Thursday, July 2, 2015

What I Learned From Attending a Blog Conference: Fitbloggin' '15

Trying to look smart on social networking
I lost my blog conference "v-card" and what better way to do it than to be one of maybe five guys among 200-300 women. I attended the 2015 Fitbloggin' conference in Denver this last weekend and I'm wondering why I hadn't attended before and disappointed that it's over. I'm in the minority being a male blogger but that's another post. I'm not sure if that's why I haven't attended in the past. Two years ago, I was vaguely aware of it, and last year I was disappointed that I missed it. On a whim I applied for a speaking spot and was pleasantly surprised to get accepted to host a session on "How to Build Readership Through Social Media." My session was a roundtable format vs. powerpoint and I must admit, I was wanting to learn more than I felt I had wisdom to share.

First off, I have to give Roni and the other event organizers and sponsors a five out of five stars. The conference exceeded my expectations, was a ton of fun, and was inspirational on a number of levels. At the same time, it was a bit intimidating as I knew going into the conference, that I was doing a lot of things wrong with my blog; but that was the whole point of attending.

Aside from the vendors there were some "big-time" industry folks there that were sharing their wisdom including Carla Birnberg, Katy Widrick, and Kelly Olexa from Fitfluential. Katy had an amazing session on "How to Automate Your Biggest Blogging Tasks Without Becoming a Robot." Everything I learned can't be fit into a short post; but here is perhaps my top list;

Was Happy to have Fitbloggin' in my hometown of Denver
1) Don't spread yourself too thin. Know your audience and it's okay to not be on Google+ or Pinterest. I even met bloggers who weren't on twitter yet.
2) Snapchat is not for everyone, but Periscope could be the better emerging blogger video platform.
3) Don't automatically re-post to other channels. Facebook especially does not like this. It doesn't take too much more time to post to each one vs. having your Instagram post to your Facebook which then posts to twitter. Use Hootsuite (thanks Katy) to help propagate and automate.
4) It's okay to re-post popular blog posts. Katy will re-post some of hers automatically scheduled 2-3 times per day.
5) It's also okay to post several tweets (even the same one) throughout the day. There was a bit of debate in my session where one blogger suggested posted 20+ times a day to Facebook; industry metrics are more like two times per day.
6) Share other popular content! In all channels and especially Facebook.
7) If you've been paid for a post (congrats!,) keep returning the favor and tout brands without compensation. Over-deliver!
8) Have a plan when you approach a brand wanting to work for them. Don't just say, "I'm a blogger, pay me for a post." Tell them how you're unique and what you'll do for them.
9) There are a ton of tools out there to help a blogger; Hootsuite, Yoast, Picmonkey, Canva, and Mail Chimp to make your blog more creative and efficient.
10) Don't sign up for something unless you know what it is. Feeling confident after my Friday morning session, I signed up for (still not sure what I signed up for) a short session after the formal speakers on Friday "Ignite Fitness" night. I had to present an improv presentation on slides I wouldn't see until I was on stage. Five seconds per slide. While being used to powerpoint being in sales, this was "un-nerving" as I had no idea what I was going to see or talk about. I decided to go for the "shock factor" and went with "I Microwave Cats." (see VIDEO HERE.) The crowd seemed to like it and I won a great gift package from California Avocado Commission.
My prize for my "I Microwave Cats" improv.
The other advantage of attending a conference is finally meeting those that you only knew from a social media icon the size of a Singapore penny. Too many to mention, but nothing beats meeting internet friends in real life.
Finally meeting Monica from RunBangRun


Have you attended a similar conference? What was your experience, and what did you learn?





3 comments:

  1. This was my second Fitbloggin' and I actually took away more from this one than my first in 2012. I actually went to fewer sessions this time, but bonded with people, rocked the scavenger hunt, and basically just had a blast! So nice to finally meet you last weekend too! =)

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  2. Your small group discussion was very informative. I love hearing from all of the other attendees. You fit in very well with the fitbloggin family. We knew you would after your ignite speed round.

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  3. This was actually my second Fitbloggin (first was Baltimore 2012) and I got more out of it than the first. I didn't do everything, and narrowed my sessions to what I needed, which was more of the health aspects. Although yours was awesome too, and made me realize that I am a Twitter and Instagram person, as far as my blog is concerned.

    It was awesome meeting you last weekend! (P.S.-Your Ignite Speed Round was priceless!)

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine