Here it is a little more than a week after BlissDom, and I am just now sitting down to talk about my experiences. It has taken me a little time to really process through ALL of the information I learned at BlissDom. It was so inspiring and encouraging. As you know, I am definitely new to the blog world. I have read blogs for years, but I have only been on the other side for a short time. I came away with many things to investigate further, ideas to put into action, friends, and much more!
*I apologize in advance for the length of this post. There are so many great things I want to fit in. Bear with me here!
My mom and I attended this conference together. We love spending time together and this time it meant the two of us would need to break out of our shells and learn about this new blog world. We had a GREAT time!
And so it Begins:
One of the first stops we made was to the handmade market. Here vendors displayed their goods. Each booth was even better than the previous one. It was so inspiring to see these women display items that they are passionate about making. I was ready to run home and pull out my sewing machine. (Hasn’t happened yet, but it will! – I have big plans for that sewing machine.) While we were making our way through the room, I met one of my favorite bloggers, Kate from The Small Things Blog.
She was very friendly and encouraging to this new blogger (me). She said it’s part of the process to have some time exploring different topics in my blog before finding a place I am most comfortable. I read The Small Things Blog daily, so it was great to meet her in person. Yes, her hair really is that amazing! I even shared with her how grateful I am to her for introducing me to Aquage Uplifting Foam. It has really changed how I style my hair each day (it’s all about the volume!).
Then we went to the newcomers meet up. Here we had a speed dating type time to get us up and talking to the other attendees. We only had a few minutes but we got to hear from each other about the type of blogs we were writing and a little bit about ourselves. I met some great people here and continued to talk to them through out the conference.
Later that night after the opening reception, we were urged to head back into the main ballroom. Upon entering the room we made friends with Angela of Jumping with my Fingers Crossed. As champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and cupcakes were passed around we instantly bonded over our love of all things TV & pop culture. She is so much fun and we were fast friends! Come to find out we were about to hear from three of the stars of the upcoming reincarnation of All My Children. I am not an AMC fan myself (nothing against it, I just haven’t ever really watched it.) but hearing from these actors who have put a lot of their lives into these roles was really interesting. We sat in the front row & Angela filled us in on the characters played by the actors in attendance.
This kept us up way past our bedtime, but it was so much fun. This was night one and the meat of the conference was yet to come.
We began our first morning with an AMAZING keynote speaker, Scott Stratten. He spoke in an irreverent but completely real way. AND, he was so beyond hysterical! There was the whole thing about QR codes and I was practically falling out of my seat laughing. He speaks the truth. I learned SO much from him. It’s hard to break it down to bullet points, I will try, but check him out, it’s totally worth it.
Here are a few gems from him:
~Social media never sleeps. Quick response is critical for your brand reputation and customer service in general.
~Remember your brand is SO much more than your logo – so spend more time on your people/products/services and less on the looks of your logo. If what your brand represents is positive & engaging, your logo will represent that. Of course your logo should be visually appealing, but you need to back it up with a great brand reputation.
~ Do not use social media outlets just because they are available to you but because they make sense for you and your brand. Just because it’s the new thing, doesn’t mean it’s really right for you. Think about your choices.
~Social media is to be just that, social. It’s about connecting with others, not just about announcing things – focus your energy on responding. It gives you the opportunity to humanize your brand.
We also had several breakout sessions. Each that I attended was very informative and thought-provoking. I left with a greater understanding of the blog world and so many things to research further.
One stands out to me because I got to hear from an author that I truly admire, Annie Downs. She speaks so openly and honestly while maintaining a positive attitude and sense of humor. She is WONDERFUL. She made a specific point to talk about the different types of stories to share and where to share them. It is important to know the difference between a journal story and a blog story. She said to use wisdom and carefully share success and failures. After the session, I got to chat with her for a bit and take a picture with her. Speaking with her, I knew that she genuinely cared to talk to me and encourage me. That just doesn’t happen everyday. She has two books coming out soon – keep your eyes peeled, its worth it!
The other keynote that really stood out to me was the closing keynote by Jon Acuff. He speaks with humility and humor. He has a lot of energy and says things that you wish you had thought of because they are so on point, to the moment, and add so much to the story while being fun and funny. He gave each and every one of us a special gift, a special printing of his new book before it even hits shelves. SO COOL!! I am so ready to read it. Since BlissDom, I have been following Jon on Twitter & Instagram. He is just great!
Here are a few of the gems he shared with us:
~Ready is a Myth. Just start now, whether you are ready or not. We may never be “ready” but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give it a go.
~Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
~You have permission to be horrible.
~Fear is a liar. It only gets loud when you do things that matter.
~Don’t be a jerk. There are enough jerk’s out there.
~When you get unstuck you are unstoppable.
A Little Something Extra:
Did I mention that we had a private concert from Chris Mann and Amber Riley?!? I didn’t know Chris Mann but my mom was SO excited to see him because she watched/rooted for him on the TV show, The Voice. I have to say, I am impressed with him. If I had to describe him using current vocalists I would say that he is like Michael Buble with some Adam Levine thrown in to give his voice just a little bit of grit. Amber Riley from Glee sure can belt it out! She sang several hits she sang on Glee. After the show, we took a pic with the two of them. It is by far the worst picture that my mom and I have EVER taken. Needless to say, it didn’t make the cut. But check out the singers in action.
Suffice it to say, I left BlissDom inspired, motivated, and yes exhausted. I learned so much in the sessions and possibly even more just talking to different women in between sessions. If you are ever looking for a little motivation or encouragement, look to any of the people I mentioned above. I will have to put BlissDom on my list of things to do in 2014.