We had a chance to take some of the messaging from Blogging Concentrated to the Entertainment New Media Conference in Anaheim this week. These are just four take away tips gleaned from my experience in sunny Southern California.
1. Explore out of your own niche. My site, Finding Joy, is typically a place where I share thoughts about motherhood, intentional living, and living a life gluten free. This conference, while full of blogs with similar themes of motherhood (and traveling to Disney with kids), was not specifically designed around my niche. And that was awesome. I was able to learn about the travel and entertainment industry and their standards, protocols, and expectations. In that process I was reminded once again about the absolute importance of constantly being aware of one’s brand and message. For instance, messaging percolates far beyond just the posts – it’s evident on our social media streams, our offline interactions, our messaging, and more. Once the message/brand gets tarnished it’s hard to regain.
So in the process of listening to tales and tips about how to maintain good relationships on publicity tours I was able to see direct evidence of the value of preserving one’s brand. These gals would share about how certain behaviors, lack of courtesy, and failure to complete deadlines resulted in loss opportunities for those who didn’t “play by the rules” during press trips. As professional bloggers who want and deserve respect, we too, must exude excellence at all times. It really goes back to Tom Jackson’s words in the video shared during Blogging Concentrated One about exceeding expectations. So the question to ask is truly, “am I exceeding expectations?”
2. It’s excellent to make money. I know Dan will chat about this more in depth (and you can read his recap ENMN Conference Insights), but honestly, one of the most powerful take aways that I want all to know is that making money is excellent. At Blogging Concentrated we are consistently going back to the question, “what will you do when you run out of time?” Making money allows for freedom, growth, and the bit of margin that we all need in our lives. There were many examples of doing things for free – press trips, vacation trips, etc… and for me the thing to remember is that if those things can contribute to the bottom line and for growth then that’s excellent.
For example, I’ve written for The Huffington Post and have not been compensated, but the ability to now list myself as a featured writer for them has instead resulted in new opportunities and additional money making ventures. However, we must remember that making an income as a blogger is for many not a luxury, but a necessity. Blogging takes time – time from other things that we could be doing. In our industry I believe it to be strongly integral for us to value each other and time. It’s easy to glean information from others, but we must also always remember time equals money which in turn equals margin which equals freedom.
3. Your time is worth money. Several times it was mentioned the price for consulting with individuals. Erica Pena-Vest would talk about her hourly PR rate or consulting fee and shared examples of other leaders in our field. That is good. Sometimes I believe that we look at leaders in our industry and because they’re friends/colleagues we remove the element of compensation from our line of reasoning (Read Dan’s article on Adrienne Graham’s site to learn more). Money pays the bills. In order to keep us all on the professional level we need to be reminded that time is worth money.
It made me think about where I’m spending my time – is it the wisest use? Does it promote my message? Is it respectful of others in our field? Success built on the back of others who are not fairly compensated is not really true success. So value and get paid what you’re worth and reciprocate that value to others. It’s all to easy to just dismiss worth or value, but at the end of the day, when we forget that core element we are in essence, removing freedom from not only our lives but from those with whom we work with as well.
4. You must carve out breathing space. The last day in California, after the fabulous ENMN Conference I was almost free. Well, except for the moments where we were dealing with the airport and all of that. That time no matter how much cushion one builds in, is never really free nor relaxing. However, in my free time, I had moments of simply sitting on the edge of the ocean and listening to the waves crash ashore while the sun set. I had a time of laughter sitting around a table with heat lamps above sharing Thai food with friends. I was able to rest. To breathe. And for those that know me you know how incredibly hard that is for me to do. It’s ridiculous how difficult it is for me to unplug, to leave the phone off, to not check Facebook messages, to not make sure I’m missing a tweet, and all of that.
I truly believe it’s critical for us as professionals in a media rich environment to cultivate space where we feel no guilt in unplugging. I know it’s not really a blog tip, but in reality, it’s a life tip. One must make it a priority to carve space within the never ending cycle of busy to simply breathe, sit back, and be grateful for the gift of today. And if we don’t do the second point – the making of money – then those moments of breath are far in between. If we burn out, then we are not serving our families well. So cultivate space to breathe.
Those are just four of the many take away items that I learned while in sunny California. Well, besides remembering that conference rooms are not kept at warm outside temps and that it’s wise to pack like one still lives in the tundra so you keep warm. No joke. I was given a blanket the second day. Yeah. The Minnesota gal was the cold one.
Bottom line? Just keep learning. Growing. Cultivating relationships. Keeping your voice. Guarding your message. Valuing others. Finding time to breathe. Taking time to learn outside of your industry. And making money.
That equals margin.
And solves the “What do you do when you run out of time?” question that we all must answer.