Back in June, I spoke on a panel of Pittsburgh-based women bloggers put together by NAWBO of Greater Pittsburgh (National Association of Women Business Owners). The panel included a great mix of savvy women:
- R’Chelle Mullins of Creatively Yours by Ro
- Media and fashion stylist Suzanne Mauro
- Mercedes Howze, the Movie Scene Queen
- Heather Hopson of Diary of a First Time Mom
- Lindsay of Confessions of a Human Vacuum
and me, representing Pittsburgh Bloggers and My Brilliant Mistakes, as well as this blog.
We had a lively discussion, with great questions from our moderator, Terina J. Hicks, and from the audience. A few points seemed to come up again and again, and have stuck with me since the event.
- Pursue your passion, and find your niche. Each blogger has a focus area or set of recurring topics and themes that she is passionate about, and this helps in a couple of ways. It acts as a hook that readers can latch onto in understanding the blog; it allows the blogger to stand out as an expert; and it allows the blogger to explore things that are interesting to her, that she cares about. It’s no fun to focus on a topic that you’re not deeply engaged with, so don’t bother trying. Choose as your focus the thing that matters to you, then cover it as well as you can, and your passion will show.
- Success comes from connecting with others. As Heather Hopson put it, “If content is king, collaboration is queen.” Traditional media works to find and connect with an audience; social media, including blogging, is about finding and supporting a community, who have the same tools you do for publishing and connecting. The more you can support others and help them succeed, the more they’ll support you, and the stronger the community becomes. Collaborate with those who are excited about the same things you are.
- Share your story: No one else has your unique perspective. With all the blogs, tweets, updates, videos, and other content on the web, we can get the sense that everything worth saying has been said already. But each of us has a story to tell and a personal perspective that’s worth sharing. Be your authentic self, and you’ll be unique.
- You are as ready as you need to be. Several people in the audience had questions about the right tools, equipment, and preparation for starting a blog, podcast, or series. While we all acknowledged that some tools can make things easier, we also agreed that the way to become an excellent blogger (or podcaster or web star or what-have-you) is through experience, and the only way to gain is to start. Start now, accept that the first results might not be perfect, and work to improve with each mistake and misstep you make. The first lousy video you post is still infinitely better than the idea for a video that’s trapped in your head. Be bold and start, now.
Thanks very much to NAWBO Pittsburgh for putting together this empowering event and inviting me to participate.
Watch a video review of the NAWBO Women Bloggers panel event.
Related: check out this post, “How to craft the best blog post ever.”