I recently came back from my very first BlogHer conference. If you are not a blogger, BlogHer is a large conference that just celebrated their 10 year anniversary last weekend.
Before I went, I made my list of goals for this conference which included:
- Gaining some helpful information and tools for my blog
- Reconnecting with blogger friends
- Meeting other bloggers
- Visiting the sponsor booths
- Exploring San Jose
I went up to San Jose a day early on the advice of Valerie from Mama Likes To Cook. This was fantastic advice because it gave us a chance to connect with friends, and experience part of San Jose on our own, prior to the BlogHer San Jose conference. This day also happened to be my birthday, so it was a fun way to celebrate. We went out to lunch and talked about our expectations of the conference.
I also met some wonderful new friends that day. I met my fellow travel and beer-loving blogger, Cassie, from Ever in Transit. I forgot to take a picture of her but you can check her out on her blog. There were several of us and we had a great time at the meet up she organized at Original Gravity Public House. (Awesome place, which I will definitely visit again).
The first day of the conference I was happy to see
that BlogHer reserve spots especially for newbies like me at their opening keynote.
After a welcome from the BlogHer founders, speaker, Jenny Lawsome, AKA the Bloggess, was the opening keynote. She shared some funny stories and she explained how she took her humor to not one but two book deals. She was very open and entertaining, but the breakout sessions are really where I found some helpful information to apply to my efforts.
The Breakout Sessions
I found the SEO and Social Advertising workshop with Peg Fitzpatrick and Maribel Lara to be very helpful. Peggy had some wonderful suggestions on SEO and social media sharing. She gave some tips on what to focus on and how important visual impact is to success with exposure. You can check her out at Peg Fitzpatrick.com for lots of helpful information.
The other session I went to was about Book Publishing with Neeti Madan and Laura Mazer. They had some good information on publishing with a firm vs. self-publishing. They also discussed items that should be in a query letter when you are searching for an agent.
The New Friends
I met the lovely Stephanie from Little Miss Menopause at breakfast that first day. She won a BlogHer Voices of the Year award in the humor category and she is a sweetheart! We were both BlogHer newbies at the first event.
In between the sessions I stopped to charged my phone. That's when I met lovely Kim from Listing Beyond Forty. My new blogger and playwright friend from Chicago . We had such a nice conversation sitting on the floor next to the outlet! Seriously, where else can you make connections (pun intended) like that?
I also met the terrific Valerie of From Valerie's Kitchen. We have so much more in common that I would never have known if we hadn't connected at BlogHer. We had an awesome time together and I already miss talking to her. We also shared a fun moment in the expo (described below).
As far as the expo went, it was a bit smaller than I imagined. From what I hear from people who have attended in the past, it actually used to be much bigger. There were several of my favorite brands represented there including Ziploc, Dixie Ultra Moments and Bailey's Coffee Creamers. I did enjoy hearing about some upcoming products from these companies and I do appreciate that so many brands sponsored the conference.
One of the highlights of expo for me was meeting Cheryl from Tidymom at the SC Johnson booth. She is such a sweet person and is one of my blog crushes so it was a memorable moment for me!
The Chuck E. Cheese's booth was the most fun with daily contests and games, as prizes. I won a couple of board games at that booth. There were also some limited invite-only events that I attended like the Eppa Sangria and Soybu party, which was a lot of fun! Eppa Sangria is very tasty right out of the bottle by the way! They also gave us a bottle to take back home with us.So this must be the swag I always heard about. I also attended a breakfast sponsored by Keurig and let me tell your their new Keurig 2.0 that is coming out soon looks amazing. You can brew a cup or a carafe from the same unit!
During the evening we went to some of the sponsored parties but honestly, they were very crowded and we did not stay long.
On the final day I really enjoyed the Craft Mini Con session. The information that was shared in that conference was very helpful and although they were discussing crafts, the knowledge and helpful information shared could be applied to creative blogs of any kind. I took pages of notes here and appreciated all the helpful advice shared by the panel.
There were also great keynote speakers that day. Guy Kawasaki's interview of Arianna Huffington was very entertaining and the interview with Kerry Washington AKA Olivia Pope of Scandal was fantastic and heartwarming, and now I am an even bigger fan of hers.
Then there was the closing party sponsored by McDonald's, which was fabulous.
With Rev Run (AKA Joseph Simmons) of Run DMC spinning the tunes from the 80s and 90s, it was a party! Check out everyone using their phones to share the experience.
There was lots of dancing and singing and moving to the grooving....
So there is my recap. What I go again to BlogHer? The answer is yes, if it were local. The conference provided a great outlet for connecting with friends and other bloggers which was a blast for me. I really enjoy hearing from successful people with amazing stories at the meetings and breakout sessions. They provide an inspiration and motivation force that's worth something to me. I actually think I might try the BlogHer Food next since that would be more focused on what I enjoy writing about.
I'm going through withdrawals now. I had an amazing time with my roommate Jamie, who I enjoyed catching up with since she had recently moved to Northern California. Jamie, I enjoyed picking songs (with the help of some friends on Twitter) to wake you up in the morning.
Have you been to BlogHer? Were you there at BlogHer14?