Sunday, February 17, 2013

My First Blog Conference

I attended my very first blog conference, Build Your Blog this past Saturday right here in Salt Lake.  I've been blogging seriously now for just over a year, having revamped my blog back in late 2011 from something general to finding my niche in food blogging, highlighting food, products and recipes. 

So one day while scrolling through an endless string of emails, I clicked on an email from one of my networks that was highlighting 2013 Blog Conferences. Curious, I followed the link thinking surely there would not be one nearby. 

My eyes lit up when I found "Build Your Blog Conference" right here in Salt Lake City AND it was coming up the following month. Oh lucky day!! I clicked the link so fast I thought my Mac would smoke and catch fire.

Build Your Blog Conference is the brainchild of Six Sisters Stuff, a well known popular blog with recipes, crafts and all sorts of fun things. I went to the BYB13 site and bought my ticket, eager to attend and learn as much as I can to build my food blog empire. 

But, I've never attended a conference? What do I do??!!??

Preparing for a blog conference

As part of my prep process, I was all over the BYB13 site, other blogs, Facebook and Pinterest finding tips and advice on what I should expect when I got there... and also ideas on what to wear! I did Google searches, went to the Blogher site and searched images online. What do I bring to a blog conference? Business Card? Media Kits? My brain went on overload trying to think of all the things I needed to do.  I printed new cards, found a cute outfit and packed my shoulder bag with what I thought I needed to make this experience amazing:

  • 250 Business Cards
  • 20 copies of a 1-page media kit (which I never even used by the way)
  • A notebook and three pens (you never know when you'll run out of ink)
  • My camera
  • My Smart Phone - After all, I needed to Tweet the events to all my followers
  • A bottle of water
  • Snacks - very important to hold you over between meals

Since it was a one day event, unlike the weekend long events of BlogHer and Blissdom, I left the laptop at home. I had my pen, paper and eagerness to learn so no need to lug around my laptop and have that distraction.  But the most important thing to bring? ME!

What I found when I got there

What I found was a room full of women (and a few men too!) who were smiling, laughing and oh so friendly. The moment I walked through the door, I felt at home with my fellow bloggers. There I met so many wonderful bloggers and influencers from not only Utah, but from around the nation. Some flew in from Texas, Virginia, Florida you name it. We were all here for the same reasons; to learn, to network and to meet other bloggers face to face that we only knew from the internet. All the nervousness and anticipation fell away almost immediately and I was my usual social butterfly self. 
With new friends Sara, Julie, Holly and Me
This conference had an opening keynote address by Brook Walker, a local news personality who co-hosts Studio 5, a midday lifestyle show. She was amazing speaking on the heart of blogging. 
Brook Walker - inspiring speaker
After the keynote, there were breakout sessions, 2 before lunch and 2 after. Each breakout session had three options to choose from. I was wishing I could clone myself since there were so many sessions I wanted to attend. Each session was jam-packed with information and my pen was flying across the page taking notes and capturing the ideas provided by the session speakers.  
The Food Blog Panel
There was something there for everyone during this conference and I feel it was a valuable day of learning for me so I can write a better blog with more relevant content for you, my readers. I challenge every blogger out there to attend a conference, no matter how big or how small the conference is or how big or small your readership is. 
My business cards on the business card swap table. Be sure to bring lots!!
I came away with so many ideas and all of it will benefit me, my blog and my readers. Look for some changes coming to Lori's Culinary Creations from an entire new redesign (and it's going to be awesome!) to changes in the quality and quantity of recipes, reviews, giveaways and some articles I will not mention yet... I know I'm such a food tease!

And by the way, Build Your Blog Conference 2014 is already scheduled for February 8, 2014. You know where I'll be that day. How about you?
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