Bloggy Question 64: You're In Business Now!

Opportunity Knocking

For those who come looking for a short, thoughtful read, a blogging life discussion, or a way to gradually ease back into the week. I offer this bloggy life question. . . .

You’ve been writing a blog as a bit of an adventure. You’re not a “make money online” sort of person — mostly because you wouldn’t have a clue how.

Then yesterday you got invited to speak at a conference nest Tuesday in California for some 300 eager attendees. The sponsor of the event has asked you to do the keynote opening talk. The theme of the conference is the theme of your blog.

Suddenly, you realize you have an opportunity to network. People there will listen to what you have to say. You have just enough time to put together some incredible business cards and a great elevator pitch, but no time at all to make your blog look like you do this for a living. Even worse, you’ve been neglecting your blog lately.

Do you leave your as it is and hope for the best, handing out business cards and plan to fix it as soon as you return? Do you pull it off line and put it “under construction”? Do you hand it to a designer and a copywriter who know you, hoping that what they come up with is better than what’s there?

Do you go on vacation instead, figuring you were never meant to do this anyway?

How do you respond?

–ME “Liz” Strauss

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Bloggy Question 61: Okay Kids, Login!
Bloggy Question 60: Are You Listening?
Bloggy Question 59: A Whole New Blog Network?
Bloggy Question 58: I Read, Therefore I Am . . .


  1. says

    Hmm neglecting… if that means you haven’t tweaked your theme this week you can swing it, if you haven’t posted any content for 6 months, it is not really a blog any more. It is more like a static website.

    If your blog doesn’t look amazing, that is just proof that anyone can do this as long as they write with their own voice and create content people want to read.

  2. says

    Don’t take it offline. You may alienate existing readers and lose potential ones. Pretty themes are nice, but aren’t the most essential part of a blog.

  3. says

    I think I would go. I may make some cards and put together an elevator pitch around the theme of the blog, but more? I don’t know. Just because someone has invited me to be the keynote speaker doesn’t mean I’m all of a sudden making my blog my business or making a living as a speaker. I never thought of it that way before. Why now?

    Presumably the sponsor invited me based on the current state of the blog. Why be in a mad rush to change it, and why hire someone else to do it, especially a copywriter who, no matter how well he knows me, isn’t me and won’t write the same as me without a great deal of research. If the design is downright bad, a designer is something to consider, but that means a copywriter is even less called for, since the words outweighed any failure of design.

    I would probably put up a couple of new posts, though, based on drafts I currently have so attendees know the site is alive and functioning.

    After the conference, and after seeing the outcomes of it, is the time to think about changes that may be called for in the blog and my approach to it, and in my life direction.

  4. says

    as always.. good food for thought :) as we go into another week of focus, balance and discovery.. .i tend to agree with rick on the sponsor supposedly having invited me based on how it is right now

    As the Country music song says “Take me as I am”.. but scramble afterwards depending on outcome :)

    GP in Montana.

  5. says

    I’d really consider WHY someone asked me to speak at a BLOG conference in the first place, initially it’s rather flattering to be asked wouldn’t you agree?? Seemingly they saw something in my work or they would not have asked me in the first place. If they are desperate to fill keynote space then I’d wonder what kindof conference it is in the first place. However if they saw something in my Blog and in me and it was a legitimate group I’d totally go and speak and I wouldn’t change a thing. I see it as a wonderful opportunity, if I really have been sloggish to re-evaluate why I blogged in the first place and why I might want to take it to the next level – in preperation for the speech I might explain what I love about blogging, what I learned along the way, including why i stopped – what’s next for me and who my mentors are !! Now if I say all that and I’m a total loser or a slacker and have no intention of ever blogging again – then I should be shot. ( just kidding )

    Those kindof people get ” found out ” pretty quick

    Mother Earth

  6. says

    This situation would drive me bonkers! You can’t (at least I couldn’t) turn down this chance. You can’t revamp your blog. You can’t undo the past.

    But, your invitation is a result of the state of your blog at the moment – it can’t be all bad. And transparency is one of the wonderful attractions of blogging. Great speakers are rarely perfect. In fact, my favorite speakers are far from it. They are journeyers just like me. They have done work, but they still have work left to do. They have accomplished and failed and have lessons to teach from each.

    I say, go with it. The things that really irritate you can be added to your to do list. But you were invited – not the person you are going to be.

  7. says

    Hi Rick,
    I like your idea of putting up a couple of posts for the attendees. I also like that you’re not quick to take yourself or the speaking engagement too seriously. :)

  8. says

    Hi Mother Earth!
    I don’t know that it’s a blogging conference or only one about the topic of your blog, but either way . . . you’re the expert. I like the way you’re approaching this speaking gig. :)

    I have a feeling you’d made a wonderful speaker based on the comment you just made. I with you about being transparent about who your mentors are , why you are doing what you do, and why you are there. :)

  9. says

    How fun you should ask this question…

    Sometimes we don’t know what we’re up to until someone “reflects” us. Like the invitation to speak [and Rick’s comment, thank you], people see us in ways we might be too busy or shy to notice. That “reflection” often provides the bounce for the next step in our lives.

