I almost wet my pants when I walked into Problogger Event 2012 to be met with a smile and outstretched hand from THE Problogger, Darren Rowse.
As the room filled with a surreal mass of avatars with legs, I had to shake the thought that I was in the middle of a China Meilville, Twitter inspired epic.
“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Canberra anymore.”
While I attended the event in a work capacity, it was fantastic to sit in on a number of sessions and talk blogging with some truly remarkable people.
I was a messy heap of melancholy by the end of the day. Which is what happens when one’s brain bursts over their clean shirt following too much stimulation. But I did manage to extract three things that to take away from day numero uno.
We’re all still learning
Having worked within digital marketing and communications for the best part of 15ish years, it’s easy to forget that other people have a life and might not spend their days talking about branding, influence, pitching, audience development and metrics.
Many bloggers still have a lot to learn about how brands operate and what is motivating them. How to pitch and to whom, as well as why even the best ideas might need 12 months lead time. There is also a lot to learn about personal branding and marketing more generally.
Brands on the other hand still need to get their heads around how to best work with bloggers. Top of the list is figuring out how to measure success with metrics that matter to the department paying the bills. PR has been fighting this battle for years so it won’t be easy, but with self-selection of media, our old metrics are plain out of date.
So whilst many veterans within brand and blogging communities rightly see the scene maturing, it’s clear we’re not too far off the ground floor with a long ride ahead of us.
That’s why I’m calling the biggest trend of 2013 and beyond will be increased learning by all.
Here come the next generation of blog royalty
A new tribe of bloggers are coming and they’re going to take it to a whole new level of awesome. This tribe has learned from those who’ve come before them and are more strategic from the outset. Make no mistake about it, this tribe is going to change the game.
I was amazed how many bloggers who just launched or were planning to launch with something fresh. It’s similar to what we’ve seen in various cultural movements, be it the American hip hop scene as it transitioned from the 80s to 90s, or the tech industry as new start-ups rose from the flames of the first tech-bubble bursting. Exciting stuff.
Many of the more experienced bloggers monetised years ago. The question is now how to go from business to enterprise. Or to do away with the newspeak, how to scale up and go for gold.
We’re seeing it already from Problogger himself as his business model soars into the realms of publishing to events. Or Valerie Khoo‘s Sydney Writers’ Centre that has used a content marketing platform to become a world renowned resource for writers. Valerie has since started numerous other businesses of the back of this and is set to ramp up in 2012.
Speaking to a few bloggers yesterday, their feeling was many talks were aimed too low for where they were at. My advice was to start attending the more cutting edge business and marketing conferences to gain a deeper understanding of what they’ll need to live their dreams.
The Australian blog scene is booming. Best bit is it’s also just beginning. One of my favourite remarks from yesterday was that inspiration and energy are only as valuable as what you do with them on Monday.
With so many inspired and inspiring people in the room, it will be wonderful to watch what happens in the weeks and months to come.
As I was attending yesterday for work, I had to share with some colleagues who are repping World Vision today. Nevertheless, I still feel like I took my fair share away from the event and am looking forward to seeing everyone back next year when I buy tickets and attend the event for real.