special report: the blogcademy

The Blogcademy

This past weekend I was ‘schooled’ at The Blogcademy in NYC!

Attending The Blogcademy was a last minute decision for me – I already had tickets booked to be on the mainland for my college’s centennial celebration and thought – why not zip up to NYC for the weekend to see what it’s all about? So I did just that. The selling point? Taking your blog and online presence to the next level – something I’ve been brainstorming on and trying to figure out for a while. Here’s the problem though – what exactly ‘the next level’ is for Burnett’s Boards. It’s a personal question that every blogger has to answer. Some attendees at the workshop were already quite successful and others had just made their first blog post the night before. I still don’t have an answer for myself as to what the ‘next level’ should be, what that encompasses, or how I want to get there, but I have more of an idea and the workshop certainly helped me get a little further along in that thought process.

The biggest surprise at the Blogcademy was Gala Darling. I’m going to be perfectly honest and admit that I had never heard of this high profile fashion and self-love ‘international playgirl’ before in my life and felt sort of guilty about it because she was lovely! Soooo down to earth (which you’d never guess by looking at her decked out in a floral headband, polka dot tights, and a hot pink pleated mini skirt). But truly, she was such a wonderfully nice person. Warm, inviting, and clearly knows her shit. The thing with Gala Darling though and what she had to offer is that she is a personality blogger – she IS her brand. Burnett’s Boards obviously isn’t a personality blog – its intention is to help inspire brides at the beginning of their wedding planning journey. Sort of as a ‘first step’ before delving deeper into the details. At times during the weekend I felt a little lost – ‘inject more personality into your blog/give it your unique voice/etc’ was the mantra and at least with me and Burnett’s Boards – I don’t see how I can do that (well, I do see how I can do it a bit, but not to the level that these ladies do it) without losing the purpose of the site. I’m obviously not a huge wedding blog, but I feel as though I do a pretty good job in my little niche of ‘inspiration’ and I’m not sure how to inject more of myself without losing the focus of the site.

Kat Williams (aka: Rock n Roll Bride) obviously does what I can’t seem to figure out how to do VERY well. Just like Gala Darling, she is her brand. Rock N Roll Bride has Kat’s vibrant, witty, and unapologetically bad-ass personality seeping through it at every scroll. Her social media platforms, her blog, her green room posts, interviews, and magazines are all very ‘her.’ Part of me wonders though if that’s easier to do when you live your life and enjoy your fashion to left of mainstream (<does that make sense?). What if you’re more like me… sort of an ‘every girl?’ I don’t wear pink sequins, I don’t have an iconic hair color to call my own and as I approach my 30s mini skirts are no longer part of the equation. I swear I thought so many times over the weekend about a. dying my hair an unnatural color, b. getting a tattoo, and c. chucking out my entire wardrobe and starting again with as many sequined and glittered things as possible. But then I realized that that’s not the secret to success, it’s hard work and Kat has clearly worked really hard for a long time establishing herself and her brand and is totally admirable for that.

With regards to branding – Shauna Haider (also known as her design studio/blog name: Nubby Twiglet) was an absolute delight. I think I have something of a girl crush on her. She’s just so cool, stylish, knowledgable, and she can tell you the name of a font just by looking at it. She’s the real deal and her blog is also one of my new favorite things. I really wish I’d heard what she had to say before I started Burnett’s Boards. Sometimes I get conflicting information from different sources – some will suggest ‘keep your brand and only change if it’s REALLY necessary’ so then I feel like I’m sort of stuck with my lame-o header and big old B as my icon. But then Shauna gets up there and talks about the importance of branding and logos and now I’m all like OMG I have to change it up before I get even further in! (btw- important take away from The Blogcademy = allow your blog to grow and change – it’s organic, just like you). So – that’s definitely something else I need to think about – possible rebrand and redesign of Burnett’s Boards – what do you think?

Photographer Lisa Delvin was a joy – absolutely hilarious woman. If she ever decides to quit photographing people, I think she should start a comedy routine. I really wish she had had more time but because of time restraints she had to rush a bit and we didn’t get to do the photoshop things I thought we were. One big takeaway from Lisa was that she stressed the importance of doing your own photography work. For a ‘normal’ blog (what I like to call a ‘personality blog’) I couldn’t agree more but this doesn’t really fit with Burnett’s Boards. Good lord could you imagine if I created an inspiration board with my own photography? It would basically be my kitten, some palm trees, and a beach. Yikes! For my future endeavours (check back here Sunday to see what I’m talking about ;-)) I am totally going to take this to heart and see if I can come up with a photography style all my own. With all of Lisa’s wisdom in mind we took to the streets of NYC to photograph each other (me with my ‘fancy’ iPhone – btw if you go to Blogcademy as a complete newbie photographer you will get camera envy… take a real camera).

