Even before I got on the plane Thursday morning for Denver, I knew this year’s FitBloggin was going to be different than last year. Part of it, I think, was that my own personal attitude was different. That is, I think I was going with a different plan of action. A different agenda. Maybe agenda is the wrong word. It’s more that my priorities this year with regard to what I wanted to get out of the conference were different.
|View from the Westin Denver pool. I KNOW, RIGHT?|
This time last year I was blogging far more consistently and had a higher following. I felt, y’know, like a real blogger. Lately, I’ve been so busy living my life I haven’t had the time or motivation to write about my life. As such, the blog has maybe suffered a bit and until I went to Denver for the conference, I hadn’t realized that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the blog.
Not that it’s going anywhere. I just think, when I went to Savannah last year I was very much in the mind set of doing whatever I could do to build my blog. I networked, I talked to brands, I handed out business cards. I did everything I thought I, as a blogger at a blogging conference, was supposed to do. I think I got so focused on the idea of making the blog bigger I didn’t consider if that would necessarily make the blog better.
We had some phenomenal sponsors this year, like General Mills who had this awesome Make Your Own Cereal Mix station that offered sweet and savory mix ins to use with some classic cereal bases like Chex, Cheerios, and (my favorite) Lucky Charms.
|Courtesy of Carrie D. Photography|
I briefly spoke with almost all of the brands, but I was quite more selective and deliberate about the ones I really connected with in regards to my blog and, really, what is starting to become a brand (which is so weird to think about). But with the blog and now the podcast, my little corner of the internet is growing slowly but surely and I want to make sure I stay true and authentic to my voice as both a blogger and an individual. I don’t want to work with a brand just for the sake of exposure and free shit.
Like, one of the sponsors was a food related company I use all the time. I went total fangirl when I realized they would be there and I immediately signed up for a 1:1 session with them. We have access to all of the sponsors at the expo, but the 1:1 are a chance to sit down and really talk to the brands in a more personal way. This means that while I talked with the other sponsors that offer similar products (and, of course, took full advantage of the free samples), I didn’t discuss anything real in depth with them because I don’t really use their products in my every day life. I had my eyes on the one I do use and while working with them maybe won’t be as exciting or influential as working with a big name brand, I feel far more comfortable as a blogger knowing I’m coming to this relationship from an authentic place.
Unsurprisingly, being selective and leading with my authentic voice really allowed me to connect with the people, not the brand they represent. But it also let my light shine in a way that attracted the brands. After my Ignite Fitness presentation on Friday, one of the fitness sponsors came to me, said she was really moved by my message, and asked if I’d be interested in working with them.
I guess this year, FitBloggin just really gave me a chance to think and process and focus in on what being the blogger behind The Year of the Phoenix means to me and what direction I’m headed in. I’m still not entirely sure on all of that — still focusing, still processing — but I feel good about the direction nonetheless.
I know all of you really want to know how my Ignite Fitness presentation went, so be sure to come back on Wednesday for full recap of that!
Love from the ashes,