My first ProBlogger experience!

March 10, 2015

This March, ProBlogger decided to hit the road and run some East Coast training sessions!  On Tuesday last week they were in Brisbane and I went along and had my first ever ProBlogger experience.

If you’ve read my post ‘All about that bag’ you’d know that I had a few fears about the day and was a tad nervous! I was however – prepared! I got some business cards printed and I planned my outfit.  There – important stuff sorted!  As for my FODP (Fear of Disappointing People)  – pffft!  I had an epiphany while I was actually at the event surrounded in around 100 bloggers, as this quote suddenly appeared very clearly and strongly in my mind:

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind ~ Dr Seuss

I caught a train into the city. It’s far more relaxing than driving in and having to pay a fortune for parking. I could have got a train that arrived 15 minutes prior to the 11am registration time BUT that’s not me. I like to have time up my sleeve. Time to sit, have a coffee, collect myself, and let the nerves take hold!  Surprisingly, my nerves were not too bad actually!  My train got in to Central Station at 10:15am. I had 45 minutes to kill – or so I thought. I actually had 1 hour and 30 minutes to kill because registration was not in actual fact until 11:30am but I didn’t find that out until way later!

I sat on a seat in Anzac Square for a while before deciding that it might be best to find the actual building where I have to go and perhaps have a coffee at a nearby café. Lucky for me there was a café at the bottom of the building where the event was taking place.  So, I ordered a coffee and sat down at a table. I looked around and there were at least two ladies that I thought looked like bloggers (coz you know us bloggers – we all have a certain look … not!) and so I smiled at them whilst inside hoping one of them would ask if I was here for the ProBlogger event and then we could be friends and I wouldn’t have to walk in alone!

Anyway – I digress! The sun had been behind the clouds but came out and it was soon very clear that I was sitting in a hot spot, so I moved to a table in the shade.  Being the diligent blogger that I am, as I waited for my coffee, I was checking my phone. I noticed a comment on a photo of Anzac Square that I had posted on Instagram. It was from mrs.lauren.roney. See the photo below, and check out the comments!

A photo posted by Min (@writeofthemiddle) on

Turns out she was a blogger here for the same event and she was sitting at the same cafe as me and so once we got that figured, she came over to my table and joined me.  I had just met Lauren from Sand Castles and Paper Crowns!  She was as nervous as me and she looked gorgeous.  Obviously a fashion blogger I thought and I was right.  She does blog about fashion and beauty, as well as life in general.  We were both relieved to have found each other and be able to walk in to the event together.  We chatted for awhile and then Janet from Middle Aged Mama turned up and sat with us.  I’ve met Janet a few times previously.  So now the three of us could walk into the event together.  Perfect! 

So up we went in the elevator to the 11th floor and we approached the registration desk and grabbed our ID lanyard’s.  There we were met by Darren Rowse, Mr ProBlogger himself.  I know him well (well sort of – he is always in my Facebook feed and my inbox!) and so I guess I just sort of expected he would know me too!  I said “Hello Darren –  I’m Min” … {no sign of recognition} … “err … from Write of the Middle”.  Nope – there was no recognition in his face at all!  LOL  He didn’t know of me but he was friendly and welcoming regardless!  It is my aim to one day have Darren Rowse recognise my name and know who I am!

So then we walk through to the fall out area where bloggers are starting to accumulate and chat and off I go on a whirlwind of meeting new people and seeing a few that I have met previously.  There were so many unfamiliar faces!  So many blogs I have not yet discovered!  There are so many bloggers!!  So meanwhile 30 bloggers were ensconced in a room with the Olympus people doing a beginner’s photography workshop (9:30 to 11:30am).  Though I could have, I didn’t put my name down for this or for the later Intermediate workshop (2:00 to 4:00 pm) because there were limited spots and I wanted to leave them for bloggers who would appreciate and have more to gain from attending the workshop/s than me.  Finally, at around 12:00 pm we all made our way into the room and sat down for the ProBlogger part of the day!  First up, Darren Rowse gave his keynote talk about the challenges facing bloggers of all levels with regards to standing out as a blogger in a crowded blogosphere and building an audience.   I managed to snap a photo of Darren speaking whilst madly scribbling dodgy notes (I’ll do my best to summarize the key points).

