Last weekend we hosted our 6th Annual Blog Societies Conference right here in our hometown of Atlanta. We welcomed members from all over the country with 25 states represented and not only new but also old faces who have come time and time again. #TBScon is always an inspiring 3 days of networking, learning with industry leaders and our peers, and cultivating this community together. If you’re not familiar with this event or you’re new around here, I co-founded The Blog Societies over 6 years ago with Cathy of Poor Little It Girl. In an effort to make it easier to find likeminded people within our industry and help create a community, The Blog Societies was born.
We host this annual event every summer for 75 of our members and it’s our goal to create a weekend that you can leave feeling inspired by. With tangible tools to take home to help build your business and grow even more. And most importantly, with new friendships and turning Internet friends into “in real life” friends. Here’s what went down at this year’s conference along with our recap video that still makes me a little teary eyed.
Our attendees met us at The Hotel At Avalon. A brand new hotel in Alpharetta just 20 minutes north of the city. It’s a part of Avalon which has become one of our favorite places to visit for great food, shopping and lots of events in the blogging community. You can stay the weekend and never have to get in your car as everything is at your fingertips. The Hotel At Avalon just felt like us when we visited. It’s southern, yet modern and sophisticated. It was hard to leave!
Kick Off Welcome Party
Hosted by Vera Bradley, Goody, Yankee Candle, Kendra Scott, Drybar, La Croix and Dress Up
We always like to kick off the weekend on a fun note. That includes great cocktails and amazing brands to network with. In the past, TBScon had a networking suite designed to build relationships and learn more about our brand partners. This year, we wanted to switch things up and make all of our events an opportunity to network with many brands! At this year’s kickoff party we had so many activations that we could’ve partied for hours together. From fashion sketch artists with La Croix and Kendra Scott, to an interactive welcome video with Yankee Candle.
We also had the most stunning flower wall created by Vera Bradley, a long time sponsor and supporter of The Blog Societies. Drybar was providing dry styling with fun braids and sending everyone home with new products to try. Goody, a brand we all know and love, had a calligrapher on site creating custom brushes and mirrors. Lastly, Dress Up, a regional and online boutique who was one of our very first brand partners at our 2nd Southern Blog Society event, came back to share their latest collection with everyone.
Workshops & A Fall Inspired Luncheon
Workshops are always the highlight of the weekend and the one thing our attendees always want more of. With breakfast provided by The Hotel At Avalon, our bellies were full and we were well caffeinated to start the day. A lot of people ask where we come up with our workshop themes and it truly comes from YOU. The questions you ask throughout the year, and the feedback survey our attendees fill out year after year. We turn the most common questions into workshops. We work with industry leaders and our very own members to create informative and educational classes to help better your business. There is no fluff here, it’s all tangible tips and insider knowledge to grow your business. We cover topics from how to hire help, how to run social media ads and how to break into travel blogging on a budget.
This year we had 6 workshop options for our attendees to choose from. Back by popular demand, we had Amy Northard, our CPA, chat about how to plan for taxes, bookkeeping and when to reinvest in your business. Lindsay Humes who has taught several workshops at TBScon shared her insights on how your web design impacts your traffic. Rachel Martino and Noelle Downing who are known for their fabulous Instagram feeds and stunning photography, shared their insider secrets to getting a great photo on your iPhone every single time.
Locally, we brought in Chris Duncan, a branding and social media strategist, shared how to best target your social media ads to increase website visits and increase your reach. A hot topic always are contracts, so we had longtime member and TBScon attendee, Ashlee Hightower of Cobalt Chronicles and Contracts for Creatives, share how to draft a contract to protect your business. Lastly, Alicia Chew, another longtime member and TBScon attendee, has mastered the art of including travel blogging into her blog authentically. She shared how to get started in this content vertical locally and how to expand it the right way.
Our attendees left with a long list of notes and to-do’s when they got home. It was a long day of learning and it’s always our favorite!
