I'm only 2 and a half weeks late on this!
The conference was kicked off by the keynote speaker, Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy. She is hilarious and down to earth. I hadn't actually heard of her blog (no babies = not big into mommy blogs) but I'll definitely recommend it to my friends with young children and babies. She brings a sense of reality and humor to being a parent. We even got a signed copy of her latest book, Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)!
We had a full day of speakers and discussions lined up. Everyone was bound to learn at least ONE thing per session. I say at least one thing but if anyone was like me, they learned a ton during each session! Pictured here is the Social Media Panel. Left to right it is Christen Green of Social Shop Media, Laura Harders from Beltway Bargain Mom, and Dawn McCaslin of The Crispy Sage. They gave us all sorts of great info! A few of my favorite points I wrote down were:
- Reciprocity - If you help out someone else, they'll help you out! The more I find AMAZING bloggers to network with, the more I realize how true this is! My advice, seek out and find small groups of like-bloggers that are in it to support each other. Start with specific networks/groups like DIY, real food, home improvement, etc. and also look for networks within your home state! If you can't find a good fit for you...start your own support group!
- Write out goals for each social media platform (Number of followers, amount of scheduled posts, repins/retweets/shares, etc)
- The first 3 or 4 words of a post MUST catch your reader's attention.
- Focus on one or two social media outlets and be great at them.
- Have a presence in all social media forms.
- Get used to hashtags...they're here to stay and will help people find you.
I'll be honest, I don't like that last one! I hate hashtags. Strongly dislike if you prefer. BUT, the panel stressed that in ever social media outlet, hashtags will help people find my blog. If I write a vegan cookie recipe and use #vegancookie on Pinterest, people searching for vegan cookies will find my pin! Guess I have to work on that! In the meantime I'll keep laughing at hashtags because it makes me think of this!
We also had a business panel, marketing, monetizing/optimizing your blog, and a legal panel. Pictured her is 3 of the 4 (well, you can actually see Nicole Dash of Tiny Steps Mommy (one of the two lovely ladies who put on this conference) in the mirror on the left. Then from left to right it's Taya Dunn-Johnson of Just Another Day with MrsTDJ, Monica Sakala of Wired Momma and Maria Jose Ovalle of Very Busy Mama'. All these ladies were wonderful and relatable. No one sugar coats things around here! Some of my favorite points from this panel were:
- Listen to your voice.
- Trust your instincts.
- Get out of your box.
- No business is going to come to you and offer you money. You need to request it.
- Create a media kit.
- No one can tell your story but you.
I couldn't find a good picture of all the speakers of the monetizing your blog session but here's some of what I took away from it:
- Have a good bio, photo and contact (e-mail address!) info easy to find and available.
- Don't use a contact form.
- Create a media kit. Use it as your "brag' page (guess I need to get on this one...seems to be a big point!)
- Have a self hosted blog (It's on my to-do list I promise!)
- Work with brands that work with you and your blog
- Treat your blog like a business. Because it is one!
Kelly Sanabria and Nicole Dash, the two lovely ladies who put on this amazing conference in only 3 months! We need some virtual applause, snaps and kudos to these ladies!
After the conference I hooked up with these beautiful gals and we got dinner before coming back for the cocktail hour in the rooftop lounge of the hotel for a bit. From left to right it's Heidi from Life In Pink, Jess of Being Mrs. Beer, Britni of Play. Party. Pin., Megan of Picture This Photo Solutions, LLC. and me!
Have you ever been to a conference? Who wants to pay my way to one of those other huge (and expensive) conferences in 2014? Anyone??
Till next time,
Disclaimer: All photos (except the last four) were are from here and were used with permission.