I was excited to attend Bloggy Conference 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio this year. I’d heard about past Bloggy Conferences and Cincinnati is only about 4 hours from Cleveland but each year I always seemed to have a scheduling conflict. So when I saw that my schedule was open to attend this year I was excited!
The conference was well organized and we often were given choices of what sessions we’d like to attend. I was excited to be the Review Squad Leader and to offer tips and advice about ranging from how to become a review blogger to how to pitch for trips and travel.
The opening keynote by Phil Hollows of Feedblitz began on on Thursday afternoon. He told his inspirational story about how Feedblitz got to be where it is today.
Then we had a choice between Becoming the CEO of You by Danielle Hatfield which I heard was very informative and full of information. I attended the Turning a Blog Into A Business session with Andrea Deckard of Savings Lifestyle. She was very down to earth, willing to answer questions, and had lots of tips about blogging as a business. Some of my favorite takeaways included:
- Establish goals
- Work smarter
- Remember the why
- Find your top ten traffic sources than the next month find another top ten
Next up we learned about Search Engine Optimization from Allison Kulage of Bare Knuckle Marketing. Some of her tips included:
- Have a clear call to action at the end of your posts. Ex. “Did you love this? Sign up here for more.”
- To find keywords use Google Keyword Tool, Bing Keyword Research Tool, Insights for Search, search.Twitter.com, listen to your market, and watch competition on LinkedIn.
- Long tail keywords can bring 70% of traffic, they covert better, and are easier to rank for
The last session of the day was Social Savvy for Social Media sessions which were lead by Bloggy Conference Alumni. We were instructed to pick 3 out of the 4 options and rotate every 20 minutes. I thought this was a great idea and enjoyed attending:
- Get LinkedIn To Your Blog Biz
- Guiding Conversations on Facebook & Twitter
- Increasing Blog Productivity
The fourth option was How to Take a Blogging Break which is kind of what we did next. The conference sessions ended at 5:30 and the Bloggy Conference Kickoff Party at Johnny Rockets didn’t start until 7:30. It was lots of fun and a great time to connect with other bloggers over good food and music.
The next morning at 9:30 am we were again given the choice of two sessions. One was Pictures Say 1000 Words (Photography and Your Blog) by Angie Keiser of 2 Sisters and a Blog. I was following the tweets and later read Angie’s recap of her session. It looked like a good one full of all kinds of helpful information for newbies and for those comfortable with their cameras.
I chose to attend the Show Me The Money! session with Nathan Engels of WeUseCoupons.com. It was a great session and while it was heavily focused on using AdSense, I did learn quite a bit. Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:
- Become an Amazon Associate and put affiliate links in everything especially recipe ingredient lists
- Find out what your top high traffic posts are and then put affiliate links in them
- Post free ebooks which offer helpful information and include your Amazon Affiliate link so you get paid if they buy anything after clicking your link
- Keep posts moving nicely – he posts 13 times a day
- Be sure to base your sponsored post rate on how long the post will stay on the homepage.
Next up we had a complimentary headshot photo shoot with Angie Keiser of 2 Sisters and a Blog. I was one of the last to go because the Squads were meeting at this time. I didn’t have time to freshen up before the picture and I was a bit worried about what I really looked like. I have to say I’m completely pleased with how wonderfully the photo came out.
Doesn’t it look nice? Angie did a great job and I would recommend her for anyone looking for headshots or portrait photography.
Then it was lunchtime. The selection of food was lovely. Pastas, chicken, even grilled peaches. I wish there had been more of this kind of food throughout the conference. It really was delicious!
After lunch we were told that the speakers for the Plus Size Your Following With Google+ session was ill and wouldn’t be able to present. The session Pinterest for you Blog/Business by Debba Haupert of Girlfriendology was still going to take place and though I had wanted to attend the Google+ session because I’m trying to be more active in it, I was happy to sit in on the Pinterest session as well.
Than Nathan from WeUseCoupons.com offered to teach an impromptu YouTube session. I loved his energy, knowledge, and way of teaching in the Show Me The Money session so I was excited to see what he had to say about YouTube. I’ve been using YouTube for quiet awhile and thought I understood most of it. As I sat in Nathan’s session, I realized I only understood the tip of the iceberg. Here were a few of my favorite tips:
- Become a YouTube partner by achieving 80,000 total views. Once you are a partner many more features open up to you like custom thumbnail selection, clickable custom header to match your blog, clickable links to you social media accounts and more.
- Videos should only be 2-4 minutes long. After that you see a 90% fall off rate.
- Some recommended video editing programs include: Windows Live Movie Maker, Adobe Premier Pro, and Final Cut
- Use quotes in your tag phrases Ex. “volleyball net”
- Use YouTube annotations (found in the advanced settings) can put clickable links to other videos, and once a partner, to your YouTube subscription page, your blog, a specific bog post, or a social media site
- To find music for your video search AudioJungle.net
We wrapped up the day with a Tech Bar by Brandon Pierce and Ryan Hughes where we were able to ask questions about how to backup our blogs, how to install and activate plugins in WordPress, how often we should turn off our devices, and more. At the same time there was a session about Humor Writing by Tracy Beckerman and by the sound of the laughter in the room it must have been a great session.
There was an informative Social Media Panel at 4 pm with Mary McCarthy, Melissa Jennings, Allison Kulage and Debbie Haupert. It was interesting learn how each blogger uses social media in their own way. There were a wide variety of opinions and it was nice to hear them express them all freely because often what works for one person may not always work for another.
The next morning at 9 am Leah Segedie of Mamavation started her Connecting with Brands session in a pink tutu. She immediately had us doing squats and it wasn’t long before she was forthcoming and honest about starting and maintaining relationships with brands. Some of my favorite tips from her session included:
- PR people are just like everyone else. Create friendships.
- Be easy to work with. Be enjoyable to work with.
- Don’t be a diva blogger – you are replaceable.
- It’s a gamble for PR to work with you, do what you can to take away that gamble.
There was a Newbie Session at this time as well and then the Bloggy Squads met again. The closing keynote by Debba Haupert from Girlfriendology had people in tears.
If you’ve read this entire post kudos to you and I hope it gave you a great overview of the conference. I realize this review is long but Bloggy Conference 2012 was so jam packed with information, motivation, and inspiration that I just had to get it all in. I had a great time at this conference and I’d recommend it to anyone wondering whether to attend. I can’t wait for next year!