Blog Business

After attending the Minnesota Blogger Conference, I am inspired to make a more legitimate attempt at maintaining this blog. I’ve decided to go through a branding of the blog. One of the biggest things I learned at the conference was that your blog needs to have a purpose.

On my old site I had a great photo of St. Paul in black & white and a plain light pink background.  I liked this. I like simple layouts with a little flair and color, but not cluttered. I want my readers to be able to find out exactly who I am and where I find my inspiration.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks brainstorming and hopefully coming up with something I really love! I want a mix of business and professional but I want to keep it authentic and real, coming from me. I think I have a lot of interesting experiences to share, from working full-time and being a student as well as involved in other things to living in a wonderful city – I want to share it all!

I look forward to regular posts and engagement!

2011 Minnesota Blogger Conference Recap

On Saturday September 10th, 2011 I attended the Minnesota Blogger Conference held at Allina Commons in Minneapolis. The day started bright and early waiting in line for coffee and making connections. First of all, I’d like to give huge props to Missy Berggren and Arik Hanson. This day would not be in existence if was not for their idea to create it! It was also clear that the planning team worked well together and of their contributions are so very appreciated!  

Keynote – Lee Odden, Top Rank Marketing 

Lee was a great kick off to the event.  He channeled his inner Dr. Suess and presented his background information in rhyme form. He explained how Top Rank went from a basement start up the great company it is now.

 What you should know:

  • You have to have a reason WHY you’re blogging. You need a purpose; you need to make it clear. Someone should be able to figure out what your blog is about within 10 seconds of landing on the page.
  • Content is king but creativity is queen.

Session 1: Paul DeBettignies – Power Networking

This session was very relaxed. Paul didn’t speak at us, but rather was hosting a conversation. Paul was introduced and immediately turned the focus on the group. He asked anyone who was attending but didn’t know anyone to stand up and introduce themselves. In a group of about 50, this could be daunting to someone who may be bashful. One by one, people introduced themselves. There was back and forth conversation while introductions were being made. I was able to make an immediate connection with a woman who is involved with Ad Fed. I walked up to her afterwards, introduced myself and we ended up sitting together for the 2nd part of lunch!

What you should know

  • You’re always networking! This phrase pops into my head whenever I start a conversation with someone I know. And it is so true! You never know if the person you gave your business card to will need someone with your expertise down the line.
  • Know the cool kids. When I first decided that I wanted to join something, Ad Fed was the first place I went. I dove right in and joined a committee. I was very nervous to attend my first event but luckily I knew the cool kid. Cory Vandenberge is our leader on the special events committee and he is so great about introducing you to someone you don’t know at an event. I’m grateful for this and when Paul was talking about making sure you know someone at an event you’re attending, I immediately was reminded of Cory. I hope to return the favor to someone down the line.
  • Have a plan. If you can get a hold of the attendee list, scan the names and the organization they’re representing. Check out their website and LinkedIn profile. Make a point to find this person and introduce yourself.

Session 2: Panel – Building Communities Online and Offline

The panel

Kate O’Reilly was an awesome moderator. The panel speakers were Jen Emmert, Stephanie Meyer, Ian Schwartz and Meghan Wilker. Meghan talked about how #summerofdresses got started; Jen talked about how her blog has aided in her weight loss and she’s inspired others. I am glad that Ian was representing St. Paul and STP Tweetup!

What you should know

  • Have a designated host. If you’re planning a meet-up, make sure someone is in charge. This person should make a point to talk to everyone that is attending.
  • Know your venue. Make sure your venue has a good cell connection and having Wi-Fi would be great if it is possible.

Lunch: Taco Bar

Lunch was great. The taco bar was delicious. I was jealous of Jason Douglas for making a taco salad, I didn’t even think of that. I enjoyed the long lunch break. I spent the first half talking with a few people I knew and didn’t know and then enjoyed the second half with an almost stranger.

Session 3: Kate Hopper – Make Your Writing Sing

I was really looking forward to this session because I find myself being so uptight in my writing and having a hard time adding creative touches. Kate’s session was awesome; she is a natural teacher and a wonderful writer. She had us do two free writing exercises. Funny enough, both of mine ended up being about my Grandma. Grandma gives me great material and inspiration.

What you should know

  • Use concrete sensory details. Taste, touch, smell, sight and sound will add more to your writing than you’ll ever know.
  • “Words can change the world”, my favorite quote from Kate.
  • Free write. When you sit down to write, don’t think about the grammatical corrections or spelling. Just write what you feel and go back to edit.

Session 4: Erica Mayer –  Vlogging: Lessons to Learn from TV

Erica works for WCCO and has experience behind the camera. In fact, she’s a wonderful photographer and, from what I saw in her session, videographer as well. She had a wonderful way about her that made everyone in the room feel comfortable. She shared her experiences with the wonderful Don Shelby and learning that silence is greater than the word “um”. Even though I don’t have a desire to be a vlogger, her session was still very informational, interesting and fun! I was paying such close attention that I wasn’t even taking notes!

What you should know

  • Silence is greater than the word “um”.  Your viewers don’t want to hear you stumbling over every word.
  • How to not look fat on camera. I’m a pro at this, well, at least I think so. But, photos from a top angle will be more flattering. Same goes for videos. Set your camera up just above eye level.
  • Have a plan. Know what your purpose is, people have a short attention span.
  • Don’t use tools just because you have them. Maybe your video editing tools have the open to have floating hearts across the screen, don’t use it. I relate this to the font Comic Sans. Just because it exists does not mean it needs to be used. Ever.

Overall, I had an amazing time. I met some amazing people and great connections. I’m looking forward to seeing the things I learned come to life!

A huge thank you to the sponsors: Top Rank, Allina Health and Kare 11. The fact that the event was completely free and in amazing venue made it that much better! Also, huge thanks to Mandy of Glimpses of Soul photography! She donated her time to take head shot photos of any attendee that wanted them in return for a donation to Read Indeed, the charity for the event.

MN Blogger Conference

Tomorrow I am attending my first conference! It is the Minnesota Blogger Conference. I’m really looking forward to this event. Although I’m not an avid blogger, I think it will be nothing but beneficial for my professional career.

I will be attending the session by Paul DeBettignies on Power Networking. I’ve never officially learned how to network! I’ve attended many networking events and I think I do an adequate job of representing myself, but I’ll be curious to see what Paul has to say.

The other session I’m really looking forward to is called “Scene and Story: Make Your Writing Sing” and is hosted by Kate Hopper. I know how to write and I enjoy writing. Lately I’ve found that my writing is very business professional – and straight to the point. In my day job, I spend most of my time writing and it is very by-the-books and straightforward.

When I was approached to write a blog recap for Ad Fed’s Golferoo, I got nervous because most of my writing experience is so NOT creative. I was on the committee for the event and attending but I wasn’t sure how to add that extra “oomph”. I was able to collaborate with another committee member, Lacey Cobb, and together we wrote a great blog post. I focused on the backbone  and business of the blog and getting the images together while Lacey really added the extra personality that we needed. I hope that Kate’s session will teach me a little more about to really add some sparkle to my otherwise straightforward writing.

Finally, I’m excited to connect with a lot of people I’ve exchanged tweets with, people whose blogs I follow and others that will be attending! I will be armed with my networking cards, and smile and notebook to remember the most important information!

(And I can’t forget my appetite and breath mints as there is going to be a taco bar thanks to the wonderful sponsors of the conference!)

See you all tomorrow!