Fantastic to at last meet and hear Darren Rowse speak! #pbevent #olympuslovesbloggers A photo posted by Min (@writeofthemiddle) on

Darren provided examples of bloggers who were successfully obtaining a full-time income from their blog whilst not having huge daily traffic numbers.  The examples also showed the diversity of their income streams, e.g.:  advertising, sponsored posts, freelance writing, eBooks, eProducts, presenting and speaking gigs, consulting services, banner ads, affiliate promotions and more!

Take Home Tips!

  • To best monetize your blog diversify your income streams
  • Think about what you could write an eBook about
  • Target the right reader
    • who are you trying to reach
    • how can you serve them
    • how can you attract them to your blog
  • Aim for connected and engaged readers
  • Do something different and/or fill a gap
  • Pick a fight (not literally) – stand for or against something!
  • Think about your format.  Could you change it up?

Then Darren introduced the panel of speakers:

Caz McCullough, Author of Your Brilliant Un-Career who spoke on the topic of How to laser focus on your readers to increase engagement and readership.  Key tips from my dodgy notes:

    • What keeps your readers awake at night?  Write about that!
    • Hone in on what matters.
    • Look at the comments on your blog posts and on the posts of other bloggers that you identify with.  Create posts that answer those questions or address those concerns.
    • Visualize you’re having a coffee with your ideal client and that is the voice you should write in.

Chelsea Smith of Moments A Day who spoke on Getting over your love-hate relationship with Facebook.  Key tips from my dodgy notes:

  • Be sure that your FB page compliments your blog and its branding.  Does it have the same feel and vibe?
  • Use FB ‘Interest Lists’ to find content to share on your FB page.  It’s far more time efficient and effective in finding relevant content.
  • Set practical goals that you WILL do!
  • Collaborate with other bloggers.

Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted who spoke to us about the challenges of how she grew her blog to a Top 10 Social Media Blog and Best Business Blog in Australia.   She spoke on how you can get results and earn money even with a small list and small traffic, and how she managed to push past that first block of 1000 unique visitors … the tipping points/inflection points after that, and then her top 3 tips for growing your blog.  Those top 3 tips are:

  1. Pivot your blog (dodgy notes here but they say: with content & focus; programs/affiliates/speaking; social media marketing)
  2. Blogs ‘heart’ visual content (apparently Infographics are BIG)
  3. Provide massive value (an example of providing a summary of quotes from within a blog post on SlideShare was mentioned)

Before I knew it, it was all over (except for those who were doing the intermediate photography workshop with Olympus after lunch) and it was time for lunch, more chatting and networking and then I headed home on the train that was invaded by a gazillion noisy school boys ( #schoolsout )!

My first ever ProBlogger event was over in a flash.  I didn’t even think to take any selfie photo’s with other bloggers!  I left having met some fabulous new bloggers (and yes I handed out some of my swish new business cards and received many bloggers business cards), with a notebook full of dodgy notes, a brain full of stuff I need to do, feet that were killing me, and a realization that there is SO much stuff I do not know or understand and that I have lots to learn!  So of course I want more and would love to go to the main two day PB Event on the Gold Coast in August!  I’m mulling over thoughts of whether we can afford for me to go, particularly with the Tassie trip in April/May.  Regardless, onwards and upwards! 😉

Ciao for now,

Min-Signature

[ This post is linked up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT ]

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47 Comments

  • Reply Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life March 10, 2015 at 6:33 am

    I’m attending my first ProBlogger event in Sydney today. I’ll have to remember your above Dr Seuss quote! I hope I’m lucky enough to bump into someone outside so I don’t have to walk in by myself as well.

  • Reply cate March 10, 2015 at 6:37 am

    A great summary! My dodgy notes say the same thing, so at least I got something right!

