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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bloggy Boot Camp Philly


Earlier this year, I started thinking about attending a blog conference. I had only been blogging for a little while but I felt like there was so much I needed and wanted to learn. I wanted to know what my options were should I decide to take this blog beyond just a hobby of mine. I started looking around, first at some fitness-focused conferences and then at big name events like BlogHer. Somewhere along the way, I came across this thing called Bloggy Boot Camp.

I read some reviews and narrowed it down between Bloggy Boot Camp and BlogHer. Ultimately, what drew me to Bloggy Boot Camp was its format and intimacy. The event is typically capped around 100 and they assign seating during the day. While it may sound hokey, as a new blogger, it put me at ease. I knew that I wouldn't have that "new kid entering the cafeteria and trying to decide which table to sit at" feeling. Plus, it's affordable ($99!!) and is an event that truly driven by content. 

Laurie Turk (www.tipjunkie.com)

The conference was jammed packed with amazing speakers who shared real-life stories and tangible take-aways that could be implemented right away. Topics ranged from 10 Tips for Blogging Success to Vlogging to SEO to Expanding Your Platform Beyond Your Blog. There were also two break-out sessions - the Business of Blogging and a Writer's Workshop. We covered so much ground and never once did I think, "Gee, I don't really need to sit in on this session." ALL of it was information that I was thirsty for.



Here are some of the key ideas I took away from the conference.

1. We're all in this together.
So much of blogging is about reciprocity and support. It's what the blogging community thrives on. Avoid blog jealousy over someone else's success. One blogger's success benefits us all and sets the bar higher for what we can all achieve. Support your fellow bloggers by reading their posts, leaving thoughtful comments and sharing on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. Find your tribe and let's all lift each other up.

2. Focus and Prioritize. 
Have one main goal for your blog - whether it's traffic, experience, recognition, or writing. Sticking to your one main goal will make decision making so much easier. From there, create three-month goals to help you prioritize your blogging efforts. Focus your attention where you want to see results. Across the board, the magic number seemed to be three. Any more than three things, nothing will get done.

3. Branding
Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room. Understand what your readers want and expect from you. Consider fully what you bring to the table, not just online and through social media but also offline assets and connections.

4. Niche vs. Category
This was an interesting one for me. I always thought of blogging niches as "Mommy blogger" or "Healthy Living Blogger" or "Technology Blogger" etc. This always troubled me because I kind of feel like I don't fit into a niche per se. Yes, I talk about healthy living and fitness but I also talk about being a Mom, bringing up my kids in a multi-cultural family, and a slew of random stuff. That's the point - that's my niche. It's me - my passion, my loves, my interests. All those other labels are categories of blogging.

5. Video!! 
I've heard it before but I've been reluctant to believe it but video is getting bigger and bigger. There are growing opportunities and companies and brands are willing to pay for it. Keep your videos short (1-1.5 minutes) and don't just be a talking head or take yourself too seriously. You need to be entertaining and tell a story. Focus on getting videos out there, balancing quantity with quality. As you do more videos, you will improve and it will be easier.

6. Don't sell yourself short. 
You have to be your own best advocate. Don't just jump at the first business opportunity that comes along. It has to be the right fit for you, your blog and your readers. As Tiffany from SITS said, Don't go after the money. Go after the bliss.  If it's a sponsored post, it should be stories in YOUR voice. Business opportunities are like buses. There's always another one coming - Richard Branson. Lastly, Never take "No" for an answer from someone who can't give you a "Yes." - Allison Talamantez from Sway in Real Life.

7. Treat your blog like a business. 
If you act like a business, you will be a business. You never know when that one post will go viral or an amazing opportunity will come along. Put things in pace so that when you have success, you are ready for it. It's a mindset and mentality. Believe in yourself and your blog. If you make decisions out of desperation, you will make bad decisions.

8. Be seen in real life. 
Blogging is great for making connections but nothing beats meeting people in real life. Attend events and conferences if you can. That personal, face-to-face connection matters. 

9. Live your life
Blogging and social media is great but you have to live your life too. It's tempting to sit glued to your computer all the time but blogging has to serve you and your family. Tiffany and Laurie Turk from Tip Junkie both emphasized this point. It's OK to close your computer - it's not the end of the world. I don't know the key to success but the key to failure is trying to please everybody - Bill Cosby.

OK, I tried to come up with a 10th takeaway to round out this list but this post is getting long enough.

