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August 20, 2015

Blog Tips and Conference Recap

#createcultivateCHI, donut wall, fall style, nordstrom
SHOP MY LOOK (left)
Top: 1. State // Jeans: 7 For All Mankind // Watch: Michael Kors
Pumps: Nine West // Lipstick: NARS (Manhunt)
Handbag: Daily Style Finds Collection (My design -- Coming soon!)


This past weekend I attended the Create + Cultivate conference in Chicago. It was a group of 500 women - all passionate about owning or starting a business in the digital space.  There were a lot of bloggers - soon-to-be bloggers - but also a mix of media, technical, graphic artists, and others.  Here is a recap of my take-aways, some tools and tips, and the inspiration to make a change I gathered from it...



NICHE
There was a lot of discussion about defining your niche, especially since there are so many blogs starting each day, month, year... so, to make it you are going to need to be different to stand-out.  When developing your business, it is necessary to ask “WHY” you are doing what you are doing. Then, think about what value you are bringing to your readers or customers.  You should focus on things that money can’t buy - that is your value proposition.

Also, in defining a business, we typically think about demographics (age, race, religion, gender, family size, ethnicity, income, and education, etc.) but it is really important to dig deeper and define the psychographics (the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles), which does a better job of answering the “why”.


VALUE
A few speakers also stressed the importance of presenting yourself and your business as something of value.  You need to value your business so others will know its value. Do not undersell yourself, especially when negotiating deals for collaborations or sponsorships.  It is important to place a realistic value on what you bring to the partnership and have statistics, such as a Media Kit to back it up.  It was stressed that we all have to start somewhere, so what you ask for at the beginning can always increase as your audience or customer base does.  Also, in the beginning it is important to "sell" yourself.  And, as one speaker said -- “Fake it until you make it.”  I would not lie, but make sure you make yourself look important, so people will take you more seriously.


FAILURE
I think we are all afraid to "fail".  We think if we do not have followers or readers, then we have failed.  We cannot see any path as a failure - rather it is a stepping stone to helping us redefine where we are to go next.  We need to keep moving forward and use what we have learned for the next step.


BE "YOU"
My favorite quote of the day was "Everyone else is taken - so be yourself."  In the blogging world, there is so much copying.  We need to be our own person and do our own thing.  It goes back to defining your niche.  If we find our own point of view and our own target group, then we can present information to them in our own unique way, which that group will appreciate and respond to. Copying what someone else is doing - will just look like a copy, and not us, and why would someone what to follow a copy when they could follow the real thing.  And, if they are following the real thing, they are not following us!


MANAGERS
I knew big bloggers made (a lot of) money and have become celebrities, but I did not realize that some of them actually have managers that negotiate their deals and get them sponsorships.  Digital Brand Architects (DBA) is one of the firms that represents bloggers.


AFFLIATES
Two big affiliate programs (where bloggers can earn commission based on links clicked and products purchased) that were discussed were ShopStyle and rewardStyle.  I see ShopStyle gaining traction and having a different angle.  ShopStyle does allow you to earn money on links clicked, where rewardStyle is only based on purchases made.


SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
Edgar - A social media scheduling tool.
Followers Plus - An app that tracks your gained and lost followers.
Iconosquare - A website that tracks your Instagram history, such as most liked photos, hashtags, and growth charts.


CONFERENCE SPEAKERS
Garance Dore was my favorite speaker at the conference.  I enjoyed your her relaxed, fun personality, and her honesty.  She shared how her business came about - and she talked with a realness that I really appreciated.  Her blog was born out of what may be considered a "failure" and it turned into a success and a real joy for her.

I also got to hear a few of my favorite bloggers - Rach from Pink Peonies and Emily from Ivory Lane speak.  Also, Erica from P.S. I Made This spoke - and she was too funny!



POP UP SHOPS
There were a couple of pop-up shops at the conference: Topshop and Whitney Eve.

topshop, 70s, boho, fall trends






Oh, and I met Whitney Port (from The Hills), and got to shop her collection.

whitney eve, whitney port, the hills, spring collection, fall





Overall, the Create + Cultivate conference was a confirmation that I must re-evaluate the direction of my blog and where I want to go with it. I want it to be unique, and I need to work at refining my niche and the audience I am trying to reach. This blog has been a fun creative hobby for the past few years, but it is time to re-evaluate my goals and plans for the future.

