Tomorrow I will be sharing my full Alt Summit experience but today I wanted to share an epiphany I had that will change the way I blog forever. It was like a 3 step “A-ha” moment that came full circle during the conference. Going in to Alt Summit I was super excited but also really apprehensive about approaching brands. I had no idea what I brought to the table, why they would want to work with me and no ideas of which brands were the right fit for me. I don’t mean any of this in a woe-is-me type of way. I’ve been blogging for about 6 years so how can it be that I don’t know who I am or why my readers read what I write? But it did come to me and my direction is finally clear. Kind of smack on the forehead, how did I not think of this years ago clear. But what may start out one way sometimes has to take a journey to find out where it was meant to be. I will be working toward a redesign and a bigger game plan (not quite world domination but pretty close, wink). I will start creating the new content now, though, because who knows how long I will need to save up for a new site. I’m super excited about it and I can’t wait to share it with you.
I know many of you have also been blogging for a long time and may not be where you thought you would be. Don’t fret! I want to share my experience with you to encourage you to continue on your journey. Your blog is YOU so make it what you love. And what you love may change over time. Your readers like YOU so let the blog follow where your life takes it. Here is how Stella (my blog) got her groove back:
First: Becoming You with The Wardrobe Code. I mentioned this in an Alt prep post, but I recently got the chance to participate in this 4 week online class where you learn what your personal style profile is. To say that it is life changing does not even come close. I’ll have a full post on this next week but what I learned about my style in clothing really translated to every area of my life. I came to understand that while I had never felt like the look of my blog reflected me, I couldn’t have told you why or articulated how I thought it should look. Now I have the tools to define and share what my personal style is. Similarly, my house does not reflect the lifestyle of my family. But now I have a vision of what I want it to look like. Not only has my style improved (I don’t think I have ever felt more confident in what I put on) but I have clarity in my online look as well. HUGE! This presented itself during a round table discussion on PR on the second day of Alt. I’m not even sure what I heard that made me make the connection but I instantly knew I now had the tools to create a site that looks like me (not my face, you know what I mean. Duh).
Then: The night before I left for Alt, I had a dream with special guest star, Bri of Design Love Fest (image above by Kimberly Genevieve). I do not know Bri. Never met her. So I’m not sure where the dream came from but obviously I was in a state of unrest about my blogging “brand.” In my dream there was a large group of bloggers. For some reason we were supposed to be grouped in some way. Dreamland Bri didn’t want to be in any of the groups because the bloggers weren’t being “real.” In her dream opinion, none of us were blogging to our full potential and she didn’t want to be grouped with people who didn’t have their acts together in a visually pleasing way. You might be reading this like, um okay dream Bri, cut them some slack but in the dream she wasn’t rude, she was matter of fact. And when I woke up I had this sense of needing to discover what I was all about in blogging world. So I struggled with this during my travel to and through the beginning of Alt. But during a session on the second day, after thinking about why people come to my blog, I got it. Bri would be SO proud! (Again, I am certain real life Bri is lovely and I don’t want you to get the wrong impression from dreamland Bri – I don’t know her but I do credit dreamland Bri with guiding me to the answers I had been looking for – and for real, you need to check out her advice section on her blog, tons of great info and I feel like she did a post on being yourself but I couldn’t find it.)
Finally we get to Alt. 600 people there to learn, mingle, do business and just have fun. It was exhausting. It was useful. It was worth the money. And it was the final piece that helped me figure out the future of the blog. There was so much inspiration and so many great panels. There were late night talks with the world’s best roommates and interacting with brands in lounges. Being that close to the brands without knowing what you should pitch to them was almost paralyzing at times. I didn’t want to chat with someone and be super to generic and then want to work with them in the future and them to have the wrong impression of me and what I do. Yeah. I over think everything. But I also only want to work with brands that fit my new, tighter focus. And Alt made it perfectly clear that it is up to me to make things happen.
What is that focus you say? Well, I don’t know how to word it yet. I will be setting up brainstorming sessions with peers (free and a great resource – don’t forget to do this when you are struggling with something). I will be gathering inspiration for my site redesign. I will be searching for affordable web designers, because let’s face it, I don’t make THAT much money from blogging and my family still has to eat. And I will be publishing the content that I think you want to see. If you see something new that you like, please let me know! One thing that Alt did, for sure, what make me feel even more part of a community. And we gain strength by that support. Do you feel like you know your blogging brand or are you feeling up in the air? I’d love to hear your experience!
Dudes, I’m pumped.