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Blogging Advice

Blog Conference Highlights including, Is Social Media like Teen Sex?

By 03/05/2011January 23rd, 201721 Comments
At the Design Bloggers Conference early this week, Rhonda from All the Best gave a talk on ‘How to create your Brand’. The message that really hit home for us all was “Everyone thinks social media is a magic bullet, but it’s not that easy.  Social media is like teen sex, everyone wants to do it, no one actually knows how and then they are surprised when it’s not better.”

Interior by Jan Showers

It’s kind of like renovations. You think, how hard can it be? I know I want a white kitchen, quartz countertops and a blue glass backsplash (like my sister), but then there are all these little decisions that need to be made, that add up to your beautiful kitchen.

Like when I arrived at my sisters kitchen-renovation-in-process this week.  Her boxes had just been installed, the countertop measured, and the drywall, complete.  I walked in and said “What is this?” all the corners of her kitchen were suddenly. . . flat. Remember the rounded corners from the 90’s that were so brutal because the only way to change the colour going from one room to the next is to tape it in the middle. . . well, her corners. Flat. She said “See this is what happens when you go out of town”.

Without a designer my lovelies, the contractor, or ‘insert trade here’ potentially sways the homeowner in the direction that makes it easier for him to do his job. And the homeowner, aka. my sister in this example, says ‘Sure that sounds like a good idea’.

Interior by Jan Showers

Social media, the same.  It looks easy and you think, all I have to follow is all these great tips and I’ll have a great blog. And in theory this is true, but here’s what makes blogging hard. When you are simply not inspired write anything.  When it’s 8:00 pm on any particular evening and your post is old but you are tired.  Do you a. Flake out on the couch? or b. Go to your office to blog.  If you answered yes to the latter, you have the makings of a blogger. 

It’s not for everyone, and you shouldn’t make yourself wrong if it’s not in you to write one.  Just because your friend has written a book (for example) doesn’t mean you should too. Blogging, same thing. Okay so back to a few more tips if you are one of the bloggers reading this post. . .

Tobi Fairley gave the keynote talk on Tuesday morning with 20 great tips on blogging.  Here are some of the highlights:

Tobi Fairley & Maria Killam

1. Determine your blog’s purpose. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to know when you get there?

2. Offer total design. Don’t do a little in this room and a little in that, so in the end you can’t see where the money went if you don’t complete the room.  Spreading it all around a clients home also dilutes the look and feel of the overall space.

Interior by Jan Showers

3. Blogging isn’t free. You still have to pay for photography (very important) Also, when you’re blogging, you are not designing.

4. Before’s & After’s.  Take great ‘before’ pictures from the right angles. Take every wall straight on and every wall at an angle so you can photograph it at the same angle when you take the ‘after’ photo. How many times have you NOT photographed the nothing corner ‘before’ you decorated the space, and then afterwards, you get cranky because you don’t have that same angle.

5. People want to be entertained or inspired.You must be stylish but still have content behind it.

Maria Killam and Ruthie Staalsen

I always like to have a roommate when I’m at a conference because it’s so great to get to know my blogging friends even better. Ruthie from Ruthie’s Renewed Treasures (above) was my pal at this 2 day event and we had a great time together!

Oh, and one more thing, Jan Showers keynote presentation included a great photography tip which all of us designers should be aware of, and it is this ‘Use a photographer that uses a lot of natural light or can light a room so that it looks like there is lots of natural light.  It’s dated to shoot portfolio pictures with the lights on.’

Interior by Jan Showers

I’m off to Seattle tomorrow morning for the weekend and then Monday, I’m shopping for Spring with my amazing stylist Angie at You Look Fab.  Can’t wait.  I also popped into Crate & Barrel in LA and my colour has arrived, yaay!  So I’m going to check them out too, now that I’ll have a car to pack it in.

Have a great weekend!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

7 Hot Blogging Tips from Los Angeles
Do you Choose Finishes based on Light vs. Dark?
Is Hiring a Designer; A Luxury or Necessity?

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  • Splendid Sass says:

    As always, Maria, great information! Glad that you had a wonderful time.

  • Tamara Nicole says:

    Great tips, thank you! And enjoy the Seattle rain:-)

  • Ruthie's Renewed Treasures says:

    Great times for sure! What I want to know is what you packed for Seattle? We know your color swatches but what outfits are you going to wear? What color shoes & bag? We have to know these things……Have fun shopping!