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks & phew – I was a bit worried about my dodgy notes. I’m used to a keyboard – not a pen! 😉

  • Reply Jody at Six Little Hearts March 10, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I am so glad you enjoyed yourself.
    I have to say that the more I read about ProBlogger, the more I know that I am never going to attend one! I just don’t want to learn the things they focus on. (Olympus workshops would be great however as a refresher).
    There’s just something about ProBlogger that really bothers me – I think it’s the emphasis on monetising blogs and analytics yadda, yadda! I don’t think that fits with my blog or so many others. I am always asking myself exactly why does every blogger feel the push to monetise or worry about their social media reach or their analytics, media kits and everything else?
    I started blogging to blog and that means to write about whatever it is that appeals. Yes, I do regular of sponsored stuff and work with lots of brands but I never actually intended that at all, it just happened.
    I follow a huge US blogger who actually inspired me to blog in the first place. She only posts to Facebook once every month and about the same to her other social media – maybe less. She does so well and her blog is wonderful. (20,000 plus followers last time I looked.) Obviously she is not worried about chatting with her readers on social media or what her figures read like – people are only there to read her wonderful blog because she’s a BLOGGER!
    Anyway, sorry for my rant but I am sick of ProBlogger! There I said it! Maybe I am the only blogger who isn’t into it? 😀

    • Reply Deb @ inner compass designs March 10, 2015 at 8:19 am

      I have been to one pb conference and loved the I spirational speakers on day 1, day 2 got way more technical and monetary focused so I enjoyed it less. Last year I did not go as I felt it would not be a good return on investment for me personally based on the speakers. I think that is key- looking at who is speaking and what is on offer and seeing if it is a good fit. I am waiting to see the full list this year. Had hoped to go to Clare Bowditch’s conference but it has been put off til next year. Check that one out xx

      • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        They’ve announced a few speakers for the August conference Deb and they are looking awesome! You can see the lineup so far here: http://probloggerevents.com/speakers/
        I am going to have to do some sweet talking because I really want to go. Time’s running out too coz tickets go on sale soon and you know how quick you’ve gotta be to get one!
        I must admit I find it hard to absorb all the technical talk about analytics and stats, particularly when it is assumed you understand that language. I’m not even sure how to work out how many unique visitors I get as Google Analytics is very new to me (only since I launched this blog on Nov 4). So, though I’d rather sit and listen to inspirational speakers (and I WOULD) and other amazing speakers, I need to learn some of that stuff but I need it done in a “for dummies” way! I’ll google Clare Bowditch’s conference – thanks! What if I want to go to both though – I’ll need to win Lotto! 😉 xo

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      I did enjoy it Jody! I would have liked the ProBlogger session to have been longer if I’m to be completely honest but it was fun to meet people I know on-line and experience my first bit of ProBlogger. I think from what I’ve read about ProBlogger that they offer a little bit of everything (well variety anyway!) at their main events and you can pick and choose which sessions you go to. Obviously you’d choose the ones that align with you and your blog and that interest you. I don’t think all sessions would be about monetising your blog and/or stats and stuff. Monetising your blog is not for everyone but it’s interesting to hear how it’s done nonetheless and see if it is something you could do with your own (if you want to go that way). I can think of one very popular and successful blogger who tried monetising her blog and didn’t like it so doesn’t do it anymore. She’s still hugely popular though! I’d really like to experience one of the main two day ProBlogger event at least once to really get a feel for what they offer and meet some more people that I really would like to meet. 🙂

  • Reply Deb @ inner compass designs March 10, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I am glad you hooked up with Lauren before going in. I know you were nervous and I think one of our biggest worries is always that walking in alone thing (i soooo relate). Xxx

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks Deb – I’m so glad to have met Lauren! She’s such a lovely girl and we chatted away so easily. Then to have Janet turn up was an added bonus. The fearsome threesome could arrive together! haha 😉 xo

  • Reply Danielle L March 10, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I was disappointed to miss a spot in the Melbourne sessions so thanks for providing a recap here 🙂

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      My pleasure Danielle! The panel of speakers will most likely be different in Melbourne though and they’ll probably speak on different topics but there’s sure to be a Melbourne blogger who attends that will do a wrap up post for you to read! Such a shame you missed out on a ticket! Next time!! 😉

  • Reply Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum March 10, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Thanks for the overview of the PB event – it’s great to hear what other bloggers walk away with from these events. I hope to one day attend a PB event, even just to meet a few more bloggers face to face would be lovely, but I’m due with with baby #3 in the next couple of weeks so the timing isn’t great. Maybe next year will be the year?!

