I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

Refer to older posts…

Blogging services

HCI chat


How to use important points…

Notes on teh end of tree branches

Conferences notes can lead in many directions, every one can be important and strong. You just need to find the right notes for you.

There are great quotes around. Some of them can be very inspiring or lead you to new ideas that can change your life.

I think we all come across great sayings, lyrics, words that make us think. Yet it is so easy to forget them in the everyday or hear so many at once that the wisdom doesn’t have the opportunity to really sink in.

Seminar and workshop notes

As I am watching the twitter feed for PBEvent, I can see many nuggets of information and wisdom that are great and worth taking note of.

For example…

Final roadblock – the comparison trap. If you’re compelled to compare, compare yourself now to when you started. Not to others. Darren Rowse

How do we do what we were born to do?, asks @ClareBowditch. We Begin. Carly Findlay

The best businesses and blogs solve a problem in the world. ProbloggerEvent

I am trying to write down those that really stand out to me – which is sometimes a challenge to keep up with the feed speed and write. But it is obvious that getting information solely through the twitterverse is limited in two ways.

For one thing, it is going past so fast that I can assess something is important and/or useful but not really process it.

The other is that there is no background context. This means I may be missing part of the point, of course but also that there is less opportunity to absorb the bigger picture and get my own ideas sparked by little things said.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m loving the technology that allows us to share in the event despite not being there! Twitter is live and awesome, virtual recordings later, it’s all good!

And I often shares tidbits of information when I attend a conference, webinar or whatever, too as it helps me cement ideas and I like to share. And I figure tidbits are better than nothing.

Making use of those tidbits or information and wisdom

So how can we maximise these bits of stuff we’re getting via tweets or quote websites and the like?

Please share your ideas and how you learn from others in the comments below – I want to learn rather than get overwhelmed or miss the very points I notice!

So some ideas from me to get us started…

  1.  focus on one medium at a time – trying to keep track on twitter and Facebook while listening to recordings will send you mad I think! I’m watching twitter now and recordings later.
  2. write down some of the points that really stand out for you – you just can’t write them all down!
  3. if following on Twitter, retweet some of the good ones. It helps share the love obviously but also gives you a reference point to go back to for information later
  4. if people share links, open them but leave them until later for reading – blog posts and the like will wait 🙂
  5. I know tweets are short, but feel free to shorten them if it helps! As long as it still makes sense to you, skip words and abbreviate other words
  6. Join some conversations where you can – it can add depth to things. Obviously not easy on a busy twitter feed but it is interesting and works along the usual social media premises.

Have you ever followed a live feed for an event?

How did it go? Did you learn enough to make it a worthwhile experience?


 * image courtesy of 123rf

Bloggers together have power

Today is Blog Action Day 2012 (BAD12). That means over the next 24 or so hours many bloggers will be publishing a post about the power of we, showing that diverse people can come together to make a difference.

For me, the timing makes this post easy – I just spent most of the weekend with 3oo fantastic people at the problogger event so have a better sense of the power of we within blogging.

The power of we at a conference?

At one level, we were just a group of people sitting in the same room listening the same speakers.

But it was way more than that.PBEvent audience listening to James Tuckerman

People were talking, mingling and supporting each other – not just for those 48 hours but building relationships that can move us forward in the days and months to come. The organisers and speakers not only encouraged us to mingle (one speaker, I think it was James Tuckerman of Anthill, told anyone sitting next to a person they came to pbevent with to sit somewhere else in the next session) but had made it easy to do so with generous breaks between sessions and a cocktail party on Friday night.

Amongst many other topics, we discussed payment for our work, such as being paid by a brand to promote them within our blogs. While there was an understanding that someone with more traffic and influence can probably charge more than a new blogger, there was a consensus that bloggers should bot accept free or very cheap ‘work’.

The point was that we all deserve to have our time recognised  and paid for. And by accepting lower rates we can cheapen the work and efforts of other bloggers as well.

It’s also one reason I hate those content mills where people can buy webcopy, blog posts, articles, etc for a fraction of the price professionals like me charge – it makes it harder for us to earn decent pay rates for our time and expertise if clients think they can get it done much cheaper (especially those clients who don’t understand how to judge quality writing).

