One of the best things about blogging conferences is the knowledge and insight you gain from the speakers and panelists. The Entertainment New Media Network conference was no exception. In fact, the caliber of speakers was among the best I’ve seen; I learned so much and I can’t wait to apply everything to my business.
For every conference I attend I like to analyze the top lessons learned, for my own sake and so hopefully others can learn and apply them to their lives and businesses as well. Here are my top 5 takeaways from ENMN Conference 2014.
1. “Always be serving your audience.” – Dan Morris. It took Dan saying this three or four times for the lightbulb to go off, but it finally did. And it was one of those moments like I had at Alt Summit when I was told I need to focus. I knew it was a life altering “a-ha!” moment. Dan is a blogging coach, mentor, and guru for hire. BUT, he is also happy to share advice for free. Why would someone give the goods away for free if they are trying to run a business? The strategy is simple (and I’ve heard it repeatedly from Pat Flynn as well): Treat your audience well and they will treat you well in return.
I saw Dan’s strategy in action several times during the conference. During his presentation, when talking with conference attendees individually, when interacting with other speakers. But it wasn’t until AFTER the conference that I had my “a-ha” moment. Dan wrote up a recap of the conference on his blog (much like I did) and in his recap he included 20 ways your blog could make money. I found the list so helpful that I left a comment a comment on his Facebook page telling him I loved the list of actionable items he included with his recap. His response to my comment?
Always be serving your audience.
It’s weird how you can hear something over and over and you think you understand it, but then you see it in action and your mind explodes.
I write a lot of fluff on here, and that won’t change … I’m still going to write about my house and my cat and my feelings if I want to. But I am going to try to be more mindful of how I can serve you all, and bring you excellent content that will be meaningful and helpful for you.
2. “Don’t let the judgement of others hold you back.” – Andrea Schroder. Andrea spoke mostly about living in the shadow of her famous husband and finding your own unique voice. While most of us don’t have the famous husband problem, we all should be comfortable with ourselves and believe in what we are sharing with the world. When you do this, when you put yourself out there, it will come with criticism and judgement. Some will be silent and some will be not-so-silent. It comes with the territory and you have to learn how to deal with it and not let it get to you.
3. “Water your own lawn.” – Jessica Cribbs. Ooooh, this is so good. Jessica is referring to that phrase, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing, Jessica recommends worrying about yourself. Whenever I find myself feeling jealous of what someone else has, I’m going to hear Jessica’s voice firmly telling me to water my own lawn.
4. “Authentic expressions of endorsement beat passive impressions.” – Marcy Massura. This one is a little bit of a tongue twister but it’s really important. It means that brands are looking for honest, meaningful endorsements (sponsored posts & product reviews) verses sheer impressions (sidebar ads, Google Adsense). That’s great news for me, because I would rather partner with and promote brands I truly believe in, verses showing random ads I don’t have much control over. Unfortunately right now I still need to do both, but it’s helpful to hear, from a brand standpoint, that they are moving this direction.
5. “Have confidence in your brand.” – Daisy Teh. I had never heard of Daisy Teh before seeing her speak at the conference. I actually took notice of her when she walked into the conference room because she was very well dressed, very put together. When she spoke, she spoke about being confident, particularly while being interviewed. She said something like, “You want to show confidence; you want everyone in the room to notice you.” That stood out to me because I had, in fact, noticed her. So she must know what she’s talking about! I don’t get asked for very many interviews (okay, never), but I have done a couple episodes of the Disney Weddings Podcast and I feel like confidence, whenever and wherever you’re speaking about your brand and your work, is important. If you don’t believe in your brand, who else will?