BritMums Live : Crossing The Chasm

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The over-riding message from almost all speakers at "BritMums Live" this weekend was to use your own voice and be a great community member.  I'm paraphrasing, of course, but clarity in thought with regards to social media, monetizing, story-telling and rewinding was what I came away with, both as a speaker and an attendee.


I shall write more about the weekend later but I would like to highlight the session I was leading during BritMums Live - Crossing The Chasm : How To Bring Your Blog To The Next Level.  My fellow speakers were Melinda Fargo, Maggie Woodley, Jane Blackmore and Michelle Pannell (click their names to be taken to their blogs) and, whilst our personal ethos is very different,  without realising or prompting our message to the audience was very similar.  We each spoke for a few minutes about our own blogging journey to date and then opened a discussion with the audience.  Below is my own introduction, then a Google+ Hangout that we all took part in and finally some quotes from audience members.  

If you attended this session, I'd love to hear from you.  Was it a useful session?  What did you take away from it?  Are you going to change the way you blog?  Is there anything you could add?

Edited to add:  The Britmums Live reporter for this session was Tanya, aka "Mummy Barrow".  She says:

When I saw the agenda for Britmums Live this was the discussion I really wanted to attend.  Just how do you cross that chasm in blogging?  How do we get our blog to the next level and out of a rut that we might be in. 
And I certainly wasn’t alone!  It was very well attended, with a lot of note taking being done by virtually everybody in the room.  People frantically scribbling down valuable information from five people we were all viewing as “blog gurus”.
You can read her full write up on the Britmums Live blog.


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If there is more than one person reading your blog you already have an audience.  You're already at "the next level".  For me, "the next level" is responding to your audience but also staying true to yourself.  

But how many levels of blogging are there?  Is there a top level?  We all know that there are plateaus where for a few days, or even weeks, you have no idea what to write, but those plateaus are there to help you catch your breath.  I read a quote on the Huffington Post the other day:  "Climb the mountain not to plant your flag but to enjoy the view".  That's what I do when I hit my plateaus.  I enjoy the view for a while and prepare for the next part of the climb.

I don't try - I just write about stuff that interests, excites or maddens me.  I write for me, no-one else, and if that's actually entertaining to other people then that's great.  I've never hidden behind a username because I have the conviction to say what I believe in but I also respect that my opinion isn't the same as yours.  Once you start thinking about it all too much it stops becoming a blog and more like an online thought centre.  

Every person has a story and it's your choice how you tell it.  I've been blogging and using online forums for about ten years but didn't find my stride until three years ago.  I had got to a point in my life where I was ready to talk about life events that shaped who I am today.  Also, when I searched online for help or support there seemed to be nothing out there from a personal level - just plenty of people telling me how I *should* be coping or describing the corporate vision.  I wanted to read something from someone who had lived through a struggle.  So I decided to be that person.

All you need to do is remember about your voice, your topic and your message.  Your voice is what makes your writing distinctive and completely "you".  Your topics are the subjects you will write about and your message is the reason you write what you write - it's the soapbox you stand on. 

We all put a lot of time and effort into our blogs - we're all here today because we are passionate about what we do.  You might be writing about the same subject as someone else but your stories and experiences aren't the same, nor is you reason for writing it.  Your blog post will be individual because YOU wrote it.

And I can't be here today and not mention social media.  Look, we all know that I'm a total social media whore.  My best piece of advice to move to the "next level" is to widen your network.  I completely and totally love all types of social media - except maybe Google Plus although I am getting to grips with it.  But you can only shout so loud.  You can "tweet like crazy" but that tweet will only stretch as far as your immediate network.  You're then relying on the snowball effect through retweets or shares or recommendations.

Think about all the different social media and blogging networks there are.  Try to interact with different audiences.  Just because we are parent bloggers, that doesn't mean we have to just converse with other parent bloggers.

Mix it up a little and watch it grow.


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Feedback:

"Great session. Great advice from some amazing bloggers. Love that you are all down to earth and friendly.  You all had different opinions and ways of working but they all fitted in together.  Was a great session.  Very inspiring."  Sinead - The Singing Mummy

"This session reminded me why I started blogging and how off track my blog had become.  I left vowing to sort it out"  Tanya - Mummy Barrow

"The message I came away with was to stay true to your voice and don't let anyone change what you write and who you write for.  Bex - The Mummy Adventure

"Crossing The Chasm made clear a lot of what I've been struggling with, even as a more experienced blogger."  Michelle - The American Resident

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