How to stand out in a noisy crowd: A Problogger Conference Recap

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Problogger conference with other bloggers

If you have been following me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you would have known that I attended the Problogger Conference on the weekend. I have written about Problogger before on the blog (what I learned, how to do it with a newborn, my first Problogger Experience), but in case you’re new or have no idea what Problogger is, it’s Australia’s biggest blogging conference and this year 700 bloggers from around Australia (and overseas) attended on the weekend. In the last three years, Problogger has been held on the Gold Coast so I have made it a priority to attend each year. This year, the conference was held at the RACV Royal Pines and they couldn’t have made our stay more delightful.

I had many ideas on how to relay the information in a way that will help you in whatever life or business circumstance you are in. If you’re a blogger or a business, this post is for you. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, this post is also for you because I’m going to share a bit about the last year of blogging for me.

The biggest change I noticed at Problogger this year was not just the location of the conference but the sheer mass of bloggers in the one building. I was always running into someone I knew, but there were also many bloggers I did not recognize which said one of two things – many new blogs have been started in the last year and the blogosphere is nosier than ever. While I didn’t feel threatened by the sheer volume of new bloggers – I’m a big advocate for starting a blog and I don’t mind a crowd, it did make me wonder how I or each of us were going to stand out in a noisy and busy blogosphere.

In the last year I have seen an influx of new blogs come through my newsfeed. We all have different reasons to blog. My reasons have changed over the last three and a half years of blogging. It’s important to remember the ‘why’ of my blog so that I’m always delivering content that helps readers and so I don’t lose my purpose while trying to maintain the blog. It’s also good to remember the why in decisions you are living with right now. Why you started that business, or why you chose to be a stay at home parent or why you chose to go back to work full time and put your kids in care. Remembering the why allows you to get on with what you need to do and eliminates the guilt or negativity that often follows with any decision we make regarding these things.

Darren Rowse, organizer extraordinaire of Problogger, opened the conference with this gem of wisdom:

The wellbeing of my blog is based on the wellbeing of me.

I think this is true in all aspects of life.

As you know, this year I have never felt so pushed for time juggling a newborn, a busy family life and work. I’ve been living with no margin. Darren’s talk got me thinking about what I can change in my schedule to be more productive and what I might need to ‘drop’ in order to make headway in other areas of my life.

Essentially, the main points I got from Darren’s session was to look after me. Invest in me by reading and doing things I enjoy doing and this will help my output. I need to get moving and live healthier so that I can think clearer and be more creative.

Most of all, I need to get better at scheduling blog work outside of normal mum duties and no work on the weekend. When you’re a mum with little kids, the spare pockets of time left to blog or work are late at night, early in the morning and on the weekend when Jacob is home, but the issue is all my spare time has been filled. Following a better schedule is going to be the key here.

The next session after Darren was Jadah Sellner of Simple Green Smoothies. She spoke on how to build your community online. She reiterated a bit of Darren’s talk by saying

Anything that compromises your health and relationships has to go.

Jadah relayed her success story and how she had tried many things in the past that had failed or hadn’t brought her to where she wanted to be.

I wrote down one thing that resonated with me from Jadah’s presentation and that was “there are riches in the niches”. Often a niche can make you feel trapped in how you write. I have found my niche as a plumbing blogger has kept my ‘why’ in close proximity. In another session, Mrs Woog from Woogsworld encouraged being nicheless as a blogger was great because you can write about whatever you want. I, personally do both to keep my blog interesting.

Mrs Woog and I
Mrs Woog and I

Jadah ended her key note by getting all of us bloggers to stand and put our hand over our heart and say

I am a glow stick. I need to break before I can shine.

And here is where I want to finish in answering the question how to stand out in a noisy and busy crowd?

Quite simply you need to persevere with your blog, remember your why and shine the best way you can in the best way you know how by writing from your heart.

Glowsticks make a spectacular sight when all of them glow together. It’s the same in the blogosphere. If we’re all glowsticks then collectively we are bringing attention to a new media that has the potential to change and educate people in a personal way.

While you don’t necessarily have to have a niche to write a blog, what is one thing you want to be remembered for? Use that to differentiate yourself from the crowd. For me, it’s being a plumber, for countless other blogs there is usually one thing that differentiates us from the other.

Authenticity was a big word that was thrown around at the conference and it plays a major part in the way you keep your glow.

Authenticity

It was also said that personal blogging is dead and has the potential to die in Australia. I disagree. We are all moved by stories. Learn from other bloggers who have burned out on how to prevent the same happening to you. We can always learn something from each other.

If you went to Problogger conference, who was your favourite speaker? If you didn’t, does any of this post resonate with you? Which parts?

I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.