This morning, my head is spinning.
Thanks to my lovely sponsors, Continental, Kia, Zuji and Hyundai, I was able to travel to Melbourne for Nuffnang Australia's much-anticipated Blogopolis conference.
As is often the case where my travel plans are concerned, the trip was a last-minute thing, which I couldn't possibly have afforded without the support of my sponsors. So when you have a minute, click on the links above and have a look around to see what Continental, Kia, Zuji and Hyundai have to offer.
In the meantime, my followers on twitter and Facebook who couldn't make it to Blogopolis have been keen to find out what the conference was really like.
In a word: Awesome.
I was going to do a comprehensive wrap-up of the major points made throughout the day, but gorgous Bree from The Blog Sylist has done it beautifully here.
For me, I guess the major points which I can act on pretty much straight away were:
* Own your blog. Literally. Buy your own domain name.
* Find five key words that you want to describe your blog. Try to use them as much as possible in titles, tags, and the copy.
* Wordpress generally lords it over blogger, particularly if you like widgets. But you can still have a great blog with Google Blogger as well. Ahem.
* Don't fucking swear. Note: This only applies to people who hope to make money or be offered opportunities through their blog. Advertisers and PRs don't like it apparently. And fair enough.
* Blog the way you like it. If you want to make money, and/or be offered opportunities, that's fine. You can turn it into a paying job rather than a hobby if that's your desire. And if don't, that's fine too. It's your blog; it can be whatever you want it to be.
* Bloggers are valuable. They give brands something that traditional advertising cannot: truth, feelings, emotions. And small blogs can be particularly powerful.
* Companies are regularly scanning the blogosphere for voices and to gauge community thoughts and feedback.
* Be generous to other bloggers, even those you view as competitors. We can all help each other out, and there is plenty of room for everyone.
* If you do decide to monetise (make money out of) your blog, don't sell out. Don't just blog reviews or advertorial. Most of all, don't change your voice and your writing, which is what made you attractive to brands and advertisers in the first place. You'll lose your followers.
* Don't focus on the audience you don't have. Focus on the audience you do have. Who are they, what posts resonate with them the most. Give them what they want, involve them in the blog, and make them feel special.
I think what I took away the most was that signing up with Nuffnang Australia was one of the best things I could have ever done. They are more than a leading advertising agency; they are a blogging advertising community which works with brands AND bloggers to ensure we all get the best from each other. And they are supportive and 'givers-back', regularly holding sponsored events like blogopolis, to help bloggers learn, network, and develop.
The conference itself was fab. There wasn't a lot of time for 'squeeing' as the organisers had packed in so many fascinating sessions presented by leaders of the blogging community that we were on a strict schedule.
That was saved for the post-blogopolis drinks, which were sponsored by Nuffnang and held in a mysterious shed on the banks of the Yarra.
Again, I was going to write about it, but the lovely Toushka-Lee does it far better than I can, here:
And if you want to know anything else, I couldn't possibly say.
We all made a pact: What happens at #nuffnang2011 stays at #nuffnang2011.
Except that I did let Kelley of Magnetoboldtoo fondle my boobs whilst branding me as one of her biatches.
The pleasure was all mine!
The key speakers included: Nicole Avery of Planning With Kids, Michael Aulia of Craving Tech, Arnold Aranez of Mr Gadget, Danielle Melnyczenko of Dannimezza, Howard Trang and Minh Giang of Eat, Show & Tell, Christie Burnett of Childhood101, Susan Thye of Chocolatesuze, Nikki Parkinson of Styling You, Andrew Hughes of Reprise Media, Jaclyn Ely of Ikon Communications, Phoebe Montague of Lady Melbourne, David Krupp of Nuffnang, Candice Deville of Super Kawaii Mama, Eden Riley of Edenland, Helen Yee of Grab Your Fork, and last but certainly not least, the wonderful Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.