Monday, March 9, 2015

5 things I Learned at the Build Your Blog Conference 2015

I blogged about my excitement and expectations for BYBC last month and decided it was high time I wrote a follow up post relaying what I learned, what I loved, what I'd do different and what I wore.

The Build Your Blog Conference is pretty big, like 600+ bloggers BIG but it never felt overwhelming to me. Instead I saw hundreds of smiling energetic faces all eager to learn how to create better content, reach bigger audiences, meet new friends and to learn how make more money blogging.

Blog Inc, Matt Cherry
Matt Cherry from Blog Inc. teaching us 30 ways to grow your blog.
I've never been to a blog conference before BUT I am so glad I stepped outside my "Kelly Box" and went because I had blast and a half despite my anxiety about being surrounded by so many amazing creatives, brands and women. It was wonderful.

Here are the 5 things I learned at Build Your Blog Conference 2015

What do I mean by that? Well, this might be a little controversial of me to say but for ME, once I knew that I was going to BYBC, I decided to take it seriously do things as professionally as I could. I had my amazing designer whip up these darling business cards which I then completed by turning into mini bookmarks to really show off my brands personality. I also started the process of redesigning my blog (still in the works, you can't rush art right?) AND I created my first media kit to hand out to brands which was scary because I know I don't have the big numbers and page views that other blogs do BUT I wanted everyone to know that I don't do anything half way. I GO BIG OR I STAY HOME (and I hate missing out!)  I did noticed that hardly anyone was giving out media kits so I probably won't stress about that at my next conference. But its a good thing for me to have put together because I learned a lot about my blog stats and what I need to work on. THIS was a lot f help in creating my media kit. BUT, I am so glad I had my business cards made up because those were flying around as much as diet Coke!                                                                                      
                                    Bella Lulu Ink, blog design, business cards

As easy as that sounds it can be hard to do when you are stressing about business cards, media kits, what to pack, outfits, and leaving your two and a half year old and two month old for two whole days!!  I decided to take something I normally hate doing (picking out outfits for events) and make it fun by having my darling friend and fashion blogger Jacque from Looks for Lovelies style me. 
This idea proved to be GENIUS. 
I ended up having a BLAST picking out new clothes and outfits thanks to Jacque's eye for style and fun personality and I didn't have to stress about what to wear at all! Jacque helped me style three looks. 

1. A casual relaxed look that would keep me comfortable standing on my feet all day while still looking "put together." 
2. A casual business look for meeting brands, bloggers and speakers in.
3. A dress for the gala which has turned out to be my new favorite fancy piece in my wardrobe!

LOOK #1 Casual Comfy 
LOOK #2 Business Casual                                             LOOK #3 Gala Dress
Looks for lovelies

Since this was my first blogging conference I was ignorantly unaware that all meals were not provided and only brought a few snacks for breakfast. I ended up starving for most of the two days. Every hour is scheduled and when there is free time to eat I found that I was spending it networking or chatting with brands etc. While the conference did provide us lunch the first day, it was not to my liking...cough, cough, it wasn't very good, so when dinner rolled around that night I was ready to eat my arm off because, in my rush to get ready to be to the conference by 8:00 am, I of course skipped breakfast like any woman would do in my situation.  ;) I WISH I had brought a backpack full of snacks and drinks because while water was provided in every room, I needed something a little stronger to keep me alert and awake during the break out sessions because my hair didn't curl itself and you know I got up at the crack of moonlight to look like a put together person! 
Rifle paper company, Coke Life

 Do not be afraid to ask questions, make comments and meet the speakers.
I'm naturally an outgoing person but when you get me in a big room full of out of this world talented women, I tend to shrink like a drop of water on the pavement in the Arizona sun.  I find that I become more of an observer in classes and group settings and always talk myself out of telling the speaker how much I enjoyed what they shared. BUT I choose my room mate for BYBC wisely because Jacque is no wall flower and always confidently asked questions, made comments and spoke with most presenters. Watching her I observed several things: (Like I said, I'm a natural observer!)
Looks for lovelies

             a.) Asking questions helps to be more engaged in the learning process and retaining process AND you walk away having advanced your knowledge a bit further.
             b.) Making comments helps others to learn about you, put a face to your blog and ultimately, it allows people to connect with you. So many people wanted to chat with Jacque after she made comments because they could relate or had questions for her, it was awesome to see the connections she made with so many just by sharing her personal experiences.
             c.) Chatting with the speakers after they are done presenting is a great way to get face time with an expert! That's what these conferences are all about, networking with big bloggers and collaborating with brands and other creatives to push you further. I will DEFINITELY be elbowing my way past the crowds of women to speak with as many presenters as possible at my next conference!
Jacque with Maskcara

