Since I wrote a few posts on my first BlogHer experience last year and also already did a picture post of some fun from this year’s event, I figured I’d just keep my BlogHer breakdown easy. So,over on my Facebook page I asked what everyone ACTUALLY wanted to know and got some great questions to answer…
Talk about thermonuclear prostenigation. Then talk about how you had a sauuuuusaaaage. (Kari)
I googled “thermonuclear prostenigation” and it’s totally not even a real thing. So there. As for my sausage eating, one of my goals for visiting Chicago was to have an actual Chicago-style hotdog (I missed out when I visited Chicago last year).
I was super happy that after a long day of conference sessions and not enough food, my friends and I ended up at Portillo’s… which is apparently THE place to go for sausage and hotdogs. We may look all ladylike in this picture, but we devoured our meals like we hadn’t eaten in WEEKS. Oh and I yelled out something terribly inappropriate, because that’s how I roll.*
What surprised you about this year’s event (Bryanne)
How incredibly different my experience was from last year’s BlogHer. Last year I had only been writing my personal blog for about a year and a half and was still kind of flailing around. I hadn’t really made any contacts before the event, so much of the time I was trying to reach out to make new friends but I wasn’t very successful. I also had a 5 month old at home, so instead of going to the parties at night I retreated to my room and rolled around in the bed while reveling in my freedom.
This year I felt MUCH more prepared. Not only have I been writing my personal blog for longer, but I also launched a successful blog at my work. I made a few really good bloggy friends over the past year and was incredibly excited to spend some time with them in person. Not only did I attend every single session that I could (and took lots of notes), but I also went to almost ALL of the parties, including some sponsored parties. All in all, my experience was much better than my first year and I wish I could do it all over again next weekend. After I get some sleep, of course.
Will going to BlogHer make you a better blogger? Was it worth the time and expense (Lillian)
Short answer: yes.
I’ve been working in marketing for almost 15 years now, so believe me when I say I’ve been to A LOT of conferences. However, if you approach the event with an open mind you will get a lot out of it.
Obviously you try to attend conference sessions that will educate you in the areas where you are lacking. But sometimes it’s a good idea to go to a refresher on something you think you already know. Many times I will still get a couple good nuggets of information.
Even if I’m not learning anything from a session, I still study how the speaker is presenting the information. If they have a really great Power Point, I can get ideas on how I can improve our presentations at work. If the presenter has a really engaging ‘ice breaker’ I can then copy it for a work event. Let’s say everything about the presentation is horrible? Well then, I know what NOT to do!
I also really enjoyed the expo hall and not just because it was a crazy free-for-all of giveaways. It’s really cool to be able to see which booths are attracting visitors, which promotional items were snapped up first and who was successful at using iPads to build their mailing lists.
As for blogging specifically, my favorite session was on SEO with real-life tips on how to improve both my personal and professional blogs. I made some great contacts at different companies that will not only benefit me, but benefit my readers. Lastly, I connected with my fellow bloggers on a one-on-one basis, which can then turn into some fantastic guest posting opportunities. Oh yeah, and I had a CRAPLOAD of fun, which makes Joules a happy girl.
If you could plan all the keynote speakers/workshops who and what topics would you choose? (Bryanne)
Wow, this is a great question! Let’s see, if I could choose keynotes for a future BlogHer conference I’d pick:
- Jenny from The Bloggess, because she’s an amazing and inspiring blogger who has MADE IT;
- John and Sherry from Young House Love because they seem to have figured out how to juggle work and home life so well;
- Tina Fey, because she’s smart, beautiful, funny and successful;
- Ellen, because I think it would be fun to dance with her;
- Oprah, because maybe she’d give us all cars; and
- Train, because it is one of my life DREAMS to sing with Pat Monahan.
I’m not really sure why I assume that if I pick the keynote speakers that I’ll be able to meet/dance with/sing with them all… but that’s how it plays out in my head.
As for workshops, I’d love to learn:
- Practical tips for connecting with your audience – but not connecting SO MUCH that you end up with a stalker.
- How to use Facebook as a blogger and actually get to your entire audience (instead of 20% of those who “like you”)
- More SEO tips. Lots, lots more.
- How to make the jump from small blogger to huge superstar (if I could get this in 5 steps, that would be great).
- Statistics behind using social media and what actually works (Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc).
- Making the leap from blogger to author.
- So much more! I want to learn EVERYTHING!
I really enjoyed attending BlogHer this year and I hope that I’ll be able to go again next year. I feel like each year I build on my foundation of information that I’ve already learned. Which means 10 years from now I’ll deserve a Queen of Blogging crown, right?!
If you have a question about BlogHer, feel free to ask it in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond!
*Alcohol might have also been involved.