Did you know that one of the country’s best digital marketing conferences is held in Birmingham, Alabama?
Y’all Connect is a one-day conference designed to help you learn from leading experts in content marketing, blogging, and social media. This year’s conference is set for Friday, August 11 at Rosewood Hall and I want to give YOU a free ticket!
On August 1, See Jane Write held its second annual Bloganista Mini-Con, which was presented by Laura Vincent Printing and Design this year. As declared by the fabulous cover of the conference program and complimentary notebooks, which were designed by Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Printing and Design, this year’s conference was all about teaching attendees how to “Blog Like a Boss.”
Here are five simple steps for taking your blog to the next level:
1. Know that you are your brand. During her morning keynote address on personal branding, public relations pro Chanda Temple explained that a brand is not a logo, the name of your blog or your tagline. “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” she said. “Your brand is your story.”
I believe that once bloggers truly embrace this they’ll have more confidence to better promote themselves and their blogs as a brand and Chanda gave plenty of tips on how to do just that:
Write good press releases. Be sure your subject line will grab the reporter’s attention. Be sure you’re sending your release to the right person. And be sure you include all the necessary information: who, what, why, when, where.
If you’re hosting an event or promoting your book, create a hashtag for it to use on social media.
Be sure you have a professional head shot and professional business cards on hand.
2. Be true to yourself. This is a theme that came up again and again during the Blog Like a Boss panel discussion that I was a part of along with Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved and Jennifer Dome King of Stellar Fashion and Fitness. Sure, we talked about ways to monetize your blog: You can spruce up your media kit and begin approaching brands about partnering with you for campaigns and sponsored posts. You could start developing and selling your own products, services or books based on your niche. You could use your blog to promote yourself as an author, freelance writer, public speaker or coach. But no matter what you do, stay true to who you are and what you’re really all about. Don’t agree to do a campaign with a brand that has nothing to do with your niche or is the opposite of what you stand for just because you got offered money.
The panel was moderated by TV and radio personality Eunice Elliott, who is also a comedienne and, as you can tell from the photo above, was absolutely hilarious.
But before the panel, Eunice gave some great advice of her own.
Eunice reminded attendees not to get too caught up in the comments of critics and to instead simply stay focused on their goals. “Everyone’s information about you isn’t always for you,” she said.
3. Find your tribe. One attendee tweeted this: “Biggest takeaway from the #bloganista mini-con? ‘Find your tribe.’ If you are a blogger, @seejanewritebhm is it!”
I always say that whether you’re trying to be the Virginia Woolf of literature or the She-Wolf of Wall Street, you need a wolf pack. You need a group of fans, followers and friends who will support you through thick and thin. You need a tribe. Your tribe will defend you against Twitter trolls and naysayers who leave nasty comments. Your tribe will be your first customers when you turn your blog into a business. And when you publish a book, your tribe will not only buy it, but encourage their friends to do so too.
Your tribe could even help you start your own fashion magazine as Maacah Davis, founder of belladonna magazine and one of the panelists from the Magazine Dreams panel discussion, can attest to.
And once you find your tribe, you need to get to know them well so you can give them the content they want, how and when they want it. Annalise DeVries of Hoffman Media, for example, knows that most of the readers of their magazines and websites enjoy receiving email newsletters several times a week and so DeVries and her team deliver!
4. Be ready to work. If you’re dreaming of seeing your words or photos on the pages of your favorite magazines, Kaneshia Sims of Red PaSH magazine says, you must be willing to do the work to build your portfolio and get your foot in the door.
5. Step out on faith. “Sometimes when you step out on faith, it can be the most beautiful thing,” Jeniese Hosey of The Je Ne Sais Quoi said during her afternoon keynote address. This probably was the most tweeted quote of the day. Jeniese has done just that. Sometimes stepping out on faith can mean cashing in your frequent flyer miles and hopping on a plane to New York so you can network with brands, which Jeniese did. Sometimes stepping out on faith simply means starting to take yourself seriously as a blogger. Jeniese is clearly serious about her blog. She maintains a content calendar and plans her blog posts a month in advance. She has special days designated for scheduling posts to social media. And she sets goals for herself to keep focused. Jeniese recommends you set two HUGE, shoot-for-the-moon goals for yourself each year and several smaller goals. During her talk Jeniese revealed to me that one of her goals for 2015 was to be a keynote speaker at the Bloganista Mini-Con!
