Here we are - one year later and another Minnesota Blogger Conference is in the books. Founders Arik Hanson & Missy Berggren along with their planning committee members, and "birthday girl" Suzi Magill put on a wonderful event, improving on last year in so many ways, including the venue, parking, food & being able to accommodate twice as many attendees.
The Keynote: Blogs to Riches was by Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing, who was also a sponsor.
He left us with five main ideas:
1. "No Blog Plan is a Plan to Fail"
2. "Adapt & Thrive"
3. "It's Not All About You" (Show interest in other people)
4. "Ask. Recognize. Repeat." (To invite participation with the readers of your blog - your community)
5. "The End is Near, Let's Start" (telling us to not be stopped in our tracks when we think we've run out of ideas to write about & how to find more)
First time I had been in the same room as Lee after following him & hearing so much about him & his other speaking engagements worldwide. It was nice to see how down to earth he really was.
So many of the people I knew would be there I literally only had time to say hello, hug-it-out & see you later since we were planning to attend different sessions. I had planned out my day & even though it was turning out that I might not have done as much socializing as I originally intended I wanted to get certain things out of the experience.
My first break-out session was with Mandy Dwyer of Glimpses of Soul Photography. All I can say is that Mandy had me wishing I could afford a DSLR camera, not to mention a new PC or Mac so I can load some new photo editing software. I am already thinking even more about capturing photography vs just taking snapshots. She delivered a crash course in lighting, composition editing & how to use photos to tell a story. Her notes are already up on her website if you are interested.
Mandy also donated her time doing head shots, so of course I couldn't pass that opportunity up! Can't wait to see how they turned out. I heard
Stephanie Meyer & Ian Schwartz were the panel members of "Building Communities Online and Offline" - my second session which was moderated by Kate O'Reilly.
Some key takeaways:
1. Reminding people that they have permission to participate.
2. Give people multiple channels to engage with your community - not just your favorite one.
3. Have a great host - you have to be an organizer who delegates.
4. Reach out to people who may not have made your event & find out why, i.e. the "maybes"
5. It's OK to call the haters on your blog out! Just do it in a way that's not defensive & holds them accountable. (loved this one)
After a lovely & satisfying taco bar lunch and a couple of nice conversations with fellow attendees, which was free thanks to our sponsors Kare11, Top Rank Marketing & Allina Hospitals & Clinics, I went to "Advertisements, Endorsements and the Casual 'Like'" - led by Hayden O. Creque Esq. of Creque Law.
NO SLEEPING was possible in this session. It was very lively & interactive to say the least!
If you are interested in a recap of what was discussed, visit Hayden's website where you will find a downloadable copy of the presentation.
Just keep in mind these things:
1. "The Average blogger is held to a higher standard than celebrities."
2. "If there's a connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed."
3. "Value doesn't matter...It could be $1 or $1,000...It's about the relationship."
The final session I chose was Moving Your Blog to Wordpress, (so Blogger cover your ears,) by Tim Elliott.
"With WordPress.com the hosting and managing of the software is taken care of by the team here at Automattic. With WordPress.org you need to install the software on your own server or with a 3rd party provider."
He walked us through the costs of the different options. He promises that "
The biggest tip he gave us is something called WordPress TV. I you have questions - this is the best resource he offered us - for people of all levels of tech-savviness. Tim also made his presentation available so we did not have to write or type furiously - we could try to concentrate on asking questions if need be.
Overall this year's conference flew by & I wish I had the opportunity to also sit in on some sessions by a few of my favorite people Erica Mayer, Kate Hopper, Paul DeBettignies & Patrick Rhone, so I hope they all also made their presentations available so I can go & check them out on my own time. Since I can't clone myself, that will have to do.
The best part of the day? The conversations between the sessions - meeting new bloggers & seeing those you've met before, but don't get face time with often. It's something we all strive to do - making real connections offline.
Till next year...
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: My Lens Into The First Ever MN Blogger Conference