As I promised, I wanted to do a full recap of my very first blog conference that I attended last weekend. Since I am still a newb to this whole blogging venture, I had so many people dumbfounded when I told them I was heading to a blog conference for the weekend. I got reactions like “Wait, bloggers have their own conventions?” or “What do you do at these things?”. I know it might seem like us bloggers just hop on any old computer and spill our guts on whatever tickles our fancy for that day but that really could be further from the truth. I used to think the same thing 6 months ago. Then once I actually embarked on this blogging venture I quickly learned that it takes a lot more behind the scenes work than you could ever imagine. I even did my research before I started this blog and nothing could have prepared me for how much work, knowledge, technical skills, creativity, and upkeep goes into a blog. So yes, it did take a full day to cram a whole lot of blogger tips and tricks into one conference and I’m sharing my biggest takeaways.
There were so many great speakers and I learned something from every single one of them. That just shows you how much there is to all of this blogging stuff! The speakers covered topics such as social media growth, blogger photography tips, working with sponsors, Google Analytics, SEO, and how to use Pinterest. My journal was torn up with notes on all of the things I should be doing yet had no idea were even a thing! Being a newb in this blogging game is overwhelming at times with there being such a steep learning curve but that’s what drives me to keep learning and improving. I have something that I have created on my own and let’s me share with the world something I otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to do. So here are my biggest takeaways from the conference.
Remember why you started– Alissa Circle hit us with this thought right off the bat. It’s such an easy thing to forget when things get overwhelming and stressful but at the end of the day I love being able to have It’s All Chic To Me as a creative outlet and source of passion.
Big things have small beginnings– Started from the bottom now we here? Don’t tell me you didn’t think the same thing. Well it’s true. You aren’t going to gain 100k followers overnight or suddenly become “blog famous”. It takes time, diligence and consistency. I can hear my mother’s voice now chiming in “patience is key”. Yea yea yea.
Be authentic– In a world so saturated with bloggers and information being thrown at you from every form of social media, people crave honesty and someone they can connect with. Transparency is key, yet finding some sort of balance between perfect and imperfection.
Saying no is ok– This one is a hard one for me. I like to think of myself as a “yes girl”. I try not to say no to many things. Why? Because YOLO, thats why. Well when it comes to blogging I’ve learned that you become a source for advertisement and that means all kinds of brands and companies are going to want to use your platform as a place to advertise their products, whether thats something you would normally support or not. It is then my job to say if I want that product or content on my blog. Saying no to new opportunities, free products, and potentially some sort of payout are hard, but in the end well worth it if it means not supporting a brand you don’t believe in and in turn saving yourself from sacrificing your authenticity.
Stay humble– It’s funny how so many of my friends and peers have already jokingly told me “Don’t forget me when you make it big”. This baffles me because I know how much support all of you give me to keep writing and posting and it is that motivation alone that keeps me going on this crazy venture So don’t worry, I plan on bringing all of you with me, maybe virtually, but I promise you that WHEN I make it big, you guys will be the ones making it with me!
Community over competition– I know I’m beating a dead horse here (if you’ve read any of my recent posts) but it really is true. It is amazing to me the depth of knowledge that some of these ladies are packing. I could have sat in that conference room and just absorbed every bit of information each girl spewed out. The ladies that I have had the privilege of meeting and doing life with are the ones who have helped me get to where I am. There is room in this world for all of us to thrive, so let’s get out and do it! O and check out my Thrive Tribe 🙂
Make sure to check out my Thrive Tribe and their blogs for more details of their outfits and their experience at their first time at Thrive.
I had the opportunity to attend my very first blog conference last weekend and boy did I learn a lot! If you have the opportunity to attend a conference, I highly recommend it. No matter if you have been blogging for 6 months, 10 years or maybe you haven’t even started your blog- there are all sorts there and everyone is welcome. As a blogger, we are constantly looking for new ways to help grow our blog, inspire creative ideas, and meet other like minded individuals. I’m here today to tell you a few easy steps you can do before, during and after the conference to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.
BEFORE (What to pack):
Comfy clothes and a jacket -Us girls are notorious for overpacking and I wholeheartedly admit that I am also infected with the overpacking disease. It is a blessing and curse but when you are only there for a short time packing light and efficient is the best way to go! Plan each specific outfit that you will need and leave the rest at home. My biggest piece of advice is to dress comfortable. You can see what I wore to the conference here. I decided to go comfy cute but you see it all! Next time I would wear jeans, a cute top and my comfiest shoes. Don’t forget to bring a jacket. Our conference room was FREEZING. You won’t be able to concentrate if you are shivering!
