I loved catching up with old friends, like Nicole, Kirsten, Brianne and Jenny. It was great to meet people who I clicked with online and just knew would be awesome in person (Kate, Cyd, and Courtney didn't disappoint) and make new friends like Chelsey, Kirsten, Melanie, Sandra and Giulia. But the most fun was to meet people who had inspired me and touched my life over the past five years. Like Melissa, whose printable envelope I used for Chloe's 1st birthday invitation many years ago. She was just as sweet and kind as I imagined her. As a blogger, you think you're just sharing your life - but its easy to forget that what you say and do can leave footprints on other people's lives too.
over on my Facebook page so hop on over if you want to get a taste of Alt. But I'm sure what you want to hear about is what I learned. There were a few key messages I thought were important for all bloggers to hear so here's my top takeaways:
You NEED an Editorial CalendarI've heard this message in the past and was always a bit resistant to the idea. I kinda liked being a random blogger, being spontaneously inspired by the world around me to write posts. Then Helen Jane from Federated Media said this: When you don't have an editorial calendar, you are only blogging in response to the last ten blogs you read. A calendar is your chance to push your blog further, to develop it in absence of other people's influence. Translation: an editorial calendar helps you to be more creative, original, and have a stronger voice. As well, it keeps you organized and makes collaborating with other bloggers or sponsors easier. Want to BE and DO better? Plan for it with an editorial calendar.
A Strong Voice Will Get You NoticedWe've all heard how important it is to "stay true to yourself" when writing a blog. Your voice is what attracts and retains your readers. But it also attracts those people you want to work with. Want to contribute to another site? Put forward a different angle and viewpoint on a subject you are knowledgable on. Attract sponsors with a unique perspective and original ideas. Your voice should carry through your entire brand - be consistent in the fonts and colours you use and the way you take your photos. People should know your work when they see it.
Less Thinking, More DoingSo many times from so many women (myself included), I heard the phrase "I don't know what I want to do with my blog". The first step: decide what success means to you. There are bloggers who want to make money from their blog. If that's you, then research affiliate marketing and ad networks and e-courses and implement the method that is right for your blog - and value your time and really scrutinize what you do for free. There are others who wanted to be writers and book authors - so start by contributing to other sites, doing freelance work, and approaching publishers. Many want to work with sponsors. How to do that? By reaching out to contacts, networking with other bloggers, finding out who can help you. And when you do land that big meeting with Anthropologie or Kate Spade, know what you want and be unapologetic about asking for it. There are so many roads to success. You just have to choose a path and start walking.
In a nutshell, Alt Summit taught me (again) that your blog can be whatever you want it to be and those who hustle and work hard at it, can reap the rewards. It also reminded me that I'm not alone. If I need help, I should ask for it. Bloggers are the most supportive, collaborative, creative people you will ever meet. Our passions bind us together. I hope I see YOU at Alt next year.