All year long I have been waiting for the Blended Conference 2014 to come around and it finally did. Blended is a local conference to Phoenix that started as an event for food bloggers. It has since grown into a well-rounded event for all types of bloggers and this year, boasted of some big name speakers. The founders of this event Wendy Bevill O’Neal and Wendy Wright are avid bloggers and are well known here in the valley. These ladies are talented and I can learn so much from both of them.
The conference started on Friday October 5th with some fun! The thing I looked forward to the most was getting a head shot done with Kate Eschbach of Songs Kate Sang . If you have not visited her blog…GO THERE NOW! Here layout is beautiful and she has some great reading. Kate made me feel absolutely beautiful when taking my headshots. She oozes joy and her smile is infectious. I LOVE how my headshots turned out! What do you think?
Friday night was full of fun with some crafting. The biggest impact on my Friday was making two new friends! Christine from One TIPsy Chick is a quiet, but funny lady. She currently lives in CA but made her way to the conference and I am glad she did! Her site is full of great Tips, hence the tipsy in her blog name. I know, I thought alcohol at first too but alas that is not what her blog is about. My other new friend is Loriann from casadelacargill.com and her blog is all about eating local. She is hilarious and we had people watching in common! I also had the pleasure of sitting very close to Sadie of Slap Dash Mom and it was a fan girl moment because she is going places PEOPLE!.
I got to make a mouse pad with Vanessa of See Vanessa Craft and I got to decorate a flower pot for my new succulent with the beautiful girls of Lolly Jane. I got to meet some very talented ladies that love blogging as much as I do. We got to be silly in the photo booth provided by AZ Party Booth. There was a reception but I had been up since 4:30 AM and wanted to get some rest for the next day.
We started Saturday out with hearing from a panel of women that represented Shamrock Farms, Cook the Story and Find Your Influence. I had some great takeaways from their panel that include get connected with tradeshows, social media, networking, and advertisers. For a small blog like mine it is important to work with local companies. My biggest takeaway from the panel is to be engaged with my audience ALL the time.
If you are a mom then you probably know Maria Bailey of Mom Talk Radio. She had some amazing points that I want to highlight. She pointed out the power of a handwritten note and even larger companies appreciate the effort and will remember you for it. I hate to admit it but she was right when she said video is the platform to not be missed. If you are not on video…DO IT NOW! I also like that she pointed out to not be afraid to ask what a company’s advertising budget is. Any company that tells you they don’t know is lying. My biggest takeaway from Maria is that we need to have our contact information out there and our media kids ready! This reminds me that I need to get my media kit created!
We then got to hear from Maureen from Wisconsin Mommy. She spoke on the importance and the contents of a media kit. I definitely needed to hear what she had to say because I am behind on this one. She gave us a media kit example that I will be pulling a lot of information from. The one thing that stuck out is to make it a one page kit. If the company wants examples or links you can always send it later because most companies want the page printed.
Christine from Cook The Story showed us how to style food for photos. This is something I was interested in but she had some wonderful points that I can carry over to photographing for my beauty items. We even got to style some food of our own in which my photos did not turn out that great. It was fun though!
For my final day at the conference I got to hear the geniuses of Blogging Concentrated speak. Dan Morris and Rachel Martin of Finding Joy, had so much knowledge to share with us. A list will sum it up best.
- Relevance is king
- Your title should give a solution to a problem
- Be sure to have incoming links to your site
- Make sure your meta tag matches with your content
- Make sure all of your social media sites are pointing to your website
- Do NOT auto stream or post for anything. Do it all separately so you can tailor the information for the platform.
- Have your social media buttons at the top and bottom of each post. You want to make it easy for others to share.
- Create a custom side bar that is tailored to your audience.
- Filter out the folks you don’t want to have there. You want to have the content that is fitting for your audience and to make it personal.
- Place your media kit and contact information in your footer
I may have missed a couple but you get the point. These two know what they are doing and they do it well.
At the close of the conference we got some AMAZING swag bags. We also got to meet some wonderful sponsors! Three of my favorites were Lollipics, Mama’s Cold Brew, and Disney! I can’t wait to reach out to these folks.
I am thankful to have met new friends and gotten some even better information to help me grow my blog. There is so much work to to!