5 Goals: My First Blog Conference!
…we made it to Friday! Normally I’m on the couch about this time goofing off with Juliana and trying to figure out dinner with Ridge. Tonight though I’m Texas-bound to attend Thrive Creative in Austin. It’s funny how life works: one of my 2018 Goals was to attend a conference that would be productive and informative for blogging. As God would have it, my sweet friend Nelli (whom I met through Instagram and later at New York Fashion Week) asked if I wanted to do this conference with her. I checked out the agenda and saw the topics were super relevant, but the icing on the cake? One of my favorite bloggers, Dede from Dress Up Buttercup was speaking. I found Dede on Instagram last January after starting and reached out to her with a questions. She took the time to look at my blog and offered some really helpful suggestions I still use to today. Anyway, Dede is so sweet, kind, and incredibly talented so seeing her on the list sealed the deal for me!
sweater (closet staple- I wear 2-3 times a week!) // jeans (similar here and here) // necklace // espadrilles (flat version here) // bag- Prada Saffiano in medium (similar for less here) // lipstick- MAC ‘Breathing Fire’
As excited as I am, I found myself anxious this week. For one, it’s the first time I’m leaving Juliana for blog-related travel (NYFW was a blessing since Ridge and Juliana were able to come). I travel 1-2 days a week for work so I struggled with the time away from her. Second, attending Thrive is going completely outside my comfort zone- I’ll be meeting big bloggers and getting the opportunity to talk to brands…it’s new and I want to go about it right.
Whenever you invest time and money in something it’s important to know what you want to get OUT of it. Here are 5 things I hope to get from Thrive Creative this weekend.
- Level up my brand. I’ve come to realize in the last few months how crucial it is to develop a strong brand as a blogger. While I’ve done some work on branding (e.g., settling on specific visual elements for my brand) I have a long way to go towards developing a strong, unique, and easily identifiable brand for Fifteen Minutes to Flawless. Branding encompasses so much, but here are the main areas I want to come away with tools and next steps for:
- See me, know me (well, FMF). When you see my content- a photo, a video, one of my Pins- it’s immediately identifiable as mine to anyone that read my blog or follows me on social media.
- “Brand Architecture”– my logo, color palettes, fonts, etc. I want these to reflect my overall brand aesthetic as well as the “feel” and purpose of my blog.
- Visual imagery/photography style. There are so many different options when it comes to taking and editing photos. I’m still experimenting, but made the decision that I want my photos to look light, bright, but feel as “real life” as possible- heavy filters/heavy editing isn’t my personal aesthetic. The downside though is not being able to use a filter as a visual “tool” to enhance my brand so I have to rely on other ways to brand my content visuallly- whether through photography style/composition, backgrounds, etc.
- Everything goes back to delivering on my mission. Eventually I want to be a one-stop shop for a busy girl’s fashion and beauty needs. I know that’s a HUGE goal that encompasses a LOT! I think the angle I based my blog on is a strong one (ie. helping you gals look and feel your best in less time) but where I struggle is executing- making sure each post or video provides you something you can immediately and easily apply in your own life.
- Build relationships. One of the best parts of of New York Fashion Week for me was meeting other bloggers. It’s so different to meet someone in flesh and blood than Instagram and I’m so excited to meet and develop relationships with other bloggers this weekend.
- Increase my blog traffic. While I’ve had success growing my blog traffic each month (largely thanks to SEO, Instagram, and Pinterest) I hope to find ways to grow faster and more efficiently, particularly on Pinterest.top // jeans // lace up heels (on sale- these were so comfortable for walking Charleston) // earrings (on sale)
- Improve monetization. I didn’t start FMF to make money and it’s not what drives me but I’ve learned there are lots of costs to running a blog- technical costs such as web hosting and costs to try new clothes and beauty products to share my best finds with you. How I monetize though is very important to me- I don’t and won’t show you products unless it’s something I’ve bought or would buy. I’ve had big brands approach me for paid campaigns but had to turn several down because the products weren’t ones I love. Sometimes it’s not easy, but I truly believe it’ll pay off long term. My philosophy: if I can give you something you truly want to see that provides value to you, my readership will continue to grow. Since my primary monetization strategy is affiliate links rather than sponsored posts or website ads, monetization will grow along with my readership. That said, I want to to improve monetization while giving you additional value (for instance, if I share a pair of AG jeans, linking a similar pair for $65 might be helpful to you and at the same time gives me an additional monetization opportunity through a second link.)wrap skirt // espadrille wedges here and here (flat version here)
- Hone my Instagram strategy. I want to get better at providing you something unique if you’re following me on Instagram. Instagram has started to look very homogenous when it comes to fashion blogging- lots of the same outfits, places, captions. etc. I try to be creative with what I shop for and how I put it together, but feel to some extent I’m contributing. Additionally, I want to evaluate the time I’m putting into Instagram vs. my blog. I feel like it’s a bit lopsided now: I spend so much time on Instagram but the time I put into this blog gives me a much better ROI in terms of growth and even monetization. I want to come away from Thrive with a better idea of how much “blog time” I should use on Instagram vs. “long term growth activities”- more time researching and developing my content, better visuals, branding, etc.
Whew, that was WAY longer than I meant! Would you be interested in a recap after the conference (what I learned, whom I met, photos, etc.)? Also, don’t forget to follow along on my Instagram story this weekend for a peak behind the scenes. 🙂