Images: XXIII Photo Studio
This past weekend I attended the 6th Annual The Blog Societies Conference (#TBSCon), a members-only blogger conference that was started by Jessica of My Style Vita and Cathy of Poor Little It Girl to help bloggers connect with each other and brand reps, attend workshops and hear from industry leaders and speakers. This year, the conference was held in Atlanta and it was my first time as an attendee (I had been to the 3 prior conferences as a vendor) so I was super excited to take part in the workshops and activities, hang out with my blogging pals and get a major dose of inspiration at the conference.
Keep reading for a peek into the conference, my top takeaways and if you’re a blogger, why you NEED to be attending blogger conferences.
The conference took place at The Hotel at Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. The hotel is modern, beautifully designed and is in the convenient Avalon development, which has shops, eateries and a movie theater. The room, which I shared with Kara of Politics of Pretty, was clean, good sized and very comfortable– I truly enjoyed my stay! I think my favorite part was the mini cups of sweet tea at check-in… I may have had one… or three!
The jam-packed blogger conference kicked off with a fun welcome party Thursday night, followed by a day of workshops, with a special keynote, panels and activity on the final day. For the next two days I filled my mind with so many new ideas, my notebook with to-do’s and my heart with memories of an awesome weekend with my blogging pals and new friends. If you’re a blogger and have considered attending a blogger conference, here’s few reasons why you should:
One of, if not THE best parts of attending conferences is hanging out with blogging pals… and making new friends! I had blast with Megan of Fashionista Momma, Chanel of Chanel Moving Forward and Lindsay or Middle of Somewhere. I met countless others whom I have been following and connecting with online IRL and they are all just as amazing in person as they are online.
Blogger friends are extra special– I love my friends, I do, but blog friends just get you. They get that you need several photo options to find ‘the one’, they can talk blog with you for hours on end, and they are a wonderful resource. We’re able to trade tips and insights with each other, along with providing support. Often times blogging can be really lonely… you’re basically doing everything on your own and it’s so rewarding being around your tribe and others who ‘get it’.
I love the TBSCon makes it easy to connect with others. From the welcome party to mixed assigned seating at lunch, there’s always someone new to talk to and connect with. Day two of the blogger conference began with a quick breakfast and then we were off in our workshops (more on those below). After a couple of workshops, we sat down to a yummy lunch at SouthCity Kitchen, hosted by Goody and Mudpie. How gorgeous is the Mudpie decor on the tables? Fun fact- Goody hair scrunchies were used as napkin holders! The food was very yummy and I loved learning more about the brands. We left the lunch with full bellies and some awesome swag from the brands.
The final lunch was hosted by Joules, a UK brand that had a fun afternoon tea setup for us. We were served pimento cheese cucumber sandwiches (SO good!), iced tea (I had the peach!) and other bites. I had never heard of the brand so I enjoyed learning more about Joules as well as chatting with the gals at my table. Seriously, are these rain boot centerpieces not the most adorable thing ever?!?
While I enjoy making new friends, when I attend blogger conferences, I want to be able to take some new learnings and valuable blog insights home with me. TBSCon offers several workshops for attendees in social media, accounting, creating contracts, photo tips, SEO/blog design, and more. All the information provided is to help attendees grow as bloggers and I for one came home with a major to-do list.
The accounting workshop was lead by CPA Amy Northard and provided some much needed info on organizing blog finances, and even provided a spreadsheet to help keep track of income and expenses. What’s awesome about Amy is that she focuses primarily on creative businesses, including blogs, so she really knows her stuff. I’ve been fairly good at tracking so it’s great to see that I’m on the right track. Amy also went over taxes and items that can/ cannot be used as write-offs. SO much helpful information!
I also took a travel blogging workshop led by Alicia of Alicia Tenise. I’ve been wanting to add more travel posts to A Good Hue and she gave some great information on how to pitch for travel content, If you head over to her blog, she’s sharing a few of these tips from her workshop!
I also took a SEO and blog design workshop taught by Lindsey Humes. She is actually the creator of the current theme I’m using and is incredibly intelligent when it comes to branding, creating a successful blog design that captures readers as well as SEO tactics to help drive more blog traffic.
I also took a photography workshop with Rachel Martino and Noelle Downing (both whom have AMAZING Instagram and blog content! ) They offered some really good tips on how to take better photos using an iPhone… they were SO helpful and worked! I learned how to best use the Live photo setting, the best editing apps to use and tips on using flash.We even paired up to practice the new tricks we learned, which was a lot of fun!
Have the opportunity to network with brand partners, sponsors and speakers is a major part of TBSCon, and pretty much most blogger conferences. Not only can you network with fellow bloggers, but you can meet brand reps in person, which is always preferred. If someone knows who you are personally, they are more likely to work with you. Trust me, I know this from experience with my day job in influencer relations. Scroll through to see more of the awesome brands at the conference:
The welcome party featured several conference sponsors– Dry Bar, Vera Bradley, La Croix, Goody, Kendra Scott, Dress Up, Yankee Candle and more.Not only were we able to meet and connect with the brand reps, we went home with A LOT of swag.
Tip: When attending conferences, be sure to bring business cards to hand out!
Not only did I head home with a suitcase crammed full of swag, I came home with some special memories as well. It’s definitely not all work and no play. I had such a great time with the gals (best dressed crew, or what?!) grabbing drinks, having dinner, fun activities and shopping/checking out the area. It’s always fun to travel with gal pals and so many unforgettable moments and adventures along the way.
If you’re not someone who typically travels, a blogger conference is a great way for you to get out and experience something and someplace new! I had never been to Atlanta and it was great to be around others who hadn’t either, along with those who were very familiar with the area and knew all the spots to go to.
I was also able to meet many of the bloggers I converse with online or follow on blogs or Instagram. It’s always great to be able to put a face to the ‘gram!
One of the highlights of the blogger conference was the keynote by Grace Atwood. I’ve been following her blog The Stripe for like, ever, pretty much since the beginning. She had so many insights to share, especially on creating a true community– it was hard to walk away and not feel inspired by her. I am also now a listener of her podcast– it is awesome, I definitely recommend!
After Grace, Lawyer Lookbook shared some insights on FTC guidelines and legalese that bloggers need to be aware of; she is such a wealth of helpful information! Finally, Jessica moderated a blogger panel with Noelle Downing, Rachel Martino, Alicia Chew and Cathy. It is always helpful to get viewpoints and tips from other bloggers killing the blogging game. I couldn’t write down tips fast enough!
Following our lovely tea party lunch, we got to make our own flower crowns! Birdie and Boe provided our entire group an array of gorgeous flowers and showed us how to make flower crowns… how fun is that? I’ve never made one and thought I did an okay job with mine. I definitely won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon to go into flower crown making but some of the ladies did an AMAZING job!
From the beautiful hotel to the quality of speakers and workshops and the new memories, TBSCon 2018 was a total success! I left feeling incredibly inspired, supported and with a mile long to-do list to take my blog to the next level. Which professional or blogger conference(s) have you attended? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
Read last year’s TBS Con blogger conference recap here.