This past weekend I attended Canada’s first and only conference series for design bloggers – BlogPodium.
Why? Well… everyone who knows me knows I have a personal passion for design. I also live and breathe digital in my professional life, like everyone else at High Road. So BlogPodium seemed like the perfect mix of the two: a new online community using blogging and digital to share, learn and celebrate creative design.
Designing a perfect event
Truly fitting for the design community, the secret to this event’s success was all in the details. From the flowers to the branded swag, every element was not only beautiful, but functional. Even the programs were useful, arming each attendee with a rolodex of contact info for the top design bloggers across Canada.
The business of blogging
The theme for the day was the “business of blogging” – exploring the paid post debate, blog monetization, how to connect with advertisers and working with brands.
Here is a quick rundown of the key takeaways:
- Blogging as a career ain’t easy: For Little House Blog’s Lindsay Stephenson and Bijou and Boheme’ Christine Dovey, they say that the life of a Canadian design blogger does not include an automatic six-figure salary – at least not if that’s the only thing you’re doing. Instead, Christine sees her blogging income as fun money. That said, blogging does open doors to new opportunities.
- Advertise your blog in a variety of ways: Making it Lovely’s Nicole Balch, of Chicago, shared how monetizing her blog has evolved. She started using Google Ads as her default, but as her audience has grown she has explored more advanced marketing opportunities, such as advertising networks. From Glam Media to Martha’s Circle to Federated Media, Nicole was a great resource for the audience to get started. Nicole’s big message was that sure, there are times when groups will approach the blog, but don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Be proactive in profiling your brand both online and offline – your community won’t grow on its own.
- Bloggers can work with brands to form meaningful partnerships: Design brands and agencies at the event gave a snapshot of the challenges they face in balancing blogger needs with client needs. Cheryl Kozoriz of Gluckstein Home (one of my design faves!) and Tribal DDB’s Laura Muirhead shared a few of their trade secrets: First and foremost, build up your Twitter and Facebook presence – that’s where agencies are searching and don’t be afraid to share the fact you are Canadian.
- Make your blog beautiful: You can imagine how important this would be for a design blog. For Nicole, designing her blog speaks to one of her other passions – coding – but she acknowledged that not all bloggers have this skill. So, if you are prepared to make the investment, hire a web partner to help you and even check out low-cost photography resources. Because the fact is, if a blog talking about design is beautiful, it will make all the difference to the audience.
Why I want to do it all over again
This is just the tip of the iceberg. As I read over my notes, Tweets and browse the images from the event, I now have a wealth of takeaways that spans topics like event planning, Canadian design and blogging in general. Big congrats to the BlogPodium organizers: I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than learning about design and digital all together in one amazing event.
For more information on BlogPodium, visit http://blogpodium.com.