The snow is piling up outside and I’m dreaming of the California sunshine and rainbow walls of The Saguaro Palm Springs last week at Alt Summit. I’m also missing the energy of the hundreds of inspiring women with impeccable closets. I attended Alt, a conference for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs for the first time three years ago and was thrilled to be back this year as a speaker (if you’re super interested in the mobile traffic trend and tips for mobile friendly site design, shoot me an email 😉 .
I have lots of new ideas for this online space and my goals for ElisabethMcknight.com but mostly it was just wonderful to connect with friends who spend the rest of the year on the other side of a computer screen. I attended sessions on pitching brands and creating successful collaborations. I listened to be people talk about how to harness the power of live video to change the world. And I chatted with friends poolside about how social media is changing the face of business. Here are my biggest seven takeaways (and some fun facts I picked up over the course of the week):
Everyone is a person
Whether it was discussions about reaching out with brands, forming relationships with pr contacts, networking with other creatives, or engaging with your audience, a big theme for me was that everyone is a person. It is easy to lose the human element when your relationships happen behind computer screens but it was a reminder for me that a personal touch goes a long way. Maybe it means remembering to ask about a brand rep’s recent trip or take the time to respond to the personal email from a reader. Whatever it is, even the professional can be personal in the world of influencer marketing and blogging.
This also really applied to the people at the conference. I can’t tell you how many times I asked someone what they did and it turns out they run a HUGE site or brand. And they’re still just a regular person at a conference willing to have a conversation with me (in fact, they were often super nice and very friendly people at a conference willing to have a conversation with me). One thing I loved about the conference is no one seemed to expect you to know who they were, everyone was approachable.
Video, Video, Video
Ben and I dipped our toes into video last year and even so I felt like we REALLY need to step up our game after Alt. Did you know facebook wants 90% of the news feed to be video by next year? I attended sessions on live video and viral videos and have SO many ideas of the types of videos I want to create this year! And if you have a suggestion for something you’d like to see, I’d LOVE to hear it. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email and let me know.
You can do better
In contrast to my first year at Alt Summit (three years ago), nothing was incredibly mind blowing. I felt like I knew a lot of the information being shared and was following a lot of the suggested best practices. BUT, I came away feeling like I really need to up my game in so many categories. I can be so much better at everything I’m already doing. Yes, there are things I’m not doing that I need to start, but a lot of the difference will come not in doing more things, but in doing the things I’m already doing better.
Get comfortable with awkward
We’ve all heard that magic only happens outside our comfort zone and I think this advice was originally given in regards to video (or maybe it was on being able to say your price out loud without feeling awkward?). Either way, it is important to push yourself to do something you’re a little uncomfortable doing. Figure out where the fear is coming from and if it’s simply fear of failing (as opposed to that healthy fear that keeps us from running up to angry tigers), do the thing anyway.
This word was first used in a discussion about only reaching out to brands that are a great fit for your site, brands that are in alignment. As Alt Summit went on though, the concept popped up in everything from defining success for yourself (instead of relying on someone else’s definition) to understanding what your audience is looking for. My takeaway is that I need to be clearer in what ElisabethMcknight.com is about, who it addresses, and what you can expect to find her.
I’m not as extroverted as I thought
Every personality test I’ve ever taken will tell you I’m an extrovert…and I am. But let me tell you, after a full day and a half of engaging with new people all. day. long, I relished the ten minute escape from my room just to sit on my bed and not talk to anyone (I remember thinking I should call Ben and then deciding I really just needed some time with me, myself and I). It was a good reminder that I need time to decompress (but also a good reminder that I LOVE being surrounded by strong, opinionated, passionate women who are chasing their dreams without apologies, often while also being present, dedicating, and loving moms).
Power of connection: phone call
Similar to #1, it would have been hard not to notice the number of different people who mentioned the power of the phone. It has me committing to getting on the phone more, whether to answer an email from a struggling mom or to pitch a brand an idea for a collaboration.
Other interesting things:
- Did you know the average consumer needs 7 touch points with a brand to purchase?
- “Go to lunch with your girlfriend.” I loved this quote from Corinne of Mint Arrow on how to write a sponsored posts. I work extra hard to make sure my paid content fits seamlessly into my organic content here on ElisabethMcknight.com but I loved this tip for when I sit down to write a post.
- Cross-posting video on facebook is a thing.
- Facebook videos should be less than 2 minutes, and you have the first 5-10 seconds to convince someone they should keep watching.
- Most people watch video without sound on facebook, so have subtitles or don’t rely on verbal cues.
- Editorial calendars are great things to include in media kits (I’ve read a lot about media kits and this was brand new to me but I’m looking into how I could implement it).
And a few more pictures because everything was just. so. darling:
^morning yoga with Vitamix
^how fun is this colorful hotel?
^so many photo spots (and SO many people taking photos all the time)
^see what I mean? I wanted to transport this whole setup from Sherwin-Williams to my back patio
^the aftermath of the opening night with giant balloons in the pool (the perks of taking over the whole hotel is they could stay up for most of the conference)
^the cutest photobooks from Mixbook
Pin these for later: