Today I spent literally ALL DAY LONG. Working on getting the Portland Bloggers Website updated and refreshed. The Portland Bloggers’ Master List also got a complete overhaul. Which means… if you are a Portland Blogger and were on the Master List before you need to RE-LIST your blog. I know… total pain in the tail. But, it will totally be worth it! The new features are seriously going to be so good for bloggers and for visitors to the Portland Bloggers’ website.
If you are a new reader to my blog then you might note that I have a lot of posts on Portland, Oregon. I moved to Oregon from Oklahoma about 7 years ago and have never felt more at home in my life. A few years ago the opportunity came about that I could start planning meet-ups for local bloggers. I took that opportunity and ran with it. The Portland Bloggers’ website and meet-up group is now bigger and better than I could have ever imagined it could be. We’ve got an amazing leadership team of local bloggers volunteering their time to help make each event a success and to keep the website filled with great blogging resources.
Anyways… I didn’t do much of anything “Snapshot” worthy this weekend as I just sat in front of the computer in my pajamas. But, I do think what I got done is pretty noteworthy! If you are a follower from the Portland, Oregon area pop on over to the Portland Bloggers website and check us out!
Not a blogger and/or not in Portland? Well, regular content is coming back tomorrow with a fun recipe!
The Portland Bloggers Family Picnic was this past weekend. I got to bring my sister, her husband, and my nephew to meet my blogging buddies. It was fun catching up with friends and getting to know some new bloggers.
I brought my favorite ice cream to the picnic to share. It was so hot out that even the ice didn’t help much! The ice cream melted pretty quickly and made for a tasty impromptu milk shake!
I also brought sunscreen to share… Because, sun safety is important! I brought a new-to-me brand from Coola Suncare that sent me some samples to test out. I love it! It’s the first organic sunscreen that I’ve had work well and smell good at the same time. It’s also the first spray sunscreen that hasn’t felt too oily or sticky. I also heard great things from friends who used it.
All in all it was a great time. How was your weekend?
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.
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!
I was beyond thrilled when one of the Portland Blogger organizers, Bee from The Spicy Bee, worked with local PR company Little Green Pickle to bring together an amazing opportunity for local bloggers. The Holiday Mingle was slotted as an opportunity for local bloggers to get a chance to meet and connect with some amazing restaurants and food vendors from the area– right in time for their holiday projects! It was also an opportunity to listen to a panel of PR professionals talk about working with bloggers. Only in Portland can you get competitors working together to create an amazing event that hopefully, in the end, is beneficial to everyone involved.
I’m breaking this post up into two posts because there is just so much to cover… so, now I give you the amazing food and some fabulous companies! I’ll be back soon with tips for bloggers from real PR pros!
The restaurant owners and vendors that came out for the Holiday Mingle brought their A-game. I highly encourage you to read on if you are in Portland looking for great places to eat, are planning on traveling to Portland, or are looking for an item or two for your foodie friends and family for the holidays.
A lot of my readers are from the PNW area and I hope that this list helps bring to light some of the awesome companies we have available. But, even if you aren’t from Portland, some of the products above can be shipped! I would be thrilled to find many of these items under the tree or at the holiday dinner table this season!
Today was a LONG day. But, man… was it fun! We had our Portland Bloggers’ Family Picnic today. Sunshine, friends, good food, and blogging… sort of my favorite things wrapped up in one! I’ll be back a different day sharing some of the professional photos that Macey of Motormouth Studios shot, but I wanted to share a glimpse into today! Photos are iPhone photos via my Instagram, the Portland Bloggers’ Instagram, and the Portland Bloggers’ Facebook Page.
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.
Disclaimer: This post features companies that donated to the Portland Bloggers meet-up group and items that I received free of charge. All opinions are my own.
Almost a month back we had our latest Portland Bloggers’ meet-up. If you have no idea what I am talking about then check out the Portland Bloggers’ website and hop back on over here! This will be a photo heavy post with some beautiful images from Portland Photographer Macey Snelson of Motormouth Studio. Read on for my review of the event and links to more about the event and Portland Bloggers!
I also secured some final details on the March 10 Portland Bloggers’ meet-up and set up the ticket sales for the event. If you are a Portland-area blogger then you will certainly want to get your ticket before they sell out… this event is going to be AMAZING! Attendees are going to get the chance to pose for Portland photographers, learn tips on how to make their photos better, and more. Click here to purchase your $10 ticket!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back tomorrow to share some more Valentine’s Day fun!
Ahhh… what a weekend! I was BUSY, as usual… but, it was such fun and so refreshing! This weekend I enjoyed a Girls Night with some old friends, met up with the Portland Bloggers’ group, helped a friend refresh her blog design, and did some major blog planning for my own blogs. While I am now EXHAUSTED I am also feeling super excited about all my goals and plans.
Saturday’s Portland Bloggers’ Meet-Up was better than I could have imagined. I actually anticipated the meet-up to be a smaller one because it is the first one of the year… but, we had double the people I guessed we would. There were old faces and new faces… lots of great input on our theme, “Give Your Blog a Buzz in 2013!” I’ll be posting a full review on the Portland Bloggers’ website later this week. I’ll also be posting some free printable blogging planners that I created. Speaking of…
I used the printables to FINALLY work on some plans and lists for my blogs. I’ve got a lot of changes in store for this little blog. I promise they will be grand though! I’m getting around to resolutions late this year. I’m still recovering from the holidays. But, as I finally have the next few weeks planned out… let me tell you that you’ll be seeing some fun Valentine’s Day items coming soon!
Finally, I helped my lovely friend Sam from Sam Rosen refresh her blog design. She has fabulous tastes and I loved that she went with such a simple design so that her images and posts really stand out. If you love a little sparkle in your life, some really great outfit ideas, and some fun party images then head on over to Sam’s blog and FOLLOW!
I love, love, love my fellow Portland Bloggers. It has been SO amazing getting to know the many talented people that reside in good ole PDX. I’ve been lucky enough to get to attend several of the Portland Bloggers’ events. *It helps that I now make the schedule
This time we had a Bloggers’ Night Out. Super low key, super fun! We visited Bridgeport Brewery and then head over to Salt & Straw to finish the evening out.
As much as I love detailed parties and events… sometimes it is so nice to just have a night out!
|Sam from Sam Rosen, Abby from CheersXO, and Me!|
|The men and all the purses. At least they had beer!|
|So many awesome bloggers!|
|Some head done by Mortormouth Studio for the Portland Bloggers’ website. Lots to do!|
We had a lot of faces at the meet-up. Please check out their great blogs and leave a comment. We ALL love some comment love.
Spencer from 12 oz beehouse
Erika of A Tiny Rocket
Kayla of Keep Moving Forward
Sam Rosen of Samantha Rosen
Abby of CheersXO
Macey of Motormouth Studio
Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking
Susannah of Simple Moments Stick
Ashley of This Valley Life
Bee of The Spicy Bee
Sarah of Will Run for Pasta
Brian of Bost Beer
Chelsey of The Paper Mama
Leah of The Content Owl
ME of A Well Crafted Party and Leave the Laundry for Later
|Attendees of the August Portland Bloggers’ Meet-Up photo by the fabulous Motormouth Studio|