You know how there are those people who get really excited for Comic Con and they dress up and get all crazy the week before because they are SO excited. Well imagine that level of crazy, but it is a room full of 150 women… bloggers. They love to write, inspire and use the internet in ways most don’t/can’t/won’t. I learned SO much at Go Blog Social this weekend about blogging, business and life that I thought it was important that I share some of my “golden nuggets” (coined by With Grace & Gold) with you.
Notice: Links are hidden in every numbered heading
1. Getting Paid Through Campaigns – Alissa Circle – Pollinate Media | Weave Made Media | Diary of an Addict
Alissa started off her talk with a little about where she started and how she grew to own multiple companies and a popular blog. I loved her passion and transparency, about her life and her business. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
- “If something isn’t uncomfortable, you’re not growing.”
- “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” – John Acuff
- “If your cup is not full, then how can you pour yourself into others.”
- “Finding your voice doesn’t mean changing who you are.”
She also talked briefly about the work/life balance myth, which has inspired me to write a completely other blog post!
2. Authentic Engagement – Andra Barkey & Kelly Zugay - With Grace & Gold
So I actually had a chance to learn a bit about these two prior to the conference and might I say their character, their story and their love of their clients is contagious. They launched just 6 months and some change ago and have accomplished such amazing things in such a short period of time.
Their talk went in depth about how authenticity can grow your brand, here are some practical applications they mentioned:
- Branding – Your brand must represent your company, but must also be a window into you. It encompasses more than just a logo, it is also your color palette, your voice and copy, and your “why.” Why are you in business? Why does it make you tick? If someone knows your brand, do they know you and your heart? “You are your brand and your brand is you.”
- Social Media – Engage online like you never have before. Rather than a sentence or phrase accompanying a photo, write the whole story. Give people a glimpse into why you do what you do.
- Incorporate a signature move – Do you have something that is uniquely you? Perhaps you are obsessed with cows and you find yourself taking pictures of all things cow. Incorporate that sort of “move” into your social media and blog. People will begin to notice and when they see your “move” they will tell you about it!
- Steady growth
- Hard work
- The journey
- Having Fun
3. How to Gain National Exposure - Alea Bebnek - Alea Lovely
Wow, wow, wow. Alea is seriously amazing. Not only are her photographs breathtaking, but she is fun, vibrant and oh so very blunt. Though she wouldn’t call herself a blogger, she has written some pretty stellar content. One article in particular went completely viral and for all the right reasons! Check out 4 Big Reasons You Look Fat in Photographs!!
Her big break happened because she dared to be herself instead of trying to be everyone else. She strived to write something that would help people, take a risk, do something new and be different. As she put it, “with everyone else in your head, you can’t even hear your own voice.” Be totally peculiar and strangely specific and then, write the hell out of it!
Being different is exactly how she got what she wanted. She had no fear of failure, took risks where she saw return. She networked with the kind of people she wanted to be around rather than the ones on the same playing field. “Your network is your net worth.”
4. Turning A Blog Into A Business – Kilee Nickels – One Little Momma | Nickel & Suede
Kilee, like many of the other speakers, has been through many transitions. She took a mommy blog and a little etsy shop and became a fashion focused momma with the style and products to match. She spoke about differentiating between customers and readers. They can be one and the same, but not necessarily, so it is important to continue to cater to them separately.
Separate is exactly how she handles her blog and business. They have the potential to feed off each other, but she chooses to have them be different URLs, different social media handles, different bank accounts, etc. Though they are both 100% her; she dedicates time to them separately so they can grow independently.
5. Twitter Can Grow Your Business – Laurie Davis – eFlirt Expert
Laurie is bubbly, smiling and always flirting. She took a hit like many people did in the recession of 2008. Her 6-figure salary was slashed over night when she lost her job. In attempt to save herself and her brand new NYC flat, she did everything she could to find work.
Inspired by a recently engaged friend she had set up she realized that maybe being a dating expert was her thing. Within 2 weeks she had interns, and had turned her idea into a business, writing dating profiles and finding clients by scavenging twitter.
