A few weeks ago I attended my FIRST EVER blog conference in Atlanta, Georgia: The Southern Blog Society‘s 2nd Annual Conference! I met up with 50 of the South’s best bloggers and brands, learned how to continue growing my blog, saw some of my all-time fave bloggers in person, and had the time of my life in the Buckhead area of Atlanta!
Before I jump into everything I learned, here’s a quick recap of our itinerary (with the nice, high-res photos courtesy of Rebekah Carson Photography… because I forgot my camera):
Friday evening: Nightcap at Whiskey Blue
Saturday morning: Coffee Talk
Saturday lunch: Trolley ride and lunch provided by Asos at South City Kitchen (YUM.)
Sunday: Rooftop pool party with Southern Living Magazine
29 Things I Learned At My First Blog Conference:
1. All bloggers Instagram the same: shamelessly. Did it even happen if it wasn’t perfectly ‘grammed? #SBScon
2. No outfit is complete without a mani.
3. Pinterest is every blogger’s best friend. For me personally, it is my TOP referrer (besides that one time I was featured on BUZZFEED) and I’ve had two pins (this post and this post) go viral. There are quite a few different ways you can maximize your blog’s ‘pin-ability’, but my number one tip is to make your images pin-worthy. This means vertical images, having a title image (aka a picture that explains what the post is about without giving it all away), and pinning things yourself.
4. Blog perks are the best. Who doesn’t love free things?! As a blogger they seem to be pretty endless, and this is one thing all of our non-blog friends will always envy.
5. Macarons ARE as delicious as the trend implies. I was super skeptical (and had never tasted a macaron) so I thought these overpriced little French cookie things were another overdone ‘chevron-esque’ trend. I was SO wrong. At our nightcap at Whiskey Blue, XK Macarons in Atlanta provided these tasty little nuggets and I was in sweet tooth heaven!
6. The Golden Rule of Blogging: Take photos for others as you would like taken of you.
7. When you swap blog business cards, you know it’s real.
8. The bloggers you love reading are just as awesome in person. If not awesome-er. Still so pumped I got to meet Emily from Life with Emily, Jessica from Here & Now, Jessica from My Style Vita (also one of my clients, I designed her blog!), and Cathy from Poor Little It Girl. I totally got blogger starstruck when I met them!
9. When you meet up with other bloggers, it becomes 100% acceptable to talk about nerdy blog things. For example: Google Analytics, Pinterest strategy, what apps you use to filter your pictures, camera models, etc.
10. Bloggers fully support taking 96 pictures just to get that ONE perfect picture.
11. Pitching to magazines is a great way to grow your blog – as long as you do it right! We all received a copy of Recipe for Press by Amy Flurry, and I plan to read it next week as soon as I have time!
12. Candid photos are always better than posed. A L W A Y S.
13. Mimosas are an acceptable part of every meal.
14. Outfit shoots with other bloggers standing around watching is 100% not awkward. Outfit shoots with strangers on the street standing around staring, on the other hand, is 200% awkward. Bloggers give posing tips, strangers give creepy stares.
15. Bloggers are the undisputed Queens of Social Media. And the perfect hashtags, brand shout-outs, and post timing.
16. Bloggers understand hard freaking work. To those who don’t own a blog, it’s “just a few posts a week” and doing fun stuff on social media. They are oh-so-wrong. Those posts can take HOURS to get right, and as soon as it’s live, it needs to be properly shared. Keeping a blog running (and aiming for success) takes SO many hours a week it qualifies as a part time job.
17. Talking about your blog is only not awkward with other bloggers. When your grandpa asks about your recent blog post over family dinner, things feel just plain wrong. When strangers recognize you in public from your blog (thanks to Buzzfeed), it’s also painfully weird.
18. BLOGGING IS THE BEST. I wouldn’t take back the countless hours, stress, and hard work I’ve put into this blog for ANYTHING. The SBS Conference solidified my love of this community and hobby turned income. The ladies I met at this conference gave me so much encouragement, and made me feel like it’s not an impossible dream to grow my blog to the size of theirs. Just takes time, consistency, and love!
I hope I can go back to #SBScon next year! Until then, what blog conferences have y’all been to? What did you think of them?