I am small but mighty.
You wouldn’t know it to look at me on the surface, but I went to 2017’s BConnected Conference feeling kinda down about my brand. I was doing better than ever, yes, but I didn’t feel like I was growing anymore. I had a wealth of contests out, consistently put content out that had people paying attention, and found myself able to do things with my blog I’d have never thought possible. If I were the Casey from five years ago, I’d be living the dream.
But you see a lot on any journey you take, and the year spent getting to this point still had me unsatisfied, feeling like I could still do so much more.
The first day of the BConnected Conference didn’t quite help. There were plenty of amazing things that went down that Saturday, like meeting Elayna Fernandez and her daughters, a family I’d love to keep in touch with, or Dani Gagnon showing me how to find value in Instagram Stories in ways I never really did with Snapchat. But it was Susan Getgood’s talk that stuck with me. The one that said the jump from microinfluencer to mid-tier content creator was having 100,000+ fans and followers.
For reference, mine’s just shy of 20,000, and it’s already a lot to manage—imagining the work needed to build that to something five times its size left me feeling a little hopeless to say the least. But I continued my day and had fun—I met plenty of people who I’d only interacted with digitally to that point; I put my best foot forward in the 10-minute micro-sessions I had to pitch myself to brands… when I got home that night after 17 hours awake, I felt I was making the most of my experience. I regretted nothing.
And I had no idea how unprepared I was for what Sunday would bring.
Sunday, April 23—The Day that Changed EVERYTHING.
I already knew I occupied a unique space as a blogger. Sure there are other men who blog, but few fathers. Few men of colour. Few who step away from the things they’re supposed to like—like sports, tech and cars—and tell stories showing their humanity. Like the panic they felt when becoming a Dad. Or examining the times they weren’t that successful.
But even knowing all that, I felt like I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t consistent enough with my content. Or doing enough to move the needle with my work, or provide enough value to the world with my posts. I kept writing these deeply personal stories without any certainty that anyone cared.
Which is why Erica Ehm caught me completely by surprise when she lauded me for my professionalism in her Sunday morning keynote!
Her words resonated right at my core—”everyone should follow him.” “He blew us away with his professionalism!” You need to understand—Erica’s talk was 7 Inconvenient Truths About Succeeding as an Influencer, where she clearly outlined so many of the things that influencers often do so very wrong. When she reiterated that we all need to step our game up repeatedly, receiving a compliment of such high praise didn’t go unnoticed at all. Add Kimia Moslemi’s comments in the Secrets to Blogger and Brand Relations panel later that day on my method and work ethic, and you know I left that conference with a renewed sense of power and purpose!
And that’s it—though it’d be nice to be a mid-tier content creator with 100,000+ people hanging onto my every word, it’s not about the number of people you talk to with your content… it’s more about the number who talk back.
The 2017 BConnected Conference—We’ll Miss You, But Thanks for Being There!
It’ll be some time yet before we make “Casey Palmer” a household name and I wonder how I could’ve ever had these worries, but it behoves me to remember I’ve grown an audience who will reply when I post on Instagram. Or share a tweet when I’m looking for help. Or even let me know the odd time I’ve made a typo on my latest contest. (*cough* “odd”.) The 19,190 people who give a damn about my content are 19,190 people—maybe we’ll be 100,000 strong one day, but for now, that’s a damn good start!
If the 2017 BConnected Conference left me with any takeaways (and there were many—I have the notebooks as proof!), it’s to take more pride in what I’ve built already. It’s only when you believe in yourself that you’ll have the strength you need to keep on growing.
A huge shout-out to the organisers, people and sponsors who made the final BConnected Conference happen—for my first blogger conference ever, it made for an experience I won’t soon forget!
May you too find the experiences you need to see your worth for what it is,