Wade Kwon

Blog, Baby, Blog!


Last month Birmingham-based communications consultant Wade Kwon came to speak to members of See Jane Write about blogging. Kwon is the director of the social media conference Y’all Connect and he was one of the founders of the award-winning website Magic City Post

Kwon’s advice to us was much simpler than I expected. His secret to success: “Blog, baby, blog!” Kwon stressed the importance of consistency and gave great advice on how we can keep our blogs alive. 

Wade Kwon addressing See Jane Write members at a recent workshop
(Photo by Audrey Atkins)

Pursue your passion. “Tap into something you could write about all the time,” Kwon said. But you still need to know why you’re blogging. What is your objective? What do you want to get out of your blog? 

Tackle your tagline. Develop a phrase that succinctly describes everything you want to cover. When Kwon and his partners started Magic City Post, they figured out that their site would celebrate all that’s right about Birmingham. The site’s About page read: 

Magic City Post in two words? Unrelentingly Positive! 

MCP in 18 words? A daily look at the Birmingham metro area that shows off the best the region has to offer.

I believe that if you can describe your blog in a concise way such as that, you can use that tagline as a mission statement that will not only help you decide what to write but also help you make decisions about posts from guest bloggers, sponsored posts and more. 

Create catchy content. The thing new bloggers struggle with most is usually a lack of readership. Kwon offered some practical advice on how to get the word out about your blog. First, create content that will be shared over and over. This can be compelling, controversial posts but it can also be posts that are very useful. For example, if you write a hyperlocal blog, consider a post of highlighting important city events of the year or a list of local restaurants open on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Throughout the year stop and ask yourself what kind of information are people seeking right now. 
Be sure to share your content via social media but don’t underestimate the power of email marketing. Your blog should have on its front page a way for readers to sign up for regular updates about your site. 

Click here if you’d like more highlights from Kwon’s talk. 

Kwon’s talk left me with a lot to think about. I’m at a point of truly trying to figure out who I want to be in the World Wide Web. Do I want my blog to be the place people turn to for writing tips or do I want it to be full of feminist musings? Do I want to be a fitness blogger? (After all, I am exercising EVERY SINGLE DAY.) Do I want to blog about my love for Birmingham? Or do I want to blog about my life as a teacher? Or perhaps there’s a way I could blog about ALL OF THIS, but then I run the risk of being a Jane of all trades and master of none. 
I’m not sure how I want my writing career to look.

Cross-posted at The Writeous Babe Project

Tell Me a Story – A Recap of Bloggers Who Brunch: The Power of Storytelling

What story are you trying to tell with your blog? 

Can you explain that story in one sentence?

Can you explain it in one word? 

These are the questions Wade Kwon posed to us at Friday’s Bloggers Who Brunch event on the art of digital storytelling. We had about 30 people gather in the side room of Nabeel’s for an afternoon of lunching and learning.

Wade Kwon speaking on the art of digital storytelling

“You’re telling a story with your blog,” Wade told us. “As storytellers you’re not just dealing with story or narrative, you’re dealing with a theme.”

If you’re having trouble determining the theme of your blog, summing up your site with one word or one sentence will help.

“The one word or one sentence can help you when you get stuck,” Wade said.

Your one sentence, your one word, can help you through writer’s block and help you make important decisions about your blog such as what to include and what to exclude and the different ways you will share your story. These days we have so many channels outside of our blogging and writing with which to tell our story — such as Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine.

The theme could also help you decide if your audience will help tell the story. Will they be part of the narrative? Will they help shape it? You can include your readers in a number of ways from allowing them to leave comments to asking them to share stories of their own.

One thing that’s important to remember, Wade reminded us, is that with digital storytelling your audience is not experiencing your story from start to finish the way we experience books or films.  In digital storytelling there is no clear beginning, middle, and end.

“It’s all middle,” Wade said. Therefore your theme has to permeate every post because that post might be the only chapter a person reads of your story.

We had over two dozen bloggers attend this lunch event. 

In addition to theme, it’s important to determine voice and brand. Do you want your blog to be serious? Authoritative? Warm? Collaborative? If your site has a number of contributors how will you include diverse voices while maintaining a distinct brand? Your theme can help you do that.

