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Blogging

How to Be a Blogging Star

See Jane Write held its second educational event Thursday, a blogging seminar I called So You Think You Can Blog (you know you love the name.) More than 50 people attended the event and I’ve received numerous emails and tweets from attendees who say they learned a lot and had a great time. 
The seminar began with a brief talk by Trish Bogdanchik of BirminghamMommy.com on ways to monetize your blog. I was amazed by the wealth of information she was able to pack into a 10 to 15-minute talk.

Trish Bogdanchik of BirminghamMommy.com
Trish recommends selling ads at about $18 – $25 per 1,000 clicks. She added, however, that you might want to charge more if your readers are affluent and more likely to do business with your advertisers than the average blog reader. 
Don’t plan to rely on ads alone. Trish recommended sponsored posts and events as other ways to generate revenue. 
If you are going to get serious about turning your blog into a business you must accept that you’re now a salesperson. You should also consider getting a lawyer and an accountant and a registered trademark. And be professional. Just because you blog in your pajamas doesn’t mean you should show up to meetings and networking events in them. 
Trish also said it’s good to have a five year plan. Sit down and figure out where you want to be with your blog in five years and then figure out how you’re going to get there. 
The feature presentation of the night was a panel discussion with Jen West of The Jen West Quest, Rachel Callahan of Grasping for Objectivity and Alabama Bloggers and Laura Kate Whitney of Magic City Manifesto. These ladies are hilarious and kept us all laughing throughout the discussion. But they’re just as sharp as they are funny and taught us all so much. 
Our lovely panelists and I

There was much discussion on the best blogging platform. The ladies of the panel and a few tech savvy audience members agreed that WordPress.org would probably be best if you want your blog to be a business, but emphasized that Blogger is much more user friendly. (Click here for more on WordPress.com versus WordPress.org.) 
But at the end of the day it doesn’t what platform you’re using if you don’t have quality content. Jen advised against blogging on a topic simply because it’s the next big thing. Blog about your passion and stay true to your voice. 
Also be consistent. If your blog is about the great people, places, and things in your city, don’t randomly start posting about famous coin collections.  Jen even said that she’s found if she’s not blogging about a specific goal she’s working toward (which is essentially the theme of her blog) she sees a slight drop in her number of readers.
Facing blogger’s block? Laura Kate keeps a notebook by her side in which she records thoughts, observations, etc., that could become future blog posts. She even had it with her at Thursday’s event!

When it comes to spreading the word about your blog, Laura Kate said there is nothing wrong with some good ol’ “shameless self-promotion.”

The ladies all agreed that social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook are great ways to promote your blog, but just be sure that you’re not using those sites solely for that purpose or your followers will probably start ignoring you.

Rachel also stressed the importance of community. Network with other bloggers through meetup groups and online forums. Comment on other blogs. Respond to your readers when they comment on your posts. Make it clear that you want your readers to stick around because you care about them, not just because you care about the page hits.

There was so much information to be shared, so much to discuss, I feel as if I should have had a blogging conference instead of a two-hour seminar.  Maybe I’ll include that in my own five-year plan. 

So You Think You Can Blog

With so many blogs out there, how can you make yours stand above the rest?
There are at least three female bloggers in Birmingham who seem to have found the answer.  
Jennifer West launched her blog, The Jen West Quest, on March 30, 2010 and, believe it or not, she’s posted something every day since. Because of her blog West has had a chance to work with Health magazine and has even appeared on The Rachael Ray Show.
Laura Kate Whitney started to make a name for herself in Birmingham just a few months after arriving in the city thanks to her blog, Magic City Manifesto.  Whitney’s mission is to find the magic in the Magic City and celebrate the hidden gems of Birmingham. Her blog has led to opportunities for her to work with B-Metro Magazine and got the attention of skirt! magazine.
Rachel Callahan started building an audience for her writing at her blog Grasping for Objectivity, but she didn’t stop there. Callahan is also the woman behind Alabama Bloggers, which she started to help bloggers network and share ideas both through the website and monthly social events.
If you have a blog or you’re considering starting one, you’re probably thinking it would be great to pick the brains of bloggers like West, Whitney, and Callahan. Well, you can do exactly that at the next See Jane Write event, So You Think You Can Blog, which will be held 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 in the auditorium of the Homewood Public Library, 1721 Oxmoor Road.  
This free event will include a panel discussion featuring West, Whitney, and Callahan. This discussion is all about helping you figure out how to capture an audience and keep them hooked.
We want to know how we can help you. What questions about blogging do you have for our panel? Leave them in the comments section or email them to me at javacia@georgiamae.com.
So You Think You Can Blog will also give you the opportunity to network with other local female bloggers, including our special guests Keisa Sharpe of The Natural Hair Diva and Trish and Angie of Birmingham Mommy. These three women have all taken a passion and from it created a blog and from that created a business.
To register for So You Think You Can Blog visit http://soyouthinkyoucanblog.eventbrite.com.
  

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