The tagline for the Southern C, “Connect, Collaborate, Create” is EVERYTHING. Unlike other leadership and creative conferences I’ve attended, the Southern C really encourages its attendees to get know one another, share talents and support each other. When you buy a ticket and attend a Summit, you’re coming home with a whole network of generous creative people at your fingertips. People just like you and me, actively seeking opportunities to work together. How awesome is that?
So when planning our 24th (!) birthday at King Bean, I thought of my Southern C connections. Our party was to be a small, internal affair for our team members only. But still, content is king, so I knew I needed to maximize our celebration for content-driven opportunities as well.
A birthday party calls for a cake. So I called Julie McAllister, owner of For Heaven Bakes. I met Julie at the 2018 Summit in February; she makes show-stopping, custom cakes and I knew one of her cakes would be the perfect centerpiece for our birthday celebration. Julie designed a cake that looked just like our retail bags, including our labels, tin ties—all the details. And she even used our coffee in the batter!
For décor, I called Southern C alum Liz Martin of Cannonborough Collective. Liz and her business partner Mimi, guided me through balloon selections from the shop, knowing that I’d want some great photos of the event for content. She helped me to select two gold balloons that read “24”. I also picked up some pretty plates, napkins and candles—items that worked well for photos and with our branding.
Our party was a hit—our team members had a great time, the cake was spectacular and it was an easy way to work with other Southern C alums. But it didn’t stop there. Now I had to maximize the content.
I’ve been working with Southern C alum and presenter Natasha Murphy of Nicely Built on a new blog for our King Bean site. Our new blog has a series “Culinary Women and Coffee” where I interview women in the culinary arts and ask them questions about their careers, their lives and of course, coffee.
(Side note: this series was inspired by Southern C presenter Elizabeth Mayhew who asked me at the Summit to be featured on the Draper James blog. I loved answering all the questions for the “Real Women, Real Clothes,” feature and it got my wheels turning…I could interview women in the culinary fields for our blog…Southern C connections and inspirations run deep, y’all.)
I asked Julie if I could feature her on the new King Bean blog for “Culinary Women and Coffee”. When she delivered the cake, we were able to get a few great shots of Julie to use for the blog. The blog post went live just this month!
I shot an instastory of our party for our audience the day of. For our actual birthday on July 2, I posted pictures on Instagram and Facebook of the cake and party, tagging both For Heaven Bakes and Cannonborough Collective. I wrote a birthday blog post for our “Coffee Y’all” blog and also sent out a newsletter.
My takeaway? There’s always an opportunity to connect with a Southern C alum, even for a small internal party . And there’s multiple ways to maximize your content.
I’ll leave you with a few things to consider:
Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in the big events, the big stories, and the big collaborations, that we miss opportunities for content creation around the smaller ones. And the smaller ones can often tell a more intimate story. Think about the things you do internally as a business that you can share with your audience.
I hired a photographer for the birthday party, but had a shot list for her that included images for 3 + blog posts, my company’s social media and For Heavens Bakes’ portfolio. I even had her shoot a picture of Julie and I together with the cake because—you guessed it—I had this blog post in mind! I wasn’t sure then if I would actually write it, but I knew that I wanted to have versatility in the photos to wrap stories around.
You can take inspiration from them and make it your own. Draper James does a great job with content creation, so I make a point to read their blog and social media on a regular basis. I also subscribe to their newsletter (and buy their clothes!)
Sometimes we look only at our competitors for ideas and forget that we can get a lot of inspiration from companies outside our fields.
Here’s the secret to success that many miss: Invest in relationships! Being generous is a healthy habit of relationships. Actually using your connections from the Southern C not only brings great opportunities to your business, it forges new friendships as well.
Thanks Julie for the gorgeous cake and to the Southern C for connecting us!