20 Things I Learned at BlogHer - Conference Tips + A #BlogHer16 Recap - Smart Creative Social

20 Things I Learned at BlogHer – Conference Tips + A #BlogHer16 Recap

When I posted in Smart Creative Social (our Facebook group) that I was going to BlogHer, everyone wanted me to share what I learned from the conference. I shared as much as I could via Snapchat and Instagram Stories but there’s a whole lot more! I had my laptop and WiFi and my external hard-drive and I was ready to blog and share the experience every night of BlogHer. Well, my eyelids had other plans! So before I forget all of the juicy details, let’s get down to it: 20 things I learned at BlogHer that you’ll want to know!


So much happened at BlogHer that I decided to do two separate posts. You’re reading the post about all of the business and blogging wisdom I learned from the panelists, sponsors, and speakers. Over on Just JP, I am sharing the “experience of BlogHer” – what’s its like, who is there, what to expect, and how to prepare to have a great time. You can read that post here: A #BlogHer2016 Recap – the “experience of BlogHer”. The posts are both long so grab a can of bai energy drink and let’s enjoy! (psst! @DrinkBai was a sponsor at #BlogHer16).

I went to only two sessions at BlogHer. There were five time slots for education and due to brand meetings, I missed three of them. I would have loved to see a lot more education offered but the two sessions I did attend were top notch and full of great information, even for a seasoned blogger like me 🙂 So get ready to get the juicy tidbits that blog conferences are known for!

1. The posts on Instagram that get the most views? They all have blue tint, according to Kelli Ellis @designerkelli and Anne Sage of @citysage, shared during the Lamps Plus blogger lunch.

2. You never know who is listening to what you’re talking about. I was in the valet parking area waiting to drop off swag in my car in the middle of the day on Friday and this woman sitting near me started asking a bazillion questions about blogging. I kept answering her questions, thinking it was going nowhere but that at least it passed the time when a local radio reporter approached me and asked me for an interview. She said, “You seem to know what you are talking about.” It was Jo Kwon from KFI AM 640, my favorite radio station!! She happened to be there to interview the CEO of SheKnows Media and I was the only blogger she interviewed for her segment – it all just happened because I was being helpful.

Listen to the segment here:  The head of a media company called “SheKnows Media” – is a HE!

3. Only 10% of repins are images that are horizontal.  Anne Sage of @citysage says she takes all of her photos in portrait orientation and has NO landscape or horizontal images on her site whatsoever.

4. Can you make money selling dollar ebooks? Yes you can! Erika Kendall (@bgg2wl) shared that she made six figures off documents and ebooks that cost under $5.50 each.

5. To make a YouTube channel grow fast, find an under-served market and create a channel for it. Makeup videos did great 6 or 7 years ago because no one was doing makeup tutorials on Youtube en masse. Find a niche that needs content and make it! From: “Managing your YouTube: Best Practices for Promotion & Distribution” with Kandee Johnson (KandeeJohnson) and Whitney White (Naptural85), moderated by Sarah Penna of Awestruck


6. Know who you are before you get sponsors. Marie Denee (The Curvy Fashionista) said that you need to build your platform and know who you are and what you’re trying to say before you approach brands for sponsored posts. If you get sponsors before your brand is defined, you won’t build trust with your readers and your own voice will be distorted by the sponsor’s message. From: “Diversify Your Compensation Streams: Passive vs. Active vs. Non-Monetary Compensation” with Marie Denee (The Curvy Fashionista), Erika Nicole Kendall (BlackGirlsGuideToWeightLoss.com), Garbielle Pelicci (Women-in-Wellness.com), and Mona Darling (Darling Propaganda), moderated by Susan Getgood (SheKnows Media).

7. Make a “favorites” page for your blog. Marie Denee says to create this page as a list of affiliate links that solve a common issue, such as “denim 101” or “how to start a blog”. Fill it with affiliate links and then drive traffic there. Make the page answer questions your readers have. Check out my “Favorite Blogging Resources” page here to see what this can look like.

8. Affiliate marketing is easy for everyone to get into but hard to do well. If you started with Amazon Associates and have made all of $0.25, then you know what I mean. Take classes and get more info and advice to help you become a better affiliate marketer versus someone who “has affiliate links on their blog.” P.S. I knew this but I couldn’t ever put into words. Thank you Susan Getgood for making this so succinct!

