I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about Create + Cultivate. Being a newer conference, I expected some possible hiccups along the way. Nope. Everything was so perfect. The check-in process was a breeze, the breakfast and lunch were delicious, the never-ending Hermanos coffee ended up being much needed and the decor was a dream. A literal dream. Hanging plants, shabby chic furniture, pop up booths galore! The 12 hour day was long but sadly went by so fast. The entire day was perfectly planned out for learning, breaks, networking and more coffee. Oh, and did I mention the gift bag? I’m such a sucker for a well thought about gift bag. My best friend asked me mid day if I’d consider going to the next Create + Cultivate. That is an absolute yes!
I came to Dallas solo, hoping I would meet new friends and gain knowledge about the blogging world + business in general. My business degree is great but there is something special about learning first hand from women who have been inspiring you for years. Between the panel discussions and the mentor sessions, I left feeling so refreshed and ready to tackle 2016.
For those who missed it, here are a shortened version of what I took away from the weekend:
-Composition is key
-Captions matter (an emoji isn’t going to cut it)
-Have a set direction
-Gear content toward your most popular images
-Be creative every single day
Personally, I had a lot of questions about this topic. The panel covered several questions you should ask yourself before committing to a collaboration along with questions you should feel comfortable asking the brand. This is your business too so don’t be afraid to ask them to clear up any grey area.
When your blog has a certain look and the product your collaborating with doesn’t fit your aesthetics but you know it’s a great fit, turn it into art. Maybe a creative flatlay? Think outside the box for a not so “beautiful” product.
Matt Crump (@mattcrump / follow him, his feed is fun!) said one of the biggest ways he has gotten screwed in the past is not negotiating that he has final say in the caption on social media (ie, a company once made him put a link in an Instagram caption which wasn’t active -yikes!) Always have final say on what you’re captioning on your social platforms.
-Always stay true to yourself
-Will your audience love it?
-Doesn’t fit your brand but pays well? Skip it
-Establish that the company wants what you can do
-Portray the product honestly
-Are you able to have a say into the final edits?
-Will they let you use your creative vision?
-The general consensus was you need them.
-No hash tag is a missed opportunity
-Use relevant hash tags (look at the ones being viewed)
-Pay attention to the constant changing with Instagram’s analytics
The Art of the Pitch:
Pitching your brand to someone was another area I had a list of questions about. The ladies on this panel all agreed that some brands will buy into your passion vs. only your skills. Always highlight your good parts. Also, to know what deal you need and don’t be afraid to ask for it. The company isn’t going to make a bad deal for themselves and will take care of their own. No one offers you their best deal first. Be upfront with them and ask!
Before you pitch your idea to a company you’re interested in working with:
-Know their brand
-Know your brand
-Highlight what you’re best at
-Know entire market, not only your blog
Who What Wear’s Pop Up
Preview of their Who What Wear x Target line
Genevieve Ascencio from Factory PR #majorgirlboss
Camille Styles, Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam, Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential, Mary Seng of Happily Grey, and Sophia Rivka Rossi of Hello Giggles
Hillary Kerr & Katherine Power, Founders of Who What Wear
Those are the secrets I’m giving away. Thanks for letting me nerd out on this post and I hope to see you at the next Create + Cultivate!