Tiffany Romero, SITS

Thank you so much to the Bloggy Boot Camp team, especially Tiffany and Francesca for putting on an amazing event. I left feeling inspired and in awe of the blogging world but also empowered. Thank you to the incredible sponsors of the event - King's Hawaiian, Waterpik, HAPPYBABY, Mirassou Winery,  and Care.com.



Labels: ,

60 Comments:

At May 24, 2012 at 4:45 AM , Anonymous Michele @nycrunningmama said...

Wow. I feel like I just went through the course! Thank you so much for sharing all of this information with us!! I'm bummed that you won't be at Blogher. That one was a no brainer for me b/c I'm going to be almost 8 months pregnant and don't want to be traveling too far from home! LOL
For a while, I was caught up with #9 - I was too attached to the computer - felt the need to write to often, read every single blog I could, etc...I wasn't living...now, there are some days I don't even open my computer screen. I feel a bit disconnected at times from the twitter and blog world, but more focused on what's important in my life...
Thanks, again, Christine =) I'm bookmarking this post!!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 7:28 AM , Anonymous martha @ runninginmommyland said...

This is fabulous! Numbers 4, 5 and 7 are the ones that I think about so often and it's nice to know that they are legitimate! I don't know where all of my work in this arena will take me, but I love it and am having so much fun that I just want to keep the ball rolling. Thanks for this great post.

I'm off to tweet is, google+ it, and facebook share!

xx

 
At May 24, 2012 at 7:37 AM , Anonymous mother.wife.me said...

Fantastic summarising, thanks so much for sharing all this juicy information with me (and everyone else!). Six months into blogging and recently moved to self-hosting, I am having a day of reassessing my blog today, so this post couldn't have popped up on Twitter at a better time!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 7:44 AM , Blogger Teresa said...

I am new to blogging so this was a great post for me!! Thanks to runninginmommyland for sharing on fb!!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 8:02 AM , Anonymous Miz said...

I was GLUED to Twitter for BBCPHILLY.
I learn so so much too.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 8:17 AM , Blogger Trish said...

I've been mulling over possibly going to one of the boot camps but I've always decided it was too far or would cost me too much money or I didn't have enough time. But I want to take in all of those things that you did! I just need to make the time and save the money and DO IT. Thanks for the inspiration!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 8:35 AM , Anonymous Kierston said...

Great summary of the conference! Thanks for sharing!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 10:15 AM , Blogger Melinda@LookWhatMomFound...and Dad too! said...

it was a truly inspiring experience, so sorry we didn't get a change to actually meet.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 1:16 PM , OpenID Ilene, The Fierce Diva Guide to Life said...

Thank you for yet another great recap. I wasn't even there, yet it is taking my days to digest all of the great info I have read online about the conference. You broke down the "3 month goal" suggestion in a way that makes it totally understandable for me. Psyched to get working! xo Ilene

 
At May 24, 2012 at 1:38 PM , Blogger Angela @ Happy Fit Mama said...

This is exactly what I needed today! I've been wondering what the next step should be for my blog and how far do I actually want to take it. I really need to think of it as a business and a brand.

I agree fully with bloggers supporting one another. We all have our own niche in this community. When one door opens, another follows.

Off to share!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 1:45 PM , Blogger Amber @ Backwards Life said...

Live your life, I really must do more of that. The second baby really made me a bit of a hermit!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM , Blogger Jolene said...

Wow, what a cool conference! Wish I knew about this one when I decided on the ones I attended this year! maybe next year, or maybe BlogHer too! Maybe we can pick one to go to together and meet up!! :)

 
At May 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM , Blogger PavementRunner said...

Great list... soooo we can expect more super awesome videos from you?

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:48 PM , Anonymous Heather @ Better With Veggies said...

Great roundup, sounds like a great conference with good content. I have attended 2 blogger events so far - FoodBlogSouth & Blend - two vastly different events. FoodBlogSouth was educational, but Blend was an incredible experience and I know I'll be back to that one. :)

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:53 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Of course! There was so much good information to pass along. I thought long and hard about BlogHer especially since it's local. I totally know what you mean about #9 - finding myself there now and have pulled back from twitter/blogs the past week or two. I feel badly because there's so much I want to read and I want to support ppl but I also know that I can't do everything & I was/still am running myself a little ragged. But it was comforting to hear everyone say to just close the computer.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:54 PM , Blogger Christine said...

I'm glad that we're at similar stages in this and it's great to be able to share. I know what you mean - I have no idea where all of this will take me but I know that I want to continue. Thank YOU for sharing!!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:55 PM , Blogger Christine said...

