I was a rookie at this year's Type-A Parent's Conference. I've been blogging for a very long time, but without any particular goal other than to share with family and friends what's going on. The last few years, I've recognized that blogging in general is evolving and that there is potential out there for more. I finally made the plunge into the world of blogging conferences to find out some of what that would take and see what information I can take away.
With that in mind, I thought I would share some of what I took away from the conference (in no particular order).
First is the initial presentation that readers get. IE: If they show up on your twitter profile, is your description relevant to what they're looking for or is it vague? It applies to more than just twitter, that was just one of the examples used. When running a business, I would guess this is fairly obvious. As a blogger who's working on thinking of their blog as more of a business, it's an adjustment. I'm working on evaluating my "appearance" and have changed my twitter profile description appropriately.
Then there was the information about write, read, write, read, etc. Basically, how to use your "voice" to keep readers on your blog. It doesn't necessarily mean grammar or punctuation or even spelling, but just being you. For me, that includes all of it. I have a hard time writing "wrong", even if that's the way I speak. This may take more effort, I'll have to let you guys decide if I'm successful or not.
Don't undervalue yourself. If you think you're only worth $15, then that's all you'll get. You're not doing yourself any favors. Think big and be willing to come down. Work with the ones that you can, turn away those that you can't. Understand that businesses set limits on their budgets and you may price yourself out of their range. It's ok, you can negotiate or pass.
Once you start getting sales pitches, make it simple for yourself and automate at least part of the process. You can set up 'canned responses' on gmail (and likely other platforms as well) to help you respond appropriately and timely.
I found out about a bunch of cool apps. Some of which I may eventually play with, some I may not. Some of the potentially more useful include iMovie and FiLMiC Pro. I've used iMovie before on a mac, but not on my iPhone. The other I wouldn't have thought to look for, though it makes sense that it's there. The idea behind these is to produce a more presentable and effective video. As I don't use a lot of videos, I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of them, but they're cool to know about.
I will admit that I'm not too fond of the tag team presentations, though. The banter between presenters tends to detract from the presentation itself. I, at least, find it very distracting (even if humorous). A couple of other bloggers agreed, but I have a feeling we may be in the minority on that.
I loved the number of brands/sponsors the conference had. Unfortunately for me, most were not a great fit. My kids are a bit too old for the market they're looking for. There were a few generic, or more generalized. sponsors which was good. Likely you'll see me post for some of them as they're great causes/organizations or are products I already use but hadn't thought about partnering with. I won't name them now so that when I do post for them you may actually be surprised.
Most of the conference I was situated in one spot all day (both Friday & Satuday). I tended to pick the talks in the ballroom, so I found a single spot and camped there. I tried to situate myself away from the bloggers I know so that I would be forced to meet new people. My spots, though, didn't attract much attention as I didn't sit in the front row. My blogger networking was rather stunted as a result.
As to the party(ies), I'm not generally a party goer. I just don't enjoy them over much. I do love Disney, though, so I made a point to give the Friday party a try. I went, took pictures at the picture spots, tasted the deserts and left. On my way out I saw a blogger swapping her ears (free gift from Disney), so I asked if I could and was told no. Oh well. Saturday, toward the end of my last session (about photos and your blog), I had the start of a headache (which got worse as the day went on). I had been told by another veteran blogger that the Suite Talk stuff was a kind of speed dating thing with the brands, which I wasn't hugely interested in. Given my headache and the gap between the end of my session and the start of the Tasting and Sharing social (1.5hr) and the fact that I wasn't interested in trying the 90s party, I went home.
I missed Sunday due to the headache that wouldn't quite go away.
Will I do it again? I have no idea. The cost can be just as prohibitive for bloggers to go to conferences as it is for anyone else. There were VIP sessions that I didn't participate in (cost was too much extra to pay for) as well. I'll digest what I took away, implement what I can and then wait to see what happens. If I do more conferences, I suspect I'll limit it to one a year and then likely to be whichever one is closest. There are a lot of options, so I'll have to wait and see.