9. Be upfront and honest. Put your pitch information all in one email with your rates, contact info, shipping address, and any other info that the brand needs to make a decision. Know what the projects is, what you want from the brand, and make sure the brands knows all of your numbers (social media following, PV, etc). With the information all in one email, it is easier for the brand to make a decision and call you for work. They might not have time to go back and forth with you to get the info – Ivette Serrano, Public Relations Manager, Lamps Plus


10.  Scheduling on YouTube is okay. At VidCon I heard that scheduling on YouTube is bad because it doesn’t always work and it affects your video’s performance. Performance in the first 48 hours a video is on Youtube as unlisted or public determines how well the video will do over it’s entire lifetime. YouTube will not serve low-performing ads in suggested videos and other places where you can attract new followers. The creators at VidCon all suggested that the best way to upload was as “private”, then make all the edits, add closed captions, and so on and then make the video live in real time. Sarah Penna of Awestruck says this is no longer the case – the scheduling tools from YouTube work just fine!  From: “Managing your YouTube: Best Practices for Promotion & Distribution”

11. Make custom bitlinks for affiliate links with your URL. I had seen people with custom bitlinks but had no idea how to do it. After Marie Denee shared this tidbit with us, I checked it out. It’s relatively easy to do. Watch this video to see how to make a custom bitlink for your site in under ten minutes! Then retweet the tweet I sent Marie Denee to let her know you appreciate her sharing this expert hack.

12. Your blog’s purpose is to sell all the things. Gabrille Pelicci says that your blog’s purpose is lead generation. That means reaching out to people with content so that they can become clients. Whether you sell jewelry or workout plans or accounting advice, your blog is part of the plan to sell those products. From: “Diversify Your Compensation Streams: Passive vs. Active vs. Non-Monetary Compensation”

13. Make sponsors’ lives as easy as possible. At the Lamps Plus blogger lunch, Jaime of PrettyPrudent.com says that if a brand wants a logo blurred in a photo or asks for edits, be as accommodating as possible. Brands appreciate bloggers who are easy to work with and who are responsive to requests. Don’t be a headache for the brand.

14. Look to what’s popular to grow fast on YouTube. Trending challenges and topics like the “100 layers challenge” can make a channel grow fast because the video will show up as related content on other videos on the same topic. If that kind of videos fits your channel, be sure to get that video done fast. Trends tend to come and go sometimes in a matter of days or weeks. From: “Managing your YouTube: Best Practices for Promotion & Distribution”


15. Repost your links multiple times to social media. Not everyone will see your posts the first time you post. Post the links muliple times but with different photos and different bits of value. Every social media should be helpful to your community and be engaging (not just a link). Repost up to 4 times in one week on twitter and twice on Facebook for new posts. From: “Managing your YouTube: Best Practices for Promotion & Distribution” with Kandee Johnson (KandeeJohnson) and Whitney White (Naptural85), moderated by Sarah Penna of Awestruck

16. Search engines reward those who answer questions. Erika Nicole Kendall says that the more content you have that answers questions people have, the more the search engines will reward you with traffic. You become the trusted source for answering that specific question. From: “Diversify Your Compensation Streams: Passive vs. Active vs. Non-Monetary Compensation”

17.  Leave a blank spot in your media kit. A few blank spaces in your media kit can be filled with information to specifically relate to the brand you’re pitching, such as products you plan to use or inspiration for the posts you want to do – experts at the Lamps Plus blogger lunch

18. Write evergreen content as much as possible. That’s content that anchors your brand. For example, The Curvy Fashionista does posts like “Denim 101” that is timeless in fashion that people can reference year after year and all year long. Jeans don’t change that much. Choose topics that strongly relate to your brand and write evergreen posts about those. From: “Diversify Your Compensation Streams: Passive vs. Active vs. Non-Monetary Compensation”

19. Treat social media like a relationship. Let people know your daily life and nurture your following by commenting, engaging, and posting in real time. Don’t just set a scheduler and forget it. Let people know you are there listening and are interested in them, says Kandee Johnson.  Shout out to people who have engaged with you on twitter or Facebook this week – mention them at the end of a video or in a post! From: “Managing your YouTube: Best Practices for Promotion & Distribution”

20. Do research to make topics your own. Erika Nicole Kendall says you can post on popular topics but do the research so you know what you are talking about and so that you can then present it from your own perspective. And example was to write about clean eating but her article might be “Clean Eating from a Cultural Perspective”. Everybody else has already written “20 tips for clean eating”… what do YOU have to add to the conversation that is unique and special? From: “Diversify Your Compensation Streams: Passive vs. Active vs. Non-Monetary Compensation”

Have you been to blogging conferences before? How about BlogHer?

About the Author Jennifer Priest

A craft industry professional for over 14 years, Jennifer Priest has been featured in major publications and online by the likes of Apartment Therapy and MSNBC. Jennifer's digital marketing consulting firm, Smart Creative Social, has a prestigious client list in the craft and hobby industry, connecting influencers with brands, developing digital marketing strategy, and guiding clients in creating a solid social media strategy for their brand.

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Leave a Comment:

Kelli says August 9, 2016

Thank you for sharing these really great insights for those of us who wanted to be there but couldn’t attend! The bitlinks tip is indeed lifechanging! Thanks!

    Jennifer Priest says August 10, 2016

    Yay!! So glad you liked them!!

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