Happy Friday, loves! As you may know, I recently went to my first ever blog conference (and certainly not my last) and it was such a great experience! This has been a blogging goal of mine for a while now and I’m so glad that I finally made it happen. I wanted to share some highlights of the weekend with y’all as well as the top 3 things I learned from attending The Blog Societies Conference in the beautiful city of Charleston.
Charleston is only a 3 hour drive from Charlotte so I left Thursday afternoon and got to the hotel around 4 to check in. We stayed at the Belmond Charleston Place and it was magical! I’m so glad we stayed at the hotel where most of the conference events took place because it just made life 10 times easier if we needed to run up to the room or change clothes. I roomed with two of my favorite bloggers that I had met when I lived in Raleigh- Shelby from Pretty in the Pines and Meghan from I’m Fixin’ To. I highly suggest having roommates because not only does it save on cost, but it just makes the whole experience much more fun!
Here are a few photos I took of our amazing room- the marble bathroom was everything!
The conference weekend kicked off with the Vera Bradley welcome party. There were 75 bloggers in attendance from all over the country so the first night was a chance to mix and mingle with cocktails in hand. I’ll admit, it was a little overwhelming at first and super loud in the room, but it was great to make those real connections with bloggers that we follow on social media and new bloggers as well!
Saturday’s conference was held at the Riviera Theater just a block away from the hotel where we got to take notes from some of the best in the blogging biz. The topics included optimizing your web design, building your brand, how to get press and one of my very favorites- strategy on using LikeToKnow.It and the ever-changing Instagram game. Cathy of Poor Little It Girl and Jessica of My Style Vita did an amazing job putting all of this together and are the true definition of #girlbosses!
After the conference it was time to put those business cards to use and network! All of us bloggers got to personally connect with over 20 brands in the networking suite and left with some serious swag. This was one of the coolest things about the conference- having so many amazing bloggers and brands under one roof. How often do you get to do that? I have some great post ideas coming up in the near future so stay tuned!
Once we regrouped, Meghan and I went to shoot our outfits on Rainbow Row- stay tuned for Monday’s post. You could definitely tell a blog conference was in town because we ran into so many other girls taking photos all around the city- so fun! After that, we met our new friends Lacey of My Boring Closet and Hillary of Style in a Small Town for dinner at The Ordinary. We had our share of oysters (raw, smoked and sliders) and the rosé was flowing. If you’re looking for delicious, fresh seafood then you have to check out this place!
On Sunday morning, we had an early breakfast with Kendra Scott and then it was time for workshops. They were a new addition to the conference this year and I thought they were super helpful. I went to the photography and LikeToKnow.It workshops and would’ve gone to accounting if I didn’t have to leave early for a wedding. It was nice to get the chance to work in smaller groups and have the chance to ask more detailed questions to the workshop leaders. I also missed a luncheon with the girls from Cosmedix but you know I’m all about some skincare so I will be sharing a post on that very soon!
TOP 3 THINGS I LEARNED FROM #TBSCON
1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
Going to things like this can be intimidating, especially the first time. You’re super excited but don’t know what to expect. Just because someone has 50,000 followers doesn’t mean they’re not approachable. If this conference did anything, it inspired me to keep putting myself out there more whether it’s meeting a new blogger or reaching out to a brand. Just last weekend I went into a local store and talked to a manager about a future collaboration. I was nervous because I hadn’t been that direct before but like my husband tells me- the worst they can say is no.
2. Monitor your progress and growth
Like most bloggers, I want my blog to keep growing over time. It’s happening slowly but surely but one thing that I want to implement is tracking my progress. I couldn’t tell you how many Instagram followers I had 6 months ago or my percent increase in page views. But how do you know that you’re growing and improving your blog? Making a spreadsheet and tracking your stats monthly is the best way to keep yourself accountable and also serves as a motivator.
3. Set goals for you and your brand
I’m never going to be a full-time blogger because I already have a career as a PA. Therefore, I may have different goals than other style bloggers who are hoping to make blogging their career. I want to keep sharing outfit posts, travel recaps and looks into my day-to-day life (and wedding photos, of course!). My main goals are to post 3 times a week and work on my Instagram game. I have been trying to work on the look of my overall feed (huge in the IG world) and while I don’t make every photo white or grey, they just flow better together. Maybe I have been doing something right because LikeToKnow.It finally regrammed one of my photos this week!! This has also been a goal so you bet I was excited!
Overall, it was an awesome weekend and I can’t wait to do it all again in 2017! I’ve been to Charleston several times but it definitely wasn’t a vacation because our schedule was packed for the 3 days we were there. I would recommend coming a day early or staying a day late so you can take outfit photos ahead of time or be able to leisurely explore the city on your own time. I’ll definitely be doing that next time!
Want to learn a little more about The Blog Societies? Learn more here and you can sign up to join this awesome community. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions about the conference or blogging in general and feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last but not least, check out this sweet recap video of the conference from Drew Glickman Films!
Photos by Kim Graham Photography