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Reflections on Blog Podium

This past Saturday, I attended the 2nd Blog Podium event, “The Business of Blogging” on Saturday. Needless to say it was a fantastic event – well organized and a stunning location at the Arcadian Loft (although I had flashbacks of high school formals as I stepped off the elevator!).

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I walked away from the January Blog Podium event hyper and excited and this time I would describe my mood as reflective. Not in a bad way but more that it’s given me pause to think about the why and how behind my blog. I like it when events make me think like this … the end results when I am sifting through ideas and giving pause are generally very positive.

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Nicole Balch from Making It Lovely was the keynote speaker and walked us through how she got to a place where her blog is now her business. I learned about different types of ads, when to start advertising, how to determine your rates and all about ad networks and sponsored posts. I took copious notes and really enjoyed her humour throughout. It was very interesting to hear from a US based blogger. Check out this great recap from The A & B Stories for the details of everything Nicole covered.

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The panel discussion included Lindsay from Little House Blog, Christine from Bijou and Boheme, Cheryl from Gluckstein Home and Laura from Tribal DDB provided a uniquely Canadian perspective from bloggers, a brand and a media agency. Lindsay and Christine were so honest and candid about what they have done I truly appreciated the insight into their experiences and what they have learned. One of the biggest takeaways I had from this group is that design blogs are a relatively new community in Canada and there is so much we can all learn from each other. Everyone is figuring things out as they go – bloggers and brands alike! Here is a fantastic recap from My Daily Randomness.

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Afterwards there was a opportunity to mix with the brands attending the event and socialize with other bloggers. I had an amazing time catching up with friends old and new and meeting some fantastic brands in the design industry.

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I’m a goal oriented type of person and always like to set objectives before I attend an event and then work through what my next steps will be afterwards. Given that my blog is a way for me to explore different design ideas I will definitely continue to do that with aspirational and dreamy imagery. I will also be incorporating more posts that might help you with projects around your own home.

I would like to see my readership increase as I believe more people would like to hear and see what I am sharing. If you haven’t already done so, take a moment to subscribe to my blog (just under the archives section on the right) and share it with others too.

How this ties in with working with brands I need to think it through more but one thing is for sure that anything I bring to you is something I deem to be a value add.

Many thanks to Jen and Lindsay for putting together such a fantastic event. Even though I’m still working through how I want to action everything I learned on Saturday I am definitely motivated to continue doing what I’m doing and do it better, too!

BlogPodium: Why I’m Going

BlogPodium is this Saturday. I attended the inaugural event in January and it by far exceeded my expectations. For those of you who aren’t “in the know”, BlogPodium is a conference series dedicated to bringing design bloggers together. The only forum of it’s kind in Canada, BlogPodium is the brainchild of Jen from Rambling Renovators and Lindsay from Little House Blog. I am very lucky to living in the Toronto area and be able to attend an event like this.

Saturday’s topic is “The Business of Blogging” – specifically what opportunities are there to monetize your blog while staying authentic and true to why you write. Nicole Balch from “Making it Lovely” is the keynote speaker followed by a panel discussion and cocktail reception.

Why, you might ask, am I interested in attending an event where the focus is on “The Business of Blogging”?

#1 Blogging is Tied to the Future Growth of my Business

Yep, I said it out loud … my business. I have already generated referrals from my blog for my interior decorating business, Spruce Street Projects, even though I have not actively promoted or rarely mentioned that I have a job outside of blogging – right now. With this in mind, I want to know what other bloggers are doing, how they are doing it and what opportunities are there to collaborate and learn from like-minded people in the design community. Networking in this fashion only serves to generate better content to you, the reader, and by extension my clients.

#2 Meet the Brands that are Sponsors of BlogPodium

Jen and Lindsay have put together a fantastic line-up of brands that are keen to work with bloggers. I’m talking top tier brands in the design industry. These are companies that I’d like to work with both as an interior decorator and blogger. The panel discussion promises to provide insights on how to work with brands as a blogger followed by face to face conversations.

#3 Motivation & Inspiration

Every blogger event I have been to I have walked away inspired, connected and motivated to keep blogging and striving to the next level. Given some of the contests and conversations leading up to BlogPodium this weekend I have a feeling this might be the best event yet.

So there you have it. Three reasons why I’m going to BlogPodium. I will report back next week with a post-event wrap up.

Do you attend any conferences in your area of specialty that leave you energized and motivated?

BlogPodium, PARA Paints et moi

I am super excited to be attending BlogPodium this coming weekend. One of the sponsors of the event, PARA Paints is running a contest to be part of their “Blog Crew”. Open to attendees of BlogPodium, the winners get free paint and a stipend towards supplies for their projects. And, do I have some projects!