Working together and setting some industry standards helps all bloggers and writers.

Discussing those standards at PB Event gave us not only a framework but the confidence to stick to it for a reason beyond ourselves.

The power of we at work.

What we can achieve

Leading up the PB Event, problogger (Darren Rowse) himself set a challenge.

Problogger does it in a dress PB Event 2012

Problogger in a dress, PB Event 2012

If we could fundraise $240, he would attend the final session on Friday in a school dress. A few more targets were added when the $240 was reached in one donation, with the final level being $2,400.

It was fun, but the point was to raise money to help girls in Sierra Leone go to school – $240 sends one girl to school for a year.

I was sick to the stomach to find out a girl is more likely to be sexually assaulted than go to school in Sierra Leone.

Think about what that means. It’s awful.

I’m pleased to be part of PB event where we raised enough to send 10 girls to school.

It isn’t enough, but it is a start and shows we care. Sending 10 girls to school will make a difference to them, their families and presumably their communities.

Darren challenged us to all do the same, to see how much money 300 bloggers’ communities could raise, how many more girls go to school.

Given it is blog action day, I wonder what would happen if all bloggers around the world tried raising some money by doing it in a dress – could we get every girl in Sierra Leone to school?

Could we make it so school is more likely than assault for a nation of girls?

The power of we is strong. Let’s use it for good.


An amazing conference is well worth the effort

Day one is just about over for Problogger 2012 –  the formal sessions have finished and we just have a networking even to go before we head for bed (and we’re all going to need a sleep I think!)

For the attendees

Based on conversations I have had, tweets I have read and my own assessment, the event has been fantastic and provided a lot of information and inspiration for a lot of people.

And given the amount of tweets flying around, I think it is inspiring and informing people who aren’t even here!

And it isn’t just about the learning. The speakers have been great, don’t get me wrong, but there is more to a great conference.

You meet people and learn from their stories and experiences.

You feel part of something – and in this case feeling part of a blogging community that can make a difference is empowering.

Listening to other people and other people’s questions can give you a new perspective, too.

Personally, I have a lot of ideas for myself and to share with others from today. I’m excited about implementing them from Monday onwards.

For the organisers

Aside from any financial gain they get, what does a great event do for the organisers?

There must be a lot of satisfaction from helping so many people and having the day flow so nicely.

Obviously, they build their reputation as an authority with credibility.

For the problogger team, I think they also can finish today knowing they have made a difference and are leading us to make a difference, too – and I think that’s something they would be proud of.

So what have we learned today?

The focus has been on monetisation and building communities.

Over the coming weeks I will share ideas and lessons I have learned, and aim to do a summary post early in the week.

For the mean time, the best ways to gain from our experiences today are to search #PBEvent and #PBEvent2 on twitter – hard not to as they were trending terms today apparently!

And grab a virtual ticket to hear the recordings and see the slide shows – you won’t regret the purchase.

And now I am off for a walk to clear my head before the networking.

Attending blogging events, live or recorded

This Friday and Saturday, about 300 bloggers will descend upon Melbourne to learn more about blogging at PBEvent  with Problogger Darren Rowse.

And I’m pleased to say I will be one of them.

Why go to a blogging event?

leanring ABC of blogging

Learning the basics of blogging – and more

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I am going because

  1. it’s great to learn new things and conferences and seminars are a good learning experience (well, good ones are anyway!)
  2. it’s good to get away from my desk occasionally
  3. blogging is an important part of my business, and part that I really enjoy, so learning more about it is a good investment for me
  4. I like the idea of meeting other bloggers

Really, it’s just like going to any conference – the topic just happens to be blogging.

And PBEvent happens to be hosted by one of the best known bloggers in Australia. And is offering some great speakers and topics (you can see the schedule here if you’re interested).

How I learn  from events

When I go to any business event, one of my aims is to learn.

I think being open to new ideas and expecting to learn is a good starting point. Sometimes the best value from an event is the ideas it sparks so you need to be open to listening and learning.