If you’re sitting there staring at the screen thinking you have no idea how to describe your voice or brand, and if you’re thinking you have no idea what story you’re striving to tell with your blog, that’s OK. The answers to these question will become clearer in time. But you must keep writing.

Being persistent and consistent are key, Wade advised. Keep blogging and eventually your voice will be stronger and your fan base will grow larger, too.

During his talk Wade shared a story about the great success Birmingham blogger Tanya Sylvan had with a recent post. In her post Birmingham — I Run This Town, Tanya composed a photo essay of her favorite sites to see when she runs through downtown Birmingham. Tanya’s blog tells the story of her running adventures and in this post she included her love for Birmingham and her love for photography as well. The post went viral and her readership increased by 300 percent. But Tanya, who attended Friday’s lunch, stressed that this was not her goal when she wrote this post. She just wanted to show why she loves running downtown.

The point is simple: be authentic. Whatever the story of your blog may be, tell it with passion and sincerity. That’s a story people are going to want to read.

Today is the last day to register for the Y’all Connect social media conference, where you can learn even more about digital storytelling. Use SJW89 to receive a $30 discount. Click here for more details. 

The Power of Digital Storytelling

Wade Kwon
Photo Credit: Sean Kelley

As writers we understand the power and the value of storytelling. However, far too many of us fail to realize that we can and should use these storytelling skills we possess in the digital realm through blogging and social media. 

Whether you’re a small business owner seeking new customers or a writer seeking to grab the attention of readers or editors, you need to blog and you need to use social media. If there’s anyone who can help you do this well, it’s Wade Kwon — who will be the speaker at See Jane Write’s next Bloggers Who Brunch event. 

Kwon is a well-known communications consultant based in Birmingham and the director of the upcoming blogging and social media conference Y’all Connect. Kwon will be speaking at the Bloggers Who Brunch event set for 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 21 at Nabeel’s (1706 Oxmoor Road, Homewood). He’ll be discussing the upcoming conference and the power of storytelling. 

Kwon believes that all businesses — whether a gigantic corporation or a small mom & pop shop — should be using blogging and social media as these are prime ways to reach consumers. And the same goes for writers, too.

“If you’re trying to get the attention of editors, publishers, or readers, blogging should be a part of what you do on a regular basis,” Kwon said.

Just as social media and blogging can be used to help businesses get the attention of potential customers, these tools can help an author find new fans, a freelance writer snag new gigs, or an aspiring novelist land a book deal. 

“Don’t think that networking opportunities only happen at conferences and workshops,” Kwon said. “They can happen every day around your writing,” that is if you’re blogging and effectively using social media. 

And when it comes to social media, Kwon knows his stuff. The Poynter Institute selected him as one of 35 Influential People in Social Media. Birmingham Magazine readers selected him as Best Tweeter in the Best of B’ham 2010 and 2011 online polls.

But Kwon didn’t organize the Y’all Connect conference to show off his own talent, but to show off his hometown of Birmingham. 

“Birmingham is too talented and too rich of an environment to keep quiet any longer,” Kwon said. 

Y’all Connect, which is taking place July 23 in Birmingham, is designed to help you master the art of digital storytelling and thus boost your business and/or writing career. 

Mack Collier, author of Think Like a Rockstar, will be at the conference speaking on how you can create content that is more relevant and exciting to your customers or readers. 

Peter Shankman, author, entrepreneur, and founder of Help a Reporter Out, will teach you at least six actions you should implement so you can start seeing immediate growth in your company or career. 

Top metereologist and Twitter superstar James Spann will also be speaking, along with several other social media gurus. 

Kwon has created a special discount code for See Jane Write. Our special promo code is: SJW89.

Visit http://yallconnect.com/tickets/ and enter the code above for $30 off your ticket. That makes your ticket just $99 and that includes the full conference, two meals, one snack and two parties. And register soon because the first 100 ticket buyers receive a free copy of  Collier’s book, Think Like a Rock Star.

And if you’re eager to learn more about blogging and social media before Y’all Connect don’t miss June’s Bloggers Who Brunch event. You can sign up at http://bloggerswhobrunch3.eventbrite.comSpace is limited so register today!