Blogging Tips,Lifestyle (Home, Travel, Family)

RewardStyle Conference 2017 Recap Part 2

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap: topshop garden lunch

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap - classroom sessions

Today I’m sharing more about my time in Dallas for the RewardStyle Conference 2017.  If you remember from the first part of my conference recap I left off at time hacks to optimize one’s blogging schedule.  Today I’m diving into two other classroom sessions I attended and my experience with brand meetings.

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap: topshop garden lunch

RewardStyle Conference 2017 Class 2: SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is a tech term way above the head of a gal (me) who wanted to start a website to share her home DIY projects on Pinterest.    So while I’m trying to share the info with you all – much of this info was a lot for me to absorb.  Someone with a decent tech background would be much better served to break this down for you.

GOOGLE

So here goes.   Google cares about giving its readers instant results.   YOAST is an amazing plug-in for helping google recognize what your site and posts are about.  I’m already using YOAST and it’s super helpful in telling you where you want to add in your keywords (picture ALT tags, title, first paragraph, etc).  That said, I must not be doing such a great job, Google doesn’t send much traffic my way :).

Your site should be organized for Google.   The term “taxonomy” was used. The presenters suggested breaking things down to organize them with categories, subcategories, tags, and tag archives.  Google uses these to index your site.

To help Google index your site you need to create a sitemap.   How do you do that?  Not sure :). Once you have your sitemap you submit it to google so it has a better understanding of how to crawl your site.   These are things on my to-do list, but the my older son giving up a nap has hampered by blog game temporarily.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • You should have a FACEBOOK business page for your blog and boost RewardStyle content on there because many people have had good results from this.   Personally I haven’t seen much uptick from boosting posts but it’s inexpensive (as little as $5) so I will give it a whirl again in the future.
  • Pinterest is a search engine more than social media.   They mentioned that Sunday evenings are the best time to post and services like Board Booster can be helpful in increasing your Pinterest growth.   You’d think with a blog name like Pinteresting Plans I’d be killing the Pinterest game but I am not :)….yet.  I do use Board Booster to loop my pins but I haven’t had a chance to tap into all the other features they offer.  I’d love to follow you on Pinterest (my account) if you let me know your name.
  • On Instagram you want to use as much as you can in your photo to try and be discovered by new followers.   As much as you can use geotags, tag brands you’re wearing, and use hashtags niche enough that you won’t be lost in the masses.

Content Structure

The speakers here mentioned something about headings and subheadings but it was over my head and I stopped taking notes while I tried to listen.   So there’s something important about that, you should fill me in if you’re that smart 🙂

Make sure your site is mobile friendly.  That came up over and over throughout the RewardStyle 2017 Conference.  The majority of blog traffic is becoming mobile….so optimize your site for this.

Check your site speed.    GTmetrix.com and Pingdom are sites where you can check site speed and you want your site to load within 4 seconds.  My site totally bombed this check and it told me (what I already knew) my images are my biggest problem.

The file name of your image should use the SEO keyboards and explain to Google what is in the picture.  ALT text of the image is the same.   Image size is very important.   My images for instance are too large.   Google doesn’t like me because my page is too slow for its awesome readers….so this is something I need to work on.

Use more text in your posts to help Google understand what you’re talking about.   It helps your site to relink to your own relative older posts within your newest posts.

Use keywords in your posts.   More niche keywords are even better because it’s unlikely you’ll be a top search for something broad like “women’s fashion”.   Google Adwords is a service that can help with this but I have not had a chance to use it as of this time.

Check on your Google Analytics.   Your average bounce rate should be 40-60% – with an average 1.5 minute time frame per visit.

Tools:

  1. YOAST is the best SEO plug-in.
  2. WP Smush is a plug-in (that I just downloaded) to help optimize images and increase site speed
  3. Broken link checker is a plug in to find dead links.
  4. AMP – acceleration mobile pages (I didn’t fully catch this but it’s something I will look in to).

rewardstyle conference 2017 bumble cocktail party

rewardstyle conference 2017 bumble evening cocktail party

That evening we had a cocktail party hosted by BUMBLE and then I headed out to Mexican food with a big group of bloggers.

The next morning were my brand meetings.

RewardStyle Conference 2017 Brand Meetings

My brand meetings were with Abercrombie, Loft, and Sole Society (in that order).   The meetings are 10 minutes long and each is with a RewardStyle representative as well as the brand rep.   I did not know what to expect with brand meetings and my first one we chatted about dry shampoo and vacation constipation.  I mean WHA????   Way to blow that one!!!

