Tip #1: Affiliate Links via Little Miss Momma
The best piece of advice I took away from Ashely regarding Affiliate links was to be sure you choose affiliate links that line up with the feel and voice of your blog. This is really important to me. When I first started blogging, I felt like I had to say yes to everything. Yes I'll sign up and review this product my readers will never use, yes I'll talk about this service that has nothing to do with me... When the products that you are aligning yourself with have nothing to do with you, it can make your readers not trust you. There are tons of affiliates that you can sign up for, like Lisa Leonard has one, but if you rarely wear jewelry, will you really make the most out of this relationship? Affiliates are supposed to be your partners, so working with the right one should be a win/win for both of you.
Tip #2: Collaborate and Contribute to your community via Diary of an Addict
Alissa is a master at collaborating with the blogging community. In addition to writing a fabulous blog, she knows her stuff when it comes to networking and building a community. Alissa says guest posting and inviting collaborators to your blog will not only help you build lasting relationships, but will also be great exposure for you and your blog. I totally get this. I try to offer up guest posts as often as I can. Especially on blogs I've been newly introduced to. Meet a new follower on Instagram? Answer their call for contributors or guest posters. Really like some one's handmade shop? Reach out to them and see if they would like to collaborate on a giveaway or guest post. Most of the blogging relationships that I have today are a product of guest posting and giveaway collaborations. The most important part of all of this is to make sure your collaborators are in line with your voice and vision. Just like when working with affiliate programs. I've been approached before by someone wanting to guest post, like a company or a program, but when I really read what they were about, I realized, they just weren't a good fit for this blog. Alisa's best advice: have a process in place for contributors (a schedule of posts, back up plans, types of posts), and don't make contributors a "forever" thing. Your readers want to hear you at the end of the day. Make sure your blog is still you, with just a little extra (contributors) for fun.
Tip #3 Pick a Social Media via The 36th Avenue
I can't rave enough about Desiree. I love her. Not only is she an amazing woman, but this gal knows her blogging stuff. She talked about things that made my head spin and my heart burst. You can read that post here. In regards to bloggy business, the thing that stuck with me the most was her take on social media. Desiree said that we need to pick a Social Media and be amazing at it. For example if you have thousands of likes on Facebook, work and post on that page. Engage your readers there. If Twitter is your place, tweet your heart out. If you Pin like a bad ass, Pin it. Whatever it is that you do best, or where ever you spend the most time, do that one. For me, I'm an Instagram girl. I feel like I reach more of my readers and engage them more on Instagram. Sure I still send the occasional tweet, and I still post my links on my Facebook page, but for me Instagram is where I spend the majority of my time. So pick one social media and be present there, instead of trying to be present at all of them all the time. This is the kind of genius advice Desiree gives that leaves you thinking, "Why didn't I think of that?".
Chrissy and Stephanie were the house photographers at Elevate. They did an excellent job, to see their work click here. More importantly they taught me some really valuable things about taking pictures. If you have read this blog for awhile then you know, I take horrible pictures. I don't even have a fancy camera, I only use my iPhone. They taught me that to stage pictures, lighting is key. Even if it's just a selfie, the right light can change everything. They also taught me to use household items to stage pictures and make them look more professional. The biggest take away for me was to be ready for those moment with kids. Kids are so unpredictable, especially when you are trying to get a good shot. I have to agree with Chrissy and Stephanie when they suggest to let your little ones move and play, and just be ready to click. Some of my best photos have been the product of just clicking when the kids aren't even posed of looking at the camera.
Tip #5 On Finding Balance via Lisa Leonard
I wrote an entire post about Lisa Leonard and her Five "Be"s to building your community. Not only was Lisa so incredibly humble and full of grace, but she was also very candid about her life. She runs a business with her Husband. They work together, live together, parent together. She spoke about what that looks like and that sometimes, they have to leave work at work. Of course this is incredibly hard for her and her husband, they take pride in their product and their business. She also has a blog that she writes. So how does she find balance? In short, she admitted that she doesn't, and that she may never find it. Regardless of that, she says that she is always in pursuit of balance. I take comfort in that. I may not run a successful business, and my blog may not be the type that gets a million hits a day, but balance is something I'm always in search of. Lisa admitted that sometimes she has to leave her phone at home, she has to step away from the computer, she has to fully invest her self being physically and mentally present. It's a great takeaway from a great woman who is at her core, a really fabulous human.
As you've read, here and in prior posts, I've learned so much from Elevate. I'm hoping to take some of this advice and use it over the next year. The best thing about blogging is that we are always evolving and growing, as we are in life. Our blogs follow our journey into the next phases. Sometimes it's exciting and sometimes it's scary, but with an entire community behind you, like the women I've met through Elevate, it doesn't have to be.