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Oh having a baby is way more exciting and you haven’t long to go! Wishing you all the best of luck and I look forward to seeing photo’s of him or her when he or she arrives! I’m sure you’ll get to a ProBlogger event one day! 🙂 x

  • Reply Janet aka Middle Aged Mama March 10, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Min, you’re not the only one – I also thought registration was at 11am! Enjoyed reading the points you picked up out of it. I am still not quite sure what Donna Moritz meant by “pivot your blog” … pivot … it’s a weird word … maybe I should google it! 😉

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      LOL – glad I wasn’t the only one who was a half hour ahead of myself then Janet! lol I’m still not quite sure what “pivot your blog” means either. I wrote what my notes said but I’m still a little confused over that one! 😉 x

  • Reply Caroline Culleton March 10, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Hi Min. Well done for summarising what I am still digesting! I too felt at ease at the “normalcy” of all the bloggers there that day! It does give you ideas both of grandeur and insignificance at the same time when surrounded by so much talent and enthusiasm. Bring it on I say!

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks Caroline – I love the way you described the feeling of ideas of ‘both grandeur and insignficance’ when surrounded by all the talent and enthusiasm. It’s exciting to learn stuff you were not aware of and get ideas that you previously didn’t have but at the same time you feel quite overwhelmed by the size and success of so many other bloggers!! We are all unique is what I say! 😉

  • Reply Sally@Toddlers on Tour March 10, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Great to hear some feedback about the event. I have been wondering if it was worth going to an event of theirs versus just reading the website. looks like you can a some good concise take home tips.

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks Sally – yes it is definitely going to an event as you get so much more than just reading their site and posts – even if it is just the opportunity to meet other bloggers face to face! My experience was only a short one. I imagine that if I manage to get to the two day one – my head will be exploding with new info! lol 😉

  • Reply Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages March 10, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you! Almost makes me feel like I was there. Sounds like it was a whirlwind of a day. And yes, that would have been me too – smiling back at people nervously wondering if they were bloggers too.

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the wrap up Malinda! It was a bit a whirlwind because of the nervous build up I suppose and the fact that it was over so quickly. Also – coming out from behind the computer to mingling with a room full of 100 bloggers is quite the whirlwind indeed! 😉

  • Reply Bec @ The Plumbette March 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Great summary Min. It was so good to finally meet you! I really enjoyed the day and I got so much out of the session.

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks Bec! It was fabulous to meet you too. You were just like you look on your blog. Not sure if the same can be said of me! lol 😉 xo

  • Reply Deborah March 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    So glad you enjoyed it Min. I skipped last year’s PBEvent and doubt (unless I get a job!) I can go to this year’s but I started to struggle with them a bit and I’m not sure why. It felt like everyone was a bit too focussed on stats and money and it all felt a little mercenary or something.

    I do however miss the camaraderie of those kinds of events – particularly now that I’m living far from other bloggers etc.

    Deb

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks Deb! I must need to catch up coz I thought you had a job? I think with the PBEvent – it’s a matter of picking and choosing which sessions align with you and what you’ll get the most out of and going for those. I don’t think they’re all about monetising and stats and stuff. The line up of speakers for August is looking pretty amazing I must say! I enjoyed meeting other bloggers but it was a bit overwhelming for me. I think if I do make it to the two day event, I will have to take my ‘introvert’ self off to my room now and then for a recharge!! x

  • Reply Pinky Poinker March 10, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    A great round up Min! I had a feeling you’d give it a glowing report. I hope you do make it to the GC cos I’m planning on going 🙂

  • Reply Tegan March 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    So glad to hear that you enjoyed it. It really is something special to sit in a room of people who ‘get’ this whole blogging caper. I went to the main event a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it. Although walking into the room where there was about 300 other bloggers was quite nerve wracking!

    • Reply Min March 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      That is so true Tegan! It’s SUCH a relief to be surrounded in people that GET you and have the same interest, know what you’re talkin ’bout and they don’t think you’re a weirdo! Gosh 300 bloggers!! I walked into a room of 100 bloggers and that was nervewracking enough. I think I wouldn’t be as nervous next time though. 🙂

  • Reply Lauren Robey March 10, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Fabulous write up gorgeous!!! It was wonderful to meet you and to have a friendly face to walk in with!!

    • Reply Min March 11, 2015 at 6:29 am

      Thanks Lauren! It was fabulous meeting you and I loved the way we met. It was fate! We were meant to meet so as not to have to walk in alone 😉 xo

  • Reply JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter) March 10, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Great takeaways Min.

