You may remember that I won the Blog Awesome Challenge hosted by Tots2Tweens back in March. As part of being selected as the winner, I was provided with a ticket to the SITSGirls Bloggy Boot Camp, to help develop my blogging skills and kick off the eight week internship. This was my first blogging conference and I had no idea what to expect. Boy was I blown away with the fantastic organization, speakers, cocktail parties, lunch, and swag gifts from the sponsors. Other than learning the ins and outs of blogging as a business, my other favorite part of the conference was connecting with other bloggers, including my roomies Sharon from Mom of 6, Nicole from Moments that Define Life, and Jenny from The Green Eyed Momma. Jenny and I both are boy mom’s and have recently become blogging friends. We connected immediately IRL (in real life), on the road trip up to Philly.
Here are my Top 10 Takeaways from Bloggy Boot Camp Philadelphia
1. Set Goals Laurie Turk from Tip Junkie spoke about her lessons learned and successes through her blogging journey. I loved her suggestion to have one main goal and create 3 month smaller goals to get you there. She encouraged us to work with intention, conquering your most important task during the first hour of working. I’m so guilty of having social media ADHD. I could accomplish my tasks a lot faster if I just stuck with one thing at a time. Temptation, temptation, temptation…Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and E-mail. Tweet, re-tweet, post to a wall, pin, and repin. So much to do and so little time, between chasing around two little boys, working a full-time job, and not losing myself. Must prioritize.
2. Collaborate with Your Tribe Many of the speakers, including Laurie, urged us to connect with bloggers who are in the same stage of blogging as you. So, if your goal is to write a book find other bloggers with similar goals. If you want to connect with brands collaborate with another blogger and hold an event. Conferences are great places to meet in real life to form your tribe. Nothing replaces face to face interactions. In the blogging world it’s all about who you know.
3. Vlogging- Just Do It! Colleen Padilla from Classy Mommy energized us with her Vlogging tips. Vlogging is beginning to play a huge part in social media. Youtube has over 4 billion viewers a day! Vlogging must-do’s include tag and share, keep content under 1 minute, optimize video quality with the proper lightning, and produce a lot of videos. The more you vlog the easier and more natural it becomes. Videos bring new readers, new readers can open doors you never dreamed of. Must get on the Vlogging train right now! I’m taking the plunge next week so stay tuned.
4. Outreach Beyond Your Blog Before Bloggy Boot Camp I had no idea about how to use my blog as an avenue to expand into other social media opportunities. Audrey McClellan the founder of Mom Generations taught us about the many different ways to monetize and expand your blog outside of the interweb. She encouraged us to reach out locally to provide social media consulting to businesses who are not fully using this powerful tool to their advantage. With so many possibilities , I can see how it would be easy to get lost in searching for the next big deal. It’s important to remember your WHY and don’t be afraid to say “no” to pitches that don’t resonant with you.
5. Business Sense Matters After a delicious lunch sponsored by King’s Hawaiian, the conference broke into two sessions, Business and Writing. Although I would have loved to attend the Writing session, I focused my energy on what I know nothing about, the business aspect of blogging. The next two hours alone made this conference 100% worthwhile. We learned about monetizing through Google Ad Sense, E-Books, ad networks, affiliate links brand campaigns, products, consulting, reselling product and endorsement. We also were taught how to turn down a pitch, but leave a door open for future opportunities. It’s vital to know your value and learn how to push back at an offer when you have been pitched. Most importantly, the speakers advised us to start a LLC. If you are treating your blog like a business it is vital to protect yourself and your assets.
6. Capitalize on Your Strengths Did you know there are companies out there who represent bloggers? Allison Tallamantez, managing partner of Sway Group LLC, does just that. Allison educated us on Pitch writing. She encouraged us to make a connection by picking up the phone. Media kits are useful but phone calls are more powerful! Allison also challenged us to create a “sell sheet” that sets yourself apart from others. All of the speakers emphasized the importance of being unique and memorable. Figure out how to be a brand’s “hero”. Most importantly remember your readers are your biggest fans. You need to find a balance between sponsored content and your own content. Sponsored posts don’t have to be only an advertisement or review. Tell a story within your sponsored content to stay true to who you are.
7. The Fine Print is Important As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I’m always intrigued about how each profession has a different vocabulary set. Perhaps one career with the most technical jargon is law, which I know nothing about. Danielle Liss of FitFluential briefly explained how she left her career in law for a place in the world of social media and fitness. I loved hearing and reading about her journey. Her information on the legal side of running a blog business opened my eyes to many business aspects that I didn’t know, including the various aspects of a contract.
8. Traffic You Actually Love Before BBC I read a few articles about SEO, but never really grasped the concept. I certainly haven’t been using any of the SEO functions in my blog posts. Dali Buragado of Secrets to Web Success teaches businesses and bloggers how to use SEO to their advantage. Again, a job I had no idea existed. I know now that SEO is the process of making your content accessible to search engines and to your visitors. So essentially when a person does a Google search can they find your content? SEO is dependent on the title, tags, and keywords in your post. There are several SEO Plugins that can help you with making your content SEO friendly. The first change I made to my blog when I came home was to download one. Yup, I’m a big geek! The second thing I did was to sign up for Dali’s SEO web course, to learn much more about SEO. Yet another technical side of blogging that isn’t very exciting but one I was missing.
9. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Hard Work All of the speakers at Bloggy Boot Camp were amazingly knowledgeable, approachable and hard-working. Most of them are mom’s too! Sharon of Mom of 6spoke about how she grew from a small blog to a larger blog in just a few months. She discussed her process of looking internally (SEO and blog organization) and externally (guest post possibilities, link up parties and companies) to develop into something bigger. My description of her presentation just can’t do it justice. It was inspiring and a great way to pull all of the information together in a real life way. She focused on one goal, made changes, worked hard and was rewarded.
10. Remember Where You Started Anyone can become lost in the numbers game. As bloggers we like to measure our successes in numbers, including page views, comments, bounce rate and compensation. It’s a business like any other business. Bills need to be paid, children need to be fed and we need to shop for cute shoes. (Cute shoes at a blog conference is a must!). However, at the end of the day your blog won’t be there to give you a hug or tell you “I love you.”. Take time everyday to unplug from the social media world. The everyday life moments happen fast. Your work is not going anywhere. As Walt Disney said, “A man should never neglect his family for business the business.”.
Being away from my family for a couple of days made me step back and think about just how happy they make me. During the weekend, my wonderful husband called me several times to chat about the boy’s silly antics. He also sent me a few videos and cute photos to help me feel connected to them. I missed Xander’s crazy bed head in the morning and Noah’s contagious giggle. It was nice to hear my husband say “I feel like I’m cleaning the floor all the time.”. No, I don’t wish messy floors on my husband for three days straight. Although it was refreshing to hear him acknowledge how hard it is to keep a clean house, while caring for the boys. He was quite amazing with them all weekend long, even when Noah rooted to him at bedtime. My dudes are the reason I started this blog and without them there would be no Simply Stavish.
Wow, this post was way longer than I ever intended. Stay tuned for my photo tour of Philly tomorrow for Friday Favorites!