advice for bloggers

Link Love // The Friday Files

Ending the week with a whole new outlook than where I started. After speaking last night on a panel hosted by She Says on personal branding and social media, I was really overwhelmed (in a good way) by the sheer drive and talent that appeared in that room. Over 100 women showed up ready to own their future, wanting to define their own personal brand and carve out a path of success. It was really motivating to see this, I felt surrounded by my tribe, felt empowered by the wisdom shared and it sparked a million ideas about my own path, where I can help others and what the next few months have in store.

While we have tons of great things lined up over the next few months, I'm finding that more and more ideas seem to be popping up and I'm working through a process of figuring which ones are worthy paths to follow. It's a creative roller coaster and while I'm very clear on where I want to go, there is something exciting about not always having every detail figured out.

With that note I'm throwing creative caution to the wind and heading up to Byron Bay this weekend for some family time and fresh air - and of course some future planning (and dreaming) thrown in for good measure. Hope your week's been an adventure - see you on Monday (but first link love to share...)

  • Need a boost in marketing confidence? This free 31 day challenge will help...
  • My latest kitchen obsession thanks to Gwyneth
  • How to make money blogging 101 
  • This work retreat would be my happy place
  • THE blogging list you need to know about
  • Facebook Groups are the new black
  • Jordan's new shop is pretty rad - have you seen it?
  • Finally, this one's for all the designers out there

How To Network Like A Rock Star

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By Kate Willbourn-Trevett

Networking, just saying the word used to make my skin crawl and turn me into one hot mess. Fast-forward 13 years and that initial hesitation and fear have dramatically subsided, it’s actually something I genuinely enjoy. Since working in one of the most sociable industries, media & advertising, I’ve learnt to overcome the nerves and most importantly, change my mindset to see networking in a positive light, an opportunity to be precise. I now prefer to use the word connecting, it sounds more soulful and humanistic, which it should as it’s all about meeting like-minded people right?

‘Connecting’ today is somewhat different, there is the traditional face-to-face kind and then there is on-line, whether it’s via social media, blogs or websites. Face to face contact accelerates building trust where as on-line breaks through any geographical boundary. Both are independently valuable, however if you have the opportunity to combine the two, it becomes extremely powerful. As building relationships are a fundamental to any successful business or blog, I’m thrilled to share with you my top tips on conquering the fear and How-To steps to connect in-person & online. 

Some shared thought starters

  • Be authentic & sincere
  • Have the best intentions. Your newly found relationship should be mutually beneficial
  • Do your research on whom you’d like to connect with and learn more about them
  • Look at people within your niche as well as neighbouring niches, blogs or businesses that may share a similar reader demographic or customer base
  • Treat everyone on the same playing field  - don’t be the fan or alternatively come across as superior
  • Let the relationship grow naturally as you build trust, mutual respect and understanding. 
  • Embrace the ‘spark’/bond if it happens or be prepared to move on if not, no relationship should be forced
  • Most importantly, have fun!

In-Person

  • Have confidence – It’s only natural to feel a bit nervous. Acknowledge the nerves, accept them (don’t beat yourself up) and move forward. 
  • Whether it’s listening to Whitney’s “I’m Every Woman”, wearing your favourite red lippy or in my case wearing HIGH heels, choose your ammo & walk into a room with full confidence and a smile.
  • Being prepared & doing your research will help ease the nerves too
  • Timely – pick your moment 
  • Introduce yourself as an equal (because you are!), not as a ‘fan’. This actually makes people feel quite uncomfortable. It’s totally okay to acknowledge their work, but follow through with your own thoughts & ideas on the subject. Think about what you may have in common & strike up a conversation!
  • Start by asking lots of questions – the conversation will then naturally open it self up and eventually lead to more involvement from you
  • Know your ‘Elevator pitch’ - I promise this is not as scary as it sounds. It’s being able to describe your blog or business within a couple of sentences, simply & succinctly. Practice on your loved ones. You’ve heard the Albert Einstein saying, “If you can’t explain it to your six year old, you don’t understand it yourself”
  • If all else fails, spot a fellow lone ranger and together meet new people
  • Exchange business cards or social media accounts and say you’d love to stay connected
  • Follow up post meeting

Online

  • Be proactive and leave thought provoking comments on blog posts and/or websites
  • Reply to all comments left on your blog – these people are already highly engaged in your work
  • Social Media – Follow & actively participate in conversations
  • Mention other bloggers/people in your social media 
  • Request to interview or ask if they’d like to contribute a post (with links back to their blog/business)
  • Email – keep it friendly, short & succinct. You can use your ‘Elevator pitch’ here too. Get straight to the point as early as you can, avoid waffling as most people will first skim over an email received from an unknown sender
  • Check spelling, tone & language and then check again. You can use tools like this too.

Over time I’ve come to realise that most people have felt the same trepidation and are genuinely over the moon when someone reaches out to say “Hi”.  So why you ask is connecting so important? Hopefully these benefits encourage you to get proactive & start reaching out yourself:

  • Establish a supportive network whom you can learn from, share ideas & knowledge
  • Build credibility & raise your profile amongst wider circle/niche 
  • Potential collaboration on future projects
  • Increased confidence
  • Increase your customer base/readership via comment backlinks & social media activity
  • Exposure to more opportunities
  • New friendships with like-minded people

Remember the goal is to make valuable mutually beneficial connections, not an infinity of meaningless ones.

