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2020 bought us Tiktok and 2021 is set to be the year where the world becomes obsessed with the new Clubhouse app – a new social media platform based on audio messages. But what exactly is Clubhouse and how can it help bloggers?
What is Clubhouse?
Think of Clubhouse as an interactive podcast app. Essentially you can join rooms where there are audio-only conversations happening around the clock which you can often join in with.
Rooms generally are made up of a small panel of moderators who are discussing a topic and the audience can raise a hand to be asked up onto the stage to ask a question or chime in with some advice or an anecdote.
There is no video – just audio – so you can join in conversations wearing your PJs with messy hair and an even messier house! (It’s my kind of app!)
Anyone can start a room and invite their contacts to help them moderate it and you can talk about literally anything! There are rooms about current events, travel, marketing, psychology, sports, beauty tips, music, relationships… you name it, there is a room!
People are also using the platform creatively such as hosting ‘open mic’ performance rooms for musicians and creatives or having co-working sessions where someone DJ’s with music designed to increase productivity whilst you all work alongside each other silently! I’ve even heard of auditions happening via Clubhouse and the cast of the Broadway Lion King even did a full musical performance!
And some rooms are just for fun, humour and general chit-chat such as one room called ‘Unfollow for unfollow’ where participants got up on stage to tell people why they SHOULDN’T follow them! 😂
The rooms which are shown in your ‘hallway’ (or homepage) are determined by who you follow. If someone you follow enters a room, the room will also be shown in your feed as something you might potentially be interested in. You will also be shown rooms based on your interests and which clubs you join.
It’s an app where it pays to follow more people to get to see a wider variety of relevant content. As long as you follow the right people to make sure only the best discussions show in your feed!
How to join Clubhouse
Clubhouse is currently invite-only. The team behind the app want it to grow slowly so that they have the opportunity to fix problems as they arise and develop a safe space for people to chat openly. There have been a few glitches recently which they are trying to fix.
There are many invite threads in Facebook groups but do think twice before joining via this route. One of the new security measures they have bought in is that if anyone is thrown off the app for bad behaviour, so is the person that invited them in.
It’s a little brutal as that person may have invited them with the best of intentions but the idea is to make people think twice about who they invite so that they don’t invite people who will abuse the platform.
The app is also only available on IOS for now though there are plans to roll it out to Android soon so watch this space…
Once someone agrees to invite you, they will do so by selecting someone from their phone contacts. Then when the person invited downloads the Clubhouse app, they need to register with the same phone number.
If you are inviting a friend in, consider giving them a little tour around. My friend did that for me and it was invaluable!
What to do if you haven’t got a Clubhouse invite
You can still download the app and save your username. If someone in your phonebook is already on the app, they will often get pinged to ask if they want to invite you in without using up their limited invites.
It’s also worth reserving your username regardless as Clubhouse is mostly done on name basis rather than your website name. I’m so grateful I managed to secure @leannescott not something like @leane_scott0567!
Remember when choosing your name and handle that you can only change it once so choose wisely…
How can you earn more invites?
If you want to get more friends onto the app, start hosting rooms and engaging with the app. You usually get 1 or 2 invites when you first join but you will earn more when you are active on the app. Just be savvy about who you give them too – only someone you trust to be respectful to others!
How to use Clubhouse for Bloggers
Clubhouse is an amazing place to connect and socialise with other bloggers, your potential audience and with brands.
The other great thing about Clubhouse is that you don’t need huge follower numbers to be successful. You could have a tiny audience but co-moderate a room with someone with a more established audience and you will reach all of their followers! Or perhaps a big influencer will pop into your room, bringing all their followers with them.
Let’s look at specific ways bloggers can use Clubhouse to grow their blog and business…
1. To Learn
Clubhouse is a great place to learn about the best blogging practices. Join clubs about blogging, follow blogging coaches (I’m @leannescott) and you will find yourself invited to chats about topics like ‘How to monetise your blog,’ ‘Affiliate marketing 101’ and ‘Ways to grow your blog quickly.’
For example, I have been on the panel for the following converstaions this week
- How to pivot for travel bloggers during a pandemic
- How to stay organised as a blogger
- Tips for Facebook group owners
- Content marketing tips for course creators.
- Email marketing basics for newbie bloggers
These panels are essentially like free masterminds and many will host Q&A’s which are a great opportunity to ask an expert your question directly or get feedback about your own blog or strategies.