Business cards– If you are debating if you need them the answer is 100% YES. Have lots handy at all times. You will be giving them out like candy. I invested in the Moo.com “Luxe” business cards and got so many compliments. They were well worth the extra penny to standout in the sea of business cards that were flying around. Stay tuned on a blog post talking all about how to design your blog business cards.
Notebook & pen– I suggest writing things down rather than taking notes on your laptop. This way you will actually focus on what the speakers are saying and not have distractions popping up on your computer. Invest in a cute notebook like this one so you will enjoy taking notes. Cute planners= more notes 🙂 Don’t just take notes on the speakers, take notes on everyone you meet as well. You will meet so many people that they are going to start running together. Jot down something to remember each person by.
Smart Phone & Back-up charger– Thank goodness the ladies that put on the conference thought of it all and put charging stations in the conference room but I’m sure this is not always the case. So if you have a back-up phone charger, charge that thing up and bring it. It will be like gold! Use your smart phone to take pics and snapchats during the conference because obvi your friends/readers need to know what you are doing at all times!
A big ol’ bag– Instead of bringing 3 bags ( a purse, a laptop case, etc), invest in a cute all-in-one bag such as this. The less stuff you have, or appear to have, the easier it is to get around. I highly suggest bringing a bag big enough to put all of your essentials in, a notebook + pen, if you want to bring your laptop or DSLR, and last but not least plenty of room for all of the swag you are going to get because chances are you are gonna get a lot of stuff from vendors. Score!
DSLR & Laptop– Personally I do not see the use for these unless there is a speaker that is specifically talking about a subject where you will need them. Otherwise leave them at home and go old school with your phone, notebook and pen.
Lastly this is not a packing tip but one I think is important to point out. If the conference you are going to has a facebook page make sure you join the group beforehand. This will serve as a source of information and a way to connect with others before and after the conference.
Get out of your bubble- Chances are you are going to know at least one person at the conference, if not a handful of other bloggers. Use this time to network and reach out to others. You can never have too many friends and chances are you are going to learn something new with each new person you meet. Conferences are great places to build up your tribe. If you haven’t already read why growing your blogger tribe is a necessity check it out here. But it’s crazy how everyone is just so bottled up with information that they are ready to spew all of their blogging tips and tricks. It is not every day that you have that many bloggers in one place so have questions? Here is the place to ask! I would venture to say that I learned just as much from other bloggers as I did from the amazing speakers! Not every little thing is going to be profound but it is something new!
Talk to the speakers– Do your research before the conference on who will be speaking and decide who you are most excited to hear. For me since I just purchased a camera for the blog, I was most excited to hear Megan Weaver speak about blogger photographer. I made a point during one of the breaks to seek her out, introduce myself, and create a connection so that if I were to ever need pictures or some sort of photography advice there would be more likely of a chance that she would want to connect again. Remember this is also a good time to pick the speakers brains about any specific questions they did not answer during their presentation. You paid good money to be here so get your money’s worth!
Put your phone down– Stay off of your phone and social media as much as possible. Soak up every bit of knowledge that the brilliant speakers will be pouring out. Plus there is a good chance there will be a professional photographer documenting the conference and you don’t want your nose buried in your phone the entire time, that’s embarrassing!
Send thank you notes to the speakers– In a sea of hundreds of bloggers a simple, hand-written thank you note will go such a long way. As multiple speakers pointed out, the bloggersphere is saturated with bloggers and anything that you can do to make yourself stand out, do it!
Connect via social media– You’ve made all of these connections now what do you do? Well you connect on every single form of social media like it’s your job. You can bet you are going to gain a whole new following to your instagram, facebook, pinterest and everything else.
Feeling inspired? Don’t stop now!– You are probably going to be on a “blogger high” once you are done with the conference. Well after you decompress, drink your obligatory glass of wine and take a long nap then you are totally going to feel super inspired. Did you hear of any blog post ideas that got your creative juices flowing? Sit down and plan out a few posts, jot down things that you want to implement from the conference, and then make plans to carry all of these things out. Ride that blogger high as long as you can!
I know it was a bit longer of a post than usual but hopefully it will help a few of you out that get the opportunity to attend a blog conference! Like I said before, you see it all. Every type of blogger, all realms of blog categories, some pros, some newbs, vloggers (video bloggers), you name it- they are probably there. Last but not least don’t forget to have fun! Yes you are going for the learning experience but it is so much more than that! It’s a chance to connect with people just like you and how often does that really happen? There are only so many times that you can share blog statistics with your family before they go insane. Bloggers on the other hand? The limit does not exist 🙂