To break up all the learning, we headed to South City Kitchen for a fall inspired lunch hosted by Mud Pie and Goody. With fall right around the corner, we walked into a stunning fall room with beautiful textiles, decor and centerpieces. While our guests waited for their entrees to arrive, you could get your hair braided using Goody’s favorite bobby pins. We wrapped up lunch with a delicious dessert and then headed back into workshops!
Breakfast With Ball and La Croix
For our third and final day, we had to start it off with a colorful breakfast hosted by Ball and La Croix. Guests created their very own yogurt parfait in sweet Ball mason jars topped with granola and berries. La Croix created a colorful backdrop and fruit infused water station. You could add all your favorite fruits to your go-to La Croix flavor. It was a Pinterest worthy morning of all the fun DIY’s!
Our conference portion is always a highlight of the weekend. We kept this year’s agenda short and sweet but packed with information. This year’s keynote speaker, Grace Atwood of The Stripe, shared her story on how she got to where she is. Plus her insider tips to creating original content that speaks to who you are. Because after all, your readers are here for YOU. Another favorite from last year’s conference, Brittany Stevens of Lawyer Lookbook. She came back to share updated information on the ever-changing world of FTC Guidelines. Brittany educated us on how to make sure we never get a FTC letter for violating guidelines from blogs, Instagram and even Instagram Stories.
We wrapped up the conference session with a blogger panel that included our most transparent blog friends. We welcomed Alicia Chew, Noelle Downing, Rachel Martino and Cathy Anderson. The panel discussed how to properly price yourself, how to negotiate and more. We love to get candid and be transparent. It’s the only way our community can grow as a whole in this growing industry.
Lunch with Joules
Joules, a British brand who is known for their adorable wellies, hosted our final lunch of #TBScon. The group walked into a tea inspired luncheon complete with pimento cheese tea sandwiches. There were varieties of iced teas and the most adorable wellie centerpieces. You instantly felt like you were across the pond! Joules also provided a sneak peek at the upcoming fall collection that we can 100% say, is absolutely adorable.
Creative Wrap Up Party With Birdie & Boe
We couldn’t send our new friends off without a fun creative wrap up party along with bubbly! Birdie & Boe, our incredible event coordinator for the weekend, hosted this year’s creative wrap up with a super fun flower crown class as a French-inspired market with La Tavola Linens. We all sipped champagne while creating the most beautiful and colorful flower crowns. This creative breakout was one that came full circle for us as the founders of TBS. Our very first event 6 years ago was just a 12 person brunch. Simple, and small. We never thought it would turn into what it’s become. One of the gifts that our attendees that year went home with was a flower crown. It was a sweet touch to have these again so many years later.
And a huge shout out to the entire TBScon team who made this all possible. From left to right. Colleen our incredible photographer who snapped a million photos! Having a few images every single day to send to our attendees was so convenient for easy Instagramming! Greta, she’s our social media manager and member. She’s always there to capture the moments on our Instagram Stories. Caroline of Birdie & Boe who is the MOST incredible event coordinator, floral designer, friend, life saver. You name it, she does it. She provided our beautiful flower arrangements throughout the weekend and helped host our flower crown event. In addition to a million other things that she single handily deals with, Caroline is the reason why we can enjoy this event and be present. And lastly, Drew who we brought in from Charleston from year 4. We loved his videos so much we had to have him come back again. Thanks Drew for putting up with a room full of women for three whole days, you are the true rockstar!
Thank You To Our Sponsors
The Hotel At Avalon • Crock-Pot • Calphalon • Yankee Candle • PaperMate • Vera Bradley • Dress Up • Drybar • Mary Kay • Toyota • Rifle Paper • Rachel Parcell • Pureology • Kendra Scott • Aerie • Waiting On Martha Home • L’Occitane • Collen Rothschild • Calhoun Wines • Rubbermaid • La Tavola • Sharpie