Thursday, January 27, 2011

Part II: What I Learned at Alt

Photo credit: Cartoules Letterpress

Yesterday you read what I did at Alt, and today I'd like to share what I actually learned there. As if meeting my favorite design bloggers in person wasn't enough, I was so lucky to listen in on what they had to say about their experiences in blogging etiquette, making advertising and sponsorship work in the blogging world, and striking a balance between work and social media (clearly I still need help here as I write this at 12am).

This post is pretty lengthy and wordy, but well worth a read over if you are a blogger yourself looking for tips from the best (and the ladies I mention below are the best).

In college I was a great notetaker, so today, without further ado, I'm using my mad skills to share with you what I learned at Alt:

Photo credit: Alt Flickr Stream
[Danielle of the Jealous Curator | Jenny of Little Green Notebook | Meg of A Practical Wedding | 
Sarah of Babble]
  • Blog communities grow organically and gradually.
  • Threaded comments allow for a dialogue between you and your readers, and between the readers themselves.
  • Be the person who starts a conversation that other bloggers want to continue.
  • Be sure to always go back to what originally inspired you to write. 
  • Write emails to those who you love and write about. They'll want to know they've been featured and they'll spread the word driving traffic back to your site.
  • Invite a blogger to write on your blog and be a guest blogger on another blog.
  • Learn, design, build, implement and observe your results as your blog grows.
  • Schedule your posts earlier so that readers in other time zones will see it when it's posted.

Photo credit: Alt Flickr Stream

[Erin of Design for Mankind | Liz of Cool Mom Picks | Maggie of Mighty Girl]
The ladies came together and presented 12 great tips for making advertising and sponsorships work
  1. Re-invent the wheel: Come up with something no one has done before.
  2. Test the waters first: learn to manage the relationships and don't get carried away by the money.
  3. Know your professional strengths: Barter with those businesses that make sense. Outsource when you need the help.
  4. Less is more: Keep sponsored content to around 5% - don't over do it.
  5. It's not all about you: Find out what your sponsors are trying to get out of this opportunity. Do they even want to be talking to your audience?
  6. Measure your digital footprint: Know your metrics, visitors, page views, and be specific.
  7. Know thyself: What is your blog's brand all about? What do you stand for and what will your readers stand for in sponsorship?
  8. Disclose: Being authentic means that readers will trust you, which means that you will develop better relationships with your readers.
  9. Consider events: They're great revenue generators, will give you more content to write about, and create interaction with your reader base.
  10. Remember advertisers are people: Well they are :)
  11. Pitch to your passions: Write about the things that you're interested in and turn them into great posts.
  12. Know your worth: Consider the time it takes to complete your work. 

Photo credit: Alt Flickr Stream
[Emily of Once Wed | Grace of Design Sponge | Joy of Oh Joy!]
  • Always credit your sources/photos using a permalink.
  • Tynt: Makes link-backs to your content effortless for readers and allows you to gain new insight into user engagement.
  • Tineye: A reverse image search engine.
  • Be sure to ask for the name of a photographer anytime someone reaches out to you.
  • Check submission policies of the blogs you pitch to, or write your own policy for your blog.

Photo credit: Alt Flickr Stream
[Ashley of Ashley Meaders | Jordan of Oh Happy Day | Victoria of The City Cradle
Brittany of One Charming Party]
I was so excited that two of the four panelists are letterpress printers - yay for them!
  • Make invitations that shine.
  • Pick a theme
  • Add an element of surprise
  • Encourage group participation
  • Make things monochromatic
  • Size does matter
  • Collaborate with other bloggers
  • When styling a photo shoot for a party:
    • Use 3D elements
    • Have your invitations tell a story about your party
    • Bring your own style into what you shoot

Photo credit: Alt Flickr Stream
[Kelly of Design Crush | Kirstin of Simply Grove | Jaime of Design Milk | Suann of Simple Song]
This group of ladies was so resourceful. You must check out each of these online tools below to get you organized.
  • Teuxdeux: is a 'designy' to-do app on you computer and iphone.
  • Evernote: gives you the ability to easily capture any moment, idea, inspiration, or experience whenever, using whichever device or platform you find most convenient 
  • SpanningSync: is an app that syncs both iCal with Google Calendar and Address Book with Google Contacts
  • RescueTime: is an easy way to see how you spend your time and attention online

Photo credit: Alt Flickr Stream
[Meg of Anthology Magazine | Crystal of Rue Magazine | Jess of Sunset Magazine]
I didn't take many notes in this session. The ladies each spoke about their own magazines, and how they're inspired by the content they publish. To be honest, I just wanted to sit back and enjoy listening to them. I met each of them after the panel discussion, and they couldn't be any sweeter! They also provided us with free copies of Sunset Magazine and Anthology Magazine, which definitely came in handy for the airplane ride home! 
Photo credit: Cartoules Letterpress

Please come back tomorrow for Part III: Here's My Card, Call Me
And see yesterday's post, Part I: Sundance, Snow, and Alt Summit! if you haven't already


  1. As your CMO I insist on coming with you next year ;)

  2. Thanks for the recap. I didn't get to go so I am soaking it all in! Very helpful notes and links! Thanks again!