What I Learned: Alt 2012

PHOTO: Justin Hackworth

This is my last Alt post. Promise. But I told you all I’d share what I learned, so here it is. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of the conference, there are several hour long sessions throughout the day. During each session you have three panel options to choose from, I chose to attend the ones that I thought I could get the most out of professionally. And while it’s impossible to attend all of the panels, you can search #altsummit on Twitter and get a pretty good idea of what went down in most of them.


Bri Emory, Danielle Krysa, Joslyn Taylor, Victoria Smith

• it’s okay to say no
• find someone with similar aesthetics, but who brings fresh eyes and a new perspective
• honesty and communication are key
• manage conflict with integrity  and grace
• know what you want out of the collaboration up front and communicate that
• even good partnerships come to an end
• it’s okay to walk away if you’re not getting what you need or pulling your weight
• don’t air your gripes online
• it’s human nature to want to share
• make the most of chance encounters
• reach out locally
• don’t be afraid to take it offline
• make it easy for the other person to say yes
• all someone can do is say no


Erin Loechner, Danielle Wiley, Meg Keene, Sarah Stringfellow

• it’s possible to do it yourself
• have a media kit readily available
• people you want to work with will work with you
• you’re responsible for creating something for yourself
• figure out and meet your community
• know your brand and your value
• advertising is about you
• test the waters – use trial and error and your moral compass
• sponsors should only be adding to your site
• always ask for what you want, be proactive
• the crazier the pitch, the better
• consider your complete online presence
• give brands something to get excited about
• follow up
• consider legal obligations
• have a debriefing sessions afterwards
• send snail mail thank you notes
• picture where you want to be in two years and create the building blocks to get yourself there
• look into media training, it’s highly attractive
• read contracts over carefully
• understand what doing something for free means for you
• build relationships that last
• clean layouts are important
• focus on your content, what does it say about you?
• facilitate authentic conversations
• know your CPM, CPC
• mobile sites are an important piece of the puzzle


Pilar Guzman, Deborah Needleman, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan

• online currency = views and legitimacies
• very few companies do both well
• there is no easy transition
• they’re not mutually exclusive


Heather Armstrong, Nora Abousteit, Kelly Walters, Sarah Bryden-Brown

• pretty pictures aren’t enough
• build a personality through your words
• use your voice honestly
• create a platform to succeed
• use WordPress’s Buddypress


Tracey Clark, Danni Hong, Kal Bartestki, Sarah Wert

• “Intellectual Property” is a broad term – it includes photography, art, music, words, poetry, recipes, etc.
Link With Love
• commenting shows appreciation, don’t promote yourself or your giveaway
• if you’re monetizing, you need to ask yourself what using a photo is doing
• giving credit benefits you, pay it forward
• don’t air your dirty laundry, settle things in private
• original content is safest
• add a disclaimer
• create awareness, set standards, it has to start somewhere
• pause before you post, don’t just grab and do
• create a community that words together


Nicholas Wells

• copyright use: remember that online does not mean “public domain” – ask permission, give credit
• copyright infringement: when someone uses your materials without permission start with a call or email, proceed through DMCA takedown notice and/or use of lawyer if that doesn’t work
• website legal terms: have them, keep them up to date
• trademarks: protects your business and gives you a defined legal asset, also use other brands correctly and with credit where due
• advertising law: follow the FTC guidelines for bloggers
• contracts: use written contracts with sponsors and contributors
• employment law: be extra careful when it comes to using paid help, use written agreements and file all tax documents
• corporate law: the bigger you get, the more you need to plan ahead
• giveaways: check state laws against private lotteries and have official rules easily available


Camille Styles, Cassandra LaValle, Hunter Sebresos, Jasmine Star

• position yourself uniquely
• everything you put out defines you
• fine a niche
• lay the foundation to get paid
• write a branding statement
• checklist: business cards, consistent visuals, get social, headshot
• showcase who you are more than what you do
• own who you are
• love me or hate me, make people feel something
• perfect your elevator pitch
• educate your readers, keep them in the loop
• trust your instincts


