An African-American woman (me!) dressed in a blue t-shirt and floral skirt poses in front of a building standing next to a sign that reads "YP Y'all"
Another WordCamp Birmingham is in the books!

August 10-11, 2019 I attended WordCamp Birmingham 2019, which was held at Rosewood Hall in Homewood. The event featured several different tracks of workshops including sessions on content and business. I had the opportunity to speak, as well, and gave a presentation on using group writing challenges to boost your blog.

I’ve been attending WordCamp Birmingham conferences for years and I always leave with a notebook full of tips and tricks on how to improve my blog and overall content creation process. Honestly, I leave with too much information. I leave with so much information that I usually get too overwhelmed to put any of it into practice.

But this year I’m going to rewrite my story! This year reviewed my notes and made a list of 10 things I will do to put the information into action.

Here are my top 10 takeaways from WordCamp Birmingham 2019…

Four African-American women posing in front of a building standing next to a sign that reads "YP Y'all"
With fellow WordCampers Tonia, Tawanna, and Jasmine.

1.My blog can help me write my book.

Kathryn Lang, a longtime friend of the See Jane Write community, gave a presentation called “Blog to Book” during which she broke down how we can use our old blog posts as content for a book. Kathryn spoke at this year’s See Jane Write Virtual Summit on this topic, too. (You can purchase all of the talks from this year’s summit here.)

But during this talk, Kathryn also explained how we can reverse engineer this process. We can blog with our future book in mind. Here’s how: First, decide on the topic of your book. The ideal topic related to your blog’s focus and is one you love to write about and your blog readers love to read about. Next, write down 10 points related to your topic. Then, break down each point into 3 to 6 bite-sized ideas. After that, you will write a blog post on each bite-sized idea. And finally, bundle those posts together with an introduction and any necessary transitions and there’s your book!

This is exactly what I plan to do to rewrite my manuscript and generate content for this year’s #BlogLikeCrazy challenge.

And if you’re struggling with writer’s block, here’s what Kathryn had to say about that: “Writer’s block is a Halloween costume for procrastination.” BOOM!

2. I need to make my blog more accessible.

WordCamp Birmingham featured captioning services this year for attendees who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. As someone with a mild hearing impairment, I deeply appreciated this. And this year’s panel discussion on inclusivity reminded me that I need to do things on my blog to make sure my content is accessible to all. It’s not enough to make sure there are captions on my videos and Instagram stories. I need to make sure the alt text descriptions of my images are working and so much more. The more I learn on this topic there more I will implement and share.

3. I must develop a simple process for moving from site to social.

My BFF Jacqui Jones of One Degree MMM gave a phenomenal talk on repurposing blog content for social media. (Jacqui has given a similar talk for See Jane Write Collective members, which you can get access to if you join the Collective. Apply here.) Likewise, April Wier gave two great presentations on developing a content calendar.

Their talks reminded me that I can take each blog post and from it pull quotes for Twitter, images for Instagram, discussions for live video and more. April also encouraged us to take our shorter blog posts on a similar topic and bundle them into an in-depth compressive post.

4. I want my blog to be a resource hub for writers.

Sylvie Stacy‘s talk on how to get your readers to generate content for you had me bubbling over with ideas for resources I can add to my site, such as a directory of products and services, a list of writing and blogging conferences, and even a job board.

5. I should focus less on advertising and more on nurturing the audience I already have.

I took four full pages of notes during Aisha Adams‘ marketing workshop. The biggest lesson I learned from her is that I don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to grow my business. Instead, I need to work on better educating the audience I already have about what See Jane Write offers and how I can help them reach their writing and blogging goals.

6. I need a real press page and media kit.

Emily Watkins gave a talk on “Turning Your Website Into a 24/7 Publicist.” Even though I’ve been blogging for over a decade, I must confess that I never thought I really needed a media kit. As of now, I’m not a blogger who works with brands on a regular basis, so putting together a media kit is a waste of time, right? Wrong! Media kits and press kits aren’t just for brands; they’re for the media! They’re for the press!

Currently, my press page is pitiful. It’s just a list of articles, videos, and podcasts I’ve been featured in. But a real press page should also include contact info, a short paragraph explaining who I am and what See Jane Write is all about, photos and logos, and latest news about the business.

So I’ve definitely added “Create media kit” and “Revamp press page” to my business to-do list.

7. I must get my entrepreneur life together.

My entrepreneur life is in shambles. I have yet to develop a daily or weekly routine for my new life as a full-time freelancer and entrepreneur. I don’t have set systems and processes for any of the things I do for my business. My home office is a mess. I have a million emails in my inbox.

Fortunately, Melanie Adcock’s presentation on “Maximizing Your Freelance Day” helped me notice these shortcomings and how they’re hurting my productivity. So, now I’m going to work on tackling one at a time.

8. Story ideas are everywhere.

This year’s WordCamp was a good reminder to keep my idea book with me at all times. By chatting with other WordCampers, I left this year’s conference with several story ideas I plan to pitch to some of the publications I write for. That’s the power of networking!

9. Speakers should always be prepared for everything to go wrong.

I mentioned that I spoke at this year’s WordCamp. Well, I did, but not without plenty of hiccups. Not only did the microphones not work in my room, but the screen didn’t either, which means I couldn’t show my slides.

But I just used my teacher voice and pushed through like a boss. However, from now on I am ALWAYS going to upload my slides to Google Drive and have a shareable link on hand for audience members to use to view my slides.

10. I want to get more involved in WordCamp.

I’ve attended serval WordCamp Birmingham conferences and I’ve spoken at two, but I want to do more. Aida Marie Correa, William Jackson, and Aisha Adams, for example, travel to WordCamps all over the country. I’d love to rent an SUV, load it up with See Jane Write members and hit WordCamp conferences throughout the Southeast.

I may also have the opportunity to help host WordPress monthly meetups in Birmingham. Stay tuned!