November 23, 2014

Overview: Spark Sessions 2014

A week has gone by since Spark Sessions, and I'm still trying to organize everything and catch up on sleep!

For those of you who are not familiar with Spark Session, this is a Canadian blogger conference. The focus is more towards beauty and fashion bloggers, however the information that you take away can be applied to bloggers of all interest. November 15 & 16, 2014 marks the 2nd year for Spark Sessions. Looking at their sponsors, they have grown compared to their first year.

I learned about Spark Sessions last year, but it was already too late to buy tickets. I put myself on their email list and patiently waited until tickets for this year's event come for sale.
Some table-top decorations

The event included a small breakfast (croissants, yogurt) and a nice lunch each day, a variety of "Sessions" (workshops), speed networking, a sponsor fair and of course, if all that networking, socializing and learning wasn't enough, an amazing swag bag.

We had some special speakers, including Vanessa Craft (Elle Canada), Andrew Sardone (Globe Style Advisor) and Cheryl Hickey (ET Canada).

A wonderful selection of treats by The Purple Cupcake

Sessions included information about legal issues every blogger should know about, turning your passion for blogging into a full time job, how to build a relationship with the PR pros, how to put together a media kit, steps for doing a blog makeover and many more. There was a total of 10 workshops.

Day 2

As you can imagine, there was many note taking and picture taking. I have about 15 pages of notes and several photos of slides. Here's just a glance at some of the notes I took down:

- Don't be afraid to pitch the editors/PR. Find the actual name of the person that you're contacting. They're notorious for not replying to emails. They're busy. Just keep trying.
- Don't just "be better" than other bloggers. Be Different.
- Be yourself. It's better to be known for who you are, not what you do.
- Don't try to "buy" likes or followers. It's obvious. (ps - I'm sure most people know this. I hope).
- Don't be a loose canon online.Company A may have pissed you off, but they might be represented by company C who works with companies L, M, N,O & P. Your online rants, can cost you working with other companies.
- On Pinterest, don't cluster Pin. No more than maybe 3 pins at a time. More than that and people just get annoyed and everything goes unnoticed.

Me & my dear friend Beatrice from beatricetrang.com

Other than a minor issue with the washroom (by the end of day 1, all washroom were out of order. We arrived on day 2 to find port-a-potties outside.), I had a great time. I would highly recommend any new, novice and intermediate bloggers to join in the future. Even more advance bloggers can go home learning something new.

The Crowd Social booth. One of the sponsors

Another sponsor, Nicole by OPI. These are some of the newest shades coming soon

Another sponsor, Vitabath, showing their two new scents for the holidays. Both smell amazing!
Swag bag + a few items that I managed to pick up while visiting the sponsors.
Additional photos can be found on instagram! @Gemstone_Beauty

Check out Beatrice's posts from Day 1 & Day 2.

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