Jordan Ferney, Kelly Beall, Nicole Balch, Maggie Mason

• original content is key, if using someone else’s put your own spin on it
• a clean and polished look is necessary these days, it’s your starting point
• looking bigger than you are is important, dressing for the job you want applies
• being part of a community helps build your readership
• consistency in posting is key
• blogging is an ever-evolving experiment
• your site’s design should be intuitive and user friendly
• don’t focus on your stats, put your energy elsewhere
• go with your gut
• meaningful commenting is a good tactic
• write in your own voice
• if you have a great idea, put it out there in a minimal way just to get started
• say thank you if you contribute to someone else’s site
• investing in your blog is incredibly important
• stop treating it like a hobby
• track + participate in the conversation you’re creating
• don’t neglect Facebook, many people use it as their RSS reader
• handpicked related posts at the bottom of each post increase traffic
• know the way people engage and cater to them

Nicole put together a great collection of tweets from our panel right here if you’re hungry for more. 

  • adele

    January 27, 2012 at 11:37 am Reply

    Some great advice, especially in the 1st section.
    Happy weekend hun xoxo

  • Chessa!

    January 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm Reply

    This is by far one of the best recaps I have read on Alt. So concise and helpful…thank you! I wasn’t even there and I have gotten so much out of it from reading great summaries. The tweets have been fantastic too. I definitely want to go next year and in the meantime I’m hoping to employ so many of these helpful tips and suggestions. thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah van Loon

    January 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm Reply

    As someone who is a longtime blog-reader and just starting to blog myself, this recap is INCREDIBLY helpful. concise, to the point, gets all of the main thoughts (and important details) out there. Thank you SO much for taking the time to share these with us!!!

  • Christie Jones

    January 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing, I’m hoping to attend next year as well!

  • Desiree

    January 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm Reply

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together! I wasn’t able to make it to Alt and find reading these recaps so valuable.I’m a new blogger and so open to any advice and tips. There’s so much to learn and you really gave me a lot to think about and the wheels are turning! All the best!


  • The Lil Bee

    January 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm Reply

    This is amazing, Kelly!!

  • Adriane

    January 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm Reply

    This is such a fantastic recap…I’ve been wading through recaps for days and this is the best! so excited to attend next year when my little one is a bit older 🙂

  • Patricia

    January 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm Reply

    Thank you so much, this is incredibly useful, as someone who didnt attend ALT and is relatively new to all of this! You are incredibly generous and dedicated!

  • kate

    January 29, 2012 at 10:54 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing! This is so helpful, and I thank you for taking such good notes 🙂

  • Kristina Gulino

    January 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing – super great and concise list. I loved “make the most of chance encounters” because it’s the absolutely perfect way to start the spark of conversation. Thanks again!

  • Kerry {Super Swoon}

    January 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm Reply

    This is great! Thanks so much for putting this together for those of us that couldn’t attend!

  • Kathryne

    January 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm Reply

    Wonderful summary, Kelly. Thank you! I’d love to attend Alt someday myself, but I’m thankful that you and some others are willing to share what you’ve learned.

  • Lidia María

    January 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm Reply

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read on Alt – such wonderful notes! Will be sharing it this week for sure. There are so many things one can learn through these posts, and I didn’t even make it to the summmit. Thank you for putting this together!

  • julie | julie digs design

    January 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm Reply

    wow, these points are awesome and I will take these with me as I think about my blog and the direction I would like to take. Maybe next year I can join you and everyone at ALT! Cheers – Julie

  • Eva / Sycamore Street Press

    February 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm Reply

    Thanks for posting this Kelly! You hit a lot of the panels I didn’t, so this is helpful. I’m so glad I ran into you that last night, too, and got to chat a little. Now I need to send you the contact info for my OK City via LA friend….

  • Larissa J

    February 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm Reply

    this is going to be really helpful! thanks 🙂

  • Diana

    July 23, 2012 at 9:27 am Reply

    What a great summary – hope to make it out to SLC in 2013. Thanks!

Post a Comment