Wednesday, May 30, 2012

{blogpodium: the business of blogging}

BlogPodium 'The Business of Blogging' event was bursting with information & I truly learned so much! Here's my recap of the entire event and several of the tips I learned on how to monetize your blog.

But first, a huge thank you to the fabulous organizers, Lindsay and Jennifer, they put on a first class event and it was literally flawless! {images via Mango Studios unless otherwise indicated}

image via AyA Kitchens

The sponsors they worked with to make this event happen were amazing. I love how so many leading businesses are beginning to realize the power of connecting with bloggers. AyA Kitchens was there to welcome us, and as the winners of their kitchen contest, Barbara and I felt truly spoiled all weekend! I love the swag bags that each blogger recieved from AyA, chartreuse is one of my favorite colors!

image via AyA Kitchens

We met up with Amanda & Nelson from AyA, and got a chance to create some fantastic memories in the HomeSense smile booth together with our wonderful sponsors! How exciting to be connecting the design community in such a way.

All of the event's sponsors were fantastic, tons of swag was at hand, I actually got a sore arm caring it all around!

Here I am getting bogged down with bags ... no complaints, I loved all the goodies! But truth be told my feet hurt ;)

Vanessa, me, Barbara, and Sundeep; my own image

I was happy to recieve the Gluckstein paint deck from Benjamin Moore {a selection of BM colors hand-picked by Brian Gluckstein}. With a quick flip through I found every single color I have used in my home were included! Phew, it seems I have approval from my design hero Mr. Gluckstein himself :)

Look at all of those lovely attendees! 188 in total to be exact ;) And the Arcadian Loft was a very stylish venue.

Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely was our keynote and she gave a wonderful talk! I so appreciated her willingness to share her wisdom with us.

Here are some important tips she shared:

- Nicole started doing ads after 1 year of blogging, her goal was to first reach 10,000 page views per month

- Having a combination of smaller boutique ads such as etsy sellers & bloggers, and larger ads of a bigger size designated to larger businesses is a great way to go

- You can work with an Ad agency, a middle man that brings advertisers to you. They have great connections & can save you time. The only negative is that they will take a cut of your sales anywhere from 40-70%, and a minimum 1 year contract is usually needed. Plus there may be delays pay, usually a 60, 90 or 120 day period.

- Sponsored posts are another source of revenue. It's good to start off a sponsored post with a line like 'This post is brought to you by ....' kind of like a commercial, to be clear and up front with your reader

- The BlogPodium audience seemed to agree a frequency of 2 sponsored posts per month was acceptable & comfortable to readers

- Google ads is an easy way to start making money, but you have to reach $100 to get your first pay-out, which can take a long time

- Start out by offering ads for free, and then when you get a little established, begin to offer inexpensive rates

- As your traffic grows raise your rates!

- Calculate your rates based on approximately $3 CPM (Cost per 1000 page loads per month). Ex. for every 30,000 pg views per month, this would be nearly $100

- 'Above the fold' ads should cost more (those that appear at the top pf your blog without the reader needing to scroll down the page to see them). Placement matters!

- Rotate your ads to give equally paying advertisers a chance at equal exposure

- Don't be afraid to ask companies for products that may help you in a current project! Chances are they will want the exposure and choose to work with you

The expert panel: Cheryl Kozoriz of Gluckstein Home, Laura Muirhead of Tribal DDB, Lindsay, Christine, and Leigh-Ann of Benjamin Moore

Such a wealth of information! A huge thank you to AyA Kitchens for making it possible for me to attend this wonderful event. I don't know if I'll ever win such a fabulous contest like that again! And thank you to all the other sponsors that made this event possible. My only hope is that I can make it back to BlogPodium one day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

{blogpodium: bits of my trip}

Hi everyone! It's Tuesday, and I'm finally back in action :) I hope all of my American friends had a great day off yesterday!

I had an amazing time in Toronto, what a great city. Today I'm sharing a few of our photos of the events of the weekend, and tomorrow I will share the deets on the actual BlogPodium conference which was a huge success! I learned so much and I hope I can convey some of that info to all of you.

First up, the actual city of TO was amazing! Kind of like a mini-NY in many ways. I loved the mix of old and new everywhere you look, what a contrast:

My blog partner-in-crime, Barbara of hodgepodge, and I tried to hit up as many spots as we could. Especially places we are envious of here in Vancouver, like Designer Fabrics for instance. Fabric heaven, that's for sure! And of course we should have assumed we'd bump into someone in a place like that ... sure enough Michael Penney just happened to be popping out with a bag full of goodies!

From there we hopped over to West Elm, another great place we lack here in Vancouver. I spotted this lovely tufted sofa that made me believe leather sofa's can still be uber stylish :) I love the practicality of a leather sofa {especially with dogs or kids} but I don't love how mine look. Too bad this one didn't fit in my suitcase ... instead I came home with a couple of Turkish towels which are a little easier to pack!

We had the amazing opportunity to visit the fabulous Meredith Heron in her equally fabulous studio. Wow, I could have stood there for days just staring at all the beautiful things. How amazing is that oversized carriage fixture? And look at the fab legs on those chairs!

Can you imagine those brass chairs? I died ... can't wait to see what she does with them. Thank you Meredith for having us!!

me with Meredith and Barbara

A definite highlight for me was meeting so many great people like Tim Lam of Design Maze and Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely, who was the keynote speaker of BlogPodium. She was brave enough to give some all-Canadian poutine a try!

Barbara, Tim, me; Gabrielle & Nicole

On our last day in TO, we hit up Aberfoyle, the oldest antique market in Canada. What a blast!

The lovely Vanessa of Damask et Dentelle was scouring the market for goodies ... I spotted hundreds of things I would've brought home, like this lovely desk ...

But instead I brought home this little Wedgwood Jasperware bud vase I fell for. Now I'm on a mission to one day find a couple of black and white Jasperware pieces like these ones Eddie Ross used in his desk vignette:

We stayed at the lovely Marriot hotel downtown, thanks to the wonderful people at AyA Kitchens who sent Barbara and I and covered our stay! THANK YOU! I had a giant King sized bed all to myself, I could've gotten lost in that thing. I'll cover more on the wonderful event sponsors, Nicole's keynote talk, and everything else surrounding the event tomorrow. As you can see I was a good student and took as many notes as I could!

And yes, if you are wondering my dress did have poodles on it :)

Thanks for reading through this massive post! More to come tomorrow ...

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