15 Days of life on the road

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I had this all planned out, four days in Atlanta for Type-A Parent conference, a week and a half in my home town of the Hoosiers, Indianapolis, hosting a dinner with the Indy Social Media Moms and then heading to the Influence Conference, one day in Columbus driving 7 hours and hosting a 3-hour dinner with Girl About Columbus, and 24 hours in Chicago for a hosted dinner with Windy City Blogger collective—easy peasy, right?!

 

Now that I’m back (just in time to spend two days at the Blended Conference where I was speaking Friday in a panel discussion about what brands are looking for, and then manning a booth all day Saturday), I’m seeing I may have bit off more than I could chew. Falling behind on emails, communication, follow up—my awesome job! Not to mention my niece said my name for the first time while I was gone, and my dog, Michael, looks like he’s having a great life without me.

 

The upside is I made it, I learned a lot and met some real incredible men and women in the last 15 days! I also learned I can still survive on a 3-hour time change, insomnia, and working weekends and nights. This was mostly thanks to a heck of a lot of vitamins and my mom making sure I got breakfast, lunch and dinner while I was there (and helping me hand write almost 100 cards for the bloggers that attended our dinners!).

 

Type-A is hands down a great conference, and not for just the new bloggers or the large celebrity bloggers. I can guarantee if you go next time, you will learn something new, you’ll want to do a rebranding of your blog afterwards, you’ll make new friends, you’ll get a new spike of creativity and you’ll laugh a ton with new and old pals. It was so enjoyable and interesting, we’ll soon be publishing a blog post about recapping all the cool new tricks I learned from Type-A. So stay tuned for that!

 

Now that the 15 days of travel is over. There are definitely some special people that deserve a little shout out. Big thank you to all the blogger groups and founders/contacts for making the 15 days of travel worth it!

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Indy Social Media Moms #FYIindy

First, I have to thank Christine Berry from Indy Social Media Moms! You have a great group of warm, welcoming and hard-working moms. I am so excited to get to know all of them and hopefully do coffee with them next time I’m in my home town. Plus, being in my own stomping ground was a great way to kick off our FYI MeetUps.

Weber Grill went above and beyond making this a wonderful evening with great selection of food for us to eat. I ate salmon which is my favorite, and the cheese cake was to die for! Shout out to Nick and Paul from Gigi’s for providing delicious full-size cupcakes for us to take home at the end of the night. It was a great way to show appreciation for the Indy blogging community.

 

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Thanks Gigi’s Indy for these delicious full size cupcakes!

 

Now let’s head to Columbus. Amanda from Girl About Columbus has some awesome fashion lifestyle beauty bloggers and some real talented women in her group! We all met at Denmark on High and it was fantastic. (thanks to the manager, James, for making the experience extra fantastic). Many of the bloggers said it was a new gem to check out. The food was great and there was a superb mixologist drink selection.

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FYI’s Ally with Kathy and Sophia from kasuallife.com #FYIColumbus

Last but not least—oh Chicago! I have to say I learned I am not a big city girl, but there are definitely some very talented men and women located in the Windy City. Thank you Kit for helping us bring an engaged group of people together from the Windy City blogger collective. Tereasa at Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique provided some yummy little chocolate cupcakes to share, which were instantly eaten up and definitely enjoyed. We had delicious (and low calorie) beverages created by Leah from Social Enjoyments, amazing pizza at Ranalli’s, and the night was really topped off with a $100 gift card to raffle off provided by Ryan at Lettuce Entertain You.

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Ryan from Lettuce Eats catching some laughs with Windy City bloggers

Between the Indy and Columbus meetup, I attended a cool conference called the Influence Conference. It was a great place to build camaraderie with other bloggers as well as help bloggers understand their place and value in digital media. Charitable organizations like the Mocha Lounge, who assist aids victims with money donated to their foundation and have equated assisting these people with as little as it costs to buy a coffee a day, made this event really special. They had both life and work session tracks where you heard great messages about being a better parent, spouse and human in general and the other track for learning how to improve and find value in your work and professional life.

 

Last on my little adventure was the Blended Conference. Created by Wendy O’Neal from Around my Family Table to bring an intimate setting and gathering where foodie blogs unite! You could participate in workshops such as frosting a cupcake 101, learn a new craft or get a nice little hand massage. You also learn how to optimize your blog and meet a great selection of national brands looking to work with you. We participated in a panel conversation on what brands are looking for and how to optimize your blog. It was a blast taking selfies with everyone on Saturday and raffling off our gift cards!

 

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FYI’s Cristine and Lyndsey getting Blended!

Ultimately, I had a great time, learned a lot, and met the coolest group of men and women at all my stops and adventures!

 

I made it! But don’t think I’ll be traveling for 15 days straight for a while. Back to Phoenix and back to Find Your Influence.

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5 Simple Blogging Tips

5 Simple Blogging Tips:

Spell Check

Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be the winner of your 8th grade spelling bee, or have a degree in etymology, but you should be using a tool that spell checks. You also should be re-reading your posts. If you want to work with an advertiser make sure your posts are clean, spell checked, and the appearance is what you were expecting.

Links

You should check your own links, as well as have someone else check your links. If your social links go to a dead or private page, it’s doesn’t look good to a business who was hoping to work with you. Numbers aren’t everything, but in the corporate world, they matter.

Social Links

You don’t have to be friends with everyone, nor do you have to invite the world into your private life! That is why you should have both a personal social account, and a public blog account. If you’re posting for an advertiser and they can’t click and see the post they’re paying you for, that is a problem. Also, it’s nice to see how active your blog account is. Lastly, definitely don’t add a social icon to your site to just add it. Make an account, and make sure the link work on your blog.

Variety

You’re thinking variety!? I’m a mom, a wife, a blogger, a full time employee, a lover, a friend, a daughter, a sister…the list goes on, and there is no doubt that our Bloggers are busy women, and we won’t forget all you blogging Men and Dads out there! But, if you don’t have time to post new content at least once a week to get your readers engaged, you also aren’t going to get an advertiser engaged to pay you for a post. 2014 is showing a shift in how we search and review online, that shift is showing that more and more consumers are looking to you, the blogger, for advice. Advertisers notice that, and want to compensate you for the hard work you’re doing. But, they’re looking for someone who can be honest, as well as build out their own unique content. They’re looking to reach the audience you’ve already captured, so the more you can tap into your creative side the better. If you have writers block, that’s why finding a blogging community and following other blogs are so important. Which brings me to my last, but not least tip.

Community

I’ve already stated that numbers aren’t everything, but if you’re looking to grow your Mom Blog into it’s own brand and that’s profitable, you’ll need numbers. Not just high numbers, but real people interacting with you and the content you’re building.  Advertisers and brands are looking for a “new set of eyes,” per say, and you are what they’ve been searching for. Be you, honest, and unique and you’ll get the interaction you are hoping for. Joining a blogger network or community will provide you with support when you’re experiencing writers block, can’t figure out that techie thing, why your HTML code just won’t do what you expected, and just a way to vent your ideas, and make friends. Bloggers support each other, and when you find a mentor in your group they’ll help you grow from that baby blog to a Power blog.

So Lets recap:

Spell Check Every Post

Don’t be Private, Be Social!

Get yourself a public blog account

Put in the time, be unique, and tap into your creative side

Find a Community for support

This is just a small list, and we at Find Your Influence would love to hear your thoughts! Share a link with some of your blogging tips, or give us your feedback. What is your #1 Blogging tip to growing your blogger reach?

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