2. Grow your social channels.
Currently, you can only link your Instagram and Twitter profiles but since there is no direct chat feature on Clubhouse (unless you start a private room,) so many people will follow you onto the other social platforms to start a conversation there.
During one conversation, I acquired 30 new followers on Clubhouse and 10 of those came over to Instagram too. This was only a smallish room with max 50-60 people in it at any one time. Some rooms have hundreds or thousands of attendees.
3. Grow your email list
Add a free lead magnet to your Instagram bio and then you can invite people to go and download it hence growing your email list with people who are really interested in what you have to teach. For example, most of those 10 new Instagram followers likely came over to get the freebie I had mentioned during the talk.
These 10 people are likely to be engaged on my email list because they’ve connected with me personally so are likely to care more about what I have to say in my emails than someone who stumbled across a lead magnet on Pinterest! I would go so far to say 10 new Clubhouse email subscribers is probably the equivalent of 20 regular subscribers.
4. Grow Authority in your niche
Being heard talking about your niche on Clubhouse could lead to lots of opportunities like being asked to speak at virtual summits or on podcasts or could lead to landing a sponsorship if a marketing manager stumbled across one of your rooms.
You never know who might be listening and what opportunities that could lead to…
5. Gain Confidence in public speaking
Perhaps you are a fitness blogger and you’d love to be invited to speak at a fitness conference? You can use Clubhouse to practice public speaking a low pressure, friendly environment – all whilst wearing your pyjamas!
6. Network with brands – from your living room
I remember back in the day, low-key stalking a marketing manager at a party because I really wanted to work with a brand. It paid off but it required me going to a conference in London in order to get that opportunity. Time-consuming and expensive, albeit worth it for the working relationship we went on to form!
But now you can achieve similar results without even leaving the sofa! Find out if the marketing manager for a brand is on Clubhouse and hop into conversations relevant to their brand where you may end up meeting.
It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know them, showcase your brand message and show your expertise so when you do send a sponsored pitch email, they actually know who you are! (You can even reference a discussion you had during a panel talk to remind them.)
7. Network with other bloggers
It’s a great way to get to know other bloggers in your niche. This might mean you get invited to contribute to collaborations or that one of your new blogger friends recommends you to a brand meaning more sponsorships and opportunities.
8. Promote affiliate links
I’m still exploring how well this could work but in theory, if you mention a product that people show interest in, you could mention an affiliate link. The link would need to be easy to remember so it would be worth using a tool like Thirsty Affiliates to create short neat, memorable links.
9. To Inspire your next blog post or digital product
Hang out in rooms in your niche and take note of what questions are being asked, what issues are being raised, what do people struggle with? Then you can use that to guide your blog content or even create ebooks or other digital products to help solve those problems!
Other ways to monetise Clubhouse for bloggers
Clubhouse are talking about creating more ways for creators to monetise their content. At the moment they are still ironing out the details for this. Possibilities include subscription fees for premium clubs, charging for tickets to specific events and allowing people to ‘tip’ you when you’ve provided a lot of value.
I quite like the tip idea. I’ve had people commenting that they couldn’t believe how much information we were giving out for free and that we deserved payment. People like that might be willing to provide a little incentive to keep creators providing valuable content.
But I’m not sure yet how I feel about tickets or subscriptions as I think it could affect the community feel that the app currently has. I guess we will have to watch this space…
How to use Clubhouse
How to write a great Clubhouse bio
When you first join the clubhouse app, you will need to set up a bio. The app is actually pretty SEO savvy so make sure you use keywords to help people find you. Also the keywords closer to the top of your bio will be given more importance.
People can also search based on emojis so if you blog about sports, use some sport emojis. Someone might find you via the Football emoji!
You’ll also want to include an eye-catching photo. Since the app is audio-only, your photo is the only glimpse your followers get of you so make sure you choose it wisely. I’d recommend a head shot where people can recognise you. Preferably with a bright background to stand out!
You can use this website to create a free profile picture which pops out! Here is mine…
Once you have found a picture you like, it’s best to stick to the same one. It means more people will start recognising you on the platform which may mean you get more invites onto the stage!
There is no feature to direct message someone on the Clubhouse app so you will want to connect it to your Instagram and/or Twitter profile so that people can reach you there.
I’d also recommend optimising the link inside your Instagram bio so you can include your lead magnets. This means you can mention your freebies and where to find them when you’re in a room and people will click on your Instagram link to find them whilst you’re talking.
