Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hooray! My 1st Blog Elevated Conference Experience Was Everything: I Survived…


Who knew stepping out of your comfort zone could be so rewarding. I am so elated I decided to step out of my comfort zone to attend my first blogging conference. In the beginning, I was apprehensive and even leading up to the conference I still had reservations about attending. I had no particular reason for feeling this way so I’m assuming it was because it was a new experience for me. We all know when we’re doing something new, there’s an uneasiness that comes with it, even if it’s only for a little while. However, I put those feelings aside and mentally encouraged myself about attending. It’s all a mind thing anyway, right?

I'm Going
About a week before I was scheduled to attend the blogging conference, I posted an “I’m going” blog picture by BlogElevated to my Instagram account with the hashtag #BlogElevated.

Later that day I received a message from ArtSeaChic stating it was her first time as well.  I replied “awesome, can’t wait to meet you!” We discussed the various breakout sessions that were going to take place in between the meetings. We were going to attend the same sessions except for one. She informed me there were a handful of bloggers that she was going to meet and asked, if I would like to join them, of course I stated yes and she added me to their Facebook thread. From there, we introduced ourselves and eagerly awaited the conference. My uneasiness slowly faded away.






Welcoming Entrance Sign


When I arrived at the conference I informed everyone that I was there and would meet them for registration. Registration started at 6 p.m. and the Welcoming Reception started at 7 p.m. so we all agreed 6 p.m. would be our meeting time. When the time came for me to go register, my uneasiness slowly tried to reappear but I once again pushed it out of my mind and headed to register.
















Blogger Volunteers
When I made it to the registration desk I was welcomed by friendly volunteers. The volunteers were all so energetic, friendly and eager to help. It made the experience even more so rewarding.




 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Artseachic and I



Once I registered, I walked over to a table and there was Artseachic. We introduced ourselves and started mingling with the other bloggers. We even went outside and took this picture by the pit, that was later used for toasted marshmallows s'mores and I must say they were delish. (Another new experience).
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  



New Blogger Community



Some of the bloggers that were in the Facebook thread joined us shortly thereafter.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Now it's time for the Welcoming Reception.
The reception was hosted by Imperial Sugar.



Fresh Fruit and Fruit Kabobs


Plantains w/Mango Salsa

Everyone talked and mingled throughout the welcoming reception.  The bloggers were well prepared and brought business cards to exchange with other bloggers. I didn’t know what to expect at a blogging conference and I didn’t think to Google it in preparation for the event. So, that’s the one important tool I didn’t have. (1st Lesson) Do your homework.  



Kristen w/Kroger, Marie w/Procter and Gamble and Yours Truly


Meet and Greet

Meet and Greet


Goodie Bag
After the welcoming reception, I went back to my room and looked at all the goodies in my goodie bag. It was going to be a full day on Friday and I didn’t know what to except, so I prepared for the next day, laid everything out and called it a night. I would say for my first night at the conference, except for not having business cards, all that nervousness I had anticipated leading up to the conference turned out to be a waste of my time.

 









 
 
Friday
 
Yours Truly

The next morning I woke up earlier than usual, excited about the day’s activities. I had a full day ahead of me so I went down early to survey the meeting room. I had my laptop, so I wanted to make sure I could sit close to a wall outlet. I wanted to stay connected because I had a lot of tweeting to do throughout the sessions of all the valuable material I was learning.      





Blog Elevated Founders
Our meeting started off with announcements and a welcoming introduction from, the Blog Elevated Founders, Bobbie Byrd and Lisa Conder Stauber. They are soooo awesome!



















 


Dayna Steele

Our Opening Keynote speaker was Dayna Steele and she spoke on “Blog Like a Rock Star.” Ms. Steele made several good points, but what held my attention is when she stated “We are not just bloggers, we have to believe in ourselves, that’s the first step in being a Rock Star. We have to believe we are a Rock Star in whatever we are doing.”

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brands and Bloggers PR Panel

Our next session was the Brands and Bloggers PR Panel. The panel spoke on many topics but the most important tool for me was when Kristal Howard stated, “that large brands can be approached, you just have to find the right technique to approach them with.” This particular statement gave me hope in that I would love to work with a large brand one day and now I know that I have to work on a technique that will make my dream a reality one day. I now know “it’s all about the technique.”






 
 
 
 
 
 
BreakOut Session Time
I attended the Breakout Session “Why Creating Charming Cheeky Content Matters in Social Media” by Marie Bonaccorse. I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Ms. Bonaccorse during the welcoming reception.  Can I say hilarious, yes, I can! Her presentation was just the same. She had the whole hand animations going on. Ms. Bonaccorse’s presentation really made me think about where I wanted to go with my blog. Yes, I have a lot of work to do.

My key take away points included:

·         A vision plan

·         A written plan

·         Know who your audience is 

·         Have guidelines in place

The last key point that was important to me, was when she stated, “Everyday moments make for great content.”

