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The Best Of BloggerConf 2016

What a bunch of muppets! They had people crying!


Thankfully those tears were short lived and the point that was being made by Darragh Doyle lives on.


What was that point you ask?


It was to believe in yourself and others, that together as a blogging community we can lift each other up and get better, bigger and stronger.


If you are wondering how “The Muppets” came into the equation here is a snipped of the video from Darragh’s talk.



  Oh and how do we know there were tears?      

This is a perhaps one of the biggest problems facing bloggers, that sense of “being alone”. That is why I feel Darragh’s message was so important.  


We need to reach out to other people, other bloggers and build positive relationships with them, it doesn’t if they’re in our niche or not.         


So I would challenge all of you reading this, to go and comment on someone else’s post on Twitter or Facebook and strike up a conversation with them, get to know them and have fun!  


It’s all about your Brand!


Anouska Proetta Brandon from, uses her Instagram account as a ‘visual diary’ of her day-to-day life and it’s a great way of looking at the platform.


When it comes to posting online it is all about your “Brand” as Anouska explained and perhaps the best piece of advice she gave was that:


‘Instagram is all about the aesthetics. It’s not about the individual photo, it’s literally how it all looks together. You’re presenting your brand.’


In terms of the actionable and practical, Anouska recommends Unum to curate your Instagram, this one was so good we tweeted it there and then!



Having a different outlook on each platform is a great way to look at it. Not only does it allow you to have fun with them all, but it gives your audience a reason to look at each one. Each platform will give them a different perspective into you and your brand.


 Adapt or Die


Oonagh O’Hagan is the owner and MD of Meaghers Pharmacy and she gave a fantastic talk, not only about her background and how she started, but also about her business ethos.


Oonagh told a compelling story of how she got started and how it is the attention to detail that she prides herself and her company on, but the main over arching theme was “change”.


The Global recession hit her business just as hard as everyone else’s, yet she is still here and only getting stronger, how did she do it?


She learnt to adapt and change.


Oonagh O Hagan quote

Oonagh O’Hagan is the owner and MD of Meaghers Pharmacy



While there may not seem to be much correlation between that of a pharmacy and a blogger, the message was not loss on me, nor should it be on you!


Not every blogger wants to think or indeed should think of their blog as a business, however, that doesn’t mean that we can’t apply some business principals to it.


The beauty of being in control of our own portion of the internet is that we can change and pivot almost instantly. We don’t need the permission of a board or co-owners or anyone else, we are accountable to ourselves.


With that said, we too need to adapt and change, especially if we are not happy with the results we are getting. To quote another famous dead bloke;


“The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”

– Albert Einstein


I think that for us as bloggers, we do need to see positive results, it keeps us going on those long, hard, dark days when we feel like it is all for nothing.


So if you are not seeing those results, adapt and change, take a leaf out of Oonagh’s book, if she can do it with an actual bricks and mortar business why can’t you with a website?


No One Wakes Up Brilliant


Journalist and editor of STELLAR magazine Kirstie McDermott made this point so clear and so well. It is something that I feel many bloggers suffer with, especially as we become more and more saturated and bombarded by everyone else’s social media feeds.


Kirstie was dead right when she said “No one wakes up brilliant”. No matter how “good” others seem around you, you can be sure they didn’t start that way.


Yet we as bloggers want to get everything right, and we don’t want to wait for it!. We don’t want the “learning curve” we just want the “success”.


Or as my mother would put it, “You don’t want the labour pains, you just want the baby!”


Well my friends as someone who has spent many years learning the “craft ” of blogging, I am afraid it just doesn’t work that way!


Kirstie McDermott- Journalist and editor of STELLAR magazine

Kirstie McDermott- Journalist and editor of STELLAR magazine


You are going to make a balls of it, you are going to misspell things, at times your pictures won’t look great and you may even struggle to write a coherent sentence, but you know what, that’s the game.


We have all chosen for one reason or another to jump on board the “Blogging Bus”, unfortunately none of us know the final destination, but what I can tell you is that each stop along the way will not be at a location you will like.


You will have to persevere and remember, the longer you stay on the bus, learn from your mistakes and implement what you learn, then the final destination will better and the “blogging bus” will bring you where you deserve to be.


So stop looking at people who have been on the “Blogging Bus” for longer than you and thinking that you have to be as good as them, you don’t!


You have to be as good as the lesson’s you’ve learnt!


Why so serious?


We were lucky enough to share the stage with a lots of great bloggers during the “just one thing” panel discussion and while everyone made great points that I feel all bloggers should pay close attention to, there was one that stood out for me (no it wasn’t my own “one thing”)


Sinead from made a point that I think may have gone overlooked by some and I think that it is something we all need more of.


We need more of a laugh!


Sinead spoke about her tips for Facebook and while her points about Content (of course we love that one) and being constant are very valid, there was a little nugget of gold in there that I want to highlight:


Sinead from

Sinead from


“If you find it funny, post it. if you find it interesting, post it”

– Sinéad ,

The feeling that we have to be all about our blog and our content and promote, promote, promote is so wrong it’s not even funny, yet we all do it, myself included!


Start to treat your blog’s Facebook page as you would your own, in terms of sharing articles from other people and funny video’s and generally anything as Sinead says that you find funny or interesting.


This will not only take the pressure off you in terms of that fear of ” I have to post something, shit, what do I post?”, but it will also benefit you as a brand. It will allow your audience to gain an insight into your personality and sense of humour!