This is a great way to grow your email list. What’s even better is that these are warm leads who’ve seen you talk and potentially have made a personal connection with you. This means they are far more likely to be engaged with your emails than someone who found you via a blog post!
It’s worth mentioning topics you’d like to talk about on your profile and encourage people to contact you to arrange to co-moderate rooms as the more speaking opportunities you get, the faster your following will grow.
I also like to end my bio with a call to action. I invite people to register for my free affiliate marketing course or join my Facebook group.
Here is my profile to give you an idea! (Click to see it scroll.)
How to navigate Clubhouse
Once you’ve set up a bio, profile picture and you have added your Instagram/Twitter accounts, it’s time to get exploring!
When you 1st enter the app, you’ll be in the ‘hallway.’ This is where you can see what talks are going on now and what is scheduled soon. If you want to be alerted when a talk starts, just click on the bell.
The envelope with a yellow star over it is where you will find invites you can give out to friends.
By clicking on the calendar sign, you can see what is scheduled. Choose from the talks chosen for you, browse all talks or see the ones where you are a host or co-host.
If you click the magnifying glass in the top left corner of the hallways page, it takes you into the explore tab. Here you can search talks by topic or search for people or clubs to follow.
Joining in a conversation
When you click on a room you will join the audience and you will instantly be able to hear the conversation.
The people on ‘stage’ will either be moderators or guest speakers. If they are moderators they will have a green symbol next to them. Moderators have the power to bring people onto the stage or to remove people.
If you see a party hat symbol, it means someone is new and has been on the app less than 7 days.
Then there is the mic symbol. When you are invited onto stage, it’s good practice to mute your mic so there is no background noise. Then when it’s your turn to speak, you can unmute your mic.
To join the stage, click on the hand symbol. This allows you to raise your hand and alerts the moderators that you want to speak. They can then invite you up. It’s best to instantly mute your mic then wait to be invited to speak. The host will usually invite people to ask a question or join in to stop everyone talking over each other!
The plus sign next to the hand-up sign is so that you can ping friends into the room who you think might be interested in joining. They will then get a notification that you invited them. I would recommend not over-using this feature as it could get annoying…
If you are not on stage, you can listen in without anyone being able to hear you. You can also leave quietly if the conversation is not for you.
Understanding Clubhouse room lingo.
When someone says ‘PTR’, it means pull to refresh. If you pull your screen down, if anyone has changed their profile picture, you will see the changes. Useful if the host wants to share an image related to the conversation.
‘Let’s reset the room’ is what the host will say to reintroduce the topic and introduce the speakers. Useful for chats that go on a while as people will be constantly arriving. Ideally, this should be done every 30-60 minutes.
Finally, if you see someone’s mic flashing, it usually means they are clapping or agreeing with the speaker without interrupting them. To clap, just tap your mic on and off quickly but make sure you leave it set to ‘off’ if you’re not talking!
How to schedule a talk on Clubhouse
If you want to schedule a room on Clubhouse, you first need to decide if to go it alone or rope in some moderators. If you go it alone, you could give a little talk then invite questions and bring the audience on stage.
In general, it’s easier and less stressful to schedule Clubhouse discussions with co-moderators who you can bounce off. They can also help you to keep things running smoothly by monitoring the conversation, inviting people onto stage, muting anyone who is disruptive etc. (I ought to see that I’ve never been in a room where that has needed to happen!)
To find Clubhouse moderators, ask your friends or reach out to other people on the platform in Instagram DM’s to ask them if they’d be interested to join you. There are also several Clubhouse Facebook groups set up to find moderators. I also have a Facebook messenger chat with other blogging coaches to organise rooms.
What I love about Clubhouse is that it’s all about working as a team to create awesome discussions rather than being in competition with other people in your niche.
To schedule discussions on Clubhouse, click on the calendar symbol and then you will see a calendar with a plus sign. Click on that and it’ll allow you to create a name and description for your Clubhouse discussion, add co-hosts and select a time for your talk. Try to make your discussion title as intriguing as possible!
You also have the opportunity to assign the talk to a club. I would only do this is either
- You are a club moderator, therefore, the room can remain public under the club’s name.
- The club has many active members in a closely related niche to your subject. That way you may reach new followers. To find out how many members are active at any one time, swipe left on your home page.
You may also choose to start a private Clubhouse room if you want a smaller chat, perhaps to discuss sensitive topics.
Once you have scheduled a talk on Clubhouse, you can share it on your other social platforms so that other clubhouse members can add it to their calendar and get pinged when you go live.