You can find Kate blogging at Foodies Agenda and on Facebook or Instagram 

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Yana Puaca Of NoMad Luxuries // Behind The Blog Scene

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It never ceases to amaze me the learning lessons that can be found when you reach out and connect with strangers. A lot of the interviews I've been lucky enough to conduct this year are the result of my trip overseas to Alt Summit, where I connected with strangers that soon became friends, with contacts online that shared similar passions and whom at the end of the day share a love of blogging that knows no global boundaries.

That's why I'm so glad to have Yana from NoMad Luxuries on the blog today. Despite blogging from an entirely different continent, she and I share a love for flea markets, travel and chocolate with sea salt - it's the small things in life that matter right?  Beyond that she has worked with some of the top lifestyle sites in the US, but began her blog just like you and I - as a creative outlet. Enjoy her refreshing advice and don't forget to bookmark her blog when you're feeling in need of a wanderlust fix....

Describe your blog in 3 words…
Global, luxurious and sophisticated
What is your blogging manifesto?
NoMad Luxuries is a lifestyle blog for the woman who wants to create and live a beautiful and inspired life. Started in 2010, NoMad Luxuries has evolved into much more: a place where women can focus on the details that bring a global flavor to life. Beautifully-inspired interiors, trendy fashion and worldly-dishes add a stamp to your virtual passport. A source of inspiration for creating a well-styled life. 
Top 3 blogging essentials?
My Canon, my laptop and good tunes. Chocolate doesn’t hurt either. 
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was....
When you’re first starting out, everything seems to be a big deal since it’s a first. Up to this a point it’s been such an amazing experience collaborating with Home Depot, The Everygirl and joining as a contributor to the Style Me Pretty network. I’m looking forward to a lot more firsts!
Best piece of advice I've been given?
Be persistent. Eventually the universe will get the message and work with you to make things happen. Also, sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right station. So, don’t be afraid to take risks!
I'm dreaming about traveling to...
India. We’re hoping to make it happen this year- I’m so intrigued by the exotic and vibrant culture. 
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
Find your own voice and style. There are so many amazing blogs out there that it’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. You need to find a way to tune out the other voices and find your own niche. Once you do, readers and brands will notice.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
Curating and buying for my own boutique. Oh wait…
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
While there’s no typical day in the life of blogging, most days involve emails, brainstorming and planning, writing, shooting with my amazing photographer, Jennifer Coffey, and tons of food. I’m always eating. 
This year I'm most excited about...
Opening up my first storefront of vintage furniture and homewares. This has been a dream of mine for quite some time and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with the world.

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Photography by Jennifer Coffey Photo; bottom photo by NoMad Luxuries


Behind The Blog Scene // Brittany Watson Jepsen from The House That Lars Built

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I'm having a big old pinch me moment with this week's interview.  The House That Lars Built has been a long time favourite, a bright and shiny blogging escape that led the way for many future DIY bloggers. I love how Brittany's path has been unconventional but she had the guts to follow her heart and I think that's a big lesson for me this week (and a timely reminder for many of you too I hope). If you are unfamiliar with her blog - brace yourself - and take some time to sit back and be impressed. It's visual, playful and captures the essence of what blogging is all about - having fun and making magic.  Go on and be inspired to create some of your own magic this week...

Describe your blog in 3 words…
Beautiful (hopefully!), whimsical, restrained
What is your blogging manifesto?
An artful life.  I have it right under my title because The House that Lars Built doesn't necessarily say "Here you will learn how to make projects for your life that add beautiful eye candy to your life."
Top 3 blogging essentials?
Patience, creativity, calendar!
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was....
Making a living from my blog. Nearly every day I'm still stunned at how we have food on the table from doing this!
My dream collaboration would be?
Oh wow. A collaboration with Tim Walker might nearly make me die. I'd just be happy to be on set with him as a fly on the wall.
Right now I'm listening to...
A Fine Frenzy's Now is the start. That is the theme song for this summer! The song screams happiness!
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
Don't do it for what you think might be money. Do it because you want to add something valuable to the world.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
I have no idea. At an interior design firm? That's my background. Funny thing is, I tried so hard to get a 9-5 job and it just didn't work out. I was ready to play along, but I think someone had another plan for my life.
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
A mess. Seriously. My studio is a disaster.
In 2014 I'm most excited about...
Cleaning up my blog, getting a redesign, building my team, making magic!

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Behind The Blog Scene // Melanie Blodgett of You Are My Fave

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I love meeting a blogger who doesn't take her work too seriously. That uses her blog to express her creativity and spread a bit of cheer to those of us who are less DIY inclined. This is why I keep coming back again and again to Melanie Blodgett's blog, You Are My Fave.

Melanie is a busy lady with a baby on the way, her work can be seen across the top US blogs and mags and she writes from a place this genuine, fun and often filled with tales of ice cream and come on, who doesn't love that? The blogging world can sometimes get a bit too serious for my liking so it's blogs like this that remind to me push the pressure aside and get back to basics - after all if you're not having fun blogging why do it at all? Thanks to Melanie (who makes crafting look easy) for sitting down to chat with us and sharing some advice she's picked up along the way...

Describe your blog in 3 words…
Projects, parties, cheer.
What is your blogging manifesto?
Work hard, be nice. And remember, it's just blogging.
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was?
Being added to the blog roll on Oh Happy Day. Jordan's blog was the first I ever read.
My dream collaboration would be?
Ben and Jerrys, where I got free ice cream for life.
Right now I'm listening to...
Happy by Pharrell, it's so dang catchy
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
Just get started, even if you haven't perfected your ideas yet. You'll learn and improve as you go. If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
Spending less time/money at the the craft store.
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
A guest room bed piled with supplies.
In 2014 I'm most excited about...
A baby girl arriving in July. 

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