When I started this blog all I knew is that I wanted to plan amazing parties and document them for other’s to gather inspiration. I thought it would be simple and that all the stars would align and I would gain thousands if not millions of readers instantly. I never knew the other elements involved in this blogging thing. I knew nothing of photography and how having pretty pictures attached to a blog post was as important as what you wrote in that post , or of SEO, analytics, social media strategy and media kits. Or that you could actually collaborate with brands and make a living off of that collaboration, and even better yet, about the community of bloggers who are open to supporting and helping other bloggers just starting out. The latter being the most surprising because I realize that everything I’ve learned so far has not been based solely on my own capabilities, but rather the support and direction I’ve gotten from the blogging community.
This past March marked a full year of Weekends With Winter, I told myself that I would really invest in myself after this year. That meant committing to posting content that was both original and engaging, looking for ways to strategically monetize my blog without straying away from my brand, but most importantly, investing in blogging conference’s and seminars that would give me the tools to do all of this.
So I got some fancy business cards created by my blogging buddy and designer of my blog Chelsea over at Olive and Ivy and booked two conferences.
The first conference Create and Cultivate focused on lifestyle and fashion bloggers. It was touted as “a creative conference & online platform for female entrepreneurs in the digital space”. The conference itself was visually stunning and every detail carefully planned. We were broken up into two groups and each group had two different learning tracks.
The majority of the sessions were panel discussions featuring successful bloggers who gave tips on things like working with brands, monetizing your blog, and much much more. I had the pleasure of getting first hand advice from Gabi of “Gabi Fresh” in one of our mentor sessions and got some great takeaways from panel discussions featuring Amy Song (Song of Style), and Geri Hersh (Gal Meets Glam) among others. Here were some key takeaways…
- When writing a blog post always ask yourself-what is your perspective? What makes you stand out?
- Treat your blog like a business and have office hours
- Start scheduling your posts out in advance
- Google search for content that your audience might be interested in
- Ask your readers what they would like to see more of from your blog
- Don’t wait for brands to contact you, create something with a brand you love and approach them with your content and traffic
- Look at the calendar for a year and see what seasonal posts you can create ahead of time.
- If you’re out of cards, create a digital card using apps like “A Beautiful Mess” to hand out when you’re in a pinch. Mine is below…
- If you’re working full-time and need to find time to create content for you blog, build a routine and stick to it! You have to hold yourself accountable because nobody else will
- With the over saturation of blogs, find your voice by putting a spin on something that’s already out there.
Here are more photo’s from the event…
The second conference I attended was The SITS Girls “Bloggy Boot Camp”. Held in Temecula California, Bloggy Boot Camp was both informative and inspiring. It lacked the perfectly styled look and feel of Create and Cultivate but made up for it in learning content. Plus it was TOTALLY cost-effective! I think I spent like $65 bucks for my ticket!
I walked away from BBC with tangible takeaways and actionable next steps. Here is highlight of what I learned…
- Don’t sign a contract without a good lawyer. Companies put crazy limitations in contracts
- Do not have more than 20% sponsored content
- There is no need to get on every social media channel! Focus on the one you like the most and grow that!
- Brands are behind the times so don’t think that any social media channel is “over”
- Storytelling needs to make a comeback
- The blog posts with the full post get more views than the “click after the jump” posts
- “Personal” posts will often go viral on Facebook
- Consider making a video for your “about” page
- If you’re a vlogger shoot in landscape mode only!
- iMovie is the best editing took for video blogs
- When building a brand look at every aspect of your life and ask yourself “Is this me”?
- Your brand is
- YOUR perspective
- YOUR clothes
- YOUR way of saying and doing things
- YOUR brand is YOU!
- How do you decipher who you are?
- It’s a calling
- It’s what you’re passionate about
- Don’t let your drive to be successful take away your calling
- Believe in the truth of who you are
- Resist the temptation of just giving people what they want
- You will not win on Facebook unless you invest in ads
- Share other’s content on Facebook more than your own
- On Facebook you want to find sites people are interested in and share
- When you’re posting “pins”onPinterest focus on your pin description
- should be 2-3 sentences
- Join Pinterest groups that resonate with your content
- Create a “Best of” board for your specific content type
- Build your blog with a “Mastermind” group
- Small group meetings 4-6 people
- Must be like-minded
- Supportive atmosphere
- Must commit to meetings
- Have brainstorming sessions
- Create peer accountability
- Create goals at the end of every meeting
- Create an environment of trust and confidentiality
- Pick a host at the end of every meeting for the next meeting
- Host is in charge of reminding the group
- Multiply your strengths and outsource your weaknesses
- Use technology to work smarter -Hootsuite, Basecamp
- Do your least favorite task first
- Ask yourself ” If I didn’t have to ______ I would have more time to ____” and outsource the former
- When in a rut, give yourself the same advice you’d give your daughter.
- Instead of implementing every idea from a conference, choose the top 3 that resonate most with you
Investing in myself has not only inspired my blogging but it’s also taught me that I still have a long way to go. I never aspire to get comfortable where I am and going to conferences is my way of continuously raising the bar.
Have you gone to any workshops or conferences that motivate you? Whether you’re a blogger or not, what’s one lesson you can impart to me on my blogging journey?