Alt for Everyone 2014 | Top 5 Takeaways
Okay, first I want to promise that this isn’t going to turn into a blog about blogging! I have some really fun projects lined up to share with you, if only the sun would come out and I could take a few photos! In the meantime, I just had a great experience at Alt for Everyone, and I really wanted to share it with you guys. Alt for Everyone is an online version of the premier design blogging conference, Altitude Summit. That’s the conference I went to this past January, but I haven’t even done a full re-cap of my experience there! To be honest, as amazing as that flagship conference is, I felt a bit overwhelmed when I returned home. There is so much networking and information that happens at those big conferences that I feel a little fried when it is all over. I mean, it’s GREAT because my mind gets all buzzy with ideas and collaboration possibilities, but organizing all of those thoughts into a cohesive post just didn’t happen this time.
BUT! Alt for Everyone is smaller, online and is more easily digestible than the in-person conference. The conference runs over several days, and you get to choose the topics you’re interested in attending. On the day of the class, you log in to the Alt Channel (pictured above) where you get a live stream of the speaker, a chat box so you can communicate with other attendees, and usually a slideshow with visuals for the presentation. It works really well.
I think Alt for Everyone is especially valuable for new bloggers, or bloggers who are interested in taking a personal blog to a professional level, but who are restricted by time, money, babies–whatever–to be able to attend an in-person event. That said, there was still some really meaty info for folks like me who have already spent some time in the professional ring. Here were my Top 5 Takeaways from Alt for Everyone:
1. Start your day with a coffee and a stream of consciousness
Sit down for a few minutes each morning to decompress your head. Take a pen and paper and start writing for 2-3 pages. Most of it will be super boring, but you’ll get an idea of what’s happening in your head space, and some awesome nuggets are bound to come out of it! (Keynote address – Karen Walrond)
2. Make your proposals pretty and personalized
After you contact a brand and they express an interest in working with you, it’s time to send a formal proposal. In the past, I have always done this in an email with attached Inspiration Boards. However, Erin Loechner suggested sending proposals as an attachment. It should be a PDF, and it should be pretty! This is not just a list of what you can do, you are basically making a custom Media Kit for that brand. The fully designed and personalized proposal should include: the proposed project, a timeline, compensation, marketing & social media plans, your numbers, about you & the blog, and a personal note to whom you are sending the proposal. I love this idea because a beautiful presentation will not be so easily dismissed, and it shows the brand right off the bat that you are serious, committed, and it shows off your design sense. (Pitching to Sponsors – Erin Loechner)
3. Get on the phone
We bloggers are often introverts and as such, it’s not always easy to pick up the phone and talk to a brand. But from the brand’s perspective, that phone call turns you into a real person, and more often than not, it seals the deal. So schedule a call! And when you do, remember that it isn’t about you. You need to have a list of questions about the goals of the campaign, how they’ll measure success, and how you can help them achieve their goals. (Pitching to Sponsors – Erin Loechner)
4. Know your audience…by asking them about themselves
Knowing your demographics is helpful for so many reasons. Not just for landing sponsors, but for focusing your content on what your readers are most interested in hearing about. Quantcast, Alexa and Facebook insights are helpful for getting number, but you should also take an annual survey of your readers. They can tell you not only about who they are and where they are in life, but where their interests lie, and how they feel about the content you have produced. Are you working with sponsors that are relevant to your readers? The best way to find out is to ask! (Drafting a Killer Media Kit – Kelly Beall)
5. Duane Forrester can make your head blow up with information about SEO
I started going through my notes from the SEO 101 session, and I couldn’t find just one thing to takeaway from it. If you are a blogger, the only way your blog can really take off is if search engines can find your content. Therefore, having some kind of grip on Search Engine Optimization is critically important to any pro blogger. Duane Forrester of Bing Webmaster Tools gave a lightning fast, ultra-rich presentation on all things SEO. My hand was really cramped after it was over. Luckily, he generously shares his slideshow presentation from Alt for Everyone on Slideshare for anyone who would like to start learning about SEO. Hint: Spend some time with Slide #13. It has everything. And if you don’t “get” something on that list, look it up! (The ABC’s of SEO – Duane Forrester)
And there you go! There was so much more, but those were the points that stood out to me the most. Now, it’s time for me to win a ticket to Alt Summit Summer! Can’t you just picture me and Martha laughing it up in a photo booth, sipping on our La Crema wine? I can…