I’d been looking forward to my first big bloggers conference all year long, Blog Elevated and it finally happened a couple of weeks ago. I was curious about the level of speakers and what I’d takeaway.
Let me tell you that I was greatly impressed with the quality of speakers. They were all from the Houston area but each presented relevant information and provided action steps I could use. Many sessions I couldn’t take notes fast enough and I wanted more time with the speaker.
While it was a no frills conference it was comprehensive and so useful. I’ll definitely be back.
The location was completely worth it. Wow, wow!
If you go make a mini family getaway out of it. There so much for kids and family to do while you’re at the conference. The Southshore Hotel was beautiful and the setting was Insta worthy and oh so beautiful. It’s a must stay.
I loved that first activity was a bit of an icebreaker. Speed dating for bloggers. How smart is that? We were able to meet 20-30 bloggers, collect cards and have a foundation for the rest of the conference. That was a hit with me.
Overall I was encouraged, provided with action steps, and made great connections with people I hope will be friends for life. Oh and one evening I took a jaunt to Galveston beach, it’s just a short drive from League City.
Go if you can, the price is reasonable and worth it.
10 Takeaways from Blog Elevated 2016:
1. Network, Network!
The networking was one of the best things to come of the conference. Many bloggers were from the Houston area but some came from out of state. A couple of us first time attendees gathered before the conference began. I enjoyed meeting up with Lori, Cathy and Breeze throughout, hearing what’s working for them and where they are challenged.
Lori Kemph of Mutt & Chops
Cathy Lawdanski of My Side of 50
Breeze Leonard of Little Feet Big Adventures
And, I finally got to meet Elaine Mingus of the Radical Christian Woman, who I greatly admire.
2. Just Be You
The conference opened with a great kick off by Sharon Hines of Mrs. Hines’ Class. I was so motivated and encouraged by her words. She eloquently impressed on us that you are your best asset and listen to your voice and don’t give authority to any other.
Say no to anything that doesn’t align with your purpose!
3. Video is the Path of the Future
Find a way to make video part of your strategy. Create quality video content. Feature your video in your post and then create a teaser video for Facebook that drives the reader to your post.
These words came from the husband and wife duo of Ad Thrive who helps bloggers optimize their ad networks. They provided such important knowledge, but it was way out of my league since I’m just over a year old. But if you have tens of thousands of page views you should seriously consider working with them.
They stressed how important it is to make your site a mobile site first since that’s how most people will access your content. Your site should be a reflection of you! Wise words!
4. Perfect Your Instagram Game
What do your photos say? Think aesthetics. This should be a highlight reel of your best work.
Make your hash tags relevant. Look for big # hash tags. This panel was so good and chock full of good nuggets. Check out the panelists Meg Owens from Meg O On The Go, Brittany Ashmore of The Ashmores, Jacklyn Kent of Beauty and The Binky and Elly Brown of Uptown With Elly Brown.
5. My Mentor Moment
I thought it was really great that the speakers from last year’s conference returned as ‘mentors’ who would be available during study hall break times in the day’s schedule. They were introduced to cover specific topics.
My mentor moment came when I met up with Volpicella Roccibel who runs a beauty channel on YouTube with more than 108,000 subscribers.
I asked her thoughts on a video strategy, where to begin. She encouraged me to just start. Start with an introduction video of who I am and what viewers can expect moving forward.
She’s a beautiful, smart young lady. As her translator spoke her words back to me I got really motivated to get started. My YouTube channel is forthcoming, I promise!
But how wonderful that the speakers would return to mentor the attendees and be available for one on one instruction.
I left our conversation and immediately ran out and did my first Facebook video!
6. Tips for Photography
This breakout session by Rachel of A Southern Fairytale offered a bunch of practical tips. Here are a few I learned:
For photo backgrounds consider these….
- Old cookie sheets
- Wood planks
- Foam core boards
- Scraps of fabric
Tip! A spray bottle of olive oil will give a fresh sheen to any food
*Always save your photos, even the raw photo separately of the edited versions. You may want to go back to the original file.
7. Small and engaged is better than big and meh!
Kirsten Oliphant of Create If Writing gave a great session on getting the most ROI from your email list. Your email list is more stable than your blog traffic. You have a direct connection with your readers, use it wisely. What does your engagement look like? Every email should…ask for action, give value, and help your influence. Your email list shouldn’t be an after thought. Check out Kirsten’s blog here!
8. What’s your edge?
What’s the unique user experience that your blog provides? Your content is a product. Market it. Sell it. Redefine it. Analyze it. Constantly improve it.
News Republic sponsored lunch on the closing day, the chocolate pie was fantastic!
Thanks News Republic!
9. Look for search volume in your SEO keywords.
Aaron Eaves gave a power packed session on SEO optimization. He talked follow/no follow links, headlines, optimizing images, alt text, page speed and more. His session should have been two hours. I left wanting more!
10. Make an impression with your business card.
A memorable business card I think is so important. These two are stand outs in my opinion. The moment I received them I had a unique impression in my mind, both I’ll always remember. It’s great to be able to connect the card to the person. Be sure to take plenty to any conference you go to and take them to every session. Don’t be shy about handing them out! You’ll want to reconnect directly after the conference.
Aiming for August by Erica Nicole
Her business card you can plant! It’s made with wildflower seeds so you take it home and plant it. How cool is that!
Glitz & Grits by Aleshea Dominique
A die cut of the state of Texas!
I had a great experience at my first big blogger’s conference, Blog Elevated. I’ll be back next year. I left with concrete action steps defined, motivated and encouraged having made new friends and mentors.
Have you ever been to a blogging conference? If so I’d love to know which one and your experience was.