If you’ve never been to IMATS, the International Make-Up Artist…
Sometimes we all need a bit of inspiration, a few life lessons and some quality time with a group of people that support and motivate you. This is exactly what the Spark Sessions conference was for me!
If you haven’t heard of Spark Sessions, it’s a non-profit organization in Toronto that puts on a yearly 2-day conference as well as intensive workshops to help beauty, fashion and lifestyle bloggers build their skills, network and take their blog to the next level.
This year’s conference was less than two days after my return from Australia, but nothing, not even the craziest jetlag, was going to keep me from attending. Especially since one of my favourite bloggers, Natalie from Ivory Avenue, was travelling all the way from Montreal to come hang out!
Over the two days, there were 7 sessions I attended and 8 PR “speed dating” interviews I had that helped put things into perspective and really helped me figure a few things out about the future of this blog (and even my career). Here are my key takeaways, in a handy top 5 list:
GOLDEN RULES FOR BEAUTY BLOGGING
1. LOVE what you write about
Don’t become a blog bot and write about things you don’t believe in or truly care about. When you regurgitate a press release or rush though a post because you’re not into it, people can tell. (I can tell because you have typos all over your post!)
2. Be picky
This goes hand-in-hand with Rule #1. Don’t cover events or review products that don’t interest you. Over time, you’ll start to lose your passion and feel unmotivated. Hoarding all the PR samples is only going to land you a gig on the show Hoarders.
3. Stay true to who you are
Don’t change the way you write or the photos you take to please anyone. Everyone is a unique and special snowflake, so if you actually let your true personality shine through your blog will stand out!
4. Build Your Network!
This doesn’t just apply to building a network of PR contacts, it’s important to get to know other bloggers. This is an extremely supportive community and you may one day need their help for motivation, inspiration or a guest post (like that time I scheduled 3 weeks of guests posts so I could go to Australia). May I suggest joining the Canadian Beauty Bloggers network?
5. Fake it ’til you make it.
Ok, I already follow this rule, but it is important to keep in mind. So you just started out blogging, who cares. You can create content just as well as a blogger who has years of experience. Have confidence!
BUT most of all, there is no formula for being a successful beauty blogger (and really what is “success” in blogging anyway?) Just be nice and do what makes you happy!
For me, one of the most helpful sessions was The A-Z of Media Kits with Maxine McDonald of Langton Communications. I have been struggling with what to put into my media kit for over a year now, and she broke it down for us within about 35 minutes. If you’re interested in a more detailed write-up of the Media Kit workshop, feel free to leave me a note in the comments!
OTHER MEMORABLE MOMENTS INCLUDE…
Shawna and her light-up lipgloss.
ALL IN ALL: While some people went to Spark Sessions looking for a way to turn blogging into a job or to connect with publishers to spread their content all over the country, what I realized is I LOVE blogging. I love writing about pretty things and fun experiences. See, I’m a copywriter by trade and write all day long for clients, so when I come home it’s all about me. I don’t want to turn this into a job because I already have a job as a writer! So what can you expect for 2015? A lot of the same: product reviews, lots of MAC, and probably a few more event, travel and op-ed pieces.
I can’t thank the amazing team at Spark Sessions enough for all their hard work and dedication putting this conference together. Now onto next year’s workshops and conference!
Want to learn more about Spark Sessions? Head on over to their site and sign up for the newsletter!