Six Lessons I Learned at My First Blog Conference

I have been blogging for almost seven full years, but I only attended my first blog conference last weekend. WHAT? I don’t know what’s wrong with me, either.

Anyway.

I was pumped to attend the first-ever BlogJam Atlantic conference in Halifax, and — as I’ve told everyone who will listen — it completely exceeded my expectations.

I took very few notes because I was focused on taking it all in, but here are six (super important) lessons I learned. Fellow bloggers, take heed …

1. Give no f–ks …

Hilarious Newfoundland parenting blogger Vicki Murphy from Mother Fumbler gave the morning keynote, and it was epic. I’ve never heard a vagina described as a “wizard sleeve” or a “wookiee bush,” and when she called hers a “dropped pie” and shared a photo of an actual smashed pie, everyone was in hysterics.

Be yourself, use your own voice, and people will respect you for being real.

2. … except when you’re giving ALL of the f–ks. 

Another favourite part of the day was the Red Balloon gals, Colette and Laura, who talked about the importance of putting your heart into what you do. They told an awesome story about the power of following your inspiration and doing what feels right.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js I left the session feeling energized about pursuing projects I believe in, and maybe being a little more ambitious about setting goals.

3. Try something new.

Debbie Adams from PeopleCan Training & Development had a great session on creating videos. I’ve been too nervous to do my first Periscope although I do have an account, and I’m guilty of trying to make myself look as good as possible in my videos for various work projects. But Debbie said it’s just a matter of being real, practicing, and showing people your authentic self, so video is a skill I’m determined to work on.

Try something new! Go for it! It’s the only way to get better.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Mike Tanner from Chewy and Vader gave Vicki Murphy tough competition for the funniest talk of the day. I loved hearing about his life as a work-at-home parent (*raises fist in solidarity*) but more importantly I enjoyed his message about how it’s OK to fail.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js He says he regularly starts businesses and sometimes they don’t work out, but “owning your failures allows you to show your ability to overcome obstacles and make the best of bad situations.” So much of what I do professionally is “This is what I did/made and it was awesome, and you should do it too,” but Mike reminded me that nobody wants to read about people who do everything perfectly. 

5. Reach out.

Sometimes bloggers put their head down and don’t realize the scope of their reach because it feels abstract — like, is anyone REALLY reading this right now, despite what Google Analytics is telling me? That’s why it was SO inspiring to hear Virgina Fynes from Fynes Designs talk about pitching companies and securing sponsored posts and brand ambassador positions. Her blog is incredible, from the photography to the projects themselves, and I couldn’t take notes fast enough because everything she said was so helpful.

Inspired by her tips on pitching, I actually reached out to two brands yesterday and heard back from one within 15 minutes saying they were interested! So now I’m going to make it a priority to reach out more often and see where it leads.

6. Connect with your bloggy neighbours.

Most of my “blog friends” are in the U.S., so it was wonderful to connect with IRL blog friends and talk about content and strategies. 

I never get to hang out with my friend Heidi Tattrie Rushton from Halifax parenting blog Itsy Bitsy Haligonians, so it was so fun to spend the time between sessions talking about our blogs and how we can work to promote each other. We have grand plans in the works, as you’ll see! 🙂

***

So that’s a wrap for me, but you can bet I’ll be attending the next BlogJam conference. If you’re a blogger, I highly recommend finding a conference close to home (or far away, if your kids are being really annoying and you’d like a bit of a break). 

You will leave with a newfound spark for your ol’ bloggy blog. 
xo

So what do you think?

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