Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference

Hey all! I am back from Vegas and the TPT Vegas Convention! It was awesome! I have some tips for other  teacher bloggers and some memories to share. With that being said, I also know that the sessions were intended for those who were there and made the commitment to participate this year, so I want to share without oversharing - you know respect the wonderful presenters. So I have some advice and tips but will not tell you every single thing I heard.

Plus I linked up with the Elementary Entourage for her great Viva Las Vegas: A TPT Conference Linky Party! Head over afterwards to see what other teachers have to say about it!

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead


Let's do this! 

My first thought before I get going is this is a terrific, supportive community of teachers. Everyone could be hoarding their tips and advice - really we compete with each other in a sense for TPT followers, blog readers, etc. but you never would know it! Do you think competing insurance companies would get together and give each other advice? But that is how teachers are. We join the profession to help others and the reason I initially started blogging was to help other teachers. I want my resources to be helpful and solve your problems too. That's why we are here!

ONE
My first tip is of course next time, if you can figure out a way to go next time, do it! If you have to save $ in a jar, or stay at a more bargain hotel, just do it! If your school will also pay for you to attend the SDE conference, which took place right before (and during too) the TPT Seller Conference, then attend it. Get yourself there and stay a few more days and attend the TPT one too. It is worth it in the friends you make, the fun  you have, the wonderful support and tips you get and more!

Here are a couple of the great friends I met (or saw again from last year)! Shout outs to Linda from Primary Inspiration, Sarah from Science is for Kids, Sally from Elementary Matters, Julie from The Techie Teacher and this really nice gal in the picture where Julie is being normal and I am being a spaz. I totally forget her first name but she was sweet! Who knows and can remind me?




TWO
It's all about the images! Images were the theme this year. Whether we were talking about blog posts needed quality images, images on Instagram, pins on Pinterest with quality images that invite reposts, etc. it was all about that. 
Here's a couple examples of missteps I have made with images. Check out this blog post from early on (2012) that does not even have ONE image. Yikes!  Just "Hey come to my Facebook page" and nothing else! 

Here is another image from a very early blog post. Just my product page, not even a cover image. Granted it is free, but yikes. And look at the product itself. Cringe!

Now here is a recent, better image that I hope is higher quality and more visually appealing! 
Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

THREE 
Publish high quality blog posts. This is kind of a given, and I have been hearing this for years, but it is a good reminder. And session leaders agreed that most should not include the products you might have for sale. The 80/20 rule is always good here. 80% quality posts with valuable content and 20% posts with just products, like when you release a new product and want to explain what is included, show it's features, and so on. But back to images - you should also have images of the product being used or in action! People just don't want to see the pages of your product, so sneak in some photographs too!


FOUR 
Speaking of Pinterest, the ultimate advice (which I heard at at least 4 different sessions): Pin quality content! Your Pinterest followers do not want to be looking at product pins all day long. I don't think any session leaders said this but I'd follow now at least the 80/20 or maybe even 90/10 or 95/5 rule with this!

FIVE
Find tools that will help make your life easier, and your work more efficient! For example, I have been using Pic Monkey for over a year now to make collages like this one of all the delicious food and fun beverages in Vegas (that's a rule that if you go to Vegas you must get out and try different places and new foods). It's easy and fun. 
(Thanks to Jean Phillipe Patisserie, Giada's restaurant and Diet Coke for the treats!)

I also have been using Word Swag, an app, a lot for my Jamberry business but I started to use it to Instagram with added texts. I posted this the night of the 1000+ blogger meet up!

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead


 SIX 
Dress things up - not you but like your store banners, quote section etc. I don't think this is a secret because it's been out for months, but it was mentioned in Vegas, so you should check out the amazing Christi Fultz (she designed this blog!)'s tutorial on how to make your TPT Quote section of your store look beautiful (It's all about the images, we know!) . Check it out here. There are plenty of places to look on how to make a store banner, but I will share the amazing Jillian Starr of Starr Spangled Planners product - for free in her store you can grab monthly themed store banners. I live for these! Plus she's a sweetie and a fellow redhead! Check out here store here!

SEVEN
This was mentioned, again more than once, but we should always be thinking about the end user. Who is the real end user of our products? Not the teacher that implements them, but the student. And sometimes, we may be creating a product that is popular BUT we should always be thinking, is this product going to help students? How is it going to enrich their school experience? Will it help them learn? Will it be effective? After all that is why I became a teacher, to help these little kiddos. That is what I want in the end. To do what is beneficial for them. Yes, I have been guilty of straying from that a couple times as both a teacher seller and a classroom teacher. We're all fallible. But for me, if I keep this tip in mind, I will stay on the right track!

BONUS TIPS and MEMORIES

These are tips for those of you who will end up going to Vegas, whether with TPT or on your own, and some of my best memories from this trip!

Get out and see the strip! A lovely friend of mine mentioned she did not leave the hotel AT ALL between when she checked in on Wednesday and left Saturday morning. Silly! So much to see and do. Here's a beautiful view of the strip for example!

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead


 Don't forget a selfie! Especially if you, like me came solo. Or get some folks to get shots of you! Here I am on the balcony!

selfie of Bex



view from balcony at nightAside: the balcony was a great place to get ready for the next day! I wasn't mad about this!

Get out of town! But don't rent this Fiat. Sorry Fiat lovers but this was a tin can! At least it has Satellite radio! But yikes! Anyway it was worth it! Drove to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon with advice from the wonderful Charity Preston (my Jamberry sponsor and Organized Classroom Blog blogger extraordinary). I stopped on the way at the "Last Resort' restaurant, gas station, shooting range and gift shop and this is what Google Maps showed me. Yikes. I was in the middle of nowhere. Luckily the Grand Canyon was AMAZING! Thank goodness I went! Breathtaking views and I still can't get over it! Nevada and Arizona have a lot to offer besides casinos!
Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead

Finally a huge thank you to TPT for putting on a great conference! It was life changing! I also got to meet Jenn Sykes from Hello Mrs. Sykes who is a super fun gal and great blogger! It also paid off to hang around the cocktail hour until the very end when Sam from TPT introduced me to Paul, the founder! His little idea changed a lot of lives! Thank you TPT!

Me, Paul, and Jenn

Tips for Teacher Bloggers from the TPT Vegas Conference by Reading and Writing Redhead




5 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you had a great time! Maybe next year I'll be able to make it again. Thanks for the tips!
    ~Heather aka HoJo~

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    1. Thanks Heather! I heard you and Sally were hotel buddies last time! This year we were travel buddies. Looking forward to meeting you in person! :)
      Bex

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  2. Great post! My head is still spinning from all the great stuff I learned plus all the fun I had! I can't wait until next year!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

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    1. I totally agree! So much going on! :)

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  3. Great post, Bex! Thanks for the shout out! It was so much fun spending time together, at the sessions and at the cool restaurants, too! :)
    Linda at Primary Inspiration

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