As a fairly new blogger, the #Blogher17 conference was an event I did not want to miss for all of the valuable knowledge and networking opportunities that I knew it could deliver. Blogher17 was without a doubt a learning experience and a wonderful networking event. Here’s why these things are important to any blogger regardless of their experience.

For starters, the panels featured women who had been in the blogging and storytelling business for years. They imparted some of the most useful gems of information that I could have ever received in my career. No matter how long you’ve been blogging, sometimes there are things that you may know but don’t quite understand how vital they are to your business. I knew about branding way before I began to blog because of my work experience in public relations.

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But branding and “keeping with the brand” were concepts I let fall to the back of my mind without much thought. During a few of these expert panels “branding” came up as a topic. The question that they answered was what branding truly means. What does it mean to build your brand? How do you do that? And with their input I received new knowledge that made my blogs future clear. I would have never expected something that I’ve always known to be reintroduced to me as a new lesson.

The other important part of the conference is the networking possibilities. Not only meeting potential business partners in brands but other bloggers. Meeting and collaborating with other bloggers is important to expand your blog’s reach and for the support. There is something incredibly refreshing about speaking to someone about your blogger hangups and having them not only understand, but have advice to give you. Family and friends are sometimes not not as understanding about a journey like blogging because they are unfamiliar with the territory. Blogger friends are vital for the support, community, and knowledge that they bring to the table.

Here are a few of the gems I learned from the Blogher17 conference panels that are useful to all bloggers:

Aesthetics

Gabi Gregg (Gabifresh.com) spoke about people she has met interested in fashion and how they’re blogs were trash. That’s not a direct quote, I’m interpreting what she said. Just imagine it. You meet a successful blogger who has everything under her belt including: blogging, vlogging, modeling, and even a swimsuit line. If you’re into fashion blogging, meeting someone of Gabi’s caliber is an opportunity to get direction that will surely guarantee some success. But then when you show her your website, your pictures are poor, your website is crap, and there doesn’t seem to be much potential. It will make Gabi wonder how interested you are in really making this a career or a business. How much advice can she give you other then step your game up?

I know we all have to start somewhere, hell I started somewhere myself. But investing a few bucks into your blog before going full steam ahead is as important as wearing a suit during an interview. You have to look the part even before you have the part and it’s something that most don’t realize.

And it doesn’t matter if you don’t know a lick about web design. Here are a few resolutions for beginners that I suggest just to upgrade your blog’s aesthetic:

Need an impressive looking website?

Themeforest has wordpress themes that are impressive and exhude excellence. Just look at the previews for one of the themes so you can see how good your website could look.

Bluechic has some of the most gorgeous layouts for women

Don’t know how to set up your impressive website? Here’s how you can have someone set it up for you:

Some themeforest themes have installation offers.

Blue chic will set you up for $99.

Fiverr has tons of web designers willing to set up themes for a very low price

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Take SUPERB pics even if you’re using your phone. Don’t know how to edit them for maximum fabulosity? Here’s a list of resources that any beginner can use– i recommend Canva like I work for them.

Canva

Picmonkey

Lightroom APP is free

Apps:

VSCO

Visage Lab

Cymera

Moral of the story: save money from your day job and invest in one remodeling effort for your blog a week, biweekly, or monthly until you reach the look that will convince prospective business partners. For example: If I save $30 bucks this week I can buy this fashion theme from Themeforest and next month when I get paid, I will put $40 towards installment.

Confidence when pitching brands

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When you’re new to blogging and don’t have the numbers to convince a brand that you are worth their time, it’s easy to step back and not take the right chances. Confidence is necessary in the blogosphere regardless of your numbers. A number of panelist emphasized using your strengths as bargaining chips. You may not bring 100,000 visitors to your website a month, but you may have a strong community of 30 women that engage with you on the regular. Use what you have with confidence to encourage your partnerships.

I’ve negotiated with many brands since the birth of both my blogs. It didn’t matter that I was brand spanking new. In fact, my main strength was just that my blog was aligned with their product or service. Put your best foot forward and reach out to the brands you want to work with without fear. The worst they can do is say NO or nothing at all. I tend to forget that and not pitch at all. This will change going forward.

Developing a brand

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As I mentioned before, the importance of developing a brand is right up there. What does building a brand mean? If my space is for fashion, beauty, and luxury at Mustbefabulous.com, then I shouldn’t be reviewing Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new sandwich. I’m not going to lie. I would review that sandwich here and use NYC as my excuse. We New Yorkers have no shame LOL. But truly, pick a focus and then make sure everything aligns with it.

I buy my business cards from MOO.com because they’re feminine and they feel expensive. The cardstock is a little thicker than other brands. The one thing I’ve noticed in the past three years of using them, is that everyone rubs their thumb over the card a couple of times after I give it to them. I’ve had a few people at Blogher17 comment on how nice my card is. I hear it every time. Feminine, tough, and good quality business cards reflect my blog in an indirect way. This is an example of brand consistency. Find out how you can incorporate your theme into everything you do.

Finding your unique Space

This is the hardest thing to do and I hate the word for it: NICHE. Find your NICHE. Another one of Gabi Gregg’s gems of advice, is to find your own unique space in your sector. Example: You’re a fashion blogger. There are 100,000,000 other fashion bloggers in the world. How do you stand out? Well, maybe you love clogs from around the world and have a massive collection. Become an expert clog fashion blogger. A beauty enthusiast can easily find a focus that very few are centered on. Lipstick Maven. Brow specialist. Vegan only site. The possibilities are endless.

As for Gabi Gregg, she’s in fashion but is considered a plus size fashion blogger. Her drive is to show that beauty and fashion are revelant regardless of size. As for me, I’m a fashion and beauty loving New Yorker with the mouth of a sailor that just happens to play video games on another blog. I’d say that’s original enough.

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If you went to BLOGHER17 share your gems that enriched your blogging life in the comments! You can also reach out to me here to talk more Blogher – >

Email: mustbefabulousny[at] gmail [dot] com
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