Fast forward, she has now written a best seller, Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating. She also turned her little spark of an idea into helping thousands of people find love online.
The real story is how she used Twitter to grow her business. Here is a bit more on her story as well as my personal experience with how to create real connections with real people, sharing several of my own personal stories connecting with people online!
6. How to Pitch Brands – Meggan & Landon Wood – Lily Jade
In contrast to the other speakers, Meggan & Landon Wood represented their brand, Lily Jade. I would like to speak for the whole room and just say what genuine and heartfelt people they were. It was great seeing Meggan tear up explaining the meaning behind the name of their brand. (That’s true authenticity right there folks!)
Their focus was off-the-cuff advice on how to pitch to brands.
Some of their advice for your next pitch:
- Introduce yourself
- Explain what you would like to do – be unique, craft a different way to sell yourself to that brand
- Give some brief metrics
- Include social media links in the body of the email
- Follow up if you don’t hear back
What not to do:
- Dance around what you are asking for
- Give your entire life story about why you NEED to represent a brand
- Follow up so often you look like a stalker
Landon mentioned much of this could probably be packaged in a media kit, however having it directly in the body of the email makes it much easier to respond to in a timely manner.
7. Building a Blogging Community – Mandy Beyeler – Sugar Bee Crafts
Mandy is reserved… until you get her going about DIY. She is a master of building an online community and really knows her stuff! I realize I am new to the blogging space, but I have done a ton of research. I can’t tell you how many new concepts were jam-packed into her hour session.
Creating a Blog Tribe
So by now I have a few blogger friends, but her technique for cultivating this community around you is pretty enticing. To connect with other bloggers and start your own tribe, you might try the following:
- Read blogs that captivate you
- Comment on like-minded bloggers blogs (even if comments are dying)
- Interact on social media
- Join Facebook groups
- Find local blogger groups/meetups (Here is one for KC!)
- Attend blog conferences! (JUST DO IT!!)
Grow Your Following
Now these are a mix of things I have and haven’t heard of, but all are definitely worth a try!
- Link Parties
- Post to a Feature Site
- Guest Post on other relevant blogs
- Contribute to Group Pinterest Boards (So I already did a little research on this, and will probably end up doing a whole post about it at some point, but in the meantime check out this resource for finding boards here!)
- Submit content to cultivated sites
- Be a consistent contributor to another blog
8. Landing Paid Brand Opportunities – Enza Ketcham - Enza’s Bargains
Enza knows how to work with brands! That was definitely reflected in her talk. I enjoyed most hearing about how she works with brands after they are already on board.
Social Media 101
- Tag the company you are working with
- Use the appropriate hashtags (especially if there is one specific to the campaign)
- Use images appropriate to the social media outlet – change the image to fit the platform
- Track performance yourself
- Interact with comments/shares
When working with brands you should always email the PR rep at least three times. Once when the post is live prior to pushing out via social media – ask if they have any changes or additions. And again after it is posted on social media – include links. And a third time with a report:
- Include the original blog post link
- Screenshots of a few of your most interactive posts (most retweets, shares, comments, etc.)
- Include links to all posts
- Analytics you can pull on performance
- If there was a giveaway involved, include a summary, number of unique entries and winner information
9. Going from Blogger to Business Owner – Callie England - Rawxies
Callie really hit a home run bringing it all in at the final hour. Her story really resonated with me because she took her background in design, cultivated it into a rich online community and used that community as a launching point for her brand/product.
Working as a Creative Director in Kansas City, Callie would spend her spare time developing a following online, using whole foods she made foxy. Totally frustrated with “mainstream” foods, she wanted to bring something fresh, delicious and nutritious to everyone… Rawxies was born.
She has seen success, but only through continuous hard work and dedication. I would go into much more detail, but I am secretly not so secretly inviting her to the blog for a local spotlight… hopefully I can make this happen!!
Miss Go Blog Social – what are your key takeaways from this article? Attend – what awesome tips did you learn that you would be so kind to share?