Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Boston Blogger’s ‘Home for the Holidays’ event at Boston’s Copley Place. Sponsored by (and located at) Wayfair, the day was chock-filled with informative sessions, fun DIY classes, and impressive speakers from the food, blogger, and home styling sectors.
It was a super fun day and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many talented bloggers and entrepreneurs. Not to mention Wayfair truly outdid themselves with the decorations, warm hospitality, and the thoughtful gifts they let us take home at the end of the day. I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be to work there – what a cool and creative group of people!
The event kicked off with an informative Q&A led by Dwell Studio’s Christiane Lemieux and featured Dooce.com’s Heather Armstrong.
Heather made quite a few poignant and informative comments about how Dooce.com became a wildly popular (and sometimes controversial) mommy blog, but what resonated most with me (especially in how I run my business), was the importance of authenticity.
Since most of her blog’s income comes from sponsored content, Heather said she is constantly challenged by ensuring what she writes is authentic, is written in her voice, and is relevant to her audience. I can especially relate to this in determining what types of projects I take.
While making money is critical in allowing me to pay my (rising) heating bill and afford my daily Starbucks fix, I won’t accept projects or assignments that don’t align with my business (or personal) goals or that affect my authenticity. I agree with Heather that you may lose sponsors or clients, but you won’t lose your piece of mind or the ability to look yourself in the mirror every day.
The other piece of information, which has already been confirmed by many of my industry peers, is that while content is still king, that content is slowly transitioning into images and video. Thanks to social media and disruptive channels like YouTube, the world now wants information condensed into 140-characters or less. People want information in snippets, but more importantly, they want that information in images and videos. They want to SEE how chicken tacos are made – they don’t want to read about it.
As a content marketer, I am constantly challenged by the need to condense important details into consumable bites that people will still understand. However, I’m a technology geek and I love how many new tools and social media channels we can now leverage to get those messages across. It’s definitely an exciting time in the world of content marketing.
Next up, we learned how to create a stunning holiday dinner table from the talented Abby Larson @ Style Me Pretty. I had never seen her blog before (probably because I’ve never been married or am planning on getting married), so I was also impressed by her knowledge and marketing prowess.
Later that morning, we heard from Jessica Sevenson and her colleague from Wayfair about SEO strategies. I loved this session and learned so much about how to quickly and effectively improve your blog’s SEO. The biggest takeaways from that session included:
- Make sure blogs are topical and position you as an authority;
- Always use meta descriptions;
- SEO title doesn’t have to be the post title;
- Use your target keywords;
- Use step-by-step pictures/video;
- Makes blogs short and personal;
- Use lists, how to’s, compare/contrast articles;
- Amplify content – send to people who have a ton of followers;
- Always add text or titles;
- Always link back to your page or link to previous posts.
While DIY ability doesn’t course through my veins, I enjoyed the arts & crafts sessions where we got to make our own gift tags and holiday banners. Even though I’m never going to become the next Martha Stewart, it was fun to tap into my creative side and make some funky looking crafty things.
The best part of the day was when we got to hear from award-winning Boston chef Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34), and eat scrumptious oysters. He just came out with a new cookbook which I of course had to buy. The recipes are amazing and relatively easy for even someone like me.
The day ended with a sampling of wine from Andegavia Vineyards and some wrap-up convos with fellow bloggers and the Wayfair and Boston Blogger teams. Overall, this was a super fun and informative event, and one I look forward to attending next year. Great job Boston Bloggers!