When it comes to WordCamps, Phoenix is one of the most well-respected and well-run camps. In its eighth year, last weekend’s WordCamp Phoenix (WCPHX) was no exception.
Led by an amazing group of organizers, their passion for WordPress runs very deep and it comes out in the way in which their event was presented. I’m extremely proud of every single person on the WordCamp Phoenix organizing team, but especially Raquel Landefeld from a fellow agency, Mode Effect, who held the lead organizer position.
This was my fourth time attending WordCamp Phoenix, but my first time speaking at it. I was invited to give my talk on “Eat, Blog, Love: How I Stopped Waiting and Started Doing.” I’ve spoken at over 12 camps in my tenure within the WordPress community, but this was only the second time I’ve given this particular talk (my first if you consider that I lost my original slides and had to create new ones for WCPHX).
The talk is centered around how I built my food blog, Dine With Shayda, on the WordPress platform, and how I use simple life tricks I’ve picked up along the way to create compelling content, market myself, and create a consistent flow of motivation to get things done. It’s part marketing, part strategy, part self-help.
For me, this was one of my most well-received presentations, which ended with a group of people hanging around for well after my talk picking my brain. One of the most popular questions asked of me was:
“When you’re starting out, should you focus on a content calendar or schedule for publishing content?”
To be honest, for my blog, I don’t have a content calendar per se. My rule is to focus on consistency, not necessarily quality. In other words, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
My single goal is to create as much content as possible, whether it’s my blog or social media channels, etc. Of course, you want a plan for how to distribute that content once it’s created, but don’t get hung up in trying to write X amount of posts with X amount of words. The minimum content requirement for SEO is 300-500 words. Focus on doing that type of post as many times as you can! Another great question:
“What tools should bloggers use to create and edit content?”
A lot of people assume that you need to invest a lot of money upfront to start anything, that you need the best equipment, like a fancy camera or editing software. Of course, those tools are extremely helpful and once you’ve proven that your content can convert, absolutely make the investment.
But fun fact: I use my iPhone to edit all my photos still, and I’ve upgraded to a Nikon DSLR, but nothing beats my iPhone. My tip is to invest in learning how to create compelling content over buying new toys. Figure out your aesthetic and become an expert at executing that through your content.
This was also a special WordCamp for me because, as a new hire at WebDevStudios and because we work remotely and we don’t always get to meet each other right away upon joining the company, I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon MacMillan and Aubrey Portwood, who are both Arizona residents and involved in the local WordPress community. They’re both two of our amazing developers and it was fun being able to meet some of my team members to help put faces to names, which I will say, is extremely important working in a distributed company!
With over 500 attendees, WordCamp Phoenix was one of the larger camps I have attended, but it never felt that big or overwhelming. The speakers were a nice mix of technical and business. They had workshops which covered plugin development, starting a WooCommerce store, and discovering your unique brand voice.
And if it’s fair to say, my favorite things about the camps are the people. I’ve become quite spoiled because I know how awesome WordCamps are. But if you’ve never attended or have only attended locally, I encourage you to go to more! The people that show up are friends old and new, business partners, vendors, potential hires, and some of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. Being able to connect digitally through WordPress is amazing, but making time for in-person relationships is key. I like to remind myself that people like to do business with people, so any chance you get to connect with others in your industry on a human level, do it.
Big thanks again to the WordCamp Phoenix team for having us, we really appreciated it. Thank you to Raquel Landefeld, Carol Stambaugh, Betsey Cohen, Matthew Clancy, Justin Tucker, Andrea Self, David Ryan, Leslie Pico, and Corey Jenkins. Thank you to the volunteers who helped run registration, check in speakers, introduce speakers, support the happiness bar, and all the other ways in which you helped make WCPHX flawless. And to the sponsors, without your support, WordCamps wouldn’t be possible and for that, we thank you.
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