And all of this brings me to the report card. I’d love to say that I got all A’s and shout to the world that the holy trinity of bloggers ‘adored me!’ but that’s not true (in fact I’m slightly worried that I gave off a ‘creeper’ vibe because I was soooo tired/still suffering from a cold from this month long travelpalooza I’ve been on that I didn’t say too much and randomly asked Kat for a picture with her – sorta ‘fan girlish’ but whatever). Back to the report card -  I only got one A (sad face), but in a way that’s good, because it means my money was well spent and I have things to work on using what I learned at The Blogcademy. So in the interest of full disclosure – here is my report card:

And truth be told, I’m having a hard time figuring out how to go about ‘bringing my grades up.’

If you have any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc, please drop me a note in the comments or send an email to sara@burnettsboards.com; I’d love to hear what you think! As a reader of Burnett’s Boards, what areas do you think I could improve on? What would you like to see more of, less of? Do you think the blog needs a major overhaul? Do I annoy the heck out of you on social media?

Now, don’t go away from this post thinking that I didn’t enjoy The Blogcademy – I did! And I am super glad that I had the opportunity to go. I think for me, I left it with exactly what I needed, a brain full of ideas and now it’s up to me to figure out how to implement them. The Blogcademy won’t provide you with any quick fixes, I never expected it to, but it will provide you with tips, tools, inspiration, and a hell of a good time with some pretty fabulous women.

Oh, and the goodie bag was all kinds of amazing!

Comments

  1. A report card still worthy of sticking on the ol’ refrigerator! I’m gonna have to say I seriously disagree with voice/tone; you have a unique voice and loads of personality, and I’m always so entertained by your commentary. Then again, I’m like an 80-year-old curmudgeonly man in a 20-something body, so maybe my opinion doesn’t count for much. :) Have you considered merging your new site with this one so you can provide “other content” without going insane trying to oversee two blogs? I’ve always found your site super easy to navigate (much more so than the typically structured blog), so I’m not sure about that one either. If you do decide to get rid of Big B, I will miss her. She’s like the granny of the blog!

    • Thanks for your sweet comment! Good idea about merging my new site! I’ve thought about this a little bit. I think though, I want to see if my new site is a hit or not before I go putting on burnettboards.com… that’s a lot of backend changes I’d have to make to merge the two and I wouldn’t want to have to undo it all if it’s a total flop. Or maybe I’m just being a lazy bones in not doing it now? Ahhh! Too jet lagged to make major decisions today :-D

  2. Hi Sara,

    I love this fresh and honest review! Have you thought about featuring more real weddings from Hawaii? You’re probably the only wedding blogger who lives there, and I’m sure there are tons of destination weddings going on. Work what you’ve got!

    It was lovely to meet you. (I see my iPhone pic made it in!) Best of luck.

    Xo,

    Ruby

  3. Such a great step for you and your blog! It’s always good to remember that you never stop learning and growing as a brand/business. I love your site, and can’t wait to see how you develop further.

  4. I can’t believe you walked away with a report card. I’m upset you didn’t get all As, so I’ll be calling the Trinity up to request a parent teacher conference! ;-)
    I’m proud of you, your Boards, and all you do!

  5. I really wish I could have attended the Blogcademy and gotten a cool report card (although the thought frightens me)! I think you are on the right path, and think more personal posts set up like your Sunday boards would be a big hit. I always like to get to know the blogger behind the scenes, and I think you are doing just fine in that regard!

  6. Wait, does this mean that everyone who went to Blog Academy knows Bitchless Bride’s true identity? That right there seems like it would be worth the price of admission! For what it’s worth, I’m in love with your blog just as it is!

  7. I loved your honest account of the course (I would have liked to attend myself). It’s great that you’ve come away with lots of questions to ask yourself/things to think about.

    Totally with you on the struggle to inject more personality into posts when you’re not actually writing about your life / sharing your own photos but featuring inspiring ideas from other people’s weddings, wedding fashion, colours etc. This is something I really need to work on!

    But I honestly think you do a wonderful job of sharing your personality in your category headings and your writing. And you’ve got a great little niche. Love your boards and your blog, just wish I had time to visit more often :) xx

    ps. So funny imagining an inspiration board of your kitten and some palm trees!

  8. Great blogpot! Very well done! :) xx