I made this special for my newsletter subscribers! They get it first as a thank you for following along with A Well Crafted Party! Do you want to get to the goodies first too? Then sign up today! You’ll receive a link for a free set of printable blog planner pages AND not-too-often newsletters with free printables EVERYTIME.
Are you signed up and didn’t see the email? Check spam folders and “promotion” filters. Please make sure you add my email address to your address book so you won’t miss another newsletter!
This handy little tool is to be used as a supplement to the Free Printable Blog Planner released earlier this year. This is a place for you to track all your pitches that you’ve sent to companies—whether they resulted in sponsorship or not! Click on an image below to download the printable that coordinates best with your chosen blog planner!
Margaret Jacobsen from Margaret Jacobsen Photography took part of the attendees outside on the streets of Portland for hands on practice and to share her tips on fashion photography. It was a great opportunity for bloggers wanting to learn more about photographing people and people with products. I learned a lot in such a short time and have seen my photography improve quite a bit. Here are some of the tips I found useful:
Let your model KNOW what you want from them. This is especially important if you are working with someone who isn’t used to be in front of the camera. The light glaring off of your subject in an unflattering way? Tell them (or show them) to move. Want to see a different pose or expression… tell them!
This tip was difficult for me…. for about ten seconds. I have no problem being bossy—especially after having been given permission! it made all the difference in how I take photos of other people though. I’m a lot more vocal so that I am able to make sure limbs are where I want them in my shot.
Now, Margaret made this sound much more eloquent and put together than my little subject line. But, in blogging, we are often taking photos of product whether it be sponsored items, review items, or DIY items that we created. Just taking product photos with a white background can get sort of boring. Use people in your shots to really feature the product in a flattering light. This is especially handy when featuring accessories like the awesome ones we borrowed from Favery.com.
Man, I’m bad at this one. I’m trying to be in front of the camera more… but, it isn’t easy for me unless I am taking 100 selfies and picking through them. Margaret suggested practicing being a model—whether it is in front of the camera or just a mirror. Put yourself in the same situation as your model may be in so that you can feel what they may be feeling, but also to figure out ways that you might have them pose!
Photography Tips: See more photos from the Photography Event and Learn the Tips that the panel of photographers shared at the event.
About the sponsors: Favery set out a variety of jewelry pieces that bloggers were able to use as props while they learned about how to improve their people photography. Elli created small vignettes utilizing their printed products for bloggers to practice their close up photography. Florals are the work of Swoon Floral Design and chairs are from Classic Vintage Rentals.
About the photographers: Linnea Paulina and Aubrie LeGault taught bloggers tips for photographing still life, close-up shots. This session was built for bloggers who often photographed food, DIY projects, or vignettes. Margaret Jacobsen took a group of bloggers outside to work on people photography, learning how to focus on details, step out of their comfort zone, and be more bossy to get the shot that they want.
I’m not great at meeting people. I love people. I love the idea of meeting people. But, when it comes right down to it meeting people is hard for me. My palms sweat. I forget words. I feel awkward. Then, after it all, I obsess about each and every conversation and how I responded.
When the Social Events Vice President of Portland Bloggers, a local blogging group that I work on, suggested we have a Speed Networking event I definitely broke out in a sweat thinking about participating in an event where I had to talk to EVERYONE. Boy oh boy, was I sure glad I went though! So many amazing bloggers with great goals, hopes, & dreams. I will be working with some of them in the near future and I can’t wait to bring some of the collaborative efforts to the blog.
The event was held in the gorgeous event space at Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery. Cyril’s provided a wonderful menu of meat and cheese platters. We also got to try some of their amazing Pinot Noir. (Read my past review from a dinner at Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery and check out their cheese club if you are in the Portland area and like cheese!)
The cool part about this type of event, a “speed dating” style event, is that I had plenty of practice meeting people. I got the opportunity to work on my “elevator pitch” and figure out just how I wanted to represent my blog in about 90 seconds. Portland Bloggers’ provided a great tool for the bloggers at the event to work out a quick pitch about their blog that they could use at the event. It is now yours to download for free! Use it to craft your own Brand Statement and elevator pitch.
1. Be Prepared. Bring your business cards to parties, meet-ups, the grocery store… you never know when you are going to need them! Need a quick, cute design for your cards? Download this free file and get printed though your favorite business card printer. Moo.com helped to sponsor this event and provided attendees with a discount. I received my Moo cards recently and they were a great quality! I get compliments on them constantly. Business cards are a great prop for talking about your business.
2. Practice talking about your brand. This is going to feel weird…. but, you should practice talking about your brand to a mirror, friend, or loved one. Practice talking about why your brand is different than others. Practice talking about your brands in different ways.
3. Ask Questions. Yes, you need to talk about YOU when you are presenting your brand. But, if you ONLY talk about you then you and your brand will either be forgotten or thought of negatively. Ask questions about the person with whom you are talking.
4. Find common ground. While asking questions work on finding a common ground. You blog about fashion and the person you are talking to blogs about their kiddo? Chat about blogging platforms, photo taking, etc. You can find common ground with most bloggers out there… work on it. Give them something useful or interesting to help remember you!
