Greetings from a Bolt Bus en route from Boston back to New York. I’m not actually at MIT, sorry.
I went up to Boston for the weekend for the Healthy Living Summit, a conference for healthy living bloggers. It was my third year going (2010 posts; 2011 Healthy Living Summit), and it’s always nice to catch up IRL with people whose blogs I read.
After a five-hour bus ride (no, really, I love I-95), I was HANGRY. Dear anyone I met upon walking into the hotel: I’m usually more friendly than that but I needed food. The hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, had a decent little deli where Tina and I stopped for lunch and a coconut water.
We completely missed a photo walk Gretchen was hosting because we were too busy stuffing our faces, so we went on our own photo walk along Commerce Drive.
By the time we came back, it was time to get ready for the cocktail party. Gretchen is not just awesome with a camera, she also wields a mean makeup brush.
We went for dinner at the hotel restaurant, Zephyr on the Charles, before the cocktail party and had a mini photo shoot.
I am not a fashion blogger because when I try to do a pensive pose, I just look like I’m sleeping.
I had a long run on deck for Saturday morning, so I embarked on No Carb Left Behind, starting with this pretzel roll.
I got the rigatoni with vegetables and asked them to add chicken. Expectations weren’t high for a hotel restaurant, but this was absolutely delicious. The sauce had a sweet tangy taste and the chicken was even moist.
And the it was cocktail party time. #teamoffbalance represented in the photo booth. I swear I only had a glass of wine at the party despite what these photos look like.
The next morning, I got up at 4:40 for my long run with Amanda and Alex. When we met up, she said she wasn’t used to running more than 6 miles with people, but 15 miles later, she was converted. I had to stop to walk for a few minutes because my stomach was upset, and even with the stop, I still managed a 9:46 average pace, which I was really happy with.
I showered, power-ate (that’s a thing, right?) and got ready for my panel, blogging with brands.
When I started my blog, I was pretty resistant to product reviews and working with brands, but I’d like to think I’ve worked with brands in an authentic and transparent way.
The panel consisted of: Lauren as the moderator, Ashley, Anne from the blogger side; and Kelly Olexa from FitFluential, Valerie Elston from Porter Novelli and Laura Stanton from Dancing Deer from the brand side.
We talked about everything from media kits (basically a blogger’s resume–it’s a one-page document that includes your blog stats and accomplishments) to compensation. There’s a live-blog transcript of the session, but my thoughts for you:
Media Kits: You don’t *need* a media kit, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. As someone who works at an agency, it’s helpful to have a blogger’s media kit to forward on to the client as a brief description of the blogger and their background. Katy Widrick has an awesome post about media kits, and email me at theodora.blanchfield @ gmail dot com if you’d like a template of mine to work off of.
Compensation: Oh, this is a fun one. To the chagrin of some of you, I’ve done some sponsored posts. For sponsored posts that come from my ad network, Glam, there’s a set rate. For posts that I’ve done dealing directly with a brand or agency, I used the rate my ad network set until I felt comfortable charging a bit more. I used the formula from Babble, but bumped up my rate a little bit. Some of the factors I consider in setting rates include number of deliverables (is it just a post or are there additional things I’m required to do?), size of company I’m dealing with (a large corporate brand will have a larger budget than a small, local brand) and the amount of time it will take me.
One question Lauren asked everyone on the blogger side was: have you ever targeted brands that you work with? When I first started my blog, I did this more as I was trying to get my name out there. I still do this some, but much more selectively. My advice on this one boiled down to my one basic Internet rule: don’t be a d-bag. I overheard some bloggers going up to brands at BlogHer and immediately giving them the hard sell on their blog and why they should work together. On the panel, I said that it was like a relationship–you need to get to know the brand. You’re not going to ask someone to marry you on the first date, so don’t ask for the world the first time you contact a brand. Develop a relationship and you will be more likely to continue to work with a brand. You get more flies with honey and all that.
I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with public speaking, and it was a really fun panel to sit on, since this is the sort of thing I talk and think about all the time, both with coworkers and blogger friends. When it was over, I felt like we could have kept going for another hour!
Did you go to Healthy Living Summit? What was your favorite panel?
And for the rest of you…most interesting conference you’ve ever been to–or would love to go to? I really want to go to SXSWi.