SOBCon08 LogoGorgeous and I spent this past weekend at SOBCon in Chicago. It was a tremendous weekend for the both of us.

This years event kept some of the best parts of SOBCon07 and yet was quite different in at least one key element, that of focus. Last year SOBCon was all about community with a little bit of marketing thrown in.

All About Business

This time around SOBCon was all about business. Sure there were several bloggers in the room whose focus was not on making money with their blogs. But having just made the break from corporate life to the entrepreneur world this year, Gorgeous and I were definately focused on business while we were in Chicago.

And we weren’t disappointed.

Still Made Connections

Just like last year we made new connections which will likely produce valuable exchanges to help mutually propel our various businesses forward.

It is interesting to me that the people I made strongest connection with were not the same folks that I set out to get to know. Because I set out with that intentionality I still met the people and started the relationships that may potentially be catalysts for growth in my business. Those connections were just with unexpected people is all.

Content is King

We hear that cliche all the time, especially with blogging. Content is king. I know it’s debatable for some. And other factors do weigh in, for sure. But the speakers at SOBCon08 provided us with some tremendous content and we were given an opportunity right at the conference to set down some ways to apply that content to our own businesses.

So here are some of the speakers and some of the notes that I took away from each of their talks.

Anita Bruzzese
Anita BruzzeseAnita Bruzzese is an award winning national journalist. She spoke to the room from that perspective. And while it’s true many bloggers don’t consider themselves journalists (I sure don’t consider myself one) she spoke of the need of bloggers to ensure the quality of information they publish. Here are some things I jotted down during her talk.

  • The written word is powerful
  • Verify your facts
  • Who is your sourse?
  • Is the information credible?
  • Are you being fair?
  • Make corrections quickly & publicly
  • If you are the one making the correction you can influence how it plays out
  • When someone attacks you
  • Don’t respond in kind
  • Respond with facts and more information (not emotion)
  • Know your line in the sand
  • Will what you write pass the test of time?
Brian Clark
Brian ClarkBrian Clark probably best known in blogging circles as the creator of Copyblogger. He also founded membership sites such as Teaching Sells among others. Brian has proven he knows how to earn money in the online environment. From Brian’s talk:

  • Your business model is NOT the same as your traffic strategy or blogging
  • They can be parts of your business model
  • He would prefer we thought of ourselves as entrepreneurs not bloggers
  • A business model is putting the right thing in front of the right people under the right terms
  • There are three phases to Social Media – Attention, Authority, & Acceleration
  • There’s a difference between audience and clients
Chris Garrett
Chris GarrettA long time blogger, Chris Garrett, just published a book on blogging with Problogger Darren Rowse. Chris shared with us some general blogging tips from his vast experience.

  • A better blogger workflow – Create –> Communicate –> Promote –> Learn
  • Brainstorm content ideas
  • Organize yourself with an editorial calendar
  • Not important to write 4 posts a day but rather write when you can with the most impact you can muster
  • Good to have a few panic posts in draft for when you’re in a pinch
  • Don’t try to be perfect. Just try to improve.
  • Simplicity is the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means. – Dr. Koichi Kawana
  • Chris had the room work on a 5 minute blog post just to prove it could be done
David Bullock
David BullockDavid Bullock was an interesting choice to speak at a blogging conference. His background is online marketing. He said flat out that bloggers had something that most sales people like him craved – community and significant traffic.

You have done the hard part. As far as I’m wired, the selling is easy. Do you know there are salespeople everywhere dying to get a sense of community and bonding that you have so successfully achieved? You have already done the hard part. I want what you have.

Dave rocked the house by expanding our vision about the possibilities. Here are some of the things David shared with us.

  • He’s got the monetization half of the equation but we’ve got the community half
  • When you can communicate one to one with the people who read your blog, then and only then can you earn some money
  • Wouldn’t it be better to get fewer people to your site but make more money?
  • Web analytics are powerful – Let’s you look over the shoulder of the reader
  • START formula – Strategy, Tactics, Action, Results, Results
  • Tracking –> Testing –> Time
  • As soon as you are able to resonate with the people visiting your site you’ve got them
  • A blog post that works becomes EVERGREEN
  • Your major marketing channels – Customers, List, Identity, Success, Internet, Offline
  • Learn as much as you can so you can effectively manage the folks you outsource too because you know how to do what they do.
  • Use testimonials
Chris Brogan
Chris BroganI think everyone in the room had heard of Chris Brogan. In his talk What Pirates Teach Me About Community, Chris reminded us not to forget about the human element in business.

  • Most important message from Fletch – You can get anywhere in a business with a clipboard
  • There’s a difference between community and marketplace
  • Mess with community and it will ruin your life
  • You don’t buy in places where you are a community member
  • Your managers don’t want you to be passionate. They want you to be efficient.
  • Your marketplace is a crossroads experience
  • Trust is one of the most important things in the world so don’t wreck it
  • Give your ideas handles
  • Give more than you ask back
  • Be clear about your business
  • Go where your audience or communities are
  • Hack
  • Make Pirates
  • There is a secret trust going on out there where we’re start saying good things about companies because of the people we meet in them.
Wendy Piersall
Wendy PiersallWendy Piersall had a very inspirational talk. She’s overcome some significant obstacles to get where she is.

  • She didn’t set out to start a blog network.
  • Hardest part of growing a business is letting go control
  • These blogs are extension are who we are
  • It still is something you HAVE to do i.e. Work
  • Transparency is valuable to readers
  • But you do it to let people know what’s in it for them
  • Big Challenger for Wendy
  • Every day I had to hear my internal voice say, “Who are you to charge that much or who will come to my site to read this?”
  • And every single day another internal was there to say, “Who are you NOT TO!?

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