I know you have probably already read 100+ BlogPodium review posts since Saturday (if not, you need to follow more Canadian bloggers- we are kind of a big deal), but I want to share my experiences with it!
First of all, I looked super cute in my final outfit- a yellow frilly top, dark skinny jeans, and cognac boots. Oh yes. I even curled my hair! And then it rained and I have no umbrella so I was slightly less cute by the time I made it to the conference. Oh well :)
When I got there I was super nervous- there were way more people than I expected and I realized I wasn't going to be able to easily recognize any of my blogger peeps in person! Thankfully I tweeted out this problem and Danica from Country Chic Renonovator and her sister Andrea found me! At lunch I found out I was sitting right near Michelle from Sweet Suite 10 too! I also met a few other good blogging buddies throughout the day (and met some new ones!) so that was great. I was rarely alone!
The place was awesomely decorated, but I made a point of getting no photos because I am an idiot. However, I was sitting in the front and the best eye candy of them all was the amazing Sarah Richardson, who did the keynote address. Umm...amazing. I have loved her design style for years and she is such a success in the interior design world! She is also an amazing public speaker and I found her talk to be very engaging, with lots of tips and a bit of humour!
She gave a lot of tips for creating a good brand (whether you have a big design firm, or a tiny blog, it is important to be consistent in your brand!)
- Make something that lasts
- Be nice to other people/ build relationships
- Create a signature style
- Have a point of view and unique perspective
- Design memorable spaces
- Make a statement
- Create warm and inviting rooms, infuse them with history, soul, spirit, texture, and whimsy
- Be adaptable
- Be inspired
- Embrace your budget
- Enjoy the thrill of the hunt
- Play with pattern
- Be accessible
- Edit, edit, edit!
I loved hearing about how she started and where she draws from when creating rooms. I think she is a big inspiration to a lot of young women out there!
After her talk, I joined a group to learn about power tools! We got instructions on how to make this:
And then Tom from the Home Depot taught us how to use all the power tools involved in making a fold down table and we all got a chance to try them! I totally want a table saw now. And a miter saw. And a nail gun. My list for Santa is going to be long ;)
After this, I joined up with Kay from Not Quite a Mom and Kim from The Quirky Duck and we wandered around the exhibitors' area. We tried the keys we were given at the Home Depot "house" and Kim won a weedwhacker! I was kind of jealous, even though I have no lawn...winning prizes is fun!
After that I went to a session about bloggers and agencies and learned a bit about how to approach agencies and what agencies are looking for in bloggers. I went to a similar session after lunch too, so I thought I would combine my notes here for you guys to read!
Tips when approaching agencies about blogger partnerships
- Your brand needs to be authentic
- Guest blogging is added value
- Know your audience
- Use external links in your blog posts
- Follow keywords in Google Trends
- Use relevant keywords in your blog titles
- Create an eye-catching email
- Take things offline, send something unique
- Believe in the brands you work with
- Don't treat it like a transaction, work WITH the agency
- Go in with confidence, it is a negotiation
- Know your blog- is it professional and sophisticated?
- Track your daily audience engagement
- Create a media kit with insights from your audience, not just metrics
- Important Metrics: unique visitors, publishing schedule, upcoming special features on your blog, length of visits, repeat readers
- Focus on outcomes, not outputs (not just # of blog posts, but the outcome of those posts in terms of audience engagement)
- Ask the agency what THEY are looking to accomplish
- What benchmarks are they looking for?
- Meet your promises
- Be genuine in your excitement
- Get everything in writing!
This seems like a lot, but trust me when I say this is just the Cole's Notes of what I learned in those two sesssions!!
Lunch was amazing too- the food was awesome and they had a panel on traditional media vs modern media. It was pretty interesting and both sides were represented well.
My last session was on Monetizing Your Blog with Karen from The Art of Doing Stuff. She talked about how advertising on your site works, what methods are more profitable, and how to grow your blog readership (which leads to more money from ads!). She was SO funny and I think everyone loved her session- she was very frank and gave us the straight facts on how this works and what she charges.
Her Tips to Grow Readership:
- Try to get featured
- Comment on other blogs (try to be first)
- Reply to comments on your blog
- Devote time just to commenting and engaging with other bloggers
She said Google Adsense is the best way to start out, but diversifying with vertical ad networks is a good idea too. She also sells ad space on her site, and keeps that price pretty low. I think everyone appreciated her frankness about doing this to make money. I am not sure I am there yet with my blog, but I liked that she wasn't ashamed to say she wants to make money from blogging.
After the last session we all piled back into the main hall for big prize giveaways (I won none..guess I used up all my luck this year with my free trip?). Then it was cocktail hour! I met so many nice people at cocktail hour- too many to list here! So please, hi to each of you!! After a couple drinks, sushi, and an ice cream sandwich, I picked up my bag o' swag and headed out! I got sooooo much free stuff that it kind of makes up for not winning any big prizes. I have so many plans swirling in my head for what to do with some of it!!
My overall review was that I really enjoyed the conference. I am shy, so I wish I had engaged a bit more with the bloggers I met (it wasn't quite the party I had expected in my head), but I actually learned a lot from the sessions and I felt very inspired when I left! I know that next year will be a lot better because I will already know some people and know more of what to expect!
Did you got BlogPodium? Please comment whether we met or not so we can get to know each other more!