Today’s post is more blogging-centered, so feel free to check back later if this isn’t up your alley.
As I mentioned yesterday, I spent Saturday at the Blog Your Best 2016 conference put on by the Windy City Blogger Collective. Held at the beautiful Dana Hotel and Spa in River North, it was the first annual conference “designed to inspire.”
I LOVE conferences. Maybe it’s because I loved school so much and this is the closest I can get to it now? I love coming together with people I know and begin given the opportunity to learn more about something I am already passionate about. Unfortunately, I think I ruined myself to actually picking up new information from these conferences since I try and go to as many as I can. I’ve attended at least one conference a year (sometimes more) since I started blogging, and although the online world does change very quickly, there wasn’t a great deal of new information for me this time.
That is not to say that this wasn’t a good conference, because it WAS. The organization was phenomenal, especially for this being their first year. A couple workshops took place on a different floor and in different rooms and the timing was spot on to make sure that everything ran smoothly. I felt like they’d been doing this for years.
Things I loved:
- The swag bag came with a clipboard with over 30 pages of handouts. There was information on each session and a handy notes section to the side so I didn’t need a separate notebook.
- All the presenters were easily accessible and approachable.
- The worksheet for defining your niche. It always helps me to write things out so I can see them instead of everything swirling in my head.
- The organization was on POINT.
- Having local Chicago presenters. My main motivation for attending was being able to make connections with people affiliated with PR and marketing here in the city.
- Location! It was less than a 10 min walk from my house and had some great views of the city all day.
Things I didn’t:
- This is nothing against the conference itself, but many of Chicago’s bloggers are fashion-centered. I liked being able to learn about a different blogging population, but I felt a little underrepresented.
- A lot of the information was geared towards new bloggers. I enjoyed meeting new people, but I didn’t walk away with as much information as I’d hoped. I think specifying what level of blogging would be beneficial when presenting information about a conference.
- I love learning about new blogging tools, but I felt like the presenters for that portion were a little underprepared. They immediately opened up the floor for questions instead of referencing the worksheet and didn’t know if the tools were available for other platforms besides their own. I found myself chiming in a lot of the time and I know Susie had the same experience in her group.
- There were a number of prizes that we had the chance to win, but none of them were of interest to me. Well, maybe the giant basket of chocolates, but I didn’t even see that one until too late. Again, this is just personal preference and nothing against the conference itself.
- A presenter talking about not disclosing a sponsored post until the very bottom. You all know how I feel about this.
Related: Stop Misleading Disclosure Practices
The most useful information that I took away:
- To charge for social media posts, the going rate is $7-10 per 1000 followers. This is obviously negotiable, but it was nice to have a starting point.
- The average sponsored post rate takes into account more variables than just your metrics. Always start high and work your way down!
- If you are a newer blogger or even if you feel like your stats could be better, feel free to present your % of growth over a time period. This shows that although you may not have the highest numbers, you’re continuing to grow over a period of time.
- If you are someone who takes close up or food pictures, Ink & Elm is a great resource for vinyl backdrops. (I’m thinking about getting some myself!)
- If you have a DSLR or are looking to invest in one, B & H is the place to be. They don’t charge tax like Amazon (think saving hundreds of dollars) and their shipping is 1-2 days!
Overall I feel like it was a good way to spend my time since I made some new contacts and was able to hear a little bit more from a brand perspective about what they are looking for when working with bloggers. If anything, it reaffirmed that the steps I am taking are correct, but I need to be more consistent in pursuing opportunities. Working as your own PR and reaching out to companies can be a full time job in and of itself!
- Ink & Elm – affordable, vinyl backdrops for photos
- B & H – camera equipment
- The Rising Tide Society – local meetups and education for small business owners in creative industries
- My blogging page!
Other Blog Conference Recaps
- Have you ever been to a blogging conference?
- Are you going to any this year?