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Opening keynote at this year’s ProBlogger Evolve event. Photo credit Grace Henley Photography.

ProBlogger training events have been something I’ve been running for bloggers here in Australia (and the region) since 2010.

They started that first year with a hastily arranged event (in just a few weeks) for 120 bloggers who crammed themselves into a little suburban hotel here in Melbourne. The day was simple – 5 sessions that walked attendees through the four main pillars of profitable blogging – content, traffic, building engagement and making money.

The first event was so well received that I immediately began planning the next one.

Every year since 2010 we’ve run an annual event and have evolved the event. We went from a 1 day event to 2 days (and then later added on some half day workshops), from 1 stream of content to 5 running simultaneously, from no sponsors to many, from 120 attendees to over 750 and from 5 speakers to over 40.

Things changed over the years – a lot.

Every event was ‘the best event yet’ but every year our events became more and more work to run, more overwhelming for new attendees and in the last couple of years a little less focused as we tried to cover more and more topics and meet everyone’s needs.

Last year’s ‘best event yet’ was great – but I came away from it knowing something needed to change.

ProBlogger Event – Our Pivot and Evolution

Despite our attendees rating the event extraordinarily high in their surveys I knew we needed to shake things up in 2017 and my amazing team and I began to dream of a new kind of event.

Interview with Pat Flynn at this year’s event in Brisbane. Photo credit Grace Henley Photography.

Our goal was to return to some of our roots by putting on an event that was simpler to organise, and that went back to our core topic of building profitable blogs.

We wanted to step away from running a sponsored event to enable us to get back our focus upon serving attendees.

We wanted to get back to the four pillars that we’ve built so much of ProBlogger around – content, traffic, engagement and monetization.

We wanted to strip back some of the parties and razzle dazzle (as fun as they were) and get back to solid training.

We wanted to provide those who are at a higher level and who wanted more personal attention, with the opportunity to mastermind.

We wanted to bring some of that intimacy to the event – to take away the overwhelm, to let our attendees be less worried about missing out on choosing the right session and to be able to sit with a single stream of quality content and to get to know bloggers around them.

We wanted to attempt to make the event more accessible to those unable to travel by running the event in more than one location and over a weekend rather than mid week.

Recap of our ProBlogger Evolve Events Last Week

Jadah Sellner shares advice on how to monetise a blog through building community. Photo credit Grace Henley Photography.

Over the last two weekends we ran our new event – twice (first in Brisbane and then in Melbourne). We called it Evolve – partly because it was an event that had evolved but more so because we want to challenge and equip our attendees to evolve what they do with their online activities.

The events were both the same format and structure. Day 1 was a larger gathering (around 170 bloggers) all in a single room for the day to hear 6 speakers – largely structured around our 4 pillars.

Our speaker and organising team (from left to right) Pat Flynn, Shayne Tilley, Kelly Exeter, Grove Galligan, Laney Galligan, James Schramko, Jadah Sellner and Darren Rowse. Photo credit Grace Henley Photography.

  • I kicked the day off with a talk about the importance of evolving and suggesting some areas to consider evolving what bloggers do.
  • I then interviewed Pat Flynn about his own journey of evolving what he did.
  • Kelly Exeter share some tips on monetising through content.
  • Jadah Sellner spoke on the topic of monetising through building engagement.
  • Laney Galligan shared tips on traffic and how it monetises differently depending upon it’s source, intent etc (including a great case study interview).
  • James Schramko spoke on the art of how to selling without coming across like a jerk.
  • Pat Flynn finished the day off by talking about validating ideas.

The simpler format for the day flowed really nicely and the smaller numbers meant we were able to seat people around tables which opened upon opportunity for a little workshopping and discussion which had a nice feel to it.

Pat Flynn shares a ‘playbook’ session with the Brisbane Mastermind group on his editorial planning process. Photo credit Grace Henley Photography.

Day 2 was smaller – 40 attendees in both cities and very much focused upon masterminding and workshopping with our speakers from day 1 and other attendees. Pat, Jadah, James and Shayne Tilley also did some short practical/tactical playbook teaching sessions.

While there’s always things you can do to improve, I’m very satisfied to this new format of event and the response from attendees was incredibly encouraging too.

The response particularly from mastermind attendees was amazing. At both events we’ve seen attendees come away with plans and even taking action on those plans before our team got back home. Two attendees in Brisbane had designed a course and launched it within a week – making over $18,000 in that first week!

Other attendees got clarity around pivots in their businesses, how to scale their teams or knowing what new monetization strategies to try next.

While I was slightly nervous about the mastermind format (as I’ve not done one before) I’m convinced now that we need to do more of these smaller masterminds going forward and now just need to work out what doing that will look (stay tuned).

Laney Galligan shares tips on monetising with different traffic streams. Photo credit Grace Henley Photography.

Are you interested in future ProBlogger Events?

While our events were on I received a lot of messages via social media asking when we’re doing our next events.

If you’re in the US (or able to get there) I am co-hosting a similar event in Dallas. It’s a collaboration with online friends and we’re calling it Success Incubator. It’ll be slightly different to our Aussie events but will have some similarities. For starters both Pat Flynn and myself will be speaking but we’re also building some masterminding/workshopping style sessions in to day 2 for everyone.

There’s more details of the event, speakers, agenda on our Dallas event here (but don’t wait too long as tickets are limited).

If you’re interested in our Aussie events next year – sign up to get notified where and when our next events will be in the form below.

I LOVE our ProBlogger events so much. It sure is something special when our community gets together in person – so I hope you might join us at an event in the future!

(Special thanks to Grace Henley of Grace Henley Photography for our Brisbane event photography)

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