What I learnt at Create & Cultivate NYC
Last weekend whilst I was in New York I attended the Create & Cultivate NYC Conference. The Conference was held in the Knockdown centre in Queens. The day was full of amazing speakers, stunning pop-up booths, a few cheeky cocktails and amazing women.
I put together a Vlog of the day but I wanted to do a more wordy post telling you the tips and learns that I took from the day. I also wanted to share some pics as the displays and venue were stunning.
We started the day with some breakfast before the talks kicked off at 9 am. There was juice smoothies, yoghurts and tonnes of coffee to fuel the morning. Upon arrival I got my badge and pack which inside had my badge with my track number, I was on track one. Everyone was divided into either track one or track two, you had to stick to your track unless you got a VIP ticket and then you could choose between which panel of talks you would like to see. We also had a mentor power hour where we had a small group talk with some mentors. The day was jammed pack and the day ended at 8 pm. There was even a fun cocktail hour with delicious cocktails and some wine.
What I took from the day
Women supporting Women.
I was overwhelmed by the support everyone had for each other. From the speakers sharing all of their tips to the fellow bloggers and PR’s networking. People like to make out that us women have it out for each other but at this conference, it was the complete opposite.
You gotta work hard and it takes time!
A lot of the really big bloggers with large followings ( some had over 1 million ), they are in it a long time. Some have been doing it for nearly 10 years. A lot of the ladies started it as a creative outlet which is one of the reasons I started blogging. I feel nowadays people want things overnight, they aren’t willing to be patient and put in the hard graft and earn success. It was refreshing to hear that it takes time and to not give up.
One of the ladies on a panel mentioned about a content calendar. Plan out your month ahead with what blog posts your going to create, plan out what Instagram and social media your going to share. Also, a tip was to bank some of your content to have to hand in case you are struggling some weeks and are too busy and haven’t created anything. You can use that piece of content you banked as your back up.
You will also hear the word “quality content” a lot if you attend any blogger conferences. It is up to you to define what is quality content for your audience. For me, quality content is something that gives value to the reader or viewer. Whether its knowledge, humour or Inspiration, I like to make sure that what I write or put out there ticks at least one of them three boxes.
Have fresh content for each platform. It is tempting to put the same picture/video on each platform but a good tip was to have separate content for each platform as each platform can have different audiences. It is tempting to copy your Snapchat story and share it to Insta stories but try doing something different on both platforms and cross promote. Why not try making Facebook or Instagram videos and share something different on all the different platforms.
There is room for everyone.
A lot of ladies spoke about niches and when starting out to try and find something of yours that is a niche, then as your blog grows to start introducing new topics. It is really hard to stand out from the crowd but they all said about staying true to yourself, finding and talking about a niche that is true to you and not forced to fake. A lot of people say that the market is saturated with blogs but Mary Orton gave a fantastic example of how everyone gets excited when a new resteraunt opens in New York. Of all the thousands of restaurants in NYC, everyone gets excited when a new one opens. So just like a new blog popping up, there is room for you too. Do not let people saying the market is saturated stop you from starting.
Growing your Instagram.
There was no magic answer or trick from the ladies with the large followings other than engaging, collab with brands, use hashtags and tagging brands in your pictures and getting them to share. The collaboration was mentioned a lot, so, teaming up with someone who has a slightly different audience and creating a piece of content together. Overall it took these ladies years to grow a following and there was no magic tool for it.
Monetising and affiliates.
I listened to a talk about affiliates and how to monetise your blog and platforms the right way. This was a great talk as there was a lot of PR ladies at the event too and it was nice to chat with them and see what it is they want from a blogger. I suppose it goes without saying that you should only work with brands you truly love and know fit naturally in with your audience, don’t be afraid to say no and think long term. It is all about being authentic with your audience. Blogging can be made into a career, however, do not start blogging just to earn money as you will end up getting chewed up and spat back out by your audience when our start promoting brands that aren’t true to you.
Another big tip which I hadn’t heard before but it makes complete sense is having a contract and a lawyer look over it when working with brands. Another big tip was putting in a late payment penalty in the contract. Getting paid after a job can take ages and you might have to chase after people but putting in a late payment penalty to the contract sorts that one out. When starting out these are the things I never even thought of. Some bloggers have agents who deal with that end of things but if you’re like me and just blog for fun and get the occasional sponsored post then bear this in mind and protect yourself.
When working with a brand produce content that naturally fits in and does not copy and paste what a brand or PR wants you to say or do. It is still relatively new territory for PR’s and bloggers collaborating. PR’s need to let the blogger be creative and create content that naturally slots into what the audience likes. When advertising with bloggers it is completely different to advertising in a magazine, you need to give the content creator the creative control. If something doesn’t feel right then walk away, no amount of money for a sponsored post is worth losing your audience.
Knowing your conversion rate is also useful when dealing with brands. You will get this info if you are on an affiliate site.
My favourite talk of the day was called beyond the binary. It gets so hard, especially with social media where we are bombarded with the stereotypical image of beauty and how we should behave or what opinions to have to stay true to yourself. I will be honest I didn’t feel like I fitted in on the day. There was a lot of cool, trendy and well-polished ladies and I am the short one with half chewed nails in a full skirt. After listening to the women on this panel I walked out with my head held high and saying to myself ” I don’t want to be like everyone else, I am Dainty and there is only one me!”It was refreshing and empowering listening to women who break the mould.
It is easy to get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to others, comparing your success against other but the ladies stressed about staying in your own lane with your blinkers on and keep doing your own thing. Stop comparing yourself and spent that time better on creating your content.
The importance of your site.
Let me give you this amazing example to explain what I mean. This was given on one of the panels and it was about “Tila Tequila”, Remeber years ago she had a gazillion Myspace followers? And where is Myspace now? And where is Tila Tequila now? To all the Insta famous and Snap stars, you need to think long term. With these social platforms, you are up against ever changing algorithms and what happens when one disappears over night? I am not saying Instagram is going anywhere soon but don’t put all your eggs in the one basket. Make sure your blog has a site and use social media to direct people to it. People neglect their blogs and rely heavily on social media channels. Think long term if blogging is something you want long term.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got a bit of insight into the day. You might also like my post on the Dublin tech summit from earlier this year which you can find here.
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