I’m so behind with getting this post up…honestly, my site went a little nutty this week which made me a little wacky (ok, maybe a lot WACKY). Now, I feel calmer – enough to write about what a wonderful experience Bloggy Boot Camp SF was!
I must warn you now…this will be a longer post as I have so very much to share.
I could barely sleep the night before, but apparently I slept enough because I felt well-rested when I left the house to drive up to the city. On a side note, I think I was honestly meant to live in Northern California because the weather, a bit chilly and misty early in the morning, suits me just fine. Better than fine, I actually love it! The emotions this type of weather evokes in me are ones of peace and tranquility. Not to mention that at that time of day (on a Saturday) the drive was peaceful and quiet….well, except for my singing to the radio.
Driving into the city towards Union Square and the Sutter Street Garage was smooth – so glad I know my way around a bit after living up there before marrying Pops. It’s nice because I don’t have to rely on maps or navigation, I can just flow.
First – “The Westin”. Seriously, could the event have been at a more fabulous location? I think not. Right on Union Square, holding it’s own standing in stunning magnificence. Not only was boot camp at such a fabulous place, but it was held on the top floor of said fabulous place which displayed breathtaking views of the surrounding city and bay.
I’ll admit, I was nervous. Pop’s says I’m about 1000% less shy than I was when he met me, but of course that’s around people I know. I had to be social. I had to be seen by “new” people. People who I wanted to accept me into their tribe….not just accept, but love me! Oh, how I can pressure myself sometimes. Why do I do this? Another topic for another post…
Honestly though, after exiting the elevator – following a stomach dropping acceleration up – all I could feel was love and acceptance from the entrance area. I’ve never met any one of these woman. I follow some of their blogs, some I’ve even started commenting on and yet, I felt joyous to be amongst them putting on my name tag.
There was Tiffany…pretty Tiffany…I’ve never met her, but I’ve exchanged emails and truly the confidence and power she shares with us through SITS is 100% her. In a word, she’s magnificent…and she puts all this together. I can completely see why women would travel the country to join her at as many Bloggy Boot Camps as they can. Oh, to have her confidence.
I then met TerriAnne of Cookies and Clogs…wow, she was lovely, charming and so very easy to talk to and introduce myself to. Off to a great start.
The room was stunning. I love the fact that we were alternating tables throughout the day. Initially, it sounded scary…meeting new people over and over, but when you felt the energy and enthusiasm of the women in this room, you really wanted to meet them all. I truly did meet so many fabulous women this day – not everyone unfortunately. I haven’t as yet had time to visit all the blogs of the women I met and leave comments, but trust me, I will.
The first speaker of the day was Jessica Bern from BernThis. Jessica is a comedian and truly hysterical.
She uses some vlogging (video blogging) to share her humor through her site. I hadn’t contemplated vlogging before this, but now I see the fun of it. People can actually get to “know” your voice – your actual voice. She gave us lots of tips on filming yourself for a video post and a list of shooting errors to avoid – i.e. placing the camera lower than your head so you shoot up your nose (this example was quite hysterical). Jessica had the whole room laughing with her tales. She was a great ice-breaker for waking up the room.
After Jessica’s presentation we heard from Julie of Angry July Monday. Julie gave us lots to think about regarding blog privacy and security. Depending on the people in your life and possibly if you have an alternate career etc. you may have different ideas on putting up your family’s name, your children’s name, photographs of them, etc. It’s a personal choice, but definitely something to contemplate before you start writing as changing it later can be quite a chore. It’s another reason to think about who you want your audience to be. For example, if you want to post funny or sarcastic stories about your job, then you probably shouldn’t let your co-workers know about your site.
After Julie, we heard from Ciaran Blumenfeld from Momfluential. First, may I say, what an engaging speaker. She brought to my attention how “I am a brand” now that I blog. Again, there are so many choices in this area. You can choose to review products and be paid for them or not. I realized just by sharing products I love on my blog, I am promoting those products. So far, I am not getting paid to share this information. I suppose if a product I really loved came along and asked me to promote them, that I would. Of course, that would depend on what was expected from the sponsor. Right now, I’m happy to be able to say just what I want to with no outside influence. Since I choose to have an optimistic, upbeat blog voice, I only post about items I like. Again, more ideas to comtemplate.
Then came lunch!! Seriously, the setting couldn’t have been more stunning up there on the top floor of the Westin. And the food! This was my delicious lunch:
I was so lucky to be able to sit with 2 of the day’s fabulous presenters Linsey Krolik (who I found out lives nearby) and Kristy Campbell. Enchanting, wonderful woman, I must say and as you’ll see further down in my post.
Unfortunately, I started in on my dessert before I took a photo of it, but you can see a great photo (and many more great ones from the event) here at The ModChik’s site.
After lunch, Jennifer James, founder of Moms Blogger Club spoke. She is a guru on receiving maximum social media exposure and gave us all tips on increasing our presence online. I heard of mediums that I haven’t even contemplated before like FourSquare and Whrrl. Her speech left me knowing I still have so much to learn. This wasn’t a depressing thought though. It’s really exciting to me to know there’s more to learn and I really love this whole world of blogging.
Next, we heard from one of my new friends from lunch, Linsey Krolik. She’s a professional lawyer and was able to share important information on being “legal” with your site. She covered so many topics from when you should consider incorporating, to asking permission to use other’s photos and/or thoughts, to branding and the difference between copywriting and trademarking. She left us with so much to think about and to prepare for.
Following Linsey, we heard from Ted Rubin about Open Sky. Honestly, I love the concept behind this company. I’m contemplating joining as I’ve already looked to see what they have for vegan, healthy, and green products. We’ll see what happens. Basically, if you like a product they sell (and they sell from a lot of individuals) you can give your readers the option to buy that product straight from your site. For example, say that I really like the vegan cookies on their site, I can add a link to mine for you to buy them directly from the manufacturer. Or, if an artist has prints I love and you want some, I could put a link up on my site for you to purchase from her. I think, the concept is fabulous and Ted presented the information so clearly. We’ll see where it goes from here.
Finally, my other “lunchmate” Kristy Campbell presented information on finding your voice by sharing her own career and personal stories. Honestly, I love Kristy’s writing. I had already been lurking around her blog for a while. Her presence when she gets up to speak is undeniable. She grabs your attention and you love her instantly.
In-between each of the presentations, we had some “sharing” time with Tiffany. She gave us so much useful information in those short burts – from twitter tips to business building tips. She really builds community with the whole room and isn’t that what we’re all there for?
Everyone’s presentation left you with so much to information and also a lot to think about. Luckily, we all know where to find them as everyone shares their blog and contact information.
I loved that all day there were tables of bloggers twittering, facebook posting, snapping photos, etc. and it was socially acceptable to be doing so. That alone was a unique experience.
My favorite thing about Bloggy Boot Camp though was the sharing. All these fabulous women with so much wisdom and experience are all willing to just share, share, share. It didn’t matter what niche your blog is in or what choices you make with your blog, we were all in this together and we were all accepted.
Now, I can’t wait until the next one….San Diego maybe???? If you’re interested in attending a Bloggy Boot Camp, click here.
Hopefully, I’ll see you there!