So happy to share this information and glad that it was timely for you. I'm thinking through the next big steps for me which probably involves moving over to a self-hosted site. But that kind of scares me...but it's one goal to focus on, right??

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM , Blogger Christine said...

I wish you were there!!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Teresa and I hope this is helpful for you in your blogging journey! I'm glad that you found your way over here via Martha at Running in Mommyland.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM , Blogger Christine said...

If you can pull it off, I would highly recommend Bloggy Boot Camp. They've set it up in a way that's pretty mindful of people's lives and expenses. It's under $100, one day and travels too so hopefully they will make a stop that's near you. I would recommend going for both the content and the opportunity to meet folks in real life. Definitely worthwhile.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 3:59 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Kierston!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM , Blogger Christine said...

I'm sorry that we didn't get a chance to meet either! Next time I will have to make a list of all the people that I want to meet! The day went by so quickly.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Ilene! I'm glad that it was helpful. Most of the stuff is pretty straight forward, etc. but I know for me, it was just helpful having people there synthesize it for me. I'm pretty psyched to get moving too. I just need to find a little time! That's the one topic they didn't cover - how to create more hours in the day ;-)

 
At May 24, 2012 at 4:03 PM , Blogger Christine said...

I'm so glad to hear that we're at a simliar place with our blogging. Comfort in numbers :-)
I've been reluctant to think of my blog as more than just a hobby but this really made stop and think hard about it. And the part about support is what has really drawn me into and keeps me engaged with blogging.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 4:04 PM , Blogger Christine said...

The 2nd baby!! Yes - I totally hear you on that one.

 
At May 24, 2012 at 4:05 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Yes! I would so love that! I'm still kind of tempted by BlogHer just because it's in NYC but not sure if I'll do it. Maybe next year along with BLEND, Fitbloggin, Blissdom...

 
At May 24, 2012 at 4:06 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Errr...sure?

 
At May 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Heather! I so want to go to BLEND next year! It look like you all had such a great time. Definitely saving up for that one!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 5:54 PM , Blogger Amber @ExSoyCise said...

Great tips Christine! I really wanted to go to that event, so thank you for sharing all the great info you learned! I'm currently trying to push myself to make more video. It is all about stepping out of your comfort zone! I've done a few, but I'm still nervous :) I'm definitely trying to attend more events too! I love connecting with other bloggers! Btw it was so great meeting you the other day at Bob Harpers book launch! Hope to see you again soon!
Amber

 
At May 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM , OpenID peacelovenutrition said...

Thank you for these grew tips. I've been wanting to go to an event like this

 
At May 24, 2012 at 9:11 PM , Anonymous Tamara (fitknitchick) said...

Sounds like a great experience!
I'll be attending my first blogging conference next month (Fitness and Health Bloggers in Denver). I'm so looking forward to getting meet all of my 'on line' friends and learning more about what's fast becoming a huge part of my life!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 9:52 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Amber! You are so right about needing to step out of our comfort zones. For me, that videos and events too. I just need to get over the fact that I feel silly when I do a video and just accept that it doesn't matter. Kind of have to have a thick skin for it, right? It was great meeting you too and hope to see you again soon too!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 9:53 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thank you! It was a great event and I really walked away with a lot of information. Plus, it was great to be able to interact with people fact-to-face. I hope you have a chance to attend something like this in the near future!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Tamara! I looked into Fitness and Health Bloggers and would have gone except for the travel. It is a pretty surreal experience when you first meeting your online friends in person. You know and care about them and you forget that you haven't actually met in person before. Have fun in Denver and can't wait to hear your recap of the event!

 
At May 24, 2012 at 11:08 PM , Anonymous Bonnie said...

Great takeaways from the conference, Christine! Really seems like a good event. I went to the Healthy Living Summit last year in Philly and really enjoyed it, although I think I'd rather go to a fitness-focused one...hope to go to more and keep getting to know all these incredible people face to face (like you!). :D

 
At May 25, 2012 at 9:39 AM , Blogger misszippy said...

You put this into a great format, Christine--thank you! Sounds like a very worthwhile event. My favorite tip is probably number one!

I wish I could have gone to this--I'm just down the road in Baltimore, but the timing wasn't good.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 7:32 AM , Blogger Kristi said...

Very cool! I would love to go to a Blogging conference, but don't have the money and so many are so far away from me! Great tips. I really need to do some vlogging! Visiting from SITSaturday!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 7:59 AM , Blogger Tricia said...

