The 5 Key Blogger Takeaways from Our First Style Summit

Photo by Jessica Bordner

What a 2017 it’s been for us at C&C! And it’s only January.

Last week alone, we launched our first ever Create & Cultivate 100 list, and then hopped on a plane to Florida for our very first Create & Cultivate Style Summit at The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills.

If you couldn't make it to Fort Lauderdale and missed out on Saturday’s Style Summit (and the amazing florals thanks to Designs by Darenda), we’ve culled some of the best tips from our amazing panelists. From how to utilize your Instagram feed as a business medium, to creating a brand and a business as an influencer, to diving into doing fashion full time.

IF YOU WANT TO BLOG FULL TIME, YOU HAVE TO GIVE IT TIME.

Contrary to what the outside world may think, blogging= not so simple. You don’t get 100K followers overnight, and brands don’t come running to partner with you because you own a blog.

Although they have established large followings, many of the bloggers from Saturday, including Stephanie Hill of The Style Bungalow, Nikole Powers of In High Demand, and Symphani Soto are still looking to grow their followings.

And getting to where they are has taken considerable time. “You have to give it time and invest the time and energy in creating good content and creating a great brand,” says Stephanie. “It doesn’t come easy.”

USE YOUR REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE AND APPLY IT TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Blogging full time may be a dream job for many, but for many influencers it started as a side hustle. Use this to your advantage. How?

For those starting out, a rule of thumb to follow is to absorb as much knowledge as possible, which seems obvious, but success is in the details. Pay careful attention to how your current role might help inform your business strategies as a blogger. Also be sure to cultivate relationships and don’t burn bridges.

“The industry is very small,” says Kristen Leahy of Fancy Things Blog. “I’ve applied my knowledge I’ve learned in the PR industry to running my blog, and the connections I’ve made have helped me grow my blog as well.”

Gorgeous florals by Designs by Darenda. 

Gorgeous florals by Designs by Darenda. 

ALIGN WITH PARTNERSHIPS THAT MAKE SENSE FOR YOUR BRAND

Making money. At the end of the day, that’s also what blogging is about. And when you’re first getting started it’s very tempting to say “yes” to dollars. Forget outfits, you need to pay rent.

However, when you’re building a brand, you want to make sure that you are committing to a collaboration that will help your brand in the end. “When working with a brand, you have to think whether they’re going to help or hurt your brand,” says Nikole Powers.

Also, it’s not all about the money. Keep in mind that you’re also creating brand that is a reflection of who you are. “If you become a blogger just to make a lot of money,” says Stephanie Hill, “this gig is not for you.”

In short: “Don’t be a sellout,” says Natalie Suarez, who took a moment in between dropping knowledge to hit the Sideshow Booth with sister Dylana (see below) and snap a few shots.  

INVEST TIME IN MAKING A MEDIA KIT

While your website and your social media channels serve as an archive for all the amazing content that you have created, when you’re looking to grow your brand and establish a professional presence, you have to invest time in creating a media kit.

All the girls on panel this weekend have created their own media kits, whether they made it from scratch or bought a template on Etsy to help them start. And it’s also not rocket science if you feel intimidated by creating one.

“My media kit is simple and states the facts. Report impressive numbers, add beautiful imagery that you already have on your blog, and showcase notable collabs,” says Stephanie Hill. “Also, make it as easy as possible for brands and potential collaborators to read your deck. They don’t have time to read essays.”

Natalie and Dylana Suarez in the Sideshow Booth. 

Natalie and Dylana Suarez in the Sideshow Booth. 

BUILD CONTENT TO YOUR OWN STANDARDS, NOT ANYONE ELSE’S, AND STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF

Last, but certainly not least, the one key to creating a brand as an influencer is to make sure that you’re creating YOUR OWN BRAND. Blogging is a very competitive field, to say the least, so you have to make sure that your content is able to stand out and not blend into what everyone else is doing.

“Don’t build your content to live up to everyone else’s standard. Do you,” says Kristin Clark of Living In Color Print. If you tune out of what everyone else is doing, you can create amazing content on your own. “Be inspired by others, but always make sure you are always doing you,” as Nikole Powers would say.

What were your favorite takeaways from Create & Cultivate Style Summit this weekend? Let us know below!

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