5. Gather Contacts & Reach Out After the Event. While you are working hard on promoting your brand go ahead and keep the business cards you’ve been handed. Write notes on them if necessary. Then email, Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram with your new friend! Well, they aren’t your friend quite yet… but, they could be! They could be a friend, collaborator, promotor, or future business partner.
Stopping in to share that I’m guest posting over on Plucky’s Blogging Tips and Tricks Series! This is an amazing series of blogging tips from 30 bloggers! There is a pretty sweet giveaway too. I’ve written a few tips on how to host a blogger meet-up. There are a ton of tips and tricks for people looking for information other than hosting meet-ups! Check it out and leave a comment or two!
*Featured photo and photo in the above post is by Motormouth Studios and is used with permission
One of the craziest things about this whole blogging thing is getting to a point that your email inbox is filled to the gills with companies wanting to work with you for one thing or another. Blogs are great formats for sharing products and opinions about products/ businesses– and, boy are companies realizing it!
Each blogger must come to a decision about his or her blog and whether they want to work with PR companies and what guidelines they plan to utilize. It is a wild-wild-west out here. There are really no set-in-stone rules yet. Many people who blog are not people with years of experience working with publications. Though, the content they are churning out is worth something and the time that they spend on creating that content should be worth something too. But, deciding the worth is the hard part.
It is also quite difficult balancing the line of being simply a promotional fountain that spews out whatever a company will pay for to being an open, honest review with absolutely no obligation to a company. We aren’t quite journalists, yet we aren’t a particular company’s marketing team either. Unless companies, advertisers, or readers pay a blogger then a blogger is making NO money for work that takes hours and hours to complete. A blogger MUST find a comfortable position for where they stand on these issues for their blog.
These are not only issues that I’ve come across in my blog, but they are issues that every blogger I know has had to deal with at one point or another. Which is why I was thrilled to get the PR perspective at a recent Portland Bloggers meet-up sponsored by Little Green Pickle, the 2013 Holiday Mingle.
These tips come from the awesome Public Relations professionals that donated their time and expertise, and got in a room with their competition, to talk about blogging. If you are a blogger (not just those in Portland) and want to get involved working with some really great PR pros then check out their websites and contact them via email. They love that, by the way! The PR Panel consisted of Carrie Welch of Little Green Pickle, Meaghan Burns of Broussard Communications , Lisa Hill of Lisa Hill PR, Heather Jones of Heather Jones Consulting, and Vicky Hastings of Maxwell PR . (Click on over to their websites and connect with them via email or Twitter TODAY!)
Many bloggers hate to talk about this side of the blogging world. Numbers matter. That doesn’t mean that small blogs have no shot. But, it does give incentive to work on getting your numbers up.
The panel said that it definitely isn’t ALWAYS about the numbers. Having a dedicated following in a niche field is also a great way to get in with working with good companies.
Think of your blog as your store front. You want to keep it looking nice, have the shelves stocked full (content!), and you want to provide great customer service. Interact with companies in a professional manner by answering those emails, sending updates on posts, and presenting your expectations and guidelines from the beginning.
Now, I’m the first to say that this isn’t easy… bloggers are often working more than on just their blog, life can get busy, and email inboxes can get a little bit insane. The thing to take from this though, is that being upfront, honest, and professional will help you in working with companies.
For more tips from the PR Panel at the Holiday Mingle check out the post over on the Portland Bloggers blog. To read more about the Holiday Mingle and the awesome companies that were in attendance click on over to my first Holiday Mingle Re-Cap. To check out the websites of the people that helped make the Holiday Mingle happen…. click one of the logos below!
Just a couple weeks ago I helped host another Portland Bloggers’ meet-up. I’ve LOVED being a part of this growing community. It is so fulfilling! We have area meet-ups every other month. We try to do four educational events and two events that are purely for socializing. Our past event was a workshop on Social Media Strategies for Bloggers. I learned a lot and have been putting much of the info to use (check out the slideshow from the event to get some tips for your own social media straegies!) and have seen actual results already! Read on to see the beautiful images and learn more about the event.
Friends…. I’ve missed you! Seems ridiculous that only a few days without my site being up and running and I’m a crazy mess. But, after having the blog for three years, seeing my site come up as non-existant was a little nerve-wracking.
I’ve worked with WordPress and Blogger for a long time. However, I’d had my main blog (this one) sitting at Blogger for about a thousand and one reasons. I liked Blogger a LOT. There are some fabulous benefits for using blogger. (A post for another day.) I did end up making the move to WordPress though!
Read on to see the reasons why I moved, the things still needing attention, and some fun new features of my site since the move. I’ll post about the move’s process another day.
Lately, due to sickness, I have been less than productive. However, I am usually pretty productive.
I like to get things done and I like to do a lot of things. My freelance work has also had me juggling a variety of different responsibilities. Being a mom is busy. In general… I have a permanent to do list that will never, ever be finished because I keep adding items to it!
I am always utilizing a variety of tools to help keep me organized and on track. Hopefully some of these items will be as useful to you as they are to me.
Tomorrow evening I am speaking at The CRAVE Company’s meet-up titled, “In a Relationship with My Blog.” I’m speaking with four other blogging professionals and I am so excited to have been asked to speak!
We’ll be talking all about blogging….from beginning blogging, blogging tips, blogging for business, and building a brand. I spent the evening preparing some of my thoughts about it all and now I am just BUZZING from it all.