HEMA ACADEMY | BLOG TALK
On Wednesday I attended the Hema Blog Academy together with a mix of +/- 1000 bloggers/aspiring bloggers. The Hema is a very popular shop here in The Netherlands. Hema is the place you go for a cup of coffee and a slice of apple pie and then shop for anything from t-shirts to blenders. They have a mega assortment of household items including school/office supplies, clothing, wine, home accessories, do it self products, kids toys, beauty products and food. So when I need to find something to wear, something to serve and something to serve it on for an honest price I need to go no further than the Hema.
The event was huge! I saw a few friends and met some new ones. We were received well with a typical dutch pastry and our goodie-bags were waiting for us on our chairs. The CEO of the Hema started the event off with some exciting news about some awesome new products that will soon be in stores (can’t say what but OMG!). The next speaker made the announcement that the Hema has now 22 bloggers on the LIVE Hema blog.
We were introduced to a few of the bloggers that are part of the Hema blog team. After hearing a bit about them there was a q&a. There were a few familiar faces on the stage including Femke from Femkeido. Also on the team but not at the event was Souraya from Binti Home who is without a doubt one of my favourite interior bloggers. I had a peak today at the Hema blog and it is very Hema. It took them a while to take the step but they’ve done it quite brilliantly. I have to admit I left the event with some doubt but I think their approach was the correct one. Take already established bloggers and create a base for the blog. Then provide the opportunity for other bloggers and aspiring bloggers to provide content. Me and the other 999 were able to log on to the platform today and I must admit that I hope soon to be submitting my first ever Hema post!
The highlight of the event without a doubt was guest speaker Yara Michels of Chapter Friday. Are you familiar with Chapter Friday? This past Tuesday Yara won the bloglovin’ newcomer of the year award in NYC. So Yara was Tuesday in New York, then Wednesday in Amsterdam where she appeared on the Hema stage where she delivered an inspiring presentation.
I’ve been blogging since around 2009 so I am no newbie. Still I learned a thing or two and heard some things I knew about but still wasn’t doing. She was an inspirational speaker and when she spoke, I took notes. Here are some of the things that I learned from her.
FIND YOUR SPECIALTY
People go online to find new and trustworthy entertaining information. Your blog content needs to be authentic which means get personal, be passionate about the content and know what you are talking about. Ask yourself ‘what do I have to offer’? What is your talent and what are you passionate about?
- Keep focused!
- Consider who your audience is. Who are you blogging for?
- Be accessible. Make your layout user friendly.
- Be clear to advertisers.
- Surf the web and research what other bloggers are doing.
Find your specialty within the subject you want to blog about.
For example if you want to blog about Fashion than think on topics within Fashion like sewing tutorials, mommy fashion, street style, film fashion, lingerie, catwalk trend DIY’s and get the look posts.
The importance of visual content on your blog should not be underestimated. The photographs send a message. How you present your topic visually is important for your signature style.
Some simple tips from Yara for visual content are;
- Keep the same size images throughout your blog.
- When photographing use different angles. Think on corners & lighting.
- Keep your signature style. Whether it be the type of images you use or the graphics, use it throughout your blog!
- Find a professional photographer (My own advice -> This is not for all bloggers. There are plenty of tutorials and masterclasses on photography available. If you are shooting interior or for example diy you can learn some tricks and tips online. Keep practicing and you might be surprised what you can learn!) There are also sometimes students looking for portfolio work. You could try recruiting someone to help you out ‘quid pro quo’.
TELL A STORY
It is important to tell a story, informal yet direct without making it extremely long (this post is breaking the rule!). Try to create a rhythm in your writing and play with emotion.
Writing skills can be learned! Here are a few tips from the presentation.
- Write down lines and words that you like so you can use them in your posts.
- Use synonyms! The outfit could also be attire, wardrobe, clothing or garb.
- Read your posts aloud before publishing them (something I need to do… )
- Ask for feedback (I need to do this too… I know it but I ask myself will I ever?!)
BUILD AN AUDIENCE! YOU NEED TO BE HEARD!
Ask yourself when creating your blog-posts ‘is it something I’d want to read’?
Remember you deserve to be heard! That’s why you do it isn’t it?!
How do you get readers? The question all beginning bloggers ask, am I right?
Here are some more tips we heard from Yara.
- Invest time into your statistics. What posts are popular and where are readers coming from?
- Promote your blog on the right platforms. For example Facebook, forums & other blogs.
- Search engine optimization aka SEO. Learn about SEO techniques so you can use the correct names and search key-terms. This way your posts can be found easier.
- Promote your blog offline. (I do that by going to blogging events and I do have a calling card)
Connect! Using social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, bloglovin’, Twitter & RSS you can easily connect with people around the world.
Without a doubt the 4-1-1 rule was mentioned. How could it not be? It is ‘the rule‘ when it comes to using twitter. The rule keeps your tweets interesting and compact. Unlike the US information number 411 you need to dial to receive information this rule is a way to distribute information.
- Tweet 4 pieces of relevant original content from others
- Re-tweet 1 relevant tweet for every self promoting tweet (1)
Research shows that social media posts are the most effective on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These four times are the most efficient 9am-1pm-4pm-10pm.
I’d like to thank Hema for the invitation to the event. I’d also like to congratulate them on their new blog which I hope to become a part of. Also thanks to all the speakers for the inspiration they provided. Also a big thanks to Monique and Claudia for keeping me company on the long journey from the east to the west and back again.
Have a nice weekend!
Credit for the photo below hema.nl