Meet Jessica and Cathy, bloggers and founder of The Blog Societies! I began reading Jessica's blog, My Style Vita, and Cathy's, Poor Little It Girl, while I was in college in Georgia. It's been amazing to see how both ladies have evolved blogging into a fulfilling business and that The Blog Societies is now a thriving network of talented creators.
Learn more about the work that went into launching The Blog Societies below, as well as tips for successful blogging from the founders!
Q: What needs in the blogging world were you looking to fill when you launched The Blog Societies' first region, The Southern Blog Society, in 2013? What kind of prep time and pre-launch work went into the unveiling of the network?
Jessica: The inspiration for the Southern Blog Society (and eventually The Blog Societies) was born out of a desire to connect with other bloggers. I knew Cathy was a fellow blogger in the Atlanta area, yet we never crossed paths until I reached out with an invitation for drinks. It was at drinks that we collectively recognized the need for a digital space where bloggers could easily find and connect with one another, both in their own cities and beyond. And that was when The Southern Blog Society was born. After coming up with a concept, core goals and solid features, which were essential for our launch, we determined our roles within the company. This would ensure we would stay as organized and effective as possible when we officially launched a year later.
Cathy: At its core, The Southern Blog Society was founded in order to build an online community where bloggers could connect and grow. Before the inception of our network, it was very hard to find and connect with other bloggers (who, let’s be honest, are complete strangers!). After meeting Jessica in 2012 and coming up with the idea, we spent a full year brainstorming, networking and building The Blog Societies brand before we launching in January of the following year.
Q: We see that you're moving to Atlanta soon, Cathy - congrats! Prior to this move, what was managing The Blog Societies like as a remote team?
Cathy: Thank you! Luckily, working remotely wasn't too difficult for us. Jessica and I had multiple "office hour" FaceTime calls each week to discuss the business and our to-dos. We both have specific responsibilities when it comes to running the business, which also helps. Jessica works on memberships and emails and I work on invoices and the daily site features and updates.
Q: I've loved seeing The Blog Societies' annual conference year after year. What kind of sneak peeks can you give us of this year's conference, and what kind of planning goes into such a large event?
Jessica: We’re creating a fun welcome package for our attendees staying at Belmond Charleston Place Hotel this year. I don't want to spill all the beans, but we've partnered with one of our favorite beauty brands on it! Also, our signature brochure and map duo is just too cute for words. It's an exciting way for us to start the weekend and does wonders to set the tone for the conference.
Cathy: I’m so excited to get those welcome packages into the hands our attendees! It takes months and months to plan everything from speakers and workshops to happy hours and luncheons for each conference, and it’s beyond rewarding to see all of the hard work come to life on the first day.
Q: What are your tried and true tips and tricks for a successful blogger-brand collaboration? What have been some of your most exciting recent collaborations?
Jessica: When forming a blogger-brand collaboration, ensure that expectations and conditions are very clear. I'm a big fan of contracts as they hold both ends accountable. Some of my most exciting collaborations have taken place with that brands I've always loved. A recent collaboration that was particularly exciting for me was Chantelle. They make the most amazing bras and I've been wearing them for years!
Cathy: Ensure all asks, requirements and expectations are determined up front, before any products are sent or photos are taken. In order to achieve a successful campaign, each side needs to have a clear vision for the collaboration and then needs to be able to communicate that vision with the other party effectively.
I love working with brands that I’ve always been a fan of, but I also like discovering new brands that share the same values and fit the aesthetic of my blog. These always lead to the most exciting collaborations!
Q: For women who are blogging today, what would you best words of advice be to set themselves apart from the crowd?
Jessica: I think it's important to do what you love and to share those things with your readers. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers, as it can cause you to lose sight of what you really want for yourself and your brand.
Cathy: In a sea of bloggers (there's a lot of us out there!), we're not usually reinventing the wheel with our content. But how you present it, what you say and how you speak to your readers (both on your blog and social media)—that's what going to make you stand out. Have fun and show your personality!