Last weekend, I attended my first-ever blogger conference, Haven, in Atlanta. After a fun kick-off Thursday night, Friday and Saturday consisted of great sessions, lots of networking and a little bit of information overload.
As a newbie, it was awesome to learn from bloggers who have been at this for awhile. I also enjoyed meeting bloggers who are newer to the game or are getting ready to launch their sites. Which leads me to my three takeaways:
- Start conversations: This was the best part of Haven. I loved meeting new people while at breakfast or lunch, or even in line to meet Clint Harp from Fixer Upper (did you know he was from Dunwoody, GA?). Everyone was so incredibly nice and open. I met so many awesome new friends, and am looking forward to keeping in touch with them.
- Try not to boil the ocean. There was so much information to consume. I mentioned information overload above and it is a lot to take in (in a really good way). You can easily become overwhelmed with everything you should be doing. My goal is to take it in small chunks – try to be good at a few things, instead of everything. From SEO to Pinterest to Facebook, etc. it’s easy to analysis paralysis or jump from one platform to the next. For example, I’d love to be reaching out to five brands per week, but more realistically, I can probably handle one or two. And that’s totally fine.
- Go for it! The last takeaway is to go for it. If you’re thinking about reaching out to a brand to partner – do it. Even if you don’t think you have the traffic, the worst things that can happen are 1) they say no or 2) they don’t respond. KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms reminded us that no matter how great your conversation is with a brand at Haven, it’s up to each blogger to continue and foster those relationships after the conference. Or, if you’re waiting to hit publish on your first blog post – go for it!
A huge thank you to my Haven Maven mentor group, and our mentor, Sarah from Life on Virginia Street. I didn’t know a soul (at least in real life) attending the conference, and the mentor group made it easy to jump in.
The only downside is that I missed the closing session with KariAnne (I did attend her working with brands session the day before). A migraine hit me about 4 p.m. on Saturday so I had to dip out and put myself to bed for a few hours. I did get to see parts of her session on Instagram so thank you to those of you who posted on Instastories!
Moral of the story – if you’re thinking about going, and you can swing it, do it! Plus next year, Haven is moving to Charleston. I can already hear the ocean calling my name …