Yesterday I mentioned briefly that I went to the first Finnacial Blogger Conference. I only mentioned a few points because my head simply couldn’t organize things. Here are 10 things that I took away from the conference:
- Write for Readers – This was the big message that J.D. Roth from Get Rich Slowly conveyed. If possible tell a story. Not every blog lends itself to storytelling, so give actionable advice instead. Finally build community by involving readers – asking them contribute to the discussion. With that in mind, I’ll try to make the rest of this list geared towards a story of the conference or actionable advice.
- I Need to Do More Community Service – Love Drop had an event with Phil’s Friends. Phil’s Friends gives hope to people with cancer. I think 80 or 100 Personal Finance Bloggers where there to move furniture, make cards, etc. Phil is such a powerful speaker and he told his story. Don’t click play on this video without tissues:
I’m in the video. As Ben from Money Smart Life says I look lost. That’s all the hints you get. Besides Phil’s great speech the inspiring moment was to see Justine from Credit Karma volunteer for the moving and cleaning furniture gig. While 99% of women went to make cards, she stood apart from the pack.
- I am the MonaVie blogger – It was with mixed feelings that people associated me with one post. Yes it was one of my more popular ones, but it wasn’t anything special. Google decided it deserved to be ranked highly and MonaVie threatened to sue me a couple of times. It did mean a lot me that other bloggers almost univerisally said that it took a lot of courage to stand up to them. I disagree. There are journalists going into war zones that face actual danger. Being a thorn in the side of a company is the least I can do.
- Blogging about the MonaVie Impacts Real People – Sandy from Yes, I Am Cheap to me the story about someone close to her who was involved in MonaVie and how my post really helped with the situation. This is the first time that anyone had told me face to face that I had an impact and it was incredible.
- Tables Turned: When Rock Stars are Fans of You – So Over Debt wrote a post about stalking J.D. Roth. (You should read it – she wonderfully turns it teaching moment.) She wasn’t alone – pretty much everyone was looking to stalk him, Ramit, and Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. In fact, so many people wanted to meet Pat that my wife, who had been following on Twitter, said when I walked in, “So I hear that Pat Flynn actually invented sliced bread.”
So imagine the bit of awkwardness when people came up to me on Friday and said, “Pat was just here and he was looking for you.” To most this would seem backwards – he’s the rock star blogger. I had caught his blog after four months and declared it The Best Money Blog You Aren’t Reading – and brought him a little traffic. He hasn’t forgotten it and has thanked me a few times since. At the conference he gave me a hug.
You’ve probably never wondered what it must be like to have given The Beatles their first gig. Truth is, I haven’t thought about before either. Until this conference. I’m sure The Beatles never forgot it. I’m also sure that the club owner thought to himself, “Eh, I was in the right place and the right time when the tremendous talent found me. If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else the very next week.”
- Ramit is Awesome – I’ve written about Ramit from I Will Teach You to Be Rich in the past. He focuses more on helping people make more money rather than saving money. Sometimes they become somewhat controversial articles for those like me who like to focus on both sides of the equation. He was a tremendous speaker willing to throw down a few s-bombs and possibly even an f-bomb to make his points. One of the big things that I took away from his talk is to focus on solving people’s problems. This mirrored J.D.’s actionable advice idea. Ramit was big on titles and drawing attention (did you notice the title of this article?) which piggybacks on J.D.’s telling a story. It’s about engaging the reader.
Oh and Ramit had the funniest 2 minute video I’ve seen in a long time. Andy Sandberg would be proud:
- Will Chen of WiseBread has (at least) Two Qualities I Admire – Will Chen’s talks had mostly to do with two things – being analytical and efficient. I think one can get pretty far with juse those two things.
- Free Beer isn’t Always Free – A number of companies sponsored free beer at the event. Sometimes drink tickets were a little too easy to come by. I think more than this blogger paid a price for something that was perceived to be free.
- Key Technology Tip for Writers – This comes from Ryan Guina at Cash Money Life. There’s some cool software for organizing thoughts, articles, chapters, etc. called Scrivener. Don’t let the MacOS X fool you, there’s a Windows and Linux version too. I’m still learning it, but it looks exactly like the kind of thing I was looking for. These are the kind of tips that just come out of hanging around smart, like-minded folks.
- Many Great Articles about the Conference – Many people came back from the conference and instead of just typing up notes and sharing them on the blog – looked deeper on what can be learned. Here are a few of the many great posts on the conference: