Friday, May 13, 2011

Learning from Other Bloggers

Just One Donna, Center, At Bloggy Boot Camp

Last weekend I attended my first blogging conference.  Yes, folks, there are conferences for bloggers. 

Boy, do we bloggers need conferences.   I had no idea when I jumped blindly into the blogosphere that there was so much to learn.  

So, on day 129 of my life as a blogger, I got up before the sun and drove to Boston to attend Bloggy Boot Camp, a one day conference hosted by SITS Girls, a social media community dedicated to bloggers supporting one another.   

Reasonably priced, as conferences go, Bloggy Boot Camp is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of blogging and to meet some of the people behind the blogs we read and the tweeps we follow.  If this sounds good to you check out one of these upcoming conference dates: Seattle June 4, Chicago August 20, Denver September 17, and Atlanta, October 22.

The Bloggy Boot Camp Room

Bloggy Boot Camp was a well thought out and well run conference.  I can say that because I have attended many a conference during my corporate warrior days and have even had the pain pleasure of running a few. 

The things that made this conference work were:

The size of the conference was limited to 125 participants, mostly female and a handful of brave men.  Everything was manageable and I never felt crowded or overwhelmed.

Seating was assigned for the morning sessions.  We changed seating four times during the morning for each presentation.  Time was allotted for introductions, to chat and exchange business cards.  This was very smart.

Networking Ruled
Networking was a priority.  Seating at lunch was assigned as well creating another opportunity to chat and get to know each other.  A specific time slot was scheduled in the afternoon for for more networking with fellow bloggers and brand representatives.

The presentations were focused and of reasonable length.  The limited time for each presentation required the presenters to be very focused with their content.  If you weren't particularly interested in a topic a new topic was scheduled to start soon.

Six Key Blogging Takeaways
So, what were the takeaways?

1.  Be clear about your brand.  Know it.  Honor it.  Be true to it.

2.  We are all writers.  Savvy bloggers will be aware of what their readers want and write accordingly.   If we want readers we must write for them.   The use of tools like keyword search and SEO can successfully increase readership.  Be clear and concise.  White space is your friend.

3.  Have a plan when working with brands.  Be thoughtful and prepare in advance.  Develop your media kit.  Target the brands you want to work with.  Develop your pitch.  Focus on solving their problems.

4.  Use photography to tell your story.  A fancy schmancy camera is not required.  We can start with a basic point and shoot (Whew! I'm using a Nikon Coolpix).  Use basic editing options like crop, white balance, color saturation.  Add frames and simple drop shadow to add some depth on the page.  Don't use other people's pictures without their permission.

5.  Be aware of legal issues.  Select the legal entity under which you will conduct business.  Use and read contracts.  Understand and respect copyright law.  Identify a social media attorney before you need one.

6.  It is possible to make money.  First build your brand and engage your audience.  Don't focus on the money.  If you focus on your brand and engaging your audience the money will come.

All-in-all, my first blogging conference was a success.  I learned from other bloggers and made new contacts.  Bloggy Boot Camp was a great experience.  If you are new to blogging, like me, Bloggy Boot Camp is ideal.


  1. Wow! So informative. I wish they'd have one somewhere in Texas.

    Stopping by from #commenthour

  2. I'm not sooo new to the blogging game I actually started 3yrs ago technically but it wasn't till very recently that I was able to find a focus, create a logo, and I found my niche in the blog world.

    Yet, I've always wanted to go to a bloggy boot camp but haven't been able to;but when they come back to Austin again, I'm so there!


  3. I'm so glad you had a great time at the conference! I am really considering going to Bloggy Boot Camp...hopefully this year. But definitely by next year. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. I had a great experience, as well. It's was fun to meet so many people who "get" what this blogging "thing" is for us.

  5. Sounds like a great experience! I'm almost at my 2 year mark for blogging and still have so much to learn!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today!

    Have a great week!


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