20 September 2013

What I learnt about digital content creation at the Problogger Event #pbevent

Character using scissors to create content



One of the big takeaways I got at the Problogger Event was that us bloggers are all content creators, and that it’s really easy to value-add onto the content we’ve already created (our blogs, duh!). Years ago, it was very expensive to create digital content, but now it’s become much cheaper, though quite a bit harder to get our content noticed.

I went to a couple of sessions that talked about content and product creation – a “launching your speaking career” with the very lovely Yvonne Adele (you may know her as Ms Megabyte) and Trevor Young (you may know him as PR Warrior) and also a session specifically about creating digital content, run by social media experts Ed Dale and Shayne Tilley (pictured below). Ed and Shayne said "Everyone has a product inside them that will help someone".



Here are my top five tips about digital content creation – the things that I will be doing, like right now:

1. Don't spend too much money on your blogs and digital products. There are apps that do stuff cheaply, and online communities to answer your questions. Shayne and Ed recommended Fiverr – where you can source experts to do stuff for you, for $5. You don’t need to learn coding for your blog when there’s an expert who can do this for you.

(Edit: I forgot to add - There was also talk of bartering of skills, so you don't necessarily have to pay the bottom dollar for a service that you believe is more valuable than $5.)

2. Take the time to learn about the things you are interested in and want to be good at. (I cant recall who gave this tip - it may have been said in another session. there was just so much to absorb at the conference!) I’ve changed my reading habits to include blogs and magazines to educate myself in start-ups and social media - my two faves at the moment are Collective and Monocle magazines. I've also bought a few books of wisdom. Ed and Shayne recommended Digital Publisher, which I have found on iTunes. And to think, five years ago I bought Cosmo and Cleo every month...

3. Podcasts are easy to create and distribute onto your blog and social media accounts. Shayne and Ed recommend the Auphonic app to create podcasts straight from your smart phone - no complex thingies needed! I've downloaded it to my phone and will have a play soon. I love podcasts and want to make my own!

4. Take your top 10 blog posts, copy and paste them into word, brand the document with your branding, and make the document into a PDF. You now have an eBook. You can sell this at your speaking events, or giveaway in exchange for email addresses/reader details. This was a tip from Yvonne-Adele and Trevor, and I would say it's my favourite!

5. “Don't be intimidated by others who have created content before you. It's creative carnage for everyone. Just do it.” Ed and Shayne were very passionate and encouraging. I’ve been thinking about value adding onto my blog for a while, especially through podcasts and ebooks, and now I know it’s not hard and nothing to be afraid of, I will give it a go.

What are your goals for your blog?

How are you learning new things?

Have you switched from reading trash mags to intellectual ones?



  1. Thanks for sharing these Carly.

    I have to say though, that first one really gets my goat. How can we expect other people to value our contribution (as bloggers) if we start touting that the development side should be done as cheaply as possible? You can't source "experts" to do things for you for $5 - you can exploit people with enough skill to do a cheap bit of copy and paste for you.

    I'm really surprised that this was offered as a "tip" and not as a "never do this".

    1. Great point Anna!
      I guess that they talked a little about the bartering system too - maybe you lend your skills to them in exchange for theirs.
      I recently put a call out on a writing group for someone to help me with my CV - not wanting to pay the bottom dollar for it, want to lay what's deserved, but I also used this community to seek out recommendations.
      Thanks for your comment!

    2. I love a bit of bartering :D And I think that's a better representation of value - here's this thing I do that I think is valuable, and I'll give it to you in exchange for that thing you do, demonstrating that I think what you do is also valuable. I just think it's a bit much to want someone to pay ten bucks for a piece of content, but then expect a developer to make functional changes to the blog for almost nothing, you know?

      Really enjoying your Problogger posts!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Good post Carly and a good set of takeaways.

      Anna, the $5 thing might be clearer with a bit of context. It wasn't presented so much in the sense of paying someone $5 to create a product for you but finding $5 solutions for the technical roadblocks that non-techy bloggers come up against - quick edit on a video, create or edit a graphic, tweak a website template to fit an opt-in form, etc.