An even bigger accomplishment for Jeniese this year was that she was selected as one of the winners of Redbook magazine’s Real Women, Real Style Awards! We’re so proud of her!
And some attendees also scored a special gift from Birmingham Boutique Blowout — a cute koozie and a special discount code for the next Birmingham Boutique Blowout event.
I’d also like to thank Lynsey Weatherspoon Photography for shooting video at the event. Soon you’ll see that footage and more as part of a fabulous brand video for See Jane Write that we’re putting together. Get ready!
If you are truly ready to “blog like a boss” then you should consider signing up for my upcoming e-course Lady Blogger to Boss Lady. In this 7-week course you will learn how to turn your blog into a business without relying on ad sales or sponsored posts. Click here for more information.
On Saturday, August 1, See Jane Write hosted the 2nd annual Bloganista Mini-Con. This year’s conference was presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design and Dionne Love, the woman behind Laura Vincent, was kind enough to design fabulous notebooks and blog planners for all the attendees.
I’ll post the official See Jane Write recap of the Bloganista Mini-Con next week and include fun photos from the event. In the meantime, check out what some of our attendees had to say about this year’s conference:
Rachel Wilson of CaliBama Belle said the Bloganista Mini-Con “made me realize why I love blogging–because my voice and my personality are what makes this blog unique!”
C.A. Marks of Moxie Beautiful said “The afternoon keynote speaker was awesome! Jeniese Hosey caught my attention right away and had my blogging heart pumping with excitement.”
And Christina Renteria of PinkLuxpl almost made me cry with the kind words she shared in her post as she mentioned my efforts to mentor her:
There are not enough words to express how amazing Javacia Harris Bowser is in my life. I went from thinking I can to knowing I can to doing it, with her encouragement.
I especially enjoyed the recap by Karri Bentley of Karri So Very. Karri actually attended the very first See Jane Write event ever, which held March 24, 2011. In her post she writes:
I’ve watched See Jane Write grow from a group that took up two tables at a restaurant, to a gathering of women that fills a large conference room space. Javacia inspires and challenges me. And her brainchild’s latest event did not fail to deliver.
The Bloganista Mini-Con featured guest speakers and panelists, delicious treats and awesome door prizes. If you’re a blogger, thinking of starting a blog, or you’re considering resurrecting a blog that’s been dormant for too long, you should definitely consider attending next year’s event, or one of the other See Jane Write events.
Be sure to check out her post for a great list of key takeaways from the conference.
Katherine Walcott of Rodney’s Saga took a very creative approach to her recap post by posing 10 questions that conference made her consider and giving her honest responses. For example:
1. Are you taking yourself and your blog seriously? Not the hype, the story you have to tell. I vary on this: some days, bulletproof; some days, sniveling wreckage.
One topic that came up again and again at the conference was the importance of building your tribe. This wasn’t lost on Wade Kwon, director of the Y’all Connect blogging and social media conference, who also attended this year’s (and last year’s) mini-con. He writes:
If a blogger, whether solo or corporate, makes it to the community stage where she can collaborate and commiserate with fellow bloggers, she will likely prosper. (We should really commission a study on this …) Those who operate with no feedback and no love may falter sooner.
Which is why we should recognize community at every turn.
I came away from the conference inspired to dive into the business of blogging with the passion that I know will take me to places I’ve dreamed of personally and professionally. (Take yourself seriously! One piece of advice that hit home.)
She also said her biggest takeaway was the importance of building community, the importance of having a tribe. Jennifer says that when it comes to blogging, “finding other women who either blog themselves or love to read blogs, women who ‘get it,’ is so valuable. These are the women you can bounce ideas off of, who will challenge you to work on your goals in tangible ways and who will cheer for each and every success you have.”
