Monday, October 3, 2011

Recap of the Financial Blogger Conference

Oh, boy! The Financial Blogger Conference! If you ever have the opportunity to attend a conference or local meet-up, I totally recommend it! It's been over a day and I'm still riding the high. It's like coming home after a weekend retreat. I'm inspired and a bit overwhelmed by the ideas in my head. I have pages filled in a notebook and could sit here all day writing about it. Instead, here's a highlight of the things I learned from the conference.

Put the readers first
First and foremost, readers are first. That's you! J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly opened up the conference with this very point. We don't blog for ourselves. We blog to help readers. Our blogs should offer actual advice and be a resource.

Since blogs are for the readers, we should be reaching out to the readers and asking them what they want. Really get to know your audience. Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich said we need to "stop preaching and start listening." I know I'm guilty of going on and on about myself...."I, I, I, me, me, me, blah, blah, blah, look how amazing I am." That gets pretty old after a while. Many presenters suggested sending out a reader survey, so I'm going to put one together over the next few weeks. Start thinking of things you like about Fiscally Chic and things that need a little work. Are there posts or areas that are lacking? Do you have some burning question that needs to be answered? Chances are, someone else has the same question.

Conference organizer, Philip Taylor of PT Money

Personal finance bloggers are extremely smart and inspiring. The conference was like a live Twitter feed or the "best of the best" of my Google Reader. Many of bloggers are documenting their journey out of debt. Others are sharing the ways they've created something out of nothing and have become quite successful. Not only are they bloggers, but they are mothers, fathers, and friends doing something they love. I've always heard you should surround yourself by people you aspire to be and this is a great group to be a part of.

At the same time, many of the speakers challenged us to do more. Be EPIC! In the words of Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, "We know what we need to do, so why aren't we doing it?" Ramit also pointed out that "if you're doing the right thing, the money will come."

The importance of social media
Social media is a way to connect with readers on another level. In keeping with "Put the readers first," it's another way to engage your readers. Personal finance can be extremely dry, so sharing your story (and others') can add a little color. Plus, you don't know which method of communication works for someone. Twitter is perfect for the short updates. (Speaking of, check out the #FINCON11 hashtag for more highlights of the conference.) Tumblr and Flickr are great for sharing pictures. Maybe you prefer Facebook. That means a Fiscally Chic FB page is in the future.

Me, Amber, and Krystal
Going to the conference was also super fun! I loved meeting some of the bloggers I follow and meeting new people! I spent a bit of time getting to know Amber of Blonde and Balanced and Krystal of Give Me Back My Five Bucks. There have been talks of collaborations, so I'll keep you posted.

You can't have a conference without a little swag! Unfortunately, I didn't win either iPad drawing. But I did win some tasty Tim Tam's from Kylie Ofiu. They're chocolate covered cookie sandwiches from Australia. I picked the dark chocolate. She also gave me a copy of her book 365 Ways to Make Money to review. One of my other favorite items is the right brain/left brain note pad. And the snap bracelet :)

As I said, I have page full of ideas for future posts. These will be spread out over the next month so you're not overwhelmed with blogging advice. And don't forget to start thinking of feedback!

Have you ever been to a blogger conference?

If you're in Chicago, Jess is having a "Business in the City" meet-up on Tuesday from 6-7pm at Next Door. Check out MML for more details.
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  1. Hey Cathy, I don't think I had the chance to meet you in Chicago but that's no surprise, there were a ton of great people there and it was tough to connect with them all.

    I totally agree, it was a spectacular conference and I think it's generated a lot of energy for a lot of people!

    I read your about page, Monopoly was my favorite board game growing up as a kid too. I used to love to visit my grandma's house because she was the only one who would sit and play it with me for hours on end :)

  2. Beware - Tim Tams are seriously addictive! (And it seems every time I go grocery shopping, there are more and more new varieties of them!) I've just recently started a finance blog to try to keep myself accountable while I get out of debt... since I have so much it will be a long time before I can justify a trip to a blogger conference - but maybe one day!

  3. Sounds like a great conference! Can't wait to read the posts you have in store!

  4. The conference was great - it was like you said - an RSS feed of all the greats on steroids!

    For me the greatest part of the conference was meeting all the hundreds of other bloggers, hearing their stories and forging new friendships. I don't think we met either, but I'm sure we'll have the chance at FINCON12!

    P.s. Monopoly is great - my cousins and I use to get in trouble when visiting them because we'd play into the wee hours of the morning. Love that game. :)

  5. Hey Cathy,

    Great recap of the conference.

    Just found your blog today and I like your style, and personal touch you put on your posts.

    good job,

    keep it up!

  6. Ben - I'm not sure if we met either, but thanks for your kind words. I'm not surprised many PF bloggers, including Peter, enjoy Monopoly!

    KB - Thanks for the warning. The Tim Tams are all gone. A little sad, but it might be a good thing :) Good luck with the blog, there were several people at the conference that are blogging newbies, so don't let that hold you back.

    Stephanie - Thanks!

    Peter - Done! We'll have to try to meet up at FINCON12. And maybe there should be some late night Monopoly competitions.

    Jesus - First off, I'm really excited Jesus found my blog. All joking aside, thanks for the encouragement. Comments like yours keep me motivated to create and share original content.

  7. Is it wrong that one of my conference highlights was winning the Tim Tams from Kylie? I'm such a fat guy! hahahaha

    I hope that I am able to implement all of the lessons that I learned at FINCON11 on my blogs.


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