I do want to thank all the wonderful women and their great response and support of my handbags (one of them seen in top picture).  I was so happy to get positive feedback and people to come up to me and have remembered my handbags!

#createcultivateCHI


GIVEAWAYS
Be sure to enter to win...
$200 to Target here. (Ends 8/21)
$200 to J. Crew here. (Ends 8/28)
$500 to Amazon (or PayPal cash) here. (Ends 9/14)
$200 to Target here (Ends 9/10)


STYLE ME BLOGGERS
This is the last week I am linking up with my fellow Style Me Bloggers (but stay tuned - we have a future project called The Blended Blog in the works).  The C + C conference was definitely the inspiration I needed to re-evaluate my blog and my future direction.



Be sure to stop by and check out what inspires my other lovely friends!


26 comments:

  1. This looks like a lot of fun! I need to do a blog workshop or conference in the near future!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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  2. Great information, thank you for sharing! I need to be reminded of a few things!

    Xoxo,

    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! Sounds like a super fun conference! looking fab as always!
    kelseybang.com

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  4. Wish I was able to attend. have seen everyones post on it! Jelly

    Sabrina | GYPSY T▲N

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  5. It is so interesting! Thank you for sharing the information with us. Blogging is very demanding but so rewarding

    Natalia | Lindifique

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  6. How interesting! Sounds like you learned so much! Thanks for sharing all of this!

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  7. What a bunch of great information - it sounds like this conference was amazing and such a great experience!
    xoxo Danielle
    For the Love of Leopard

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  8. This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! I always wish things like this were available near me. What a cool event.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  9. Going to a blog conference is on my list of things that I must do someday! Great post!

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  10. I've always wanted to go to a blog conference, thanks for sharing such great info!

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  11. What a great recap. I have always wanted to go to a conference like this but never knew if it was worth the money but based on your recap, I would say, YES :)

    Chelsea
    Ginger Side of Life

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  12. Lovely list!
    <3

    http://www.adelaacanski.com/

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  13. Great post, thanks for sharing! I need to go to a blog conference, but am just too chicken to do it...i'm so awkward meeting people in person.

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  14. Great job re-capping the event Lisa! Sounds like it was very motivational and informative. I really like the segment about Failure and viewing it as a stepping stone instead of a failure. I find a lot of my old posts embarrassing but the fact is I had to go through and do all the things I did to learn and grow! It's definitely a process!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

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  15. I was disappointed to have to miss this so I really appreciate your recap and I love your blog!

    Wishes & Reality

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  16. some great tips! I'll need to bookmark this post!!

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  17. Ok, first of all...I ADORE your bag...the bag you designed. Oh, my gosh! So cute, such a great shape, love the pattern (cow?). I would love to have some cow-patterned shoes and your great bag! (There is probably a better word for cow pattern...help me!). I appreciate your sharing tips and wisdom from the blogger conference. I wonder at least a couple of times a day if I should just give up the blogging because there are so many great blogs already out there and so many new ones coming along every day. I don't know what I can possibly offer!! Will have to try to concentrate on my niche and do some soul searching. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

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  18. Thanks for sharing this. I want to attend a blog conference and become a much better blogger but...who knows if that will happen so I really appreciate this post.

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  19. I always love bloggers review their blogging conference. I would love to attend a conference one of these days. Thank you for joining TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you next week.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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  20. Great post! I'd love to go to a blog conference as well one day :)
    xx
    Mademoiselle Coconath
    http://mllecoconath.com

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  21. These are invaluable tips and an opportunity to network. Thank you for sharing this event! Your handbag looks AMAZING!
    Red Reticule

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  22. Great pictures! The conference sounds so fun -- I love the tip about don't be afraid to negotiate and no your value! Talking about money is always awkward, but I'm trying to get better at it!
    www.amemoryofus.com

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  23. This conference sounds great. I'm planning on going to a MN one here in November, but would love to go to a bigger one like this!

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  24. Looks like it was a great conference, and that you learned (and shared) a lot of information. I read some of the other comments and it looks like there are many that found the conference very interesting.

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