Thank you so much for this post! I haven't been to a blogging conference yet - this year just isn't the year for that for me - but this is great inspiration to find one to go to next year!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 8:02 AM , Blogger Michelle said...

These are great tips! I just participated in the SITS Spring Fling and never realized what could be done for your blog. And now, I have to "close my computer"! It's Saturday and family is calling.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 8:13 AM , Anonymous Angie Nelson said...

Sounds like a jam-packed learning event! Thanks for sharing your take-aways.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 8:41 AM , Anonymous The Mommy Rodeo said...

I've been thinking of whether or not to go to one. I'm in Florida with a one year old so traveling (albeit to what I think are cool cities) is not the easiest thing. But, you've convinced me! If not this year, then next.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 9:27 AM , Blogger Alison@Mama Wants This said...

Really great recap, Christine! So glad you had a good time.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 9:32 AM , Blogger Shell said...

Glad you enjoyed it! BBC is a great first conference!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 9:39 AM , Blogger Kyetra said...

Boot Camp looks awesome! I would love to go but it is not going to happen this year. Thanks for sharing what you learned.
I am having a Memorial Day Link Up and would love for you to link up.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Bonnie! I figured that since it was my first event and since I'm still newish to blogging that it would be good to go to a general conference. Now, I totally want to go to a fitness-focused event. Hopefully soon!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thank you! #1 is a great tip and kind of just reaffirmed for me why I am continuing on with all of this. It's a bummer that the timing didn't work out. I would have loved to have met you!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Kristi for your comment and for visiting. I know, it's hard (and expensive) to get to blogging conferences. I think that they may offer webinars for people that can't attend in person? I know, this kind of convinced me that I need to do more vlogging. I just need to get over feeling silly about it :-)

 
At May 26, 2012 at 12:57 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Tricia! I know that it's hard for folks to get to conferences so I definitely wanted to be able to share some of the highlights. I think that the folks that do Bloggy Boot Camp are now also offering a webinar for people that can't attend in person. Might be something to look into too?

 
At May 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM , Blogger Christine said...

I know. This kind of opened my eyes a little bit more about all the opportunities. Yes, I need to close my computer too! Have a great long weekend.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks for visiting Angie!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Shell! I am glad that I decided to go to BBC for my first conference. Very easy to feel comfortable there and jump right in. And such great people speaking and in attendance!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM , Blogger Christine said...

If you are able to make it happen, it's a great experience I think. I learned a lot and met lots of great people. Plus, there's nothing like connecting in real life. But I totally hear you on the difficulty too - travel, child care, time away, etc.

 
At May 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Alison! It was a lot of fun. I hope you're doing well with your little ones!

 
At May 26, 2012 at 1:06 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Kyetra! Happy to share some of the key points from the conference. There was so much material covered that it made my head spin a bit! I will check out your link-up too!

 
At May 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM , Blogger Melissa said...

Excellent recap and it has me excited to set some time to focus on starting my own blog soon! Looking to go to Vegas BBC (and yes, he fact that it's Vegas doesn't hurt).

Really proud of you (without sounding condescending) and look forward to your further blog adventures!

 
At May 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM , Blogger Jessica {Team Rasler} said...

Sounds like a conference I need to attend. I missed it when it came to Seattle, but I'm watching for it to get nearby again soon! I feel like I've made a lot of false starts with my blog because other things kept coming up that took priority (work, school). Going to the conference might give me the kick in the rear end that I need to make a serious commitment to it. Glad you went and wrote about it; thanks!

 
At May 28, 2012 at 7:33 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

Thank you for sharing! I really wished I could go, now it feels like I MUST GO next time. I really appreciate your info (I'm bookmarking this post for future reference). Thank you again!

 
At May 31, 2012 at 1:01 AM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Melissa. That means a lot and I'm so glad that you are focusing on starting a blog! BBC Vegas sounds to be so fun. Will definitely be worthwhile. Can't wait to hear your recap :-)

 
At May 31, 2012 at 1:04 AM , Blogger Christine said...

Going to the conference definitely felt like a swift kick in the bottom to get me focused and motivated. Of course, I'm also in the midst of a super busy time with work and am finding it hard to find the time to focus on all the things that I want to do now! But I think, at least now, I know that I want to make this a priority too so will work to make the time for it.

 
At May 31, 2012 at 1:04 AM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Angela! I'm glad that this post was helpful and I do hope that you get a chance to go.

 

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