Event Recap: Blogging Seminar by Frances Amper Sales

Photo credit: Powerbooks Facebook page
After a little over two months of book blogging, I confess that I still mostly don't know what I'm doing. So when I saw Powerbooks' poster for a FREE blogging seminar, by no other than Frances Sales, a prominent mom blogger, I grabbed the opportunity to learn more about the biz.

The seminar was held last July, 19 in Powerbooks Greenbelt 4. I took down notes during the seminar then asked Frances after if I could share it here in the blog and she so kindly said yes. So here are some bits and pieces from my notes:

Introduction of her blog
Frances decided to start blogging because she loves writing and already has an editorial background. She used Friendster at the start where only her approved network of friends can view her posts. She received lots of love from her posts in Friendster and decided eventually to move on to Blogger.

She started her personal and lifestyle blog in 2005. Topaz is her birthstone and her blog is a glimpse of her life so she named her blog Topaz Horizon. She said that in hindsight, Topaz Horizon is actually not a very good blog name because she got asked about a lot why she named her blog as such. She said that a good blog name tells right away what your posts are about. A good name, she said for example, would be “A Sea of Shoes” if you are blogging about shoes.

In 2009, she also started a parenting blog called Topaz Mommy. She decided to have a separate blog for parenting because she felt the her readers in Topaz Horizon wouldn't appreciate her posts about motherhood. She threw a caution however to beginner bloggers to avoid as much as possible creating multiple blogs. Do just one and focus all your energies there.

Frances discussing her blogging tips.

How she grew her blog?
  • Thru SEO. SEO is knowing how to use keywords to enable your post to be on top spot in Google searches. She said that SEO today is different from SEO when she was just starting out. She said that these days, Google changed it’s algorithm to show original content rather than keywords only. (That's better, right?)
  • Thru networking. This means regularly visiting other blogs, leaving comments and your own blog link. Comments should be meaningful and should show that you really read the post. Comments such as, “Great post, please visit my blog.” is a big no-no.
  • Thru social media. Share your posts in various social media, too.
  • Branding. This means making your blog stand out midst the sea of other blogs swimming in the net. So how do you go creating your own brand? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to help you create your brand: What can you talk about all day long? Who do you want to talk to? How do you want people to describe you in a sentence? What words can you use across all your platforms? What makes you unique?

“What makes you unique, will make your blog unique.”

How to earn money from blogging?
  • Thru ad placements in your blog
  • Thru sponsored posts. This consists of working with brands to create content for them to be posted in your blog. This includes but not limited to recipes, tips, product features or product review
  • Thru sponsored social media posts. Posts in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts which features the product of the sponsors.
  • Thru affiliates. Online stores such as Amazon have affiliate programs that when a customer used your blog link to purchase on their site, you will receive a portion of the proceeds.
  • Thru selling your products and/or services in the blog. If your blog is about crafts, you may sell your work thru the blog. There are also bloggers who offer services, such as blog layouting and design.
  • Thru brand ambassadorships. I think this one will best work if you're already an established and highly esteemed blogger (like Frances) and the brands you have worked with wants to make you an ambassador and/or be the face of the brand in events and social media.

"If they believe in you, they will want to work with you."

Ways to make your blog succeed:
  • Be true to yourself. Do not go accepting sponsored products for features (or go joining blog tours for us book bloggers?) if you don’t believe in the product yourself.
  • Be disciplined. Check your grammar. Have an organized blog layout. Schedule your posts especially if sponsored and stick to your schedule.
  • Be humble. Do not be a diva. Do not demand freebies. Do not gate crash parties.
  • Be generous. Provide link-ups in your posts.
  • Collaborate like crazy. Think like Taylor Swift. Do not compete with other bloggers. Collaborate instead. Do not be threatened. Help each other instead. You don’t have to kill the competition in order to succeed in blogging. Blogging is so unlike the television where they have to compete for the people’s viewership. People can both visit your blog and other blogs as well.

"Collaboration is key."

Other tips:
  • Post regularly. Online readers are not that loyal. If they don’t see you posting that often, they will unfollow you. If you will be on a hiatus, make an official announcement and an estimated time on when you will come back.
  • Balance between regular posts and sponsored posts.
  • Don't go into blogging thinking that you just want the money.
  • Do not publish comments from trolls.
With Frances.

Needless to say but i’ll say it anyway,THE SEMINAR WAS A GOLD MINE. A bunch of thanks to Frances, Powerbooks and Enderun's The Study. It was so inspiring to hear Frances’ success stories in blogging. And what’s even more exciting is if I can apply all her success tips in this blog. Well, let’s see...

If you missed this seminar, there will be a more extensive one in August 27, (it’s a weekday, what a bummer!) with deets HERE.

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