Sadly, I did not take too many pictures - I was so focused on taking notes and chatting with my table mates! Let me just say though, the decorations were awesome! Very cute camp theme, complete with little tissue paper camp fires on every table.
We sat at tables of 8 and were able to network quite a bit throughout the day, which was great! I met so many talented folks, some of whom had yet to really even start blogging - they just wanted to learn. It was weird to be one of the "veterans" for some of the discussions! The first panel was geared towards a blog/life balance, which I found extremely important, as this is my second blog, but first geared towards actually making a business out of it. My old blog (which I merged with this one...just look back at the archives) was more about my daily life and was quite a mish-mash. I want this one to have more focus and I want to get it out there in the world more. Blogging with purpose takes a LOT of work, and even more planning. A few things I learned from our first panel:
- Create an editorial calendar. Think about holidays months in advance so that you have the time to shop and do, as well as photograph. I can't believe I hadn't thought of this already!
- Become friends with HootSuite. I've had it on my phone for almost a year...time to actually use it!
- Do more link parties, and host a few!
- Recruit more guest posters - there are so many great ideas and writers out there, especially in the craft and sewing blogiverse!
- Do more round up posts - a great way to share information with others, and possibly be shared yourself
We broke out into groups for lunch (which was deeeelish!) and I sat with some fabulous gals where we talked about collaborating with other blogging talent, as well as some ways to monetize. It was great to hear from other bloggers what worked or didn't! And I found a whole new list of blogs to read :)
The afternoon session was all about monetizing your blog - they myths about just how much money you can make (actually, it sounds like not a lot) vs how much free stuff you can have sent to you (now this is where you can hit it big!), how to attract advertisers, and even which ad networks were the best. I don't think I'm big enough yet to attract the big advertisers, but it does sound like I should be reaching out to my fellow crafty small business owners to either trade ad space or charge a small fee (any takers??). Among the gems that I gathered in the afternoon:
- Figure out which conferences are best for your industry and attend as many as you can. Network, network, network!
- Ad networks seem like the best bang for your buck.
- There's not a lot of actual money to be made in blogging BUT you can earn a lot of free product by doing reviews.
- Be graciously aggressive. (Is that not just the best advice for life in general?) Go after what you want, but do it in the best way!
- Reach out to other bloggers, shop owners, or businesses - the worst thing that can happen is that they say no.
- Attract more followers by participating in link parties and using social media to the fullest, especially Twitter and Instagram. Need to be better about the latter!
All in all, it was a great day, and I had such a wonderful experience that I signed up for SHC's annual Fall Conference. I'm attending both days and can't wait! If you'll be there too, drop me a line :)
Finally, because they all were such a wealth of information, please be sure to check out the blogs of the fabulous ladies on both morning and afternoon panels:
Moorea Seal - her blog has been a favorite of mine for a long time! Her taste is impeccable.
Marie LeBaron - I've been reading her blog since the beginning (which, uh, I told her and then sounded like a stalker...sorry, Marie!)
Blair Peter - another blog I've been reading for what seems like ever. She's just as sweet in person!
Megan Reardon - her DIYs are awesome and she is SO funny!
Arianne Folks - She helps make blogs great - so much wisdom there!
Andie Powers - one of the talented ladies behind Assemble, I knew her from her contributions to Apartment Therapy.