So don’t just be the blog, be the person behind the blog!


Get out from behind the Keyboard


This point was very well made by Twitter‘s Senior retail account manager Catherine Bennett.


Now I know what your thinking, it’s twitter, I have to type! Well yes and no!


One of the stats that stuck out in my mind was about video. Cathrine stated:


Twitter Senior Retail Account Manager Catherine Bennett

Twitter Senior Retail Account Manager Catherine Bennett


“82% of media will be video by 2019”

-Cathrine Bennett – Twitter


That statement on it’s own probably comes as no real surprise, however, coupled with the fact that “Twitter users share more than any other platform”, then we have the platform and the medium to get leverage.


Now I know video may not be to everyone’s liking, as in we all suffer with some self doubt and nerves when it comes to getting in front of the camera and this is something we struggled with up until recently.


However, we have managed to move past it and some of you may even have seen us recording video’s from BloggerConf. The best piece of advice I can give is to just go for it.


All of our video’s are recorded on an iPhone or iPad and the only bit of kit we have is a microphone that plugs into the earphone jack. The one we use is Rode SmartLav+.

Even so, you don’t need anything other than your phone to get going. Catherine went on to explain that the shorter the better – 10 to 30 seconds is a good enough. So maybe for the next article you release you could record a quick Twitter video explaining what it is all about?


Either way, video is going to be a massive part of blogging over the next few years and much like the point Oonagh O’Hagan made, it’s time to adapt!


Google Loves Fresh Produce


The final speaker of the day was Johnny Ward from OneStep4Ward and I have to say, I have never enjoyed a talk so much. Johnny’s honesty, insight and indeed sense of humour made it for me, the best talk of the day.


While many may have been focused on Johnny’s story, and what a truly inspiring story it is, for me there was one key theme that popped up time and time again.




Yes I know we are biased, but one of the things Johnny did, that all of us have the capability to replicate, is to create fresh new content.


Johnny stated that he blogged everyday as he travelled across Africa and Google loved him for it.


Johnny Ward wrapping up BloggerConf in style

Johnny Ward wrapping up BloggerConf in style


He didn’t know anything about S.E.O or how to optimise his blog or what he should do to promote it, he just wrote and posted it.


Now I am not suggesting that in order to replicate Johnny’s success all we have to do is write or indeed write everyday.


However, how much simpler would things be if we only focused on the content.


This is something I feel a lot of bloggers get caught up in, they worry about some of the uncontrollable aspects of blogging, like page likes, Instagram hearts or click through rates, instead of focusing on what they can control, the amount, and the quality of the content they produce.


The best way we have found works for us is to batch produce the content. I will spend two days a week writing content for Content.Academy and then once I know it is written I can plan the release and indeed the promotion.


Regardless of how and when you like to write, try and keep it simple, don’t over complicate things, and remember as Johnny said himself:


“Google Loves Fresh New Content” 

– Johnny Ward  OneStep4Ward


So maybe change up your approach.


If you are not getting the traction you are looking for, rather than focusing on trying to”push” more traffic to your blog, look at the content and ways you can create they type of content that will “pull” your audience in.


As we have discovered from Johnny, your audience and google will love you for it!


Points to Remember


From our own point of view here at Content Academy, these were some of the key points we picked up on, there were many many more made by some brilliant bloggers and that is why events like BloggerConf are so important to attend.


They allow you to put everything into perspective, meet new people, give you a sense of community and even open up the door to collaborations further down the road. Like we said the key point for us were:


You are not alone – there is a huge vibrant blogging community out there, you only have to reach out!


It’s all about your Brand! – It is never just about one stand alone picture or article, everything is about your brand. If you don’t think you have a brand, now is the most important time, because you can shape what you want your “brand” to be and to stand for!


Adapt or Die – If you are not getting the types of results you want, don’t be afraid to mix it up, just because you started off talking about one thing or posting on set days doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up or diversify the topic


No One Wakes Up Brilliant  – Everyone started somewhere, no one just began a blog and was producing quality content straight out the gate. It is a craft, it takes time and patience. Stop measuring yourself against others and thinking that you have to be as good as them, you don’t, you have to be as good as the lesson’s you have learned!


Why so serious? – It doesn’t have to be all business or promotion. Share stuff on your accounts that you would normally share with friends, if you find it funny share it, if you find it interesting share it. Don’t just be the blog, be the person behind the blog!


Get out from behind the Keyboard – Online content is going to be dominated by video by 2019, so now is the time to adapt. Get comfortable in front of the camera. Start small, use your phone and go from there!


Google Loves Fresh Produce – Taking a step back towards the basics is not necessarily a bad idea. Google loves fresh new content, so rather than focusing on “pushing” viewers to your blog, try “Pulling” them in with the content and a little help from Google.


There you have it, our top seven take aways from BloggerConf 2016. Not surprisingly there was a big focus on content, be that blog, video, or social, the devil is in the detail.


For those of you interested in learning more about great content, and  indeed how you can create it with minimal fuss, we are running a “One Day Blogging Workshop” on the 26th of November 2016 here in Dublin.


It is a one day intensive workshop where we will be covering everything from, “What makes good content?”, “Headlines”, “Hooks” “optimising content” and so much more.



To get all the details and to book your tickets,  click the video below!


The Biggest Mistakes we see with Bloggers

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About the author, Phil

I am passionate about great content and some what of a perfectionist, but remember, you can't edit a blank page!

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