 

 


Marie Bonaccorse
 
 

Winding down to the last session of the day, before our Beauty, Bubbles and Bites Cocktail Party, we heard from Matt Cherry, “30 Easy Changes to Make for Giant Growth.”
My key points from his presentation included focusing on distribution, meaning focus on two or three social media channels that you love and that you are familiar with and get your content distributed. Mr. Cherry stated, “Distribution is important, you can be the best journalist in the room but if your content is not getting out there, no one will ever know about it.”
Wow, this sums up my first day of the blogging conference, the wealth of information is overwhelming but much needed to go forward with growing my blog.
 

I was so busy recording his session with my phone, I didn’t get a chance to take his picture. (2nd Lesson) Invest in a recorder.  Here is another picture from the conference:


 




Meet and Greet
 
It’s Party Time
Beauty, Bubbles and Bites Cocktail Party
Hosted by: Kroger
 

Kroger's Finest for the Night


Strawberries dipped in chocolate (yummy) and other goodies
 
Giveaway gift baskets from Kroger's worth $250.00


Goodie Bags from Kroger's

Amazing "FREE" products from Kroger's

 
Wow...What an amazing way to end our 2nd day at the conference!
 

Saturday

Yes, it’s Saturday already, the time has flown and it's the final day of the conference.
Bjork Ostrom kicked off our session with “Giving Yourself a Raise: Practical Ways to Increase Your Income Online.”
 
My key points from Mr. Ostrom included:
·         There are no dumb questions
·         Ask questions, if you have a blog or a website
·         Your raise becomes effective when you do
·         Learn one thing that will pay for your weekend times 10
·         You have something that is beneficial to others

This is another scenario where I was recording a session with my phone and didn’t get a picture. So, here is another picture from the conference:




 

New Blogging Friends
 
 
 


The Rest of Our Day Was Filled With Breakout Sessions


There were three different breakout sessions and I choose BE creative: Blogging with Your Heart by Ashley Hacksaw.

Ashley Hackshaw gave an awesome presentation about how she developed her blog. She also shared her personal testimony on the death of her father. She was also diagnosed with cancer, shortly thereafter. She used her blog to chronicle her journey. It was a way for her express her feelings.

The key points I took away from her presentation included:

·         A writer has to be focused on writing (no chores can be done)

·         Disconnect from everything and everyone.

·         She emphasized on reading and expanding your knowledge.
She shared this quote, “A close door is telling the world, you mean business.” by Stephen King.
 
This is another scenario where I was recording a session with my phone and didn’t get a picture. So, here is another picture from the conference:
 
 
 
PhilaTravelGirl and I
 
 
The next breakout session I attended was BE Social: Facebook’s not Dead: Bringing Your Page Back to Life by Holly Homer.
The key points I took away from this session included:
·         Have consistency and increase frequency of blog post
·         Do more of what is working for you
·         Figure out goal content and schedule into first blog post.
Ha, I must have taken this before I started recording Holly’s presentation, #winning:
Holly Homer
The last and final session I decided to attend was Representing Brands with Style by Fred Goodall.
The key take away points I learned from this session is that even though I’m a new and small blog, through hard work, perseverance and dedication, I can stand out and get notice by a brand. It starts with believing in myself, engaging with the community and writing content that my audience wants to read about. Lastly, I have to remember my audience is my foundation and to keep them at the front of my mind.
Once again I was recording, so here is another picture from the conference:
 
 
 
Bloggers listening to a presentation
Wrapping up the conference our final closing keynote presentation included How Your Blog Can Change the World by Kristen Welch.
The key take away points from this session included:
·         Joining blogging communities and interact by leaving comments
·         Find your blog purpose
·         Make your blog about others and not about you
·         Start small and make goals
·         Write strong content by writing intelligently and authentically,
·         Focus on purpose
·         Empower people
·         Keep relationships going
·         Stay connected with the blogging community
 
Lastly, if we change one person in the world it’s impactful.
Wow, these are just key nuggets of the conference I learned, there’s so much more that I could have written about.
So with my final closing this is what I want to share with someone attending a blogging conference for their first time:
·         Be prepared meaning do your homework
·         Bring business cards
·         Google “What to bring to your 1st blogging conference?”
·         If you want to record bring a recorder other than your phone
·         Have a good camera and capture quality pictures
Remember pictures tell your story, so make sure to take lots of meaningful picture, don’t to forget to breath and HAVE FUN!
I want to take this time to thank everyone that made my 1st blogging conference memorable. I’m so thrilled that I was able to connect with some amazing women and men in the blogging community to share my new blogging journey with. You all are amazing!
 
 
 

 
 

 
This wraps up my 1st time blogging experience and I’m looking forward to 2015 in Dallas, Texas.
Thanks for reading...
Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
Until next time,
Spread your wings and fly...
 
 
 
 
 
 

Be Encouraged,
Daria