10 Career Lessons I Learned from a Blogging Conference

10 Career Lessons I Learned Last Weekend

Eight things of which I strongly agreed with — and two I did not.

I went to an annual blogging conference over the weekend (hosted by rewardStyle, a monetization platform for bloggers); so today, I’m bringing you a recap of ten general career lessons I walked away with after the conference… Eight things of which I strongly agreed with — and two I did not.

rewardstyle #rsthecon conference recap

After this weekend, though, I must say… I have two moods: Sleep is for the weak — or sleep for the week.

If you are a Snapchat follower (@coralsncognacs), you know that the last few days, it’s been all about the former… Whoops!

Everything in moderation, right?

best healthy juice bars in chicago

At any rate, let’s talk:

Regardless of whether you’re a blogger or you work your ass off in a separate industry/full-time job, doesn’t it seem like every time you turn around there’s a panel or conference or something work-related that you have to go to/attend/make time for in order to reach that coveted next level of wherever you’re at? Shit, man.

Sometimes, this is true — and no doubt great for your professional growth — but a lot of it is that noise that we talked about in this post last week.

I know that many of you couldn’t attend for financial reasons (or, you know, you’re not a blogger), but I have a lot of thoughts to share from the experience. So without further adieu…

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10 things I learned from a blogger conference (#rStheCon):

1. Relationships are the key to your success. Period. At the end of the day, it’s all about who you know, how they’ll remember you and how closely you’ve taken care of that relationship. Being authentic, kind and interested in other people’s lives (in a genuine way) will get you far in not just your career, but life.

2. Surround yourself with people who set you up for success.* Similarly, your success is tied directly to the people you surround yourself with. My favorite thing about the rewardStyle conference? People! Being around 200 fun, talented, hungry-for-more people chasing a dream similar to yours is a great way to leave you feeling energized and excited about what’s to come — and of course, motivated to kick your own ass into gear.

*And return the favor. You will never ever ever be less successful for celebrating someone else’s accomplishment. There’s plenty to go around, my friends.

corals + cognacs wearing a lace-up black bodysuit from topshop

*What I wore: Topshop lace-up bodysuit (it’s f’ing amazing and under $40), C/MEO skirt (more here), Sam Edelman shoes — the ones I told you I wear every weekend. Shop below:

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3. Look at your numbers. Your stats. Like, really look at them. Your favorite social media platform might not be the most efficient/that’s driving the most traffic to your site. Take a day (or longer) to deep-dive into these analytics and re-think your social media sharing strategy. Don’t be intimidated if this isn’t your professional background, you can learn it just by telling a story with numbers: If Pinterest is one of your top traffic drivers, figure out why/what content does well and spend more time here. (You can use websites like CoSchedule to schedule pins, FYI. Total game-changer.)

4. Surprise! You do not already know everything. I’ll be honest: I did not feel that I learned a great deal from the conference this year — but that didn’t stop me from gleaning some great business insights (hence, this post). The conference was beneficial, yes, but not so much for me on the knowledge/education front, as I have a background in marketing analysis and digital media. Plus, I stay aggressively up-to-date on social media trends.

Regardless, you can — and will — learn from literally anyone, so even if you “know it already,” challenge yourself to figure out what that lesson is. Oh, and listen more than you talk. You’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason.

real-good-juice-co-chicago

5. Go with your gut. Throughout the weekend, there were a series of smaller expert-guided educational sessions. Most I found interesting, but truthfully I didn’t agree with a few of the best practices being discussed in each (more on that below in points #9 and #10). That’s my own personal opinion, of course. Even though I think it’s important to always find the lesson in what you’re doing, at the end of the day, go with your gut… But make sure your heart and head are on similar pages.

6. Video is the future. And our attention spans are getting shorter, so get to the point. I mean, look at how popular 10-second messaging apps are becoming! Which leads me to my next point, in that…

7. Candid photos are always better than posed photos. 

corals & cognacs, pursuit of shoes, bows & sequins bloggers at rewardstyle conference in dallas

Our outfits, left to right: On Jess: Lily Pulitzer dress / On Ashley: Privacy Please kimono dress / On me: Saylor dress (on sale for 40% off) and those Sam Edelman shoes — again (also on sale)! Shop below:

*Note: Both Ashley’s and my dresses are from REVOLVE, which is an extra 10% site-wide off with code CANDY this week. Go. Now. RUN!

Love these gals. We had so much fun together!

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Last but not least…

8. Abandon the plan. This falls somewhat outside of the realm of the conference, but let’s just all accept that nothing in life goes according to plan.

Long (very long) story short, I missed my flight home on Sunday morning and ended up missing my first SoulCycle class of the day. Really, really not ideal — and I hate feeling like an unreliable teacher in that sense. There was literally nothing I could have done (my Uber blew a tire on the highway at 4 a.m.) — and  as I’ve been saying to my classes: Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with it.

Let’s not worry so much about that 10% and focus instead on the other 90% — the shit that we can control.

gold-metallic-headphones

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What I disagreed with…

Now, there were two notable topics from the conference that I really didn’t agree with — and here’s why:

9. “Most of your time and effort should go into your blog.”

So, there was a lot of emphasis at the conference this year on putting your website first-and-foremost. After all, your dot-com is the only thing you actually, truly own. I get it, and there’s a lot of validity to this.

To date, social media has been an ever-changing extension of our blogs (and brands); but honestly, I think that in many ways the digital industry is becoming platform-agnostic, meaning you can be influential on any platform you want (and put the work in) to. Of course, you should think about your overall objectives before you quit posting all-together to focus on your Insta-game… Having a holistic digital presence is better than just having, say, a big Twitter following. That’d be like having huge quads but no calf muscles. You feel me?

10. “You have to bucket yourself into a niche.”

Do you, though? Let’s be real — life isn’t one-dimensional. You and your blog don’t have to be either, but I say that with one caveat: YOU have to be consistent. In your voice, demeanor and online persona (if you have one).

I am a prime example — I cover a lot of topics: lifestyle, fitness, fashion, career, and so on. I think it’s more important to find and hone your voice and stick to that, rather than stress about placing yourself into a niche. How are you different and what makes you stand out?

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If you attended the conference and have similar feedback, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And as you know, I have my weekly “Ask Me Anything” series now as a part of each week’s Link Love, so fire away!

Images via: Source, My Instagram

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