If you wrote a recap of the conference, please share it in the comments.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, presenting sponsor for the 2015 Bloganista Mini-Con, but all opinions are my own.
At last year’s Bloganista Mini-Con afternoon keynote speaker Megan LaRussa Chenoweth said that getting a new logo for her blog was one of the game changers that helped take her business to the next level.
Could this one day be your story, too?
When Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Print and Design signed on to be the presenting sponsor for this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con I was so excited. I knew her talent and knowledge about designing logos would be invaluable to the women of See Jane Write.
“A logo will help your business become more recognizable, but it also establishes credibility with potential customers,” Dionne says. “It is the fundamental component of branding and marketing that reflects your personality, your values and principles.”
And this doesn’t just apply to big-name businesses like Nike or Apple. As Megan’s story shows, this applies to bloggers, too.
Here are five things Dionne recommends you keep when mind when creating a logo for your blog or personal brand — whether you’re working with a company like Laura Vincent or designing the logo yourself:
1. Keep it simple. Consider again logos like that of Nike or Apple, or even McDonald’s. They are some of the most popular logos around but yet also the simplest.
2. Make an impression. “The ultimate goal of all businesses is to have their logo image imprinted in your memory and to make a lasting impression,” Dionne says. So be sure your logo is memorable.
3. Find a font. “Selecting the right fonts is one of the most important steps in logo creation,” Dionne says. Choose a font that’s easy to read but distinctive. Also, Dionne says you shouldn’t use more than two different fonts in your logo.
4. Get color coordinated. When choosing colors for your logo remember that color can create an emotional response, Dionne says. Also keep in mind all the different places you’ll need to display the logo such as across your various social media networks.
5. Be versatile. Remember that your logo will not only be used on your website or blog and social media accounts but also on stationery and business cards. You may even decide to sell merchandise with your logo. Be sure that your logo looks great on any medium.
“So invest the time in developing a great logo,” Dionne says. “You and your business will reap the rewards!”
Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Printing and Design will be available at the Bloganista Mini-Con to chat with attendees about logo design and more. She’ll also be giving a discount on her logo design services to one lucky attendee.
The theme for this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, set for August 1, 2015 at Vestavia Hills Library, is BLOG LIKE A BOSS!
Here are the conference speakers and panelists who are going to help you do just that:
TV and radio personality Eunice Elliott will be our special guest at the conference and MC for the morning half of the event.
Eunice joined Alabama’s 13 in August 2013 as the traffic reporter. A native of Bessemer, Eunice is a proud graduate of The University of Alabama, where she earned a Journalism/Theatre degree in 1997. She has enjoyed working in sports/entertainment over the years including stints at ESPN in Connecticut, The Tennessee Titans, The FedEx Orange Bowl Committee and helmed her own public relations firm for many years representing professional athletes. Eunice performs weekly as a stand-up comedian at the Stardome Comedy Club, and also enjoys acting, radio broadcasting and writing/producing new television shows. Follow Eunice on Facebook and Twitter to see where she’s performing next!
Jeniese Hosey will be our afternoon keynote speaker.
Jeniese Hosey is a 30-something woman from Birmingham, Alabama who loves all things fashion! In 2010 she started her blog The Jenesaisquoi, to show women that style has no relevance to size or age. Jeniese has appeared in Ebony.com, Essence.com, Plus Model Magazine, Centric TV.com and DARE Magazine. Her blog has been showcased by several of her favorite fellow plus-size bloggers. She is a monthly contributor to the Plus Model Magazine Blog and she has collaborated with several of her favorite brands. By day Jeniese works as a PR/Marketing professional. Along with fashion Jeniese loves football, traveling and food. She received her BA in Public Relations from The University of Alabama and an MBA in Marketing from Capella University.
During her afternoon keynote address Jeniese will discuss how she landed the many opportunities she’s enjoyed to work with brands and big names and will also reveal how she deals with the not-so-glamorous side of fashion blogging.