If I've learned anything by attending BYBC or the other blogger events I've been to I've learned that blogging is LEGIT work and that bloggers are LEGIT people of their own breed. Bloggers are unique in that they think differently about things.  Bloggers are PASSIONATE, invested people who want to make a difference in some small or big way and feel a pull towards sharing their passion with anyone who will listen. (I can say that because I'm one of them!)  Bloggers love to collaborate and work with others, they can't help it, they are drawn to each other like moth's to a flame. Bloggers are open books, we love to learn and share everything new and exciting to us! And on that note, here are a few bullet points of what I learned at BYBC:
(snort) I found this gem in the gift shop at the conference! I can always sniff out the best books
  • Become a trusted resource for your readers and share all your tips and tricks. People want to know what works and what doesn't from the experts. 
  • I learned that 80% of people watch at least one video on their phone a week and 55% of people watch a video daily and that YouTube is a MUST in blogging. We just started our own YouTube channel you can follow us HERE to watch our quick book reviews and other silly antics along with videos of our meetings.
  • I learned I need to trust myself. I need to NOT be intimidated by the size of other blogs or brands. I can't tell myself I'm too small, I need to reach out to the other bloggers and brands I want to work with because I''ll never be as big as I want to be until I put myself out there as scary as that it!
  • One of the speakers asked all of us, "What do you want your blog to be known for?" That question stayed with me ever since because I've said, "I want my blog to not only fuel and inspire those who already love to read, I want my blog to CREATE new readers. When I tell people what kind of blogger I am, 80% of the time the first words out of their mouth are, "I wish I liked reading, I wish I could be in a book club or I never have time to read...etc"             I want others to see and experience the JOY reading has to offer in whatever capacity they are capable of at the moment because lets be honest, LIFE IS BUSY. I get it. Everyone has 200 things to get done everyday and unless you already love reading why would you make time for it? My hope is that with my blog I can show you why you should make time for reading and pick up that book you've been eyeing on your nightstand for the past year.
Sandy Alamode, delicious reads, looks for lovelies, Aubrey Zaruba, Our life is beautiful, sarah Tyau,
Sandy, Me, Jacque, Aubrey Sarah
Thank you to ALL the contributors, sponsors, speakers bloggers and the Six Sisters for hosing such a great conference and I thank you to all the AMAZING people I met who have become my friends. Thank you girls for "getting me" and for not getting that glazed look in your eyes when I talk BLOG like most people get!

Some of the sweet swag I received at the conference.
Read about WHY I wanted to attend BYBC HERE and from that post I learned that my blog is so much more now than just a space to store our book club meeting photos. This blog is dedicated to all things I love!

I've been stressing for a LONG time over what kind of blogger I am because I don't fit neatly into any category (DIY, Fashion, food etc) but after BYBC I learned that even though not being in one of the main niches is hard at times, it's also my biggest strength. I can stand out, start a trend, set the bar high, yell it from the rooftops and that's what I intend to do.

Thanks for reading and I hope you never stop,
XoXo Kelly


Unknown said...

Love this post! Ah I wish I had gone to BYBC- I could have met you sooner! I have so many good things to say about this post!
1. I love your business cards. They are adorable, unique, and perfect for you!
2. I love your first outfit (well all of them really but that first jacket is my total fave)
3. I love that you said this, "I want my blog to CREATE new readers" YES YES YES!!!! AMENNNNNN!!! Ok my reaction might be a little overkill... but seriously... Amen!
4. You go girl! You can do all you set out to do!

Unknown said...

I Really enjoyed your blog. I just bookmarked it. I am a regular visitor of your website I will share It with my friends.

Tonisha Parra
Conferencing Group