Bloganista Mini-Con

How to Blog Like a Boss: The Official Bloganista Mini-Con Recap

bloganista booklet cover (1) copy

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:

During her morning keynote address, Chanda Temple explained how to build your personal brand.
During her morning keynote address, Chanda Temple explained how to build your personal brand.

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.
Maybe we were having too much fun on the Blog Like a Boss Panel.
Maybe we were having too much fun on the Blog Like a Boss Panel.

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.

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Eunice Elliott brought the laughs, of course!

 

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.

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Maacah Davis (left) explained how she started her own magazine.

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.

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Annalise DeVries of Hoffman Media knows her readers.

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!

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Kaneshia Sims reminded attendees that if they want to be on the pages of their favorite magazines they must put in work.

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.

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Fashion blogger Jeniese Hosey gave an inspiring afternoon keynote address.

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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lady blogger e-course cover

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.

What you had to say about The Bloganista Mini-Con

bloganista pic by ca marks
Photo by C.A. Marks of Moxie Beautiful

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:

LaCosta Gaston of The Journey of Being a Wife said the conference was “completely mind blowing and much needed.”

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.

Check out her other nine questions here.

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.

Jennifer Dome King of Stellar Fashion and Fitness was a panelist for the conference, but says she also left feeling inspired:

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.

Why You Need a Logo for Your Website or Blog

you need a logo

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.

LAURA VINCENT NEW LOGO CIRCLE

 

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. 

3 Reasons You Need to Get a Massage

self care

 

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by LightWorks Chair Massage, but all opinions are my own.

If you’re like me, you’re a juggling your blogging and writing pursuits with a full-time job plus responsibilities to family and friends and community commitments. This leaves very little time to just take care of yourself, and so you don’t. But it’s time to change that and you can start Saturday by simply getting a free chair massage at the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing and Design. LightWorks Chair Massage will be on site offering free massages to us bloganistas.

Here are three reasons you need to get a massage Saturday and beyond.

  1. You need to be more productive.

Because we women writers and bloggers are so busy working our day jobs and taking care of our families, we usually have very little time to actually work on our writing. So when we do we need to be as productive as possible. Jo Anderson of LightWorks Chair Massage says that research shows that chair massage in the workplace significantly reduces stress and increases focus and productivity.

“Our corporate clients tell us that their 15-minute sessions have made a big impact on employee morale and sick days,” Anderson said.

So chances are massage — whether you get an hour-long full body massage or just a quick chair massage from the folks at LightWorks — will help you be more productive when working on your own projects as well.

  1. You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

“There is no doubt that in order to be healthy we have to keep our stress levels low,” Anderson said. “That’s not always an easy task, but knowing that stress increases the risk of heart disease 40 percent and stroke 50 percent can be a great motivator.”

Anderson added that massage improves sleep, soothes anxiety and depression, boosts immunity and relieves headaches.

“Those are huge health benefits since at least 60 percent of all disease is stress related,” Anderson said.

If getting an hour-long massage is just out of the question with your budget right now, try convincing your boss to invite LightWorks Chair Massage to your workplace.

“Many people think they have to get an hour massage to reap the benefits but that isn’t so,” Anderson said. “Even a 10-15 minute massage contributes markedly to one’s health and well being, making it a good fit for the business community.”

  1. You’re breaking your New Year’s Resolution. 

At the start of the year I made a resolution to get a massage every month. We’re now at the end of July and you know how many massages I’ve had — NONE! Self-care is an area in which I constantly come up short and chances are you probably struggle with this too. Chances are you too vowed to take better care of yourself this year and yet you keep pushing self-care to the side for work or the needs of others.

If you’re coming to the Bloganista Mini-Con Saturday I hope you will take advantage of a free chair massage. And I hope that on August 1, the start of a new month and thus a new chance to get things right,  we all will vow again to take better care of ourselves and remember that self-care is not a luxury.

 

Party Like a Blog Star!

Best group photo ever!
Best group photo ever!

Thursday I had a bad day.

Actually, I’d been having a bad week.

Planning for the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design had been stressing me out! In fact, I’d been so stressed I was started to doubt myself and everything I do.

Who am I to think I can empower women with See Jane Write, I asked myself.

Then Thursday night happened.

On Thursday, July 23 See Jane Write held the 2015 Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment and it was fabulous!

How amazing it was to see so many bright and beautiful women gathered in one place all because they believe in self-expression through blogging and writing.

What I loved most was how all the women in attendance treated one another like family. Even if you were “blogless,” as a few women described themselves, you were welcomed with open arms.

I loved learning about the blogs these women were building or the ones they wanted to created. Women shared with me their writing hopes and dreams and the fears that are holding them back from pursuing them.

We chatted about fashion, food, fitness, and so much more.

Only with a group a lady bloggers and bloganistas can you have a serious conversation about aging and a silly conversation about barbecued pig ears in the same night!

Of course, some ladies did some shopping and they were quite impressed by Collage’s wide array of sizes and styles.

Thursday’s mixer wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Collage Designer Consignment. I can’t thank Collage owner Tracy True Dismukes enough for opening up her Vestavia store to us. The ladies of the Collage team were the most gracious of hostesses, treating us to delicious hors d’oeuvres and even giving each of us a free Collage tote bag!

Check out pictures from the event below and be sure to head to the See Jane Write Facebook page to tag yourself in the photos!

*Photos by Deidre Clark