Recapping the Canadian Personal Finance Conference: Lessons for Any Blogger

What a crazy insane week this was, I had planned on recapping last weekend at the Canadian Personal Finance Conference on Monday but then this week got away from me, ever have that happen? Between working 2 jobs, 2 events this week and a sick daughter…well this week got the best of me. I am ready for a vacation but I will take a few days next week for Thanksgiving.

First my journey to the Canadian Personal Finance Conference began the night before the event as well I went shopping for the perfect conference dress. I have wanted a maxi dress for a long time and I asked my readers to help me pick a dress well your votes were divided. So it really was up for me to decide so I headed back to Sexy Plus Clothing. I picked the Celebrity Maxi (the grey one) as I thought it offered me the most versatility. Stephanie, the owner was there this time, and it was great to meet her. If you are a plus and live in Toronto this is one store you want to check out and I so loved their sales rack I even bought a beautiful blue top for $20 that will go great with the black pants I got for $9 a few weeks ago.

Prret Banerjree and me
meeting Preet and wearing the dress from Sexy Plus Clothing


Now for the conference recap

First on the Friday night we had a pre-conference event. It was at the ballroom and was supposed to be bowling and food but I am not sure anyone got downstairs to bowl as we were all happy just to talk and get to know each other better. I was super excited as 3 of my absolute favorite  personal finance bloggers were in the room. First there was Preet Banerjee, and I am glad I can say I knew him when, as he is about to be the host of a new show this January on the OWN network. Look for it. Then I was excited about finally meeting Krystal who was the wonderful co host for the conference. She has co hosted a few of my #cdnmoney chats on Twitter and I was so grateful to finally meet her in person. Then there was Kerry from Sqwakfox, I have read her blogs faithfully for years. It was great to meet her as well.That night I also got to meet several other bloggers and it was great to touch base and get to know each of them.

The next day I got to sit in between two of my favorite ladies, Marcy and Angele as we listened to the speakers.

So what were the lessons I took away? Lessons that ANY blogger can use:

1. If you are using facts in your blog. Know your numbers. Check your FACT! Find out from the source. Don’t trust the internet to be your source..not when it comes to facts you want to cite as gospel Truth.

ie when I did the infographic on Mental Health here in Canada, I was citing a Ministry report. I was citing facts that were in releases. These are known as primary sources, have a primary source.Thanks to Glen Cooke for this lesson.

2. Learn to self Edit. Adam Mayer the editor from Moneyville, is known as a harsh editor for a reason-he wants readers to be engaged and read the  story. A well written post that has been edited well will get readers who come back. Write, write some more, and then edit and edit again before publishing. Get rid of words you don’t need.

3. A great blog is built one good post at a time- there are no secrets. Put your heart into each post. Great creative look at common issues we all have a solve them in ways that will connect with your reader.That was Kerry’s advice.

4.Want to be noticed by the media? Be prepared was my take away from the Media session with Preet. Have a plan with each opp you get. Know your stuff, and know what you want your sound bite to be.

5. When it comes to SEO, get to know your stuff it will help you. I was very thankful for Alyssa from RateHub’s lessons and her handout which just happended to be printed at Print Three where I work. Mine now hang in my office.

commoncentsmom seo reminder cards

6. When  it comes to be building community. Engage those who come. Make it easy for them to stay around and want more.  Steve from Grocery Alerts showed us how this was done. It was great to hear his perspective on this.

There were so many great take aways from the conference and I am already looking forward to the one next year.

What did I love most? Getting to meet those who write about money day in day out, for this frugal mom it was a pleasure to get to know each person I met on a more personal level. That was the best. For you who were at the conference what was your take away? For those who weren’t what lesson do you think you can work on for your blog?




How To Participate in a Twitter Chat

Twitter Tree © by pandemia

If you have been around twitter awhile you know what a hashtag is ( if not the # symbol followed by words or letters that link tweets from different individuals) it is pretty easy to get involved in twitter chats and twitter parties. Lots want to know how to participate in a twitter party or a twitter chat.

A Twitter Chat is when a group of people talk on Twitter using the same hashtag to link it all together.I recently started the #cdnmoney chat and to join the conversation, you Tweet what you want and add the end of it. It is a great way to network, learn and share what you know. My purpose with this chat is to have Canadians talking money. Now there are hundereds of other chats that do go on each week and the same rules basically apply.

To Follow the Chat – Please do not use the Twitter interface itself.Twitter chats can get very busy and generate hundreds if not thousands of tweets so use an interface such as Twubs .  You can also use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, just make a separate column to follow the conversation.

Get a feel for the conversation. You can do so by lurking just reading what others are tweeting and when you are ready just jump into the conversation.

Use Replies Generously – Things go quite quickly  in a Twitter Chat, and if someone posts something you want to comment on, they may not notice your post. Hence, you need to use the @ symbol in spades. This puts your reply in the person’s mentions bar, making it easier for them to reply.

If you are participating in a Twitter Party there will often be an RSVP for prizing purposes. Make sure you rsvp if you want to win a prize. Most of my #cdnmoney chats do not offer prizing. They are just great conversation and the sharing of tips, tricks and what is working or not working. It is the sharing of community.

There are a few general rules you should follow when in a twitter chat or party. The biggest rule is Don’t spam your blog/website – Now if you have just written a post on topic to the conversation going on, or have a tool that could be useful please do share those links.

Otherwise, just use good old fashioned common sense. Be polite, share, and enjoy. Now I really do hope I see you as we talk money on Tuesdays evenings from 7 to 8 pm EST on Twitter. We use the hashtag #cdnmoney.