There comes a time in every bloggers life when then come out from behind the computer and take the stage and become a speaker. That time came for me last weekend when I presented at WordCamp Seattle. I’ve been on panels before, but this was the first time that I actually took the stage and shared my own ideas solo.
WordCamp is a locally organized conference that covers everything related to WordPress with sessions ranging from basic WordPress tips to very advanced development tricks. This was my first time attending and speaking at WordCamp, so I had no idea what to expect. But what I discovered was 300 people who were all very passionate about using the WordPress publishing platform to get their ideas out there, which makes for a very friendly community.
Slides: How to Promote Your Blog Without Losing Your Soul
My talk was in the afternoon and in one of the smallest rooms. But even so, I counted somewhere between 60 and 70 people while I cleared my throat and anxiously waited for when I was supposed to start.
My talk was called, “How to Promote Your Blog Without Losing Your Soul.” It offered an overview of why you should build a community for your blog before you need to promote your blog and a checklist for how to get the word out about a post after you publish.
I came up with the idea for this topic after knowing a bunch of bloggers who write really amazing posts but are horrible at marketing themselves. Usually it’s because people who have a blog are writers, not marketers. And while marketing is a skill, a lot of it is a process that you repeat and iterate on as you go. Plus a lot of this methodology comes from what I’ve learned running and promoting my own blog and that of my employers (current and former).
Here are the slides from my talk – and here’s a link to a video of my talk on promoting your blog.
Highlights from Leading My First Talk
Now, this wouldn’t be an awesome post-giving-my-first-talk without some geeking out, so here’s a random list of highlights from WordCamp:
- I found out the day before that my talk was going to be live-streamed. I was simultaneously excited that I would get a video of my talk and also scared shitless that I would be live on the Internet (gasp!).
- The morning of the event I practiced my talk for an audience of three: my husband and our two cats. While husbands make a great practice audience, cats do not.
- A dim room is not a bad thing for giving a talk – it allows your audience to see your slides and for you not to see them. (Plus takes away the awkwardness of having to picture the audience naked or asking them to take off their clothes…)
- Two slides in a hand shot up and asked if my slides would be up anywhere after posting. Mental note for next time: after I introduce myself, tell them the audience when I’ll take questions and where they can find my slides afterwards.
- As someone who is really, really good at live-tweeting during events, it was so freakin’ cool to hop on Twitter after my talk and see how people live-tweeted mine! And the best part was after professing my love for bit.ly, a URL shortening tool, someone bit.ly’ed my blog halfway through my talk.
— Robert Hughes (@rlhughesPNW) May 19, 2012
Other Amazing Things to Come Out of WordCamp Seattle
The best part about giving this talk was learning from other speakers and quite frankly getting jazzed about investing some time in making my blog a better platform for my content, so stay tuned for some tweaks that you may or may not notice
Here are some resources that came out of WordCamp if you’d like to dive deeper:
- Great recap of all of the sessions at WordCamp Seattle from Joyce Peralta of BraveNewCode.
- A list of all of the slides from every talk at WordCamp (Bravo, Lucy Beer, for collecting these!)
- BraveNewCode’s Storify from WordCamp to see the conference through Tweets
- Everything you need to know about copyright from Aaron Hockley
- If you ever wanted a tour of the WordPress Visual Editor, this is a fabulous resource from Mark Root-Wiley and Christine Winckler’s talk, “WYSI WHA?”
- And the slides from Justin Briggs’ talk, SEO for Bloggers
And with that, my first solo speaking event and WordCamp Seattle 2012 has come to a close – though I will be posting the video of my talk as soon as it’s available.
If you attended WordCamp Seattle, what was one thing you learned?