Last week I posted on Surviving Alt but it wasn’t enough. I’ve had a few people wanting to hear more info and the tid bits I learned while at this out-of-this-world conference.
You asked, you get.
There are so many amazing recaps out there (Check out Pars Caeli for a massive list) so I don’t want to spend too much time reiterating what has been said (“Swans!” “Balloons!” “Polka Dots!” “Stefan Sagmeister naked!”). If I wrote a full on recap earlier I certainly would have talked about these things because they’re all note worthy. Instead I’m focussing on a few lessons that really hit home for me.
I hope they do for you too.
Be SelectiveA company has contacted you and you want to work with them. Awesome! Buuuuut you think everything they carry is butt ugly and would never shop at their store. That’s okay, at least I get exposure right? WRONG. Do not work with a brand if your only goal is exposure and money. That’s not what it’s about. You should only work with brands that fit your image and, as Camille Styles put it, is someone you identify with. If you start working with brands that don’t match your own, your readers will notice and they will lose faith in you. Stick to what you love. That’s why you have readers in the first place.
Be EngagingYou know all those metrics and numbers you check obsessively daily because that’s what sponsors look for? Stop it. Stop it right now. Sure, some sponsors are looking at pure numbers, and if you ask me they aren’t thinking too smart. What keeps a website thriving is not thousands of idle clicks a day, people landing on your site for 2 seconds just to hop off right away. It’s engagement. Make sure you are engaging with your readers. Ask questions, respond to theirs, respond to comments. Keep the conversation flowing. Brands are starting to realize that this is most important, that you are developing a conversation through your site, not attracting people who click, look for five seconds then leave.
We’ve all heard it before. Original content is the key to success. But I think Em Henderson put it best:
It has to be original content otherwise there are just too many blogs
If you’ve scouted all the Alt Recaps you will have heard tons about how motivating Stefan Sagmeister‘s keynote was. And it’s true. Whether it’s due to his exposed genitals on the big screen or his honest, fulfilling words, Stefan spoke to everyone in the audience. And while his whole presentation was energizing, it was this breakdown that touched me the most:
- Job: Done for money, 9:00 – 5:00
- Career: Advancement and promotion
- Calling: Intrinsically fulfilling
We all teach children to work hard not because they’ll get a treat, but because success after working hard makes you feel good. That is intrinsic motivation, and doing something you love is fulfilling not for what you get out of it but for how you feel. Strive for that calling, strive for what makes you feel good. Because in the end if you aren’t doing what’s intrinsically fulfilling, you’re not fully living your life.
As a blogger, what was the best advice you’ve been given?
As a reader, what do you look for most in blogs?