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I recently returned from Dallas where I attended my first RewardStyle Conference. Talk about inspirational, stressful, fun, and informative all rolled up into one! If you follow a number of bloggers, I’m sure you’ve seen the hashtag #rStheCon shoved in your face all weekend long. But a number of people had questions about what really goes on at these things (I know I did!), so I thought I would take you through the conference and share my takeaways and outfits.
I’d followed other bloggers through this weekend in the past, but nothing can prepare you for the whirlwind it actually is – let’s just say I haven’t worn heels or makeup since coming home or don’t intend to any time soon. It’s three days straight of classes, brand meetings, networking, and parties designed to whip your blogger butt into being the best it can be. While there were so many lessons, big and small, I learned, I wanted to share the overarching themes of the weekend.
Blogs Are NOT Dying
On Day 2 of the conference, the RewardStyle team shared the year over year growth of the company and industry at large. While we so often hear that blogs are a dying breed thanks to social media, the cold hard facts show otherwise. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that 91% of brands request some form of blog post when collaborating with bloggers.
Additionally, our blogs and email lists are the only things we actually own. Because of this, it is where we should invest the majority of our time, as tempting as it is to throw up an image or two on Instagram. The RewardStyle team explained to us what happens when social media sites go public (i.e. offer stock in their company) – algorithms change, ads are introduced, and your organic following becomes that much harder to achieve. It’s pretty scary!
Social media is a double-edged sword. It’s possible to grow your following at a rapid pace using various tips and tricks but what is that following worth if that social site falls out of popularity? Just think about brands on MySpace, LinkedIn, or even career Pinners when Pinterest removed affiliate links. I get it, growing a dedicated readership is hard, but it is SO important.
So moving forward, I am going to make sure that the content on this site is more valuable to y’all than my social content is. I’m not going to skimp on social, I am just going to put much more into what you find here. That means more information about sizing, quality, function of the outfits I wear, more tutorials on blogging, makeup, hair, more free downloads, more personal content, etc. I hope y’all will enjoy it!
Stay the Course
This message permeated throughout the conference. Continue to DO YOU. Be the special snowflake you are and shine like the unique star you are! Dorky enough for you, yet?! But it is so dang true! Sure, it’s tempting to try to replicate another blogger’s perceived success, but that is unlikely to do a dang thing for your growth.
Think about what sets your style apart. For me, I try to focus on Southern, feminine, affordable pieces. My photos are bright, pastel, airy – basically Easter Sunday in a feed! Do dark, underexposed photos featuring head-to-toe luxury pieces perform well for other bloggers? Of course they do! But if I tried posting one of those photos, I would confuse my followers and turn them off.
Additionally, think about what sets your personality apart. Having a web designing background, I love to share blogging tips with y’all. I also don’t take myself too seriously and want that fun vibe to come across in my posts.
Sure, there are always little things to improve upon and room to grow. I learned I have quite a few little tweaks to make around here. But individuality is what will set your blog apart from another blog.
Who Runs the World? Girls.
I have never felt so empowered as a woman as this weekend at the RewardStyle Conference. Since women are typically the purchasers in a household, the majority of the top social influencers are women. Coming from the male-dominated sport of NASCAR, it was so refreshing to see women killing the game in influencer marketing.
If that wasn’t enough, the vast majority of the conference attendees are blogging full time. I mean, how amazing! It takes such a motivated self starter to build and maintain a blog and it was inspirational being surrounded by so many. And let’s not forget one of the key note speakers like Bumble CEO (that whole app is built on women empowerment) and Amber Venz Box, who was there in spirit, made Forbes prestigious 30 Under 30 list. Being around all of these kick-ass females made me want to get back home and do all the things!
Stop. Collaborate and Listen.
We all know there is no guidebook to blogging. We’re all throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. But there is nothing like sitting down and talking to other influencers, bouncing ideas off of one another, and working together to grow this industry. I personally didn’t know too many bloggers before attending the conference, so in addition to the classroom sessions and brand meetings, I was fired up to chat with my peers about what is working for them and how we can help one another grow.
In my own room alone, each of my roommates had something they specialized in. Aside from being bomb dot com bloggers, Kelssey was an amazing networker, Molly was a pro photographer, and Sara had such a knack for collaborating with local boutiques. Everyone was so open to sharing ideas, tips, and tricks they had learned along the way, which was so refreshing! Because a flower doesn’t compare itself to another flower, it just blooms 🙂
Ok, on to the fashion…
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