Tips from Alt Winter 2016

I attended Altitude Design Summit a couple of weeks ago and now that I?ve had a chance to process everything I took in, I thought I?d share a few tips. It?s a blogger/small business/design conference that packs in sessions and parties into two very full days. Up until now, it?s been based in Salt Lake City but in the closing keynote, it was announced that it?s moving to Palm Springs next January! Warm weather, nice!

Sarah Michelle Gellar at Alt SummitPhoto: Justin Hackworth or Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

As an Alt first-timer, everything I read about it being overwhelming was true! It was intimidating, as some women already have established businesses and it made you appreciate how seriously they take what they are doing. The environment is very welcoming though and you do get the sense that everyone is there to help each other. In general, it was just nice to be surrounded by people that like the same things I like.
XO Monica Lee toteLove my XO Monica Lee tote! Photo: Justin Hackworth or Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Depending where you are with your business, you will get something different out of it. I noticed many women had been to Alt before, so I think something can be learned across different Alts and the sessions and speakers change each time as well, so there are always new content. Multiple sessions run simultaneously so there?s no way you can attend everything, but it also makes you feel like you don?t want to miss out on anything so I definitely didn’t skip out on any sessions.

I found the speakers to be really inspiring and one of the keynotes this time was Sarah Michelle Gellar, who was there promoting her line Food Stirs ? so I had a serious Buffy fan girl moment:
Sarah Michelle Gellar at Alt SummitPhoto: Justin Hackworth or Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

The hands-on workshops in particular were fun and my favourite was photo styling with Candice Stringham of Handmade Mood and My Mind?s Eye {PDF from the workshop}:
Alt Summit photo styling workshop

A few thoughts and tips that I jotted down while there {mainly social media-related, as that was what most of the sessions I attended were about}:

  • When you introduce yourself with your blog or business name, do you find you need to explain what it is ? or does the name clearly describe what you do?
  • Be consistent. If you can?t post every day, decide what your schedule will be and stick to it.
  • If you aren?t into posting to social media platforms daily, just schedule your posts. The majority of the speakers who spoke about their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. take this approach. It?s more work up front, but then you can spend the rest of your time replying to comments and engaging with people and brands you?re interested in. Tools like Latergramme, Co-Schedule and Tailwind can help.
  • Come up with an Instagram hashtag that is unique to your feed and tag the photos you?d like to highlight with that tag. It will serve as a mini-portfolio for people to see work you want to get noticed. For me, it would be everything I bake {#golightlybakes}.
  • I was surprised at how many people talked about Pinterest and what a big traffic driver it is for blogs and online shops. I like using it as a way to collect things I want to refer back to, but I never really thought about it as a business tool. You can easily convert your account to a business one to gain access to Pinterest?s analytics and see who is pinning your pins.

In addition to the sessions, there are dinners and parties! The detail and time put into these is amazing:
Mini Party at Alt SummitPhoto: Justin Hackworth or Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Overall, I would say a first visit to Alt is learning what it’s all about and the next time will be about sharing how all the things you learned there were put into action. It’s also a great way to practice telling others about what you do if, like me, you aren’t used to doing that on a regular basis.

p.s. > Save room in your suitcase as the event sponsors are very generous and there is a lot of free stuff to take home! I was not prepared for this and had to cram everything into my carry-on.