My main goal in attending Blissdom ’11 was not to learn about vlogging or SEO or collaborating (although all of those things are important!). It was to get face time with the people I work with everyday — my mom, Tara & Shaina, the Simple Living Media editors, the Life Your Way contributors. I loved that we were able to encourage each other, share ideas, brainstorm and just laugh together.
To me, that time together would have been enough to make the conference worth the expense and effort!
But then Scott Stratten gave the ending keynote, and I’ve got to say that it was literally a life-changing experience for me.
It wasn’t that it was life-changing in the sense of a spiritual or personal awakening, but as a blogger, a content creator and a business owner, my strength is my content. I’m good at taking ideas and putting them into words.
I’m not so good at relationships.
In fact, I’ve been justifying my decision not to respond to many comments here at Life Your Way based on the fact that content is my strength and there are only so many hours in a day.
But I left Scott’s session with a completely different mindset.
Scott is a compelling and funny speaker (I promise I’m not brown-nosing here, even though that’s how it looks), but he’s also very convincing. He gave us example after example of the importance of engaging your readers.
I’ve always valued my readers. I read your comments, and I visit your sites. But I haven’t been very good about responding to comments or commenting in other places.
My hope for Life Your Way has always been that it would be a community site where readers come to sit and read and chat with one another. But what I realized is that that really does start with me. If I’m not willing to invest the time to respond to comments (and really, how long does it take since I read every single one anyway?), then I’m devaluing my readers and what they have to say.
At the airport on Saturday, I purchased Scott’s book, UnMarketing. Not everything in the book applied to me, and I still couldn’t put it down. I have a minor in marketing, and I think I learned more from this book than I learned at any point in my college career.
What I’m realizing is that I need to make time to engage with readers and other bloggers. If that means less content, so be it.
If you’ve commented this week, you’ve hopefully already noticed this change. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not responding to comments simply to check it off my list. I’m just taking the time to write down the thoughts in my head when I read your comments rather than thinking them and moving on. I hope it inspires you to do the same!
It’s a little scary to put this out there because we all know that the “high” from a conference or learning something new can be temporary. But I believe so strongly in this that I am doing what I can to ensure that it’s not temporary, which is why I’m writing this post.
Bloggers, do you consider yourself a content creator or an engager? Have you read UnMarketing?