|Image Source: TheSitsGirls.com
Blog conferences, both big and small, are a wonderful way to learn valuable information and for finding inspiration. Last month I received an invitation from The SITS Girls to join an evening of networking and education. The event was held at the Hotel Palomar Los Angeles | Westwood and was sponsored by Invisalign. I said YES immediately. I have been contemplating attending Bloggy Boot Camp for a couple of years now. This was an opportunity that I would not pass up. I was thrilled to take part in this invite only gathering!
The event was a "Mini" version of Bloggy Boot Camp. This "mini" session packed a MIGHTY punch! It was a condensed, fast paced wealth of information. I loved it. Tiffany & Francesca are passionate, genuine, and smart women. I left the evening feeling inspired. After spending time with these ladies, I wanted to be a more passionate, genuine, and smart blogger. When you expose yourself to great people, some of that greatness finds a way of rubbing off on you.
In my limited experience with blog conferences I have learned many "do's and don'ts", "how-to" ideas, tips for this and tips for that. All valuable advice. Most include instruction on how to work with brands, SEO, and what you need to do to make your blog better. To me, the primary focus is on the business of blogging. Confession: I'm a little slow to go on the whole blog improvement movement. I understand the value of all of the tips that I have been given, but I admit that I take baby steps. I'm not in a huge rush for blog success. I don't mind going slow. I'll get there. At my own pace, I will get there. I already juggle working full time, family life, and trying to preserve my 40 year old self so that I can be around longer for our preschooler! My son needs me and loves me so much more than my blog ever will. Perhaps when our son gets a little older I'll have more time and energy to implement all of the things that I learn along the way. That being said, I don't mind not having a professional blogger status. I am enjoying my spot on the team as a rookie blogger! I'll make my rookie mistakes along the way and as long as I learn from them, I think I'm good.
I'm thankful to Tiffany & Francesca for sharing their wisdom. I felt that they did a great job in discussing the business end of blogging AND bringing focus on the personal side of blogging. I love the relationship based tips. These are the lessons that meant the most to me and will help me to be a smarter blogger:
- When working with brands: OVER deliver.
- Communication: worried about a deadline? Be honest.True story: I was working on my first sponsored post for The SITS Girls when my grandmother passed away. I had a deadline looming. I couldn't remember when it was due, I couldn't locate the email detailing the project... I was a mess. I was honest. I managed to finish my project in time (a little bit early in fact). Their compassion and concern meant so much to me! I saved the email from Francesca because during that tough time - she eased some of the pain. If you need help, ask for help. Don't drop the ball.
- Be in the moment. You won't have anything interesting to blog about if you don' have a life. Keep (and stick to) office hours. Check email at a set time. Be present when with your family.
- Don't post just for the sake of posting.
- Have "the talk" with your spouse about what your blogging goals are. Have that dialog. True Story: My husband used to get SO ANNOYED with me when I would spend the wee hours of the night (after our boy was asleep) "playing" on my computer. Now he knows that I am working not playing. He sees that I can (and have) earned income, that I enjoy interacting with fellow bloggers, and that as a family we have the opportunity to attend fun events. Having him on board = priceless!
- Earn your way there! Instead of wondering why & how other bloggers get wonderful perks like trips to amusement parks, great gadgets, the newest "this & that"... Just go out and EARN the money with your blog so that you can PAY for those things yourself! Bravo. No more blogger envy here. Well... a little blogger envy. Honestly some of the perks that I have heard about are just oh-so-enviable! For exclusive invites to events and parties... you can't really buy your way into those.
- Pay it forward! If an opportunity is not a fit for you, recommend someone that you know that would be. You would be helping out a friend as well as the organization looking to find a match for their campaign. Good Karma goes a long way!
I belong to a few online groups on facebook. Over time you get to know a lot of interesting people. A highlight of the evening was meeting my online pals face to face! I met Mary: Let's Play OC who always has the greatest family adventures, and fellow San Diegans: Brianne: Bri Geeski who is a talented designer, and Amanda: Sunny Vegan who an inspiration for healthful living! I made a new friend too! Ferly: Gifts We Use has a lot of great organizing tips & tricks! I'm kicking myself for not snapping photos of us together!
After attending my first blog conference in 2011 I have made it my goal to attend at least one conference every year. I've been to BlogHer 2011 in San Diego and Blogalicious 2012 in Las Vegas. Thanks to The SITS Girls I have my 2013 mini "conference" under my belt! Soon I will attend my first online blog conference: The Blog Workshop 2013.
|BlogHer 2011 Photo Credit: Asher-Sears Photography
I'd love to know more about your experiences with Blogging, Conferences, and Networking. One day maybe we will meet at a conference!