    Forget about all the critic voices (content of site, design, etc.), go to the event, rock like you always do, and come back and JAM on that site.


  10. says

    Hi April!
    I’d be packing my suitcase right along with you! It’s pretty exciting. Like you, I’d have to figure whatever got me there would carry me through and that the folks there aren’t that different from me. :)

  11. says

    Hey Lisa!
    We can do things without finding what’s wrong with us, can’t we?!! You’re such as smile in my life, and everyone else’s.

    You’re right we should rock on out there . . . do what we can before and after . . . then rock on. :)

  12. says

    Great scenario Liz!

    I’d say: Carpe diem
    I’m echoing a number of great people here by saying that it’s a great opportunity and would likely be based on the current state of a blog. I wouldn’t change anything.

    I would, however, quickly ask myself a few questions to make sure I can re-engage my blog and come up with a few post ideas to work on during the trip. I might spend a little time on business cards, but odds are, if the blog conference is my area of interest/passion, they may already know me. Simply putting info on the blog and offering the URL at the conference might do the trick.

    I’d spend most of the limited time available working on the speech, getting the best balance of speaking and visuals. Making sure to focus on connecting with the people and the reason they are listening to me – to bring them value.

    Again, great scenario, and one that many of us may love to be in the middle of.

    Kind Regards,

  13. says

    Hi Rick!
    Thank you! I would hope that if they invited us that they know who we are . . . or it’s going to be really uncomfortable to speak. he-he.

    I’m with you. Keeping our feet on the ground and our eyes on reality. This could be just another bloggy flash in the pan. Spending most of your time working on the speech seems like a fine investment. Then you know that you’re having the impact where it most counts. yeah!

    Here’s hoping we all, who want to, get a chance to be bothered in this in little way. :)

  14. says

    Don’t take it off line, use it demonstrate the challenges and opportunities involved in blogging. In your presentation describe some ‘current theories for blog success’ and involve the audience in critiquing your blog against those theories. You might also invite the audience to give their thoughts on the impression given by a ‘super smooth’ looking blog versus an ‘enthusiastic amateur’ looking blog and what implications this might have for the type of audience it attracts….and the elevator pitch? “Did you know that of the 71 million blogs in the world I’m in the top 200,000, want to know how I did that?

  15. says

    I kind of am making some money, especially with my blogger blog. But I would not change themes are do a complete makeover. If they think my experience as a blogger is enough to make me an expert, than I would just get back in touch with what defines my blog, have some cards to make sure they remember my name and focus on doing a presentation that does not bore everyone.

    I like clean, nice looking blogs. But the content is the key factor, the rest is extra.

  16. says

    Hello everyone, better late than never (it’s a time zone thing)

    I read someone the other day talking about taking a ‘blogging approach’ to an area of his work that wasn’t his blog. At first I didn’t understand what he meant but then I realised it was about the way of doing things – like April and others have said, being transparent, having a conversation, not pretending to be something you’re not, being friendly, talking to people on the level, offering advice and resources freely

    His story had a happy ending – he got more business using the blogging approach than the ‘we’re the expert professionals’ approach they’d used the year before.

    In this instance I think maybe I’d write a blog post or two – maybe around the theme of the conference, some of the things that were good (excitement, possibility) and not so good (delivering on expectations, blog a bit neglected), wondering what people were looking for

    And then talk about the same thing at the conference: how a blog gives you the chance to connect, to talk, to share things from a more personal, human perspective – some of the fears and anxieties that ran through your mind when you got the invitation – how you can explore those through the blog and who knows maybe make stronger connections with readers and listeners by acknowledging some of those things that we all feel…

    And who knows – I guess at least someone in the audience will identify with what you’re saying, remember who you are, and what you’re blog’s called.

    That way you don’t even need to spend time on the business cards.


  17. says

    Hi Reasonable Robinson!
    Welcome! You’re a Robinson after my heart. You took what is and made it something worth taking about and learning from. What a fabulous idea.

    I’m interested in your elevator pitch. Have you used that one in real life?

  18. says

    Hi Alina!
    You are a problogger then, aren’t you? . . . the Olympics would call you one I think. :)

    With your comment in mind, I see your keynote as focusing on content. That is a wise thought in this context particularly . . . after all the organizer did invite you to speak because of the content on your blog.

    I wonder why you start with the idea that your presentation “won’t bore everyone.” I start thinking you would intrigue and go up from there. :)

  19. says

    Hi Joanna!
    I hope you bring back the link to the post you read on taking “a blogging approach.” It’s something I’d sure like to read.