What are clubs?
There are clubs in all niche and by joining a club, you will get notified when anyone hosts a themed-room associated with that club. So if you are a travel blogger, you may wish to join a travel club like ‘Girls Love Travel.’
There are 3 types of club membership:
- Followers – will get alerted about rooms being hosted for that club
- Members – can host private rooms within the club.
- Moderators – can host public rooms under the name of the club therefore reaching the club members AND the general public.
You can choose to follow a club but to become a member you must be invited. Often after joining, you will get an invite, especially if your bio shows you are a good fit.
For example, I have been invited to become a member of blogging clubs as my bio says I am a blogging coach so they know I will be hosting relevant rooms.
Sometimes clubs have schedules such as themed conversations. Like a travel club might have travel hacks on a Monday and travel stories on a Thursday.
How to start a club on Clubhouse
To create a club on Clubhouse, you should be regularly hosting discussions or rooms. I believe co-moderating rooms also counts.
You can apply to have a club by clicking here. Be aware it usually takes a few weeks to get approved. Therefore it’s worth applying asap…
(They are talking about rolling out a new way to get clubs accepted o Clubhouse a little faster!)
They recommend hosting rooms at least weekly for 3 weeks before applying for your own club but I have heard of some people being accepted without hosting any and others waiting weeks who are hosting daily. I would say apply asap but host regularly whilst you are waiting!
How to grow on Clubhouse – should you do follow for follow?
Please do NOT do follow-for-follow on Clubhouse! Firstly, whoever you follow determines what shows in your newsfeed and you do not want it to be filled with a bunch of talks you have zero interest in.
Secondly, follower numbers matter less on Clubhouse. You don’t need volume, you need quality – people genuinely interested in what you have to say and who will attend your talks!
Follower numbers are therefore purely a vanity metric and serves no real purpose. I would rather 100 genuine followers who will show up than 1000 who have no interest in the topics I talk about!
The best way to find the right people is just to be active on the forum. Get on as many stages as possible. Host your own and offer to help other people moderate theirs. If you are knowledgable, approachable and authentic, people will naturally follow you because they will want to hear you talk again. These are the followers you actually want.
Clubhouse is very good at recommending you to other people based on who they follow and what topics they are interested in. Be active and engaged on the platform and you will see natural growth…
Also a word of warning. There are rooms popping up on Clubhouse specifically for the purpose of running follow-for-follow trains. I have heard of people being removed from the platform after participating in these rooms. The Clubhouse team are very strict about things like this – don’t risk it!
An app like Clubhouse relies on people following certain etiquette rules to keep it a safe space for genuine conversation
- Be polite at all times
- Mute your mic as soon as you’re invited on stage
- Don’t talk over people, wait until you’re invited to speak.
- If you noticed someone unmute their mic, it’s possible they want to say something – give them an opportunity.
- Don’t take over the whole conversation – give others a chance to join in and give their view.
- By all means, mention your business or your freebie but do it in a very natural way. It’s a discussion, not a sales pitch. You might introduce yourself with 1 or 2 sentences about what you do and mention your freebie when it fits naturally such as someone asking about recommended resources! When I host rooms I always invite my co-moderators to end the talk by telling people how they can connect with them.
So far, I am loving my experience on Clubhouse. I have found it to be a very friendly, supportive place which perhaps was unexpected. I thought it might feel like an ‘old boys club’ especially in the marketing space but it couldn’t be further from the case. I felt very welcome and supported and even when there are far more established marketers on the panel, I feel I am always treated as an equal.
It’s a brilliant place to network and I love the fact that teamwork is encouraged. It’s not about having more followers than your competition but instead working together to provide different perspectives and points of view.
It feels like algorithms are less restrictive. There is more of an emphasis on SEO to be ‘found’ rather than your numbers and it also feels that those who grow quickly on the platform are genuinely those who are active, engaged and helpful.
It’s the platform where it really pays off to be a nice person.
During the recent lockdowns living alone, I have often craved more human contact. And whilst it’s not the same as enjoying dinner with friends in a restaurant, having a chat with like-minded people really helps. It’s also a great boredom buster! So I have really enjoyed the community element.
It’s not without it’s cons however which I hope the Clubhouse will be addressing as time goes on.
For example, it’s super frustrating for anyone without an invite or who doesn’t have an iPhone! But at the same time, I do believe that an app like this does NEED to grow slowly so that issues can be ironed out. But that doesn’t really help to console all of those without the right type of phone!
