Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Show Me the Blog 2011

Last year I attended the first ever Show Me the Blog conference in St. Louis. You can see my recap here. Since then Danyelle Little has put together other blogging opportunities including Blogging Bootcamp and Wordpress Bootcamp. They have all been exceptional opportunities to learn the intricacies of becoming a better blogger.

This year the second annual Show Me the Blog conference was expanded to two days, on October 21-22. The first day was dedicated to social media, and the second covered different aspects of blogging. On Thursday night we had a pre-event gathering at Luna Lounge. It was fun to see some of the past Show Me bloggers as well as meet some first time attendees. I also won a fun MP3 player courtesy of Reliv International by correctly identifying @milligfunk as the person who rocked the boots at Show Me 2010.

Lumiere Place was the host of this year's Show Me event. Parking was plentiful and the meeting rooms were comfortable and spacious. Hostess with the mostess this year was the effervescent Roshini Cope. She is funny and organized - always a winning combination.

The first session of the day was "So You Want a Job in Social Media", a panel discussion which helped us all to understand the role a social media expert plays in a corporation. While I am not looking for a job in social media, as the mother of a senior in college who is majoring in Marketing Communications and has experience through internships in social media, it was gratifying to hear that her job prospects are pretty good!

Following that was lunch provided by sponsor Hardees.



Seriously, it may take two hands to handle a Whopper, but you will need a third to do justice to the Big Angus Burger! Amazing!

After lunch there was a choice between learning about social bookmarking or how to build real clients and supporters. I chose social bookmarking with Niles Flores. Social bookmarking sites allow your readers to share your posts with others. Examples include stumbleupon and digg. Niles advised placing these sharing buttons above your article's content. For my next session I listened to Lakesha Brown of XDWebSolutions speak about "Finding Networking Value & Putting it to Use for Your Gain". My main takeaway was to comment on other people's blogs and be sure to always leave a link back to your own website.

"SEO: Know It, Use It" by Will Hanke was my next session, where we learned about using keywords in our posts. The last session of the afternoon was "Being Social: How to Effectively Engage Your Audience" with Liz Jostes and Kristin Zaslavsky. The recurring theme of the day seemed to be participate on other people's blogs and respond to the comments made on your blog. Also, you can see how your Facebook page ranks by going to edgerankchecker.com. Photos and videos bump up your page rankings.

Day Two started out with a bang as Stef Pollack discussed "You Too Can Be a Rock Star Blogger". Not only is Stef an excellent speaker but she also had a fun Powerpoint presentation comparing Lady Gaga's transformation from a struggling lounge singer to a rock superstar to her own blogging evolution from few followers to thousands of readers who devour her unique cupcake recipes. Stef is a perfect example of how if you write good content and engage your followers, they will spread the word for you.

Hardees provided another great lunch for us on day two, this time offering up a taco and nachos bar! I hadn't tried either of these items at a Hardees restaurant, so it was great to have the opportunity to do so at the conference.


Following a great lunch, you might think that we would all need a nap. Not so for the attendees who chose Hannah Mayer's session "Instant Blogging: Add Water". This woman missed her calling - she should be a stand up comedien! She provided us with a humorous look at how people end up finding her site (it has skid marks in the title so I will let you draw your own conclusions). I have not laughed so much at a conference for a long time. Okay, maybe never.

There were a couple other sessions in the afternoon, and then Danyelle made the right (or should I say Wright?) call by having Robyn Wright wrap up the conference with her prentation on "Building and Maintaining Relationships with Brands". She offered us her insights into the proper way to interact with brands, letting them know what you can do for them before asking what they can do for you. She stressed that you don't need to necessarily have a huge number of followers on your blog. The brand will be looking at your whole sphere of influences - blog traffic, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, LinkedIn network, and organizations to which you belong.

In summary, the main thing that I took away from the conference is the power of connections. I am excited to now have a relationship with a number of the attendees from this year's conference, as well as the fact that I met a number of other authors. I think Roshini said it best - "The answer is in the room". Congratulations to Danyelle and all her staff for another excellent and informative conference. The tentative date for Show Me the Blog 2012 is October 19th and 20th. Look for more details on the Show Me the Blog website.