9 Tips I Learned at Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago

First off, Bloggy Boot Camp {The Brand Edition} was completely awesome. It was WAY more intimate than I anticipated and had the most welcoming vibe of any conference I’ve ever been to. Every one was inclusive, even the organizers of the event. I was completely impressed with how many bloggers Tiffany Romero of The SITS Girls knew by name. It really brought to life for me the fact that The SITS Girls is a community to help each other. I love it.

There is a lot that I learned that I’m not going to try to put into this post but if you want to learn this kind of thing, seriously, invest in a conference! We learned about reading contracts (yeah from a lawyer, totally made my head hurt), how to work with PR professionals and brands, what brands are really looking for in a blogger, how to go from online to on TV, about self-publishing, and how to rock it on Google plus. Yeah, it was more than worth my registration fee.

Instead of getting mired in the details, I wanted to talk about the big picture takeaways.

  1. The Golden Rule.  Yup, do unto others as you would have them do unto you is alive and well in the digital world. Just like you don’t like form emails from brands that have nothing to do with you, you also shouldn’t send out form emails to 8 million PR professionals. Working with brands, is as much about relationships as anything, you have got to build them. It is better to work with less brands but build better relationships with them. Treat everyone like family that you actually like. Email pitches should be warm and personalized. And always respond politely, but always respond. You never know where it could lead you, maybe they are also repping a product that would actually be a good match.
  2. Build relationships. Build them before you need them. Support your fellow bloggers, retweet their sponsored posts, comment, pin their posts. Go a step further +1 it on Google +, put it on StumbleUpon. You aren’t going to do this alone, you will need a support system at some point. It is best to build it BEFORE you need it. You don’t want to be the person who only calls when they need something.
  3. Keep it positive. Throwing a fit on Facebook might get you lots of comments and maybe even lots of likes, but it does not mean that people actually like you. Brands are conservative, they want to play it safe and if you are ripping other brands apart on your blog or Facebook page, you look like a risk. If you have a problem with a brand, it’s best to handle it offline and with respect.
  4. Own your shit. I’m looking at you bloggers on blogger. You don’t own your content. Talk about scary, not to mention, your blog is going to be a pain for anyone who isn’t on blogger to comment on. It’s time to move to a self-hosted wordpress site. Take the plunge, you’ll love it. And seriously, you should own your content, not blogger. (Thanks for this one Tiffany!)
  5. Put the work in network. Go to conferences, head to the expo and instead of doing the grab and go, talk to the brands, find out what you could do for them. Build those relationships. (This factoid is courtesy of Gigi from Kludgy Mom.)
  6. Know your strengths, outsource your weaknesses. For instance, I am not going to bother learning code. I am going to find someone to do it for me.
  7. The digital space is BIG, blogging  can be a jumping off point for other opportunities, it doesn’t have to be where you make all of your money, think portfolio. Linked In, is your resume.
  8. Diversify. If you want to make a full-time living in this space, make sure you are getting income from multiple routes, maybe it’s a mixed bag of an e-book, sponsored posts and public appearances… make sure you have a mixture.
  9. Get on Google +, it’s not about being social, it’s about creating content and getting credit for that content through authorship. If you want to know more about it, see if you can find Lynette of purplestripe.com speak. She is the guru of  Google +.

So if you didn’t pick up on it, build relationships.

5 Responses to 9 Tips I Learned at Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago

  1. I didn’t get to go to BBC this year so I am SO glad you posted your notes. There are a few things I still need to do (own my content), so thanks for the encouragement!

    Over from SITS…and thanks for stopping by!

  2. I didn’t realize that those of us on Blogger don’t own our content. Does Blogger use it for something? Can they delete it at anytime? Someone warned me about losing content on Blogger and I started a separate file with all my posts on a backup file. Sounds like its time to take the plunge to WordPress. Thanks for the information!

  3. Man, I so wish I could have gone to this last BBC in Chicago. I really wanted to learn more about the brands. I appreciate the tips. I had not idea I did not own my own content. I have been wondering if moving was the right thing to do. But I guess it is. I am going to have to work on a plan.