    Taking your advice to take that approach to this occasion (and all of life) is right up my alley. I would be able to embrace that and relax into the idea. I might even look at the speaking gig as a blog post . . . make it a little less formal than I had previously thought of it, leaving room for the attendees to talk and interact — I might check in with the organizaer first to make sure that fit with his or her expectations. Don’t want to disappoint my sponsor in any way either. :)

  20. says

    Well, a good presentation is one that keeps the audience connected with you, focused on what you’re saying. If they’re bored, you should stop whatever it is that you’re doing.

    My idea of a great presentation is when no one gets bored, when everyone gets at least something minor in the end.

    I also think presentations should be warm and casual as much as possible, because the speaker and the audience are not computers exchanging data, no matter how valuable the data is :)

  21. says

    Hi Alina!
    Good morning!
    I agree. I agree! :)
    It just would never cross my mind that YOU would possibly be boring. :)

    How could that happen? Only if you walked up and promptly fell asleep. You’re just too interesting. :)

  22. says

    Hi Liz

    Here’s the link.

    It gave me one of those lightbulb moments on something else that I’ve been stuck on (designing some training materials)

    I tried asking myself “Why not approach it as if it was a blog post?”

    I found myself relaxing and seeing an easier way into it – one that I think will be more engaging for people using the materials too


  23. says

    Hi Joanna!
    Thanks for the link. I can see why it opened a new view for you. Life gets easier when we don’t take ourselves so seriously, don’t you think?

    You’re special one, Ms. Joanna!

  24. says

    Hey Liz,

    You just have to jump at this opp, but I think I’d try to turn the state of your blog into an opportunity, instead of a hindrance.

    I’d two-stage it. First, put together a jaw-dropping presentation. If people love you, in person, that imprint will transpose itself onto your blog and people will see and filter the content and design very differently than if they had read it cold.

    Second, end it with something that not only spins the state of your blog the way you want to, but captures as many of the attendees’ e-mails and eyeballs as possible.

    Maybe, say something like, “I am overwhelmed and excited at how much I’ve been able to accomplish with such a basic blog. But, standing in front of you all, I am inspired and, in fact, I’d like to throw out an invitation and a challenge to every single person here now. I wasn’t sure if I’d do this, but I’ve jut decided, this very moment, I am going to dive in take my blog to a whole new place. And, you know what, blogging is about community, so I want you to tell me how. Here it is. Go to my blog as soon as you get back to your room. Take a quick read through. Then e-mail me what you would like to see changed. Be honest, you guys are my ears and eyes. Everything is fair game. I would love your help. And, you know what, here’s what I’ll do, as a thank you to everyone who replies let’s say by the end of today, I am going to host an invitation-only, free-teleseminar where you guys can e-mail me your questions before and I’ll spend a few hours answering as much as I can.”

    So, you get the power of the stage, the networking opp, you place the state of your blog right up-front and spin it your way, before anyone else has the chance to spin it theirs, then you inspire them to invest in your community and become readers.

    sounds like a win-win. But, hey, I’m the eternal optimist!

    Much peace,


  25. says

    Great comments here! Not sure I have much to add, especially after Jonathan just knocked it out of the park with his ideas.

    My only contribution would be to not worry about business cards. Make ’em remember your blog and they’ll be able to find you any time!


  26. says

    Hi Jonathan!
    I like the “turn the state of your blog into an opportunity” philosophy. I would have gotten there. That’s a modus operandi. :)

    It’s so much more fun when we love our inadequacies, and folks like us better for that. We learn at the same time just as you pointed out in your comment. It becomes inspiration for everyone on how what is really is just what is. :)

  27. says

    Hey Mike!
    I agree aren’t we all incredible? What fun this question has turned out to be. :)

    Aw bring along a business card . . . then those who are so impressed can pass it along to their friends. :)

  28. says

    One addition

    SEO consultants and blogging consultants often have some of the worst SEOed and worst user friendly blogs on the internet.

    They devote their time to working on clients sites, and the best recommendation is word of mouth and the results they have attained for their clients.

  29. says

    Hi Andy!
    Oh yeah! The shoemaker’s kids are shoeless — that’s a sadness . . . how can you have credibility that way? I’m with you on that and I’ve been guilty of my version of the same. Still am in many ways. Darn it anyway.

    But I’m working on changing it. :)

    We ought to start a campaign. :)

  30. says

    Gotta answer the door when opportunity knocks.

    Admitting to your audience that you’ve been too busy to tweak your blog lately shows you’re human.

    All too many seminar speakers put on the appearance that they are superhuman, when in fact, they’ve simply had the time and $ to delegate a lot of stuff to assistants. Or they answered when opportunity knocked.

    Make lemonade. Turn it into a blog hotseat where you start off on the hotseat and fix your blog, then do the same for a few people in the audience.

    Given that the theme of the conference is the theme of your blog, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you came there to talk about re-energizing your blog and what they can do to re-energize theirs.

    Lots of possible subjects to cover, angles to take. Staying home is weak:)

  31. says

    Hi Mark!
    I want you on my team. Your ideas are filled with authenticity and problem solving. Yeah!

    I could see my way to trying every one of them.

    Thanks for making this thread even better. :)

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