I was first introduced to PARA Paints last year by one of my instructors at Seneca who required that we spec PARA colours for our final project. It was a great initial opportunity to dive into the colours of a paint company I hadn’t used before. I particularly like that it has Canadian roots!

I’ve got a few spaces and things around my home that need some paint love and I thought I’d share these with you today. Don’t judge … they are in their very RAW form and ain’t pretty. Projects can periodically have long completion rates around here but I’ve been on a roll lately and am motivated to keep painting … so without further delay here they are:

The first two projects are inspired by grey siding, white trim and a yellow door … kinda like this:

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Project #1: Our Back Shed

It’s currently a lovely shade of green and plywood (yes, plywood is a colour in my books). Instead of replacing the shed last year we had it reshingled and refaced portions of it.

See that bit of grey paint slapped on the green … well … I got a little slap happy with some random grey sample and then the weather got too cold to paint the exterior. We have been “admiring” it from our family room all winter. A-hem … not really.

I want to paint the shed a slightly darker grey than the siding on the addition at the back of our house.”Straight Goods” would work very well. It is a fairly “pure” grey meaning derived from a mix of black and white with no undertones of another colour in it. It is not too dominating or darker either.

Project #2: Exterior Doors

I love yellow and I’d love nothing more to have our doors splashed with a coat of yellow paint. It would look amazing next to the red brick on our front door and the grey siding on the doors to our mudroom and shed.

For this I’m thinking about “Sunflowers”. It is the right mix of a pop of colour for the door without being too bright.

Moving indoors …

Project #3: My office walls

A while back, I posted about the new bench seat and blinds I had made for my office … well … I still haven’t painted the walls yet!

I want the space to feel light, like I’m working covered by a pale blue sky. Kind of like the walls in this living room:

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For this space I’d love to use “Skydiving” or “Clouded In”. “Clouded In” is the likely winner as it is more of a white with blue undertones but I would paint some larger samples first to test the colours before starting to paint the entire space.

I’ve got other ideas too but that’s just a taste of what is at the top of my list. So … PARA Paints … pick me pretty please! I wield a mean paint brush!!

What are you inspired to paint right now?

Blog Podium: My head is spinning with inspiration & ideas!

It’s been a whirlwind weekend of design inspiration, seeing old and new faces and learning so much my head is about to explode! Today I want to share with you what I learned at the inaugural Blog Podium which was held in conjunction with the Interior Design Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The blogger brains behind this fantastic event are Lindsay of Little House Blog and Jen of Rambling Renovators. The mission of Blog Podium promised Conversation, collaboration and connection in a conference series that brings design & lifestyle bloggers, marketers, and the design community together.

Friday’s session didn’t disappoint. The topic was “Blogs & Media” and the panelists explored everything from the evolving relationship between traditional and new media to how to make your blog stand out to how to pitch magazines, television and other media with content ideas.

Blogs have leveled the media playing field and magazines are paying attention. As Margot Austin of House and Home said – she loves the dialogue it creates with readers and the feedback she gets on articles that are run.

To be a successful blogger it is critical to have a key message and stay on point. Kimberly Seldon wants to learn something from the blogger and is looking for an original voice with original thought. Kate Moore wants to see more about who we are and moments from our work. Who is the individual behind the blog? And, Margot Austin loves a beautiful, well edited blog. As she said: “There is space for appreciators not just creators”. She really appreciates someone who “creates a package of lasting beauty” with their own unique voice in how they present their words and images.

Jen Flores provided a unique blogger voice to compliment the media panel and her key pieces of advice for bloggers are to network, do guest posts on other blogs, make sure you have a blog roll so your readers can link up to other like-minded blogs and make sure that your content is easy and concise for editors to find.

So, how do you pitch your content to get published? All three media panelists had specific suggestions but the key elements to consider are the story behind who lives in the space, what does the space look like and a bio on yourself. But most importantly know who you are pitching to. For example, Chatelaine has a very different look than a House and Home story.

And finally, credit, credit, credit. Too many bloggers take liberties and don’t credit their images appropriately. It’s a hot topic in the blogging world and a message that was shouted loud and clear by the Blog Podium panelists.

Many thanks to IDS12, Delta and Olioboard for sponsoring this fantastic event.

So what am I going to do differently after Blog Podium?

Well, for starters … ReDesigning Sarah is about to introduce a new logo (thank you GS&B!) … Here’s a peek:

I’ve also got some ideas on how to structure content and better interact with other bloggers – stay tuned for more!

I’ll provide a recap of the IDS12 and Canadian Design Bloggers Meet Up I attended in the next few days but was so inspired by Blog Podium it deserved a post of its own.

Have you ever attended a conference or seminar that got your creative juices flowing?