Chanda Temple will be our morning keynote speaker and during the Morning Mingle will be on hand to critique your business card.
Chanda worked as a journalist for nearly 20 years before switching gears to public relations in 2012. For the past three years Temple has crafted numerous public relations campaigns that the public and media noticed. Her latest success was coauthoring the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook. The self-published paperback book sold out three times in late 2014 and earned an international gold medal award in 2015. Also in 2015, her public relations campaign for the book, and the Birmingham food festival it was connected to, won a first place state award in public relations. Follow her blog at chandatemplewrites.com.
During her morning keynote address, Chanda will offer tips on how bloggers can build a personal brand and get that brand noticed by media and more.
Our afternoon panel discussion MAGAZINE DREAMS will offer tips on how you and your blog can be featured in your favorite magazine, how you can write for your favorite magazine and how you can start a magazine of your own. Our panelists are Maacah Davis of belladonna magazine, Annie DeVries of Hoffman Media and Kaneshia Sims of Red PaSH Magazine.
Maacah Davis is the founding editor and creator of belladonna magazine, which she started to provide an outlet for some of Birmingham’s fashion and art-minded creatives. A former biology major at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she is currently taking a gap year to figure out her future. In the meantime, in addition to being the creative director of Birmingham’s first fashion magazine, her work as a stylist has been published in B-Metro’s recurring feature segment, Birmingfamous. She has directed photoshoots for independent local makeup brand Fancy is Flawless, and she is excited to be at the helm of her first ad campaign with local cosmetics company, Hayah Beauty. As someone who has called Birmingham home for ten years now, she revels in making her twenties all about further exploring and presenting her, and her teams’, creative capacities.
Annie DeVries is the online editor at Hoffman Media, where she oversees web and social media content for the company’s eight magazines. After freelance writing and styling for several years, she began working as the assistant editor of fresh style magazine, and then became Southern Lady‘s associate editor before starting her current position. Working in magazine publishing was a somewhat unexpected career path. Annie holds a PhD in history from Rutgers University, and previously taught at Birmingham Southern College and the University of Alabama. The research, problem-solving, and writing skills she gained during graduate school and while teaching have proved invaluable in her work as an editor.
Kaneshia Sims has a deep passion for Birmingham, all of its small businesses and local charities. Using her background in public relations and mass communications, Kaneshia took her passion and turned it into a business. Kaneshia now serves as editor of Red PaSH Magazine and head public relations coordinator of Southern PaSH.
Our morning panel discussion BLOG LIKE A BOSS will cover best blogging practices, how to grow your blog’s audience, and how to build your blog into a business. Our panelists are Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved, Jennifer Dome King of Stellar Fashion and Fitness and yours truly!
Heather Brown has been blogging for 6 years and has worked in social media since graduating from Samford University. She married her college sweetheart and they are expecting their first baby this month! Heather built her initial blog’s social media following to over 27,000 members, helped grow her employer’s Facebook page to over 150,000 followers, and currently has over 50,000 social media/newsletter subscribers to her current blog, MyLifeWellLoved.com. Heather’s passion is helping others grow their blog, brand, and social media as well as empowering women to be their best in healthy living, southern style, recipes, faith, beauty and finding balance.
Jennifer Dome King is the assistant editor of Bassmaster Magazine and also works as a freelance writer and copy editor. She blogs about fashion, health and fitness and body positivity at StellarFashionandFitness.com where she hopes to encourage women to lead a stellar life. Originally from New Jersey, she has adopted Birmingham has her new home for the past 8 years and loves exploring it with her husband of one year, Jermaine.
Javacia Harris Bowser is the founder and CEO of See Jane Write LLC, a membership organization and website designed to empower and enrich women who write and blog. Before returning to her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama in 2009 to teach at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Javacia worked as a features reporter in Louisville, Kentucky. Today she continues her journalism career as a freelance writer for a number of media outlets including USA Today, Birmingham magazine and WBHM90.3 FM, Birmingham’s NPR affiliate. Javacia also writes a monthly column for B-Metro magazine on women’s issues. Javacia holds a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama. Follow her blogs at WriteousBabe.com and Javacia.com.
