It’s been over two weeks since the annual Blog Societies Conference in Charleston and I’m finallyyy winding down sorting through everything we did. I’m going to break down the conference itself, so if you’re just interested in all things Charleston, head over to this post. Onto blogging tips + a conference breakdown…
For those of you who aren’t familiar, The Blog Societies is a group of 400+ publishers from around the country. About 75 of us traveled to Charleston for the annual Blog Societies Conference (referred to as #TBScon on social media, if that looks more familiar), for a weekend of learning and networking. Seriously–it kind of felt like school…in a good way! If you’re a blogger and are interested in joining TBS, you can apply here. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my little blog, and while the conference does come with a fee (under $300), I can safely say it’s one of the best investments I’ve made. You’re about to see why!
The conference took place at the Belmond Charleston Place and kicked off Thursday evening (we’d flown in Wednesday) with a cocktail party hosted by Vera Bradley. It was a great way to get to know other attendees–both bloggers and brand reps–and put a lot of faces to names. Crazy how social media makes you feel like you already know someone well even if you’re meeting them for the first time IRL!
Friday morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast at a coffee shop and headed across the Belmond to the Riviera Theater for a panel of presentations. Lindsay from White Oak Creative talked to the whole group about how to audit your blog and brand, Amy Flurry discussed pitching to the media, Sarah from rewardStyle talked about LIKEtoKNOW.it strategy for publishers, and Victoria from The InStyle Collection talked about building your brand. Each presentation was informative in a different way, and I think it’s safe to say we all left inspired to just go do more with our sites.
Once the speakers were done, we had a delicious buffet brunch at the Belmond before heading up to the brand networking suite. Several brands were present at the conference to share their company stories + products they’re excited to promote…it did make for some great gift bags (definitely a fun perk of the conference), and had me brainstorming some great content to share with you guys over the next several months. Stay tuned!
The rest of Friday was spent chilling at the hotel, going to dinner, and hitting the sack for an early Saturday morning back at the Belmond. Kendra Scott hosted a great breakfast (it included almond croissants, so I was a happy girl) before we split into breakout sessions for a few hours.
The workshops I attended were accounting for bloggers and small business owners (hosted by Amy Northard), a chat with the founders (Cathy & Jessica), and search engine optimization with Lindsay. I have pages of typed up notes from these–they were incredible, and I could have sat there for a few more hours to learn more. Also offered were photography and LIKEtoKNOW.it through rewardStyle, but each of us only attended three of the five.
The conference with a beautiful, three-course late lunch hosted by Cosmedix (a skincare line I’m quickly falling in love with, which doesn’t happen often)–the perfect end to a jam packed couple of days!
It’s hard to narrow down everything we learned, but here are some of the takeaways that really stuck with me:
– Accounting and getting your finances in order for your small business (which your blog is, if you make any money!) is so, so important. Log your expenses and deductions, and always track your income. – Amy
– Pay attention to your static pages–the ones you don’t update often like your “contact” page. Consider ways to make that more engaging, and don’t just have a boring form dropped in. Definitely something I need to work on! – Lindsay
– Pitching to the media? Actually think like an editor–put yourself in their shoes with timelines and how they want to receive emails! – Amy
– “Be a scroll stopper [in an Instagram feed].” – Sarah from LIKEtoKNOW.it
– Pay attention to how your site shows up when Googled. To edit this from the backend, go to SEO -> Titles & Meta. – Lindsay
– Contracts, contracts, contracts. While annoying to put together in the beginning, they will save you so much time and stress if they ever do need to kick in. – The Founders
– Meals while traveling for your small business are tax deductible. I had no idea, but I guess it makes sense since you do that while traveling for your 9-5… – Amy
– Make a list of search terms (keywords) you’d like to be found on. Not only does this help SEO, but it helps target searching strategies of potential readers. – Lindsay
So there you have it! Already itching for the 2017 conference, because Cathy & Jessica really know how to put together something thoughtful, informative, and seamlessly executed. If you have any questions about The Blog Societies or the conference specifically, feel free to drop me a note–happy to chat!
All photos except the Kendra breakfast by Kim Graham