Blogging is very entrepreneurial in spirit, after all, we put our words, work, heart out there every day. And while it’s all fine and dandy to want to write or craft just for yourself, I think it’s safe to say that many of us, if not most, want our blog to go somewhere, anywhere. Attending Alt was a huge stretch for us, so I was hell bent on making the most out of it. Here are some of the greatest bits of wisdom I gained from the conference and and advice I can share with you. I’ll try to keep it short, as you know I have a tendency of getting verbose.Jasmine Star was my favorite speaker of the whole conference. Which brings me to point #1. Don’t attend a conference thinking you will love every single speaker and panel you attend, because you won’t, and if you think you will, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Even at a well respected conference like Alt, some speakers will just not bring it, and you’ll be leaving your panel thinking, “what in the hell?”
-Some takeaways from Jasmine’s talk on Building A Personal Brand: “Decide what success looks like for YOU.” I’ve never done that, but I need to write down each milestone I want to hit, and when (if) I do, I need to celebrate. I look back and there have been several times where I missed out on an opportunity to feel good about my accomplishments because I was so consumed about moving onto the next hurdle to tackle. Stop, and celebrate success.
-”I want to either attract you or repel you. I want you to love me or hate me.” While I don’t think I want anyone to really hate me, I do think I’m often way too worried about everyone liking me, and Jasmine encouraged us to reveal our truest, richest self, instead of just being vanilla.
-In the Advanced Blogging session, we were encouraged to create an editorial calendar for our content, because if not, our writing will be easily influenced by the last 10 blogs we’ve read. I like to be carefree and fly by the seat of my pants, but when I think of it this way, it is so ridiculously true! Without an editorial calendar, before we write a post we will be swayed to write like this, or photograph like that. Starting in February I’m creating a calendar.
-When asked if a “smaller” blogger should think about interning or contributing with a larger blogger (for free mind you), Helen Jane honestly responded and said “no.” She said that there is very little exposure you can’t get yourself, and to save your creative juice for developing your own brand.
-Stefan Sagmeister was the keynote speaker at lunch the second day and this quote has continued to stick with me: “This life would have been much richer if I’d been willing to risk more.”
-I may get crap for this, but part of an impression has to do with your presentation. You don’t need to be a beauty queen or a fashion plate with designer shoes (believe me, no one notices that stuff), but take care and time with how you look, which will translate into how you feel. Plan out your outfits, wear what you will feel good and comfortable in, wear a cute piece of jewelry or some fun new shade of lipstick, heck even order some pretty cards. When women get nervous, and most of us are, we tend to lean on complimenting each other; “your cards are so cute, I love your pin, or that lipstick is great.” So give them something to work with first and foremost, and then you will win them over with your dazzling personality. Don’t roll your eyes at me, you know this is true.
-If a panel doesn’t look like it’s right for you, don’t be afraid to sneak out. Sit towards the back so you don’t look like a total jerk, but don’t be afraid to sit through an hour panel that will get you nowhere.
-Present yourself with confidence (no matter how “small” you are) and like you know what you’re doing, especially when meeting brands you’d like to collaborate with, but try not to come across as braggy.
-Remember, there is a place for all of us, whether “big” or “small”. Brands and fellow bloggers don’t want to just work with the huge bloggers. We all have our individual audiences and our reach isn’t any less valid than celebrity blogger’s reach.
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*All photos with the exception of the photo booth pictures are from the Alt Flickr Photostream