Get your tickets to this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con at bloganista2015.eventbrite.com now! Ticket sales end July 30 and no tickets will be sold the day of the event.
Believe it or not, 2015 is just around the corner. Now is a good time to figure out which conferences you will attend next year. Here are ten writing or blogging conferences to consider.
Food Media South: The popular food blogging conference FoodBlogSouth (originally organized by Shaun Chavis and Jason Horn) is now being hosted by the Southern Foodways Alliance and has been renamed Food Media South. Set for February 27-28 in Birmingham, Alabama, FMS will explore storytelling in the digital era. Speakers include Dorothy Kalins, founding editor of Saveur magazine, chair of the James Beard Journalism Awards committee, and producer of beautiful books; Chuck Reece, editor-in-chief of Bitter Southerner; Erika Council, proprietor of the blog Southern Souffle; Roscoe Hall II, proprietor of the site Punk as Food; and Bill Addison, restaurant editor of Eater National.
The Southern C Summit: Connect, collaborate and create in a niche environment with like-minded creatives at the Southern C Summit, an annual conference organized by The Southern Coterie. The spring 2015 summit is set for April 30 – May 1 and will be held in Charleston, South Carolina. The conference promises engaging educational sessions and panel discussions with branding, marketing and social media leaders. Evening events and gatherings offer the opportunity to continue networking all while engaging in meaningful conversations in a fun intimate setting.
Y’all Connect: Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power is an annual blogging/social media conference in Birmingham, Ala. The event offers practical takeaways in corporate storytelling from the nation’s digital marketing experts. Next year’s conference will be held in June.
The Bloganista Mini-Con: Back in July See Jane Write hosted its first conference and it was a huge success! In 2015 we hope to make the Bloganista Mini-Con bigger and better offering inspiration and information for fashion, fitness, lifestyle and business bloggers. More details coming soon!
BlogHer ’15: In 2015 the BlogHer Annual Conference will be held July 16-18 in New York City. BlogHer is one of the biggest blogging conferences on the planet. Last year’s speakers included Jenny Lawson a.k.a. The Bloggess, media mogul Arianna Huffington and actor/activist Kerry Washington.
WordCamp Birmingham: WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamp Birmingham typically takes place in late summer.
Blogalicious: Be Blogalicious is a network with three major goals: 1) to be THE go-to destination and resource for influential multicultural women social media enthusiasts from all over the world to collaborate, connect and uplift one another; 2) to showcase the value of the demographic in today’s marketplace to marketers; and 3) to serve as a think tank and mouthpiece for causes, policies and issues affecting the multicultural digital space. The annual Blogalicious Weekend conference is usually held in the fall and is one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended!
Alabama Writer’s Conclave: The Alabama Writers’ Conclave was organized in 1923 and has been in continuing existence since. The Conclave is responsible for nominating, for the governor’s appointment, Alabama’s Poet Laureate. Members include fiction and non-fiction writers, novelists and short story writers, poets, writers of business and scientific works, freelance journalists, romance writers, publishers, patrons, and teachers.Through the years, the Conclave has moved its conferences around the state to provide writers everywhere better access to its resources.
Blogging While Brown: Blogging While Brown is a conference and a community for emerging leaders in digital media and social change. Since its launch in 2008, Blogging While Brown has grown to become the premier blogging conference dedicated to education, collaboration, and innovation among bloggers of color. The conference brings Black social media experts, speakers, and independent content creators together to expand their influence in social media and technology. The conference offers an opportunity to learn tools and strategies to build engaging and dynamic online platforms, leverage online engagement for offline results, and create sustainable business and activism models. The 2015 is set for June 19 and 20 and will be held in Austin, Texas.
Romance Writers of America: If you are a career-focused romance writer, then this conference is for you. This annual event gives you the chance to get down to the business of being an author. Expect education and information, networking with fellow writers, and interaction with editors, agents, publishers, booksellers, and other romance publishing industry professionals.