Taking notes is one way I cement the information I hear. Traditionally that has meant writing notes in a notepad but obviously people have more options these days – I’m still inclined to write notes by hand as it works better at getting information into my mind.

To be honest, I often don’t read those notes again, and certainly not often. However, just the act of writing notes helps me retain the information better.

I also find that tweeting snippets of information is a great learning tool. By deciding something is valuable enough to share and putting into few words (I try for less than the allowed 140 characters) makes that point stronger for me. And hopefully it is providing value to my followers as well.

Tweeting information during a webinar is easy. I haven’t yet tried it at a live event but may give it a go during PBEvent.

If nothing else, I can reread my tweets afterwards as a reminder of some key information.

Live or recorded?

There are distinct advantages to live and recorded information sessions, I think.

Going to a live event obviously has the advantages of a new environment and networking with other people. It also means you can potentially interact with the speaker(s), ask questions and participate in the atmosphere. Sometimes you get additional opportunities, too, such as handouts, ‘conference only’ discounts and yummy food!

Listening to a recording of an event gives you more flexibility – you can hear it at whatever time suits you – and saves travelling time and expense. For information packed sessions, a recording also means you can pause and rewind the recording to catch important bits and make sure you understand things. For a poor sessions, it is also very easy to turn it off and get on with other things!

Which do you prefer? Have you tried both options?

I attend more webinars because of the convenience, but I like to attend some live events every year as well to interact with people.

Problogger Event

With the Problogger event, I get both as all sessions are being recorded so I can listen to them after the weekend. Which means I can relisten to important bits I missed but more importantly, I can hear the sessions I don’t attend (part of the weekend has two sessions running at the same time). And slide presentations will be included with the recordings, too.

The recordings are also available for non-attendees via a virtual ticket (which are being sold at a 25% discount until mid afternoon today Melbourne time I believe). You can grab a virtual ticket and get access to over 21 hours of blogging information plus a live Q and A sessions with Problogger next week (it is an affiliate link but I honestly think it is good value – and much cheaper than what I’ve paid to attend!)

And if you are going to Problogger event, or a similar event, you may enjoy the following preparation posts, too:

Blogging conferences and training events
10 things to do to prepare for PB Event 
Hot tips for Problogger ‘virgins’

Have you ever attended a blogging event? What did you get from it? And what tips have you got to share for those going to their first blogging conference?

Problogger event 2013 virtual tickets for 30 hours of training and learningUpdated September 2013: The 2013 Problogger conference is on again this month and you can choose to attend in person in Queensland (if you got a ticket fast enough!) or virtually (2013 recordings will available a short time after each sessions is run so you can listen on the conference weekend.) plus watching interactions on Twitter during sessions.

New services…

After a lot of thinking, planning and learning, I am pleased to say I will be introducing a new service in the new financial year. It is exciting to start something new, although I have been doing it quietly already, and I’m starting promotions this weekend at the Business Mums Conference.

The question now is – do I build anticipation and wait for 1 July to announce my new service, or do I tell you now? Which would you prefer?

My thoughts on such decisions:

  • building anticipation is a great way to develop curiosity and (for a blog) an effective way to encourage repeat visitors
  • there is no point in annoying people with part of a story so any ‘coming soon’ message needs to be intriguing and not mislead
  • what does a launch date signify? Is there a strong reason to delay something new? If there are legal or IP or technical reasons to not give details in advance, be very careful of how you present any teasers
  • don’t build up to a launch you aren’t sure of – it destroys your credibility and any excitement if your wesbite says “our new product will be in store on 10 June” and it’s now July.
  • building up to a launch can start the process of search engine optimisation  and getting some traffic and ranking for your webpages. This may be limited if you can’t use keywords in advance but it at least gives you a URL to use in preparing marketing and advertising

Launching a new product or service also raises questions such as using the same brand and business name or not, pricing the new item, packaging the new with the old, and where to focus future marketing.

As for my new service, I am not launching it until July because my website can’t be ready before then (preparing a conference presentation and client deadlines took priority.) And you’ll just have to wait a little longer to find out more…

Recharge your business with promotional articles

I will be presenting the above topic at the Business Mums Conference on 20/21 June in Melbourne. I will be covering ways to help people get the most value out of the promotional articles they write (or pay to get written) as I believe it is a valuable, low cost way to promote any business.