So in a brand meeting you’re supposed to get to know the people you’re speaking with (but maybe not so well that you talk about bowel movements) but you’re also supposed to be selling YOUR BRAND.   I totally flopped on this one, sadly.  I actually love Abercrombie and Fitch.  I think they have rebranded themselves to be much more adult, cozy, and casual which is totally my jam so I wish I would have sold myself better and discussed ideas for brand partnership.   I did better with Loft and ok with Sole Society, discussing my direction going forward and what types of work I’m interested in.

I also think it’s important to point out that you should have a media kit with you.   If you’re invited to the RewardStyle conference you’re doing well with sales.  You want to have that visual with your stats and examples of your images so brand reps can take you home with them.  I paid for 35 copies of my media kit and gave out 6 all together (all in the brand meetings).   So save yourself some money and bring a dozen and you should be very safe.

rewardstyle conference 2017 topshop garden lunch

There was a garden lunch with TopShop that served the most delicious food (and finally some vegetables).

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap - garden lunch with TOPSHOP

RewardStyle Conference 2017 Class 3: Earned Media

This was a class about strategically marketing yourself.  Courtney Kerr (of Kerrently.com) spoke to the room saying reputation is everything.   On a side note she’s totally hysterical.  She suggested taking the time to attend events and remember that people you meet will remember how you made them feel.  She urged the bloggers there to build up like minded brands and to send thank you notes.  BEING KIND AND FUNNY WILL NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE.   Ok, she didn’t say that, that’s my tag line, but that’s the gist of what talked about.

The Finale PARTY!!!   Celebrating the launch of the LTK APP

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap

If you followed the weekend on my Instastories you know the RewardStyle Conference 2017 wasn’t all classes and meetings.  The grand finale of the weekend was a party to celebrate the launch of the Liketoknow.it App which it SO easy to shop the outfits of all your favorite bloggers.

We were shuttled on nice buses from the hotel to the party which was at some sort of theater.   The event started with a rooftop cocktail hour and it happened to be freezing.  This New Englander wasn’t sure she would survive.   The event was “black tie optional” so a lot of people had on long gowns.   I did not want to shell out even more money buying a dress because I probably won’t attend another black tie event for at least 5 years.  I’m boring like that!   I should have planned ahead and reached out to some brands to see if I could get my hands on something fancy….instead I wore the dress I donned at my bachelorette party circa 2011.  The party was a great time!   So many fun dance parties were had.

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap - finale party

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap - finale party Photo Booth

I stayed out after the finale party and paid for it the next day.   This mid 30’s mama can’t hang like she used it!!

Sunday I headed home after visiting with my brother.   We stopped at the LTK “Started with a Screenshot” wall on our way out of town and then I was on a plane to get back to babies.

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap - started with a screenshot wall

rewardstyle conference 2017 recap - crescent hotel dallas

If you have questions about things I did or didn’t cover I’d be happy to answer!  Drop a comment below.

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Laken
    May 19, 2017 at 3:26 am

    Wow, this was a great post! Thank you so much for sharing. As a budding fashion blogger myself, I hope to someday be there with you all! It was so nice to get the inside view of the conference; it looks like it was amazing!

    Your blog is great, and I love your style. Keep being amazing!

    • Reply
      Rachel
      May 19, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you so much!! Let me know if you have questions down the road.
      Rachel

  • Reply
    Francesca
    May 20, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences at the LTK conference. As a new blogger, I aspire to attend one day and it’s great to get an inside look at what goes on.

    It’s a great tip to bring a polished media kit. I’m currently wondering if I should print some business cards for my blog because when it comes up in conversation, people can leave remembering to check it out (what was her website again?).

    I’m working on my Pinterest game too (Pinterest.com/wineandtots, if you want to follow me). I also have a fashion and style board if you’re interested in contributing. 😉

    My question for you is, should we include affiliate links in our evergreen content? Does that make it less evergreen bc the products will eventually become unavailable at the end of the season?

    As always, your honest perspective is really inspiring. Looking forward to your next post!

    Francesca
    Lifestyle & Fashion blogger
    Finewineandtatertots.com

    • Reply
      Rachel
      May 23, 2017 at 2:26 am

      I do have business cards though I don’t find myself handing them out.
      I would include affiliate links in evergreen content. you can always switch them out if you see a post if getting a lot of new traffic.
      I’ll make sure to follow you on Pinterest.
      THANKS!!!

  • Reply
    Karen
    May 23, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Loved reading both your posts! You did a great job breaking down all you learned. My favorite recaps for sure!

    -Karen

    • Reply
      Rachel
      May 27, 2017 at 2:06 am

      thank you Karen!!!

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