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 # mini-con? ‘Find your tribe.’ If you are a blogger, @ 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!
This year’s Bloganista Mini-Con wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without the support of our sponsors. In addition to our fantastic presenting sponsor Laura Vincent Printing and Design, I’d also like to thank Church Street Coffee & Books for providing delicious coffee during our Morning Mingle, Full Moon Bar-B-Que for providing lunch, and Insomnia Cookies for sponsoring our afternoon cookie break. (Artney of My Pretty Brown loved the cookies so much she wrote an entire blog post about Insomnia Cookies.)
Special thanks to our media sponsor WBHM 90.3 FM and our Bloganista Mixer sponsor Collage Designer Consignment.
I’d also like to thank Lois Weinblatt of True North Business Development for being a vendor at this year’s conference and LightWorks Chair Massage for giving conference attendees free chair massages!
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!
To see more photos from this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, visit the See Jane Write Facebook page to check out the photo album.
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.