That said, I’ve heard rumours the android app is on its way in the not too distant future. Watch this space!
One of the issues which needs to be continually addressed is safety on the app. The nature of the app means that conversations COULD get heated and people could say unpleasant or discriminatory things.
Whilst this happens on all social platforms (Twitter is the WORST in my opinion), the issue with the Clubhouse app is that conversations disappear as soon as they’d been had. In some ways, this keeps people safe as what they say can’t be used against them but it also makes it harder to police bad behaviour.
Since there were some problems with one room with antisemitism, I have been doing a lot of reading around the subject to find out what the app are doing to make rooms safer and inclusive and am satisfied they have bought in many positive changes.
In fact, I’ve also been purposefully going into rooms with topics that have the potential to get heated (such as a conversation about Trump) just to see how they are moderated since these new measures have been bought in and have been pleasantly surprised. Even when people disagree, it has been managed well and sensitively and has prompted healthy discussion.
Of course, just because I’m not seeing problems does not mean they don’t exist and it is my opinion that social platforms should be continually assessing and improving security measures which I do believe so far Clubhouse are trying to do. (See new safety measures below!)
Finally, there is the issue that Clubhouse is not inclusive for people who are deaf as there is currently no way to get transcriptions. This is a tricky issue as part of the safety aspects of Clubhouse is that conversations cannot be recorded and therefore cannot be used to quote you in the future. I’m no tech expert so I have no idea if it’s possible but I do hope that Clubhouse will find a way to achieve this going forward.
I know this was a topic discussed at ‘Townhall’ which is where the app developers host meetings with users to make suggestions and raise issues. I know there were some plans outlined but I wasn’t at that specific meeting to know what they were exactly!
Social platforms are trying to be more inclusive than they were such as Instagram (eventually) bringing in image ALT tags for the visually impaired but I think we would all agree that there is a long way to go.
If you want to attend Townhall to raise issues or ask questions, they take place at 5PM GMT on a Sunday and are open to everyone. Questions need to be submitted beforehand via settings.
I really appreciate these meetings and wish other social platforms were so transparent. What I don’t know is whether they will continue once the app is out of beta mode and available to everyone. I guess watch this space!
Since the previous issues, Clubhouse has bought in various safety measures in order to
- Make individuals feel safe
- Investigate bad behaviour and remove those who don’t play by the rules
- Give moderators more power to control the conversations within their rooms
Firstly, individuals can leave a room without an announcement so if a room does not feel like a friendly space, they can quickly remove themselves. (It is actually harder to remove yourself like this on other platforms where the conversation is happening on your public page or channel!)
Users can also block other users which means that if they host a room or are a moderator or a speaker on the stage, the person who is blocked by them will not be able to see or join the conversation.
If multiple people in your circle have blocked someone, their profile will show an ‘!’ This can then be used to make decisions about who you follow but also as a moderator, who gets invited up to speak.
If there is an incident in a room, click the report button and Clubhouse will retain a temporary, encrypted record of the conversation to be able to investigate the issue. You can also report someone after the conversation by going to their profile. However, it is always best to do so during the chat to enable the issue to be recorded.
When someone is reported, temporary restrictions are applied to their account until the team can finish an investigation.
I have heard that if someone gets thrown out, so does the person who invited them as a precaution. Harsh maybe, but it does make you think twice about who you invite…
Moderators now have more control over the conversation now and can mute and remove speakers as well as report any problems. All moderators also have the power to shut a room down instantly if there are problems.
So far, my experience has been that everyone on Clubhouse is friendly and supportive but I am reassured these measures are in place to help keep us all safe. If anyone ever makes you feel anything otherwise, I recommend using the block option – on ALL social platforms!
If you want to learn more about the ongoing plans for improving the app or raise concerns/ask questions, the Clubhouse team host weekly meetings on a Sunday which you can join called ‘Townhall.’
Read more about the community guidelines here.
So should you join?
In my opinion, yes! It’s not perfect yet but it opens up some amazing opportunities for networking and creating communities as well as creating a platform for people to safely have difficult but important conversations to raise awareness.
There are improvements I would like to see but it’s early days. Whilst Clubhouse started earlier in 2020, it’s only really kicked off big time in the last few weeks and so I’m looking forward to seeing how the app will develop and improve over time.
Learn more about the Clubhouse app here.
Want to follow me? I will be hosting lots of rooms about making money with affiliate marketing, email marketing, SEO and creating digital products… You can find me @leannescott – see you there!
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