|Bloggy Boot Camp St. Louis
The conference began on Friday night with a social mixer, and I have found that attending the pre-events always makes me feel more comfortable going to the conference the next day. Held at the Millennium Hotel downtown, Charmin was the sponsor for the evening. I always think about Mr. Whipple when I hear the word Charmin, and I suppose that shows my age. Patrick Rich of MSL New York was on the go at the event, making sure that all of us were aware of the phone app Sit or Squat. With the app on your phone you can view and review bathrooms that you visit. It pulls up a map of the area where you are located, and identifies bathrooms in the vicinity. A green roll of toilet paper tells you that the bathroom is safe to sit in, a red one lets you know that you might want to find a new stop. I wish I would have had the app on my phone for the 1,900 mile drive to LA. At certain points even a red roll of toilet paper would have been welcomed!
On Saturday morning the meeting room was packed with approximately 140 bloggers. I appreciated the fact the conference organizers assigned us to tables in the morning and for lunch. It really forced everyone to mix it up and meet new people. The opening remarks by Tiffany Romero and Francesca Banducci were loaded with gems. I particularly liked the comments about embracing other bloggers successes instead of being critical out of jealousy. It follows my life motto about surrounding yourself with positive people. Glass half full folks will only bring you down with them. They will never rise to your level.
Laurie Turk was up first. She suggested that we have one main purpose for our blogs. While hers is a craft blog, her purpose is to promote successful crafting women. I love this quote from Laurie, "A blog is just a resume to make your dreams come true." Up next was Cynthia Wheeler who shared some great insight on how to make your blog inviting enough that readers not only come to your site but also stay to look around. She was followed by Dali Burgado who spoke about SEO and ways to help readers find your blog. Dali did a great job and for once I did not feel as though I was listening to someone speak in tongues about the topic. I'll be checking out socialmention.com for sure.
After lunch there was a choice of two breakout sessions. I chose the writers workshop, discussing turning your blog into a book. I didn't approach my book this way, instead writing the book first and using my blog as a way to build my platform as an author, but I do know a few authors who have turned the content of their blogs into a book. Meagan Francis shared her experiences of the blog to book road. In this age of e-books I suspect that many bloggers have a real opportunity here.
Annie Schultz then offered up some insights into utilizing StumbleUpon and Pinterest to build up traffic to our blogs. While I have posted a little bit on Pinterest (and love that you can direct the photos back to your blog posts), I have never even looked at StumbleUpon. Okay, that is about to change. The day wrapped up with Danielle Smith advising us on how to use video to tell our stories. I know that I need to create some videos. House history research lends itself easily to how-to videos. I even knew that Youtube is the second largest search engine. I have a tripod and a video camera, so what is the problem? I am going to take Danielle's 7 day challenge, where she suggested that we shoot a 1 1/2 to 2 minute video of ourselves every day for a week. We are not to look at the videos until the end of the challenge. She says we will be surprised at how much we improve by the end of the week. The challenge is on!
And just when I thought the day could not get any better, Mirassou Wineries hosted a wine tasting event for us. I was excited to hear that local grocery stores here carry these great California wines, but ecstatic to find a new favorite wine in their Moscato. Often referred to as a wussie wine drinker by my friends and family, I think I have finally located a wine that will satisfy my tastes and not be deemed "too sweet" by others. Thanks Mirassou!
|Mirassou Moscato Wine