What is a promotional article?

Any useful article can be used as a promotional article, although they tend to be around 300-600 words long. At the end of the article, you include an information section (called a bio box or resource box) about yourself and/or your business.

To be a good promotion for your business, it is best to use topics that build your credibility in your industry. For example, if you are a hairdresser you could use articles about choosing shampoos, the best types of hair accessories and hair care tips, but if you sell children’s party accessories, you would be better using articles about how to plan a birthday party, dealing with invitation lists and party game suggestions.

Note that a promotional article is not an ad. An article about the services you offer or how you are better than a competitor is not a promotional article – it is an ad. The aim of your article is to provide information, and/or entertainment, to readers.

** If you are going to the conference, please come and chat to me – I’ll be there all weekend as I know from experience that is a positive, information pack weekend that will benefit my business.

If you havent bought tickets yet, Save Time Online is offering an advertising bonus if you mention them when booking.

Brilliant conference

As I mentioned, I have been at the Business Mums Conference over the weekend and it was brilliant – and not just because the theme was brilliant business and beyond!

I really enjoy being with other people who are motivated, positive and willing to share their ideas and knowledge. That in itself is inspiring and a great source of energy to return to my office with.

There were a number of excellent speakers at the conference and I will share some things I learned over the coming weeks. And will introduce some changes to my business as well.

Although it was not my reason for going to the conference, I also came away with new clients, a door prize and a goodie bag. Imagine coming away from a conference financially ahead of the ticket price – and that doesn’t even count the longer term financial benefit from what I learned and thought of while I was there!

I strongly suggets that if you get the opportunity to attend this or a similar conference that you take it and be willing to make the most of it! For now, I need some sleep!

Check the terms first

No doubt you’ve heard it before “don’t sign anything you haven’t read” – it may sound trite but it is a valuable rule legally.

I have mentioned before that I am going to the Business Mums Conference in Melbourne this weekend, and that I submitted proposals to be a speaker. Before submitting my proposals, I read the documentation about what was expected from a speaker and what I could expect in return. I had the choice there and then to decide if any of those terms were unreasonable or disagreeable to me.

Apparently, not everyone read those documents – or maybe just didn’t take them seriously – as potential speakers sent in proposals but refused to meet one or two of the terms. And the same thing happened last year. I just don’t understand how you can agree to do something with clearly set out rules and then be surprised at having to keep those rules.

The end result is that I am speaking twice at the conference! It is not too late to get your tickets and come along – book online for the whole weekend, a day or even just my session (joking – any single session can be booked, but I would love to meet you!) And if you get back to me by COB Thursday, I have some discounted booking forms I can give you.

* I am speaking about promotional articles (of which I have written a few!) and email newsletter content.

Business Mums Conference

Last year I was fortunate enough to attend the first Business Mums Network Conference. I presented a workshop and in a forum at the conference, as well as being an attendee at other sessions, and found the entire weekend beneficial.

This year’s conference is a bit earlier so I have just finished a proposal to present again at this year’s workshop – I have already registered to attend anyway! I should find out later this month if my proposal was accepted so I will let you know what I am speaking about (I proposed more than one topic.)

If you can be in Melbourne in for 12 – 13 July for the conference, please make sure you meet me!

From conference to blog!

Writing a blog seems like an obvious thing for a writer to do and it has been on my to do list for some time, but I never had the time to look into it.

 Two weeks ago I went to the inaugral Business Mums Network Conference. It was a fantastic two days and I came out of it with a lot of ideas and plans for my business. Amongst other ideas, was a further incentive to get a blog started, so here it is!

What else did I get from the conference? Well, I am going to change the way my business works so I get more time for writing (which I love) and less time on background communications tasks for my corporate clients. It is important to spend time doing what we love and are good at, rather than filling our hours with ‘stuff’ that may be urgent and even important, but not fulfilling or the most important.

But for now, back to the writing!

Word Constructions