When I went to the Blissdom conference last year it was to decide if I wanted to “get married or break up” with my blog. I walked away from my first blogging conference with so many action items, great ideas and brainstorms I didn’t know what to do with them. This year, I’m going to Blissdom with a different eye—I’m looking to refine and strengthen my blog. So, to get my blogs (and yours) ready, I’ve asked five of my favorite bloggy heroes to share their blogging strengths with us!
To kick off week one, my long time bbb, Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife is sharing her wisdom…
Amanda is one of my longest (notice I didn’t say oldest) and dearest blogging friends, so when she asked me if I’d like to guest post as a part of her Get-Ready-For-Blissdom series, I was happy to oblige. Blissdom was probably the most fun I had in all of 2009, and I went to Disney World in November, so you know that’s saying something. Of course I went to Disney World with three kids and my parents, so that gives Blissdom a leg up right there.
Fellow bloggers often ask me if it is really worth it to go to blogging conferences, especially when blogging is more of a hobby than a job, and my answer is always a resounding YES. Conferences enrich online relationships, and suddenly “cyber friends” are “real life friends.” There is nothing quite like meeting someone face-to-face for the first time after chatting with them for months or years online and feeling like you are hugging an old friend. Well, of course, you are, but just try explaining THAT to your skeptical friends and family back home.
The best part about a blogging conference is, everyone speaks the same language. When you’re at a blogging conference, you never have to explain to your friends the difference between a blog and a post, you never feel like you have to defend spending the better part of your day online, and no one ever says, What is Twitter?
But I think the most valuable thing I took away from Blissdom last year was a renewed sense of purpose for my non-niche blog. In fact, that’s what Amanda suggested I write about today. It seems like everyone giving blogging advice preaches the necessity of having a niche, and I use to feel insecure about the fact that I don’t really have one. The worst is when I have to fill out a form and I’m asked to choose a category for my blog. Why isn’t Random ever a category?
My blog is all over the place, pretty much like me. I have many interests, and they wax and wane depending on the time of year or the direction the wind is blowing. Sometimes fashion is the topic of the day, sometimes it’s food and nutrition, sometimes it’s motherhood, sometimes it’s the reality TV show du jour, and sometimes it’s simply my stream of consciousness at the moment.
It has served me well, not having a specific niche. I’m certainly no ProBlogger, but my community has grown steadily over the past four years, and I have had various opportunities to represent companies and speak on the topic of blogging. And yet, everywhere I turn, the experts are saying, To be a successful blogger, you must have a niche.
My epiphany was during the writing session at Blissdom ’09 when Catherine Connors stated that she believes recording her family’s history is an act of love, and she referred to herself as a memoirist. Suddenly I knew that was exactly what I am. When I walked out of that session, I could have shouted from the rooftop, I HAVE A NICHE! I’M A MEMOIRIST! That was worth the price of admission, right there.
Blogging is a very personal thing, although certainly not private. Everyone has to determine what they want their blog to be, and it’s perfectly fine to have a blog that doesn’t fit neatly into a single category. After all, everyone’s definition of success is a bit different. I’m doing what I love, and I wouldn’t trade my modest home on the web for anything.
Wasn’t that beautiful? Please become friends with Jo-Lynne by visiting Musings of a Housewife, following her on twitter or meeting her at Blissdom! She is a delight–you will fall in love with her immediately! And want to become one of her groupies. Like me.