      These are the type of jobs can often be quite simple but an 'expert' expert (i.e. a 'proper' developer, editor or graphic artist) might rightly charge ten times as much for because that's what their time is worth. Thus a $5 solution to a $5 problem can remove a real barrier for a blogger who is just starting out or is a bit bewildered by such things.

  2. One of the reasons I use Tumblr as a blogging platform is that it's free... and as a proud hobby-blogger, the freedom of not having to cover any "costs" is really important to me.

    Plus, on a platform like Tumblr that is dominated by people reposting unoriginal content (like, ahem, the occasional post stolen from this site ;) ) I'm really proud that I'm creating original content for Tumblr.

  3. Thanks for the shout out miss C! I produce content for lots of subject-matter experts and the biggest tip I took away from the conference was a reminder to build your email marketing list. Facebook never turned out to be a great place to sell things or even to get people to click through to buy something - BUT it is a fabulous way to demonstrate your value and therefore compel people to sign up for great value information by email. Once you build the email list, you can continue to provide top value to your subscribers. THEN you have someone to sell digital products to.

    I have to say, I have used Fiverr a few times and never been wow-ed. I prefer to use elance.com and we mustn't forget the AMAZINGLY clever www.tweaky.com by our very own Aussie Ned!

    Another great way to create content, like an ecourse is to have people sign up for a series of weekly webinars. You might bring guest speakers into each one, and show a presentation and take questions during the webinar. You record the whole thing. That way, you've not only provided an amazing service to the people who attended the webinars live but you've now got an 8 week ecourse you can set up via email auto-responders using aWeber or Mailchimp that you can sell forever more. Making money in your pj's right? This is what we are going to do with our Speaking School for bloggers :: www.thereachkit.com! (sorry had to get a plug in there, lol!)

    Wonderful to have breakfast with you, and I hope to see you soon!

  4. LOL don't be too embarrassed, I think we all go through the Cosmo/Cleo stage ... and then we grow up!

  5. Thanks for this. I haven't listened to their session yet but it is great to read a summary of it. I love that ebook tip!

  6. Awesome notes and tips, Carly. I wish I'd read your post before I said "there were only 10 takeouts from Problogger" because, well, here you are with so much more! x

  7. I like the idea of podcasts, but know NOTHING about them.

    I need to educate myself!

    Btw, I tried to share this on Twitter and it didn't work. Is your Twitter account protected? Another Blogger blogger told me that stops the sharing, but I don't remember your account being protected. If not, that is 2 Blogger blogs that wouldn't share tonight

    1. Hey Robyn I haven't got a protected twitter account - it may be yours that's playing Jo. My twitter acct isn't linked to the blog. Try cutting and pasting the link directly to twitter.

      As for podcasts - I love them! I listen to two or three a night. You can download them in iTunes - my faves ate abc radio life matters, 360Documentaries, Conversations with Richard Fidler and This American Life, plus sole food ones :)

    2. My Twitter account seems fine with everything else. Hmmmmm interesting.

      Yes I did the copy and paste thing, as you discovered! :))

  8. I am so glad you went to this, and I am very curious to learn more. Usually, I'm a bit skeptical, as a writer, when I start hearing the words "content creator," maybe because I'm still old school about plain ol' writing.

    Your first sentence was this, "One of the big takeaways I got at the Problogger Event was that us bloggers are all content creators, and that it’s really easy to value-add onto the content we’ve already created (our blogs, duh!)."

    Now, I'm no trying to be sarcastic or anything, but authentically understand what you are saying in laymen's terms. We all have blogs. And most of them are either hobbies or non-money making operations. When you are talking about "value-ad," are you talking about finding ways to use the blog to either monetize or advance careers or projects beyond the actual writing of the blog -- speaking, e-books, etc?

    I also like that idea of collecting ten blog posts as a little booklet showing off your work!

    1. Hey Neil that's exactly what I meant with "value add" - I use my blog to lead to freelance writing and speaking opportunities.
      Thanks for your Interest - I have written more about the Problogger event in the previous two posts and will be writing more :) keep reading.

  9. I still have so many sessions to listen to! I've loved reading everyone's recaps and tips to see what I learned vs what others learned.

  10. Yes, keep the tips coming as I'm learning so much!


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