    • Reply Min March 11, 2015 at 6:29 am

      Thanks Jodi! 🙂

  • Reply Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side March 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you so much for this awesome round up! I love reading post-blogger event posts. Even more, I love BEING at blogging events! It’s so wonderful to actually meet and talk to bloggers instead of just reading their posts. Thanks for linking with #TeamIBOT:-)

    • Reply Min March 11, 2015 at 6:30 am

      Glad you enjoyed Bec! I love reading Pro-Blogger wrap up posts too – it’s kinda weird to have written one for a change! 🙂 x

  • Reply Krystal March 10, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Min – I so wish I was able to go and finally meet you!! It sounded like a great few hours but like you said, would have been over so quickly. You definitely should go to the August event. I am so excited about it and am nervous about getting a ticket. I guess it depends on what you want to get out of these sessions. Problogger is very much upfront about assisting to grow and monetise your blog and that’s exactly what I’m chasing so it’s a perfect fit. It would be great to see you there!! xoxo

    • Reply Min March 11, 2015 at 6:31 am

      Krystal – such a shame you couldn’t make it in the end but I’m sure we’ll meet up eventually – hopefully August (we shall see!!). 🙂 xo

  • Reply Renee Wilson March 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Fantastic wrap up, Min. I’m just gutted I didn’t get to have a chat with you. Hopefully we can catch up at another meet up. I’m glad you didn’t let your nerves take over and that you were able to enjoy yourself. Meanwhile, how cute are you and Mrs Lauren Rooney! Cute as instagramming each other. I didn’t get to meet her either. I rushed in from work like a mad woman. It all went too fast for me.

    • Reply Min March 11, 2015 at 6:34 am

      Thanks Renee! It must have been hard to have to fit the PB Event in around work! I saw you across the crowded room but wasn’t quick enough to get to you before you had scooted off back to work. How I met Lauren is hysterical. I’m so glad I did meet her coz it made such a difference to my experience. We’ll cross paths again and get to chat eventually! 😉 x

  • Reply Raychael aka Mystery Case March 11, 2015 at 2:43 am

    So very envious. Not of the ProBlogger event as such but the fact you caught up with Janet aka Middle Aged Mama.

    Sounds like you had a great time.

    • Reply Min March 11, 2015 at 6:34 am

      LOL Raychael – I’ve met up with Janet at least three times prior to the PB Event. We live not all that far away from each other 🙂

  • Reply Cate March 11, 2015 at 4:36 am

    thanks so much for sharing your experience, I follow problogger with interest but i now live in Germany so I haven’t been able to attend an event 🙂

    • Reply Min March 11, 2015 at 6:36 am

      So glad you enjoyed the read Cate! Hope you’re enjoying living over there in Germany. What a fabulous experience it must be! I bet it’s quite a bit cooler there than it is here at the moment! 🙂

  • Reply Michelle@myslowlivingadventure March 12, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Interesting read Min. Love love love the Dr Seuss quote. I am curious about PB stuff, but at the moment for me it’s more about writing and fun. I like the idea that occasionally someone really gets something from my writing, or enjoys something I’ve done. Would be nice to connect with other bloggers though. That part would be fun. I’d love to have a coffee with you Min!

  • Reply Sonia Life Love Hiccups March 12, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    What a brilliant round up. Well done min – so glad you went and enjoyed it xx

    • Reply Min March 16, 2015 at 7:20 am

      Thank you Sonia! Yes it was great fun to finally dip my toe in the PB world and meet some more bloggers! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Rita @ The Crafty Expat April 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    I’m so glad you had a great day Min! And, thanks for the wrap up!
    When I went to the Gala of Voices last year, I was terrorised to go all by myself… Luckily, I met two other bloggers with who I spent the night. And, it was great. But, I didn’t socialise with others because i was just so shy to go and introduce myself…
    That quote is amazing!

    • Reply Min May 13, 2015 at 8:47 am

      It seems so long ago now Rita! I’m glad you enjoyed the wrap up. I remember when you went to Gala of Voices last year. I’m amazing that I took myself off to this on my own. It’s quite overwhelming with so many people, many of whom all seem to already know each other. Both of us did it though so I think we’re both pretty darn cool! 😉

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