This past weekend (September 9th-10th) I had the opportunity to attend my first ever blogging conference from the Midwest-based organization, Go Blog Social! Go Blog Social is an educational and inspirational bloggers conference created for like-minded bloggers, entrepreneurs, and creatives. I was lucky enough to find the time and money to attend their last conference stop of 2016 (which took place at the stunning 4-star Hotel Renovo located in the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa).
Although I just created my blog in July, I was super eager to see what Go Blog Social had in store for me. Across social media, Go Blog Social promised an educational and intimate retreat-style conference. And boy, did they deliver! GBS provided a luxurious and comfortable two-day experience for attendees.
And Saturday, September 10th was packed with networking, and informative and motivating presentations by successful and inspirational speakers.
Whether you own or aspire to own a blog or a business, conferences such as these are very educational and inspirational! With that being said, here are 8 things I learned about becoming a successful blogger from attending Go Blog Social’s Des Moines conference.
1.Confidence is key!
Throughout the presentations at Go Blog Social, I heard many variations of advice and success stories. And while every success story was different, they all shared the importance of confidence. A story cannot evolve into a success story without the author possessing a strong level of confidence. Without confidence, an artist’s creative endeavors will never live to see the light of day. That’s why it’s important to learn how to step out of the doubts in our minds and turn or insecurities into certainties.
2.Know your elevator pitch.
During her presentation, Bevin Mugford (Head of Field Development for Peach bras) offered quite a few tips on developing confidence within your career. One of the most crucial tips was to know your elevator pitch. Whether you’re pitching an idea to a brand for a sponsored post or wanting to team up with an influential blogger, without a good elevator pitch, you will be left stumbling over your words. It’s important to make a good impression and knowing your elevator pitch will help you do just that!
What exactly is an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a short persuasive summary of who you are and the significance of what you are doing. Personally, the “what” of my elevator pitch needs some work. But, I know once I’m able to fluidly answer these questions for myself, I will attract more interest in my work as a freelance writer and blogger.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
My motivation and energy were rejuvenated by spending time with and getting to know some of the lovely women who attended the conference. There’s a lot of power in the company you keep! By choosing to spend time with positive and creative people, we become more positive and creative ourselves. This isn’t to say that you should ditch your old crew(you should only do that if they drain you)! It’s just essential to recognize the value in branching out and networking with those who have similar ambitions.
4.Productivity is better than perfection.
I, like many creative people struggle with the perfectionist mindset. I want my articles and blog posts to be flawless. And while aiming for the best can be a good thing, striving for perfection is an unrealistic and destructive fantasy.
After Karla Walsh’s (Digital Lead at Better Homes & Garden) speech, I decided to speak up and ask her a question. The question I asked was, “How can I break away from the perfectionist mindset and become a more productive blogger?” Her response was:
What’s the worst that can happen?! Know that it’s better to put something out there than to be stuck. There’s always progress that can be made, but you can’t make progress without trying. You have to start from somewhere. And, the beauty about social media is that if it doesn’t look great, you can always go back and delete it!
Karla Walsh’s response to my question was a true aha moment for me! I do think that altering my mindset to think this way can make me a more carefree and productive blogger. Therefore, the next time my anxiety tries to creep in and overrule my productivity, I will shut it down by realizing that the worst that can happen probably isn’t so bad, but the best that could happen could be incredible.
5.Continuously listen to your readers.
As bloggers, writers, and social media influencers, it’s vital that we don’t just post what we feel will go over well. We must pay attention to the type of content that draws in the best feedback. Our readers will tell us what they want to see/hear from us. Like Karla Walsh said in her speech: “Take risks, but stay true to you! Social media is a great place to push the boundaries, within reason, but be careful not to alienate or offend your fans.”
6. Stop comparing yourself to others!
Sara Sabalia of Sabby Style ended her presentation with this powerful quote. And, I couldn’t agree with it more! Comparing ourselves to others does nothing but throw us off track and bruise our ego.
Cassandra Monroe (a Freelance Photographer and Food writer/blogger for The EveryGirl) echoed this sentiment in her presentation by saying: “Don’t compare yourself to others, you have your own story to tell! If you’re going to compare anything, compare your progress of where you were before to where you are now.”
So, instead of wasting your time and energy on tracking the progress of an influential blogger, find joy in tracking and making your own progress!
7.No isn’t always a no!
In Bevin Mugford’s (Head of Field Development for Peach bras) speech on Pursuing Your Passion in a Creative Industry, she discussed the inevitable experience of rejection. She said:
In this lifetime, you’ll have more closed doors than open. But, you can’t let that “no” throw you off. Don’t let that voice be heard! Let that no turn into creativity. No is not a no, 90% of the time it’s translated to ask me later or ask me in a different way.
So, although many of us will have to face the ugly head of rejection more times than we would like, it’s imperative to know how to deal with that rejection. If a no truly is a no, move on and find another promising path. But, if a no has the potential to be a yes, get creative in achieving that yes!
8. Anything is possible!
One of my greatest takeaways from attending Go Blog Social is that anything is possible!
Sara Sabalia of Sabby Style started posting pics of her outfits on Instagram as a hobby and she’s now a successful stylist and fashion blogger who has partnered with many popular brands such as Old Navy.
Katie Patterson of Happy Medium started her company in 2011 with a small team. Fast forward 5 years later where Happy Medium has been named the Best Workplace for Young Professionals and the Best Social Media Company for multiple years. It is also the fastest growing company in the state of Iowa by the Inc. 5000 list.
Cassandra Monroe, a freelance photographer, and blogger has had the opportunity to travel internationally twice (to Canada and Italy!) as a result of her successful blog and food photography.
From their passion for photography, Lauren & Austin Day have created fruitful careers in photography and editorial & lifestyle styling. They have even launched their own styling company, FERN.
Karla Walsh has created quite the name for herself in the world of journalism. She’s currently a Digital Lead at Better Homes and Garden but has performed many roles in her lifetime. As a native of Iowa, she’s proof that big talent can come from small places.
Bevin Mugford was a stay at home mom for 10 years until she became the Head of Field Development for peach. She has built a team of 150 stylists in only 18 months since peach’s launch.
After attending Go Blog Social, I have come to realize that blogging conferences are valuable for new, old, and blossoming bloggers and entrepreneurs. There is always something to learn regardless of what career stage you’re in! I learned a lot about photography, social media marketing, and building my confidence as a blogger. And while I was pleased with how much I learned, I was also pleasantly surprised with how much I already knew because it reassured me that I’m on the right path.
I must admit that as an introvert, I was a bit nervous about attending an event with the word “social” in it. But, after such a comfortable and eye-opening experience, I cannot be more grateful that I talked myself into going. And I can honestly say that Go Blog Social’s DSM Conference is just the first of many I plan to attend!