I wish I could have gone to almost every session offered at CFLBlogCon. It kinda broke my heart that I skipped sessions from Professor Josh (<–this is a must read post – it includes dozens of apps/tools to promote social media/blogging) and J — even though the sessions I attended instead were engaging, smart, funny, and exactly what I needed to hear. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s a (short) breakdown of all of the sessions I attended:
Keynote – Lou Mongello
Lou’s presentation was titled “Quit Your Job and Do What You Love Full-Time.” Even though I never intend to make blogging a full-time job (I already have a job that I love!), I found his presentation to be full of honesty, passion, and humor. In a former life, Lou was a lawyer. Now, Lou is a Disney expert. He has his own radio show (about – you guessed it – Disney) and has published a million things (I might be exaggerating) about the theme parks. Now, I didn’t necessarily leave wanting to quit my job, but I did leave inspired and energized – ready to befriend everyone who reads my blog — and fill my brain with endless amount of information. I had no idea what I was in for.
Media Kits – Callie Cowan
I’m going to admit up front that I half listened to Callie’s presentation. It wasn’t that she didn’t do a FANTASTIC job, I was just too damn nervous about our presentation, which was next. The parts that I did focus on though finally got through my skull what Katy has been harping on about creating a Media Kit for your blog. I loved that Callie broke down each part of the Kit, using several real life examples – and stressed that it was important for everyone to have one, not just those pulling in big numbers. I obviously need to do one and soon. I will be referencing her slides stat!
From our session — sadly nobody took any pictures of me talking!
Like Jackie said, I think I kind of blacked out during the presentation. I just remember being really nervous at first — but then I started telling everyone my secrets and things just started flowing out of my mouth. Christine later told me that at one point she thought I was going to cry. I promise you that I was not remotely close to crying.
That said – I really loved having the opportunity to speak about the ways that I fit blogging into MY life and why it is so important to me. I hope others did too!
Analytics_FTW – Mark Rupinski
I’m going to be honest here… this was the one presentation that was completely over my head. It’s not that Mark wasn’t a great speaker – I just didn’t get what I expected out of the presentation. Maybe it’s because my analytics are not that exciting? I did get the gist of what he was selling — you need to let the analytics work for you, I just didn’t get HOW you do that. Maybe I need to revist the slides.
Working with Brands – Julie Deily
This was definitely one of my favorite sessions! Julie (who says she was nervous, but I couldn’t tell!) works with tons of brands (she just received an entire kitchen full of KitchenAid appliances!) and broke down HER strategies for working with them. Most of her tips were simple – form relationships, search for PR people and contact them, don’t be afraid to ASK for what you want – but it’s the simple things you sometimes forget about. She also shared with us an example pitch letter. One of the questions she received was essentially “What is it about her blog that brands like?” and I liked that her answer was — she only works with brands she believes in – just as she only posts recipes and foods that she actually eats. I think her response is something I need to remember when blogging – even if I’m working with brands: Be yourself.
Storytelling and Problem Solving – Justice Mitchell
Justice wins for most entertaining presentation of the day. In the first five minutes he managed to suck us all in with zombies. I mean, who doesn’t love a presentation that starts with zombies? I really got a lot out of his presentation. Most importantly (which I mentioned in my previous post): If your content is not you would retell — WHY ARE YOU POSTING IT? I gotta start asking myself that question.
I also learned about a TON of tools you can use (while prepping for the conference and our own presentation and during the conference) to really increase your outreach to your audience. Here are a few:
- WooBox Pinterest App
- Google Reader Super Full Feeds (for Google Chrome <–plugin I talked about)
- Hootsuite (<-my preferred Twitter app)
- Editorial Calendar Plugin (for WordPress)
- Google Hangouts (for both “hanging out” and vlogging)
One of the things I really know nothing about – but I’m really trying to increase my presence on is my Facebook Fan Page. Did you know I have one?? I DO! (and I’m so close to hitting 100 Fans — please stop by and like me – I promise I won’t spam you with political ads!:)).
I think one of the most important lessons I learned is that I need to be more engaged with these tools! You can have them all you want – but you actually need to do something WITH them.
Overall — this conference was a huge success for me! I know I have SO much to learn and I honestly wish I could have met and talked to ten times the number of people who I did – but there’s always next year. A huge HUGE thank you to Bess Auer and her amazing planning committee for putting together a great show. I can’t wait to see what the future brings!
**A GIANT thank you to MacBeth Photo for talking some awesome pictures during the conference AND allowing us to repost/use them!!**