  • Karena says:

    Maria you are so fun and always on the run, I am so glad you had fun in LA at the conference!!

    Do come and enter my Artful Offering by Carol Schiff!

    Art by Karena

  • Ideezine says:


    Great posts from the Design Blog Conference and this follow-up post even better. Great tips and we can always learn how to do a better job as designers, and bloggers, from others in the field. It's common sense.

    Have a great time shopping in Seattle.


  • camdesign says:

    Liking the tip on before pictures, there are times when I look at them and think, crap… I am going to be sorry if I get back to see the room finished and the afters do not line up properly…

  • camdesign says:

    oh, took me some time to work out how to put the button on my blog but I did it and it works !
    the one thing I forgot to ask you in person was… and only when you have time! could you help me understand how to put the feedburner button on my blog, I have been trying for over a year and nothing works (I am sure it's just me, lol)
    Have a wonderful weekend, hope you have fantastic luck clothes shopping… thanks again for a wonderful 3 days of class, from me and Linda… x

  • Design Elements says:

    wonderful information! thank you, Maria! have a relaxing weekend

  • AMELIA:) says:

    I really wanted to go – but could not make it this time.
    Thanks for sharing such wonderful information and safe journey home.

  • Bruce Barone says:

    Great post, Maria (Add Tobi!)!

  • Debra Phillips says:

    thank you thank maria!

    excellent blog tips and just signed on to angie's blog, hope resurfaces in the fashion arena

  • Beans says:

    sorry for the ignorance but what is flat corners?

  • pretty pink tulips says:

    These are pure gold nuggets of information! Thank you for recapping what you learned at the conference. I was following the tweets like crazy….and I could feel how fun and inspiring this particular event was.

    xo Elizabeth

  • Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with Beans – what ARE flat corners? Never heard them mentioned by a designer before. Also, I would not take stock in all of the "tips" or advice given at the bloggers conference. Honestly, a couple of the women giving the speeches that weekend have blogs that I quit reading. You don't need a series, or contests, etc to keep readers. The biggest draw is large photos of beautiful rooms & sometimes little said. Most women looking at design blogs are very visual & words are sometimes not needed. A great example of a popular blog that represents this is Brabourne Farm.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Beans and Anonymous,
    You'll have to see when I post the photos, I have honestly never seen them before in my life and didn't think I'd suddenly have an opportunity to mention them until I started writing so I didn't take a photo.

    I posted the tips I agreed with as a design blogger, regardless of whether these blogs were well read or not is besides the point, the advice is still good in my opinion. And this blog is my opinion. There are a gazillion blogs with pretty pictures without words and I try to include the occassional pretty picture here too!

    Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  • Verdigris Vie says:

    Thanks for sharing Maria. All these amazing conferences going on, with people sharing tips and making great connections. Would have loved to see Tobi and Sharon.

    Enjoy your weekend

  • dining tables says:

    Your posts are all so beautiful. I like the first photo the most. Love the colors and the details.

  • Lazy Gardens says:

    Beans & Anonymous – "flat" corners are probably "square corners". They are easier for the contractor AND easier for future painters than the rounded (bullnosed) corners that were popular.

    On photos: Set up a routine of taking the before pics in a standard sequence, full coverage of the area, whether you think you will need a certain shot or not.

    I always start a garden consult by taking a full series, because as we all know, the scope of the project will creep, or we forget exactly which existing detail we are supposed to blend the new things into.

    Stand in the middle of the room (or yard) and shoot each wall/fence head-on.

    Then shoot shots from entrances down each wall next to the entrance and across the room.

    Take shots that show what's visible from the room's windows.

    Then stand at the center of each wall and shoot across the room, and in each corner, shooting down each wall and across the room. Just move around the room's perimeter, shooting each angle.

    With a bit of practice, and some familiarity with your camera, you can take these in under 10 minutes.

  • Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home says:

    I was going to ask what flat corners are, but I see that others have already asked! I am a decorator and I have never heard of them either! Why would someone do that (other than laziness!)?

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm waiting for an explanation of 'flat corners' too. It would seem that's a good place to stop a given paint color and start another. Why do you seem disappointed?

  • Magic Brush says:

    New to your blog! One of my painting mentors turned me to it this week! Glad to see you mentioned Ruthie! She is a great follower of my blog!!!!! I am going to HAVE TO make that conference next year…..good stuff! Blessings, Jennifer

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