3 Takeaways

1. Your tribe starts with you – your passion and how you frame that passion. The tribe is built-in your heart.

2. Step up to the leadership role. Set rules that will support your tribe. Tell them you have a no jerks rule and they are breaking it. Let people beat you up but not your tribe members.

3. Move from free to paid once you know what your tribe is willing to pay for. Every tribe has something they are willing to spend on. Find out what it is.


What’s an alternative to forums? You can try a closed Facebook page. If it’s bursting with people you know you’re on to something.

Is it okay to have two sites? Yes if you have different audiences and different goals it can work well.

How many people do you need in your tribe before you can start charging? Small is fine, it can still be lively.

How to find mentors? Recommends starting a master group with your blogging peers.

My Sponsor for the Problogger Conference 2011

I’m excited to be sponsored by The Tailor for my trip to the Problogger conference.

The Tailor is a luxury travel company that creates and organizes Australian and African travel experiences for discerning travelers.

Thanks to the Tailor I will be spending four nights in luxury at The Lyall Hotel in Melbourne and touring the city. I’m looking forward to writing about those experiences on my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot.

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Happy blogging!

1 thought on “Tribes vs. Businesses with Sonia Simone (Live Blog at Problogger Event)”

  1. You might have guessed that there's an overlap between the best and brightest of both of those two tribes. In fact, the "middle" marketers are the ones to watch.

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