Iowa Blogger Meetup 2016

Creating Blog Friendships + Iowa Bloggers Unite Recap

When I first started this blog, I had absolutely no idea there was a whole world of bloggers connecting with each other online. But as I began to learn more about blogging, I noticed bigger bloggers seemed to have blogger friends. I discovered an entire ecosystem of bloggers out there. I think I’d envisioned bloggers as introverts who sat at home and wrote all day, but it turns out the big bloggers are successful because they have built relationships with others in blogland.

I’ve since become a part of several communities of bloggers that encourage, teach, promote and collaborate with one another. I have been so surprised by how open and giving bloggers are–even bloggers in the same niche share their strategies and advice with one another. That openness and mentality that there’s enough room for everyone is so refreshing.

One of the blogging communities I’ve joined is a Facebook group of Iowa bloggers. While I’ve made blogging friends all over the world, it’s also nice to have some friends in your own backyard. Thank you to my friend Alicia from The Pork Diaries, who knew I was blogging and invited me to be a part of this group!

Last Saturday, I got to meet many Iowa bloggers in person at the Iowa Bloggers Unite gathering hosted by Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love. It wasn’t a fancy conference, rather a gathering full of learning, conversation and camaraderie.

Iowa Bloggers Unite meet-up 2016

We spent our day in the mow of Michelle’s gorgeous barn! Iowa bloggers sure know how to potluck, and we enjoyed tons of food over lunch. Michelle even let all of us snoop around her newly built Passive House. I had no idea what that meant, but it was fascinating to learn how energy-efficient passive homes are. I won’t try to explain it all here, but you can learn more on her blog.

I’ve found the blogging community to be very welcoming and friendly, and despite arriving at the event only knowing one blogger in attendance, I instantly felt at ease.There were bloggers of all sizes, and it was really fun to make connections with all of them and learn about their blogs.

Iowa Blogger Meetup 2016

The bigger bloggers took turns teaching various topics, and they generously shared their strategies and answered questions. Here’s a really quick rundown of a few tidbits I learned during the day:

  • Chrissy from The Taylor House spoke about pitching brands, and I learned how she communicates with brands and how early you have to think about holiday crafts and food as a blogger. Can you believe she’s already writing Christmas content?!
  • Kristen from Iowa Girl Eats discussed working with a virtual assistant. Did you know many of the big bloggers you follow have assistants helping them behind the scenes? My blog is nowhere big enough to afford an assistant, but I can dream!
  • Bethany from Reality Daydream shared her Facebook strategy, and I took A LOT of notes. She has had several videos go viral and has racked up 140,000+ Facebook fans.
  • Nick from Reality Daydream taught ways to monetize your blog, everything from ad networks to affiliate sales to sponsored posts. I’ve dabbled in all of these, but have work to do in this area.
  • Nicole from SAHM Reviews talked about networking, and how important it is to build relationships with other bloggers and with brands. Going to this event was my first chance to network with bloggers in real life.
  • Nicolette from Decisive-Empowered-Resilient gave tons of time management tips. She’s a huge planner, which made my organizing heart so happy!
  • Crystal from Surviving on a Teacher’s Salary and Surviving on a Teacher’s Salary recommended tons of WordPress and social media tools. I’ve heard of many of them, but jotted down a few that I’m excited to look into further.
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love shared her Instagram strategy. It’s always interesting and helpful to hear what other bloggers’ strategies are for growing their followings, and Michelle had some awesome tips I’m excited to implement.

Whew! Most people think blogging is just writing, but it is so much more! The topics covered last weekend only scratched the surface of all of the pieces that go into creating a successful blog. I’m grateful to these bloggers for being willing to share their tips and tricks with the group.

I drove home with a smile on my face thinking about this friendly group of bloggers, and my head was spinning with ideas I’d gotten for my own blog. I cannot wait to meet up with these Iowa bloggers again next summer!

The moral of this story is to not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and meet new people. You just never know what connections you will make!

I know this isn’t my usual blog post, but I just had to share a bit about last Saturday because I learned so much that will help me improve this blog for you. If you have any questions about blogging or are a blogger yourself, I’d love to connect with you, too!

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