You guys ready for round deux of my Alt Summit recap? Hooray! Let's get to it.
Building Offline Events
Oh guys, this was one of my favorite sessions. Creating the opportunity to connect in real life is so important. It's becoming a movement, I tell ya. An IRL movement. I can tell you right now, artsocial will be going offline this year...
+ offline events create a unique opportunity to connect and collaborate with like-minded brands & those people who inspire you.
+ if you're thinking about doing an offline event, answer the following Qs: Why host an event? Who is it for? What will the event be? How will you do it? Your why + who will determine your what. It's important to know your mission, know your market, and to ask for help!
+ intentions evolve, don't rigidly hang on to your plan. Be ready to release certain things; go with where you're taken. Okay, that's just great LIFE advice. High five, Laura Mayes.
Advanced Blogging Skills
+ editorial calendar. Start one. Now. An editorial calendar will help you articulate your vision and develop more unique content. You won't be tempted (subconsciously or not) to mimic other blogs if you have a plan. This is your chance to really push your content further! Bottom line: editorial calendars help authenticity & consistency.
+ assemble an advisory board a.k.a. a dare to dream team. This was a completely foreign concept to me... and I LOVE it. Create a team of people who can help you achieve what you want to achieve. This team is meant to fill in where you don't do well. Sit down and really think about what areas of your biz you either don't like, don't do well, or don't know anything about. Find people who can help you do the things you can't...
+ do what you do best and hire out the rest.
Photo Styling Design Camp
+ planned chaos, folks. That's the good stuff. Don't just throw the confetti, make that shiz look good.
+ go prop shopping. Oh yeah, I can do that. Gather items for your photo shoot toolkit - basic props as well as fun accessories that match your brand's aesthetic. I immediately bought gold confetti when I got home... that just felt like something artsocial would buy at the craft store, don't ya think?
+ have different backgrounds on hand. Colored paper, gift wrap, faux wood grain paper, distressed wood from Craigslist - all great things to have on hand. Awesome tip: curve the gift wrap up in the background so there isn't a horizon line.
+ how to maintain a budget: set a budget before entering the store, use coupons, borrow props from brands or Etsy shops, and last but not least, there's also the option of buying a prop and returning it - in mint condition! - after using it. Hey, it's an option.
+ composing shots: use rule of thirds. If you're using an iphone, activate that grid, son! Align your "hero" or main object with one of the grid lines. It looks nicer than if the object was dead center... promise.
+ set up items so your eye moves around the image.
+ add the human element, i.e. take a (cute) bite of that cookie. Make it feel like people are there, like there's a party around the picture.
+ always use natural light. ALWAYS.
Life Lists Design Camp
It probably comes as no surprise that this was one of my favorite classes everrrr! I basically live for this stuff - for making big, brave declarations and goals... and actually doing them. I was so inspired by this class that it deserves a post all to itself. I'll definitely be talking about this one more as well as sharing what exactly is on my life list. I'm signing up for Go Mighty and creating my life list asap... et tu? Oh come on, let's do it together.
Media Kits Design Camp
As far as the real, technical, blogging nitty gritty - this was the best session.
+ The basics: a media kit is the basic tool to sell your business. It gives info on who you are, what you do, and how big you are.
+ What goes in it? Traffic: page views, unique visitors, time visitors spend on your site (over 3 minutes is better than average). Engagement and/or online reach: social media numbers, RSS subscription, etc. Information about your readership: who are they, where are they? Do a survey that asks tangible questions like age, income, education, etc. and intangible questions like what they like, what they dislike. Press mentions: start building a media resume! Keep track of those mentions, they mean a lot. Advertising rates: break it down - sizes, price, discounts; tell them exactly what they get down to every last tweet. Offer different levels (psst - they'll probably pick the middle or lower option. If you want x amount, offer two options higher than x. Be a business woman.) Testimonials: people give more weight to an outside perspective on your brand.
+ Set yourself apart. What makes you different? Sometimes telling people what you're NOT is the best way to go. For example, A Practical Wedding includes this quote in their media kit: "It's a wedding blog, but not, you know, a wedding blog that will make you want to vomit."
+ Show rather than tell. Make your media kit clear, easy to read, and visual. The media kit Bri Emery designed for Once Wed? Love. An example that came up during this session was DailyCandy - download a pdf of their media kit here.
Now don't think you have to put allll of this in your media kit. I'd say focus on your strengths & your unique perspective. Make it look pretty and you're golden.
PHEW! So that was alt. What do you think? Crazy awesome, huh? Are you gonna go next year??
Check out part one of my alt review here! AND check out these amazing ladies on today's Be Happy linkup!
First image by Justin Hackworth, others by artsocial.