Shop My #rsTheCon Looks:
ICYMI, last week I attended my very first rewardStyle Conference — AKA #rsTheCon. I’ve been to blog conferences before, but man: I don’t think I’ve ever received so many questions about any single conference I’ve ever attended!
Today, I’m going to answer some of your questions, and share my honest thoughts about the conference!
What Is #rsTheCon?
rsTheCon is short for the rewardStyle Conference. rewardStyle is an invite-only platform that lets influencers generate affiliate links for thousands of retailers, and they also offer influencers sponsored brand collaborations. They also own LikeToKnow.It, which is a fantastic app where you can shop influencers’ OOTD’s and home decor finds. I’ve been a part of the platform since 2012 (does this make me a blogging OG??)
The conference is also invite-only, limited to ~200 of some of the highest-earning influencers on the platform. This was my first year that I was invited, so I decided to jump on it!
Were You Intimidated during rsTheCon?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: HECK YES. I had a few influencers straight up tell me not to go because it was cliquey. All of the photos I’ve seen of the conference in the past only showed attendees who were a size 0 and blonde — aka NOT PEOPLE LIKE ME. Not to mention, I’m a microinfluencer, and it’s always a little nervewracking waltzing into a room full of influencers who have ten times the amount of followers than you have.
Even though I was incredibly nervous, I wound up finding my tribe about 30 minutes into the conference. According to the RS team, 50% of everyone who attended this year’s conference were first-timers, which made it easy to make friends.
Were there still some cliquey girls in attendance? Absolutely. But there were enough fresh faces at this year’s event that it didn’t matter in the long run.
Was rsTheCon Expensive? Was it Worth The Expense?
I’m going to be real: between the tickets, flights, and hotels, blog conferences aren’t cheap. However, in comparison to TBScon (a conference I’ve attended for years), Create and Cultivate and Alt Summit, the overall cost of attending was on par with all three of these conferences. My friends: sometimes you have to spend money in order to make money! I try to invest a certain amount of $$ each year on education and networking events.
What I liked the most about rsTheCon that I haven’t experienced at other conferences is that you get assigned several private brand meetings throughout the weekend. They did an excellent job of matching influencers with brands: every single brand that I met with is a brand that I already shop at, or I’ve used their products before. It was awesome to be able to chat with these brands one-on-one and figure out ways we can collaborate.
Was it worth the cost? For brand networking, YES. But honestly, it’s on par with how much I’ve spent on other blog conferences in the past.
How Well Were Black Bloggers Represented? Did you get any Pushback for Featuring Attendee Diversity?
This might have been the most frequently asked question I received: but from the photos I saw of last years attendees vs. seeing this year’s group of girls? I think rewardStyle definitely stepped their game up in the diversity department.
Now: overall, I think there were about 15 black women in attendance, give or take. Given that black people make up 12.6% of the US population, that number is still a bit low (~15 out of 200), but considering last year’s numbers, it’s gotten better and is a step in the right direction.
As far as pushback: no, I haven’t received any for featuring attendee diversity. You guys know that I’ve been very vocal about diversity issues in the industry in the past, and the rewardStyle team is also very aware of this as well (and I still work with them regularly). Diversity at the conference was the #1 topic going down in my DMs last weekend, and I was excited to share with you how things have changed (for the better!)
P.S. — the lovely Steph Taylor Jackson wrote an awesome article about diversity and inclusion at #rsTheCon that you should read! And if you want to support some of the other black attendees, here’s a list of their blogs: Shay Mone, Candace Read, Monica Awe-Etuk, Nikki Gamble, Candace Hampton, Rochelle Johnson, Simply Cyn, Ranti Onayemi-Blanchard.
What Did You Learn at rsTheCon?
Since the conference was hosted by rewardStyle, we learned a lot more in-depth info about their platform and how to succeed on it. We also learned about some new features coming to the LikeToKnow.It app (which I’m so excited to see them come to life!)
One of the best classroom sessions I attended was ‘Building a Household Name,’ which was led by Carrie Roberts, Head of Consumer Marketing Strategy at T-Mobile. She’s a branding expert, and her workshop encouraged me to take a deeper look at my brand and the message I was putting out. I have a few tips and tricks from her presentation that I’ll be rolling out on the blog in the next few weeks!
What I loved about this conference is that it wasn’t a beginner’s blog conference: everyone in attendance was blogging at a pretty high level. Getting the chance to mix and mingle with other advanced bloggers taught me a lot in itself: we chatted about strategy, and I learned a few neat tips and tricks from other women and vice versa!
How Can Bloggers Who Didn’t Go to the rsTheCon Get Support from rewardStyle?
Set up a phone call with your rep (even if you’re on Influencer Support). Really take the time to listen to the tips they give — I’m not going to lie, I dismissed some of the tips they provided in the past, but what happened when actually gave them a try? They worked.
It doesn’t matter how many sales you drive or how many followers you have — rewardStyle is there to help you out. Reach out and ask for personalized suggestions!
Overall Thoughts on rsTheCon:
Honestly? I was a nervous wreck going into the conference. However, I ended up having the time of my life, had one-on-one conversations with brands I’ve always wanted to work with, learned quite a bit and walked away with a few new friends. And yes, I’m still a little sad that it’s over!