Sunday, August 14, 2011

Already Feeling Like a BlogHer Pro: Day Two

It's funny how one day can make such a difference. Friday morning I was such a stress case, totally lost and confused and worried about every little detail. Saturday morning was so different. I woke up feeling more relaxed, and actually took the time to sit down with my morning coffee before getting myself dressed and ready to head to BlogHer Day 2. (Part of this was due to the fact that everything kicked off an hour later than Friday - thank you, BlogHer!!!) I was much less concerned with what I was wearing and just threw on a comfortable outfit. I leisurely headed down to the convention center and strolled into the breakfast hall. After quickly finishing my breakfast, I ran back down to the Expo to get more shopping networking done.

I was really hoping the sessions on Saturday would be better since I hadn't been too impressed with Friday's sessions. I was starting to worry that I'd get home and have to report to Mike that I didn't really learn anything from this $300 conference. I was thrilled to find that the morning got off to a great start. For one thing, I didn't have a flash mob on the brain, and even more importantly, the first session I attended was a good one. I went to "Your Blog Can Make You a Social Media Marketer". This one was really applicable to me since I've been working with Social Media Marketing recently and I'm in the process of building my SM skills so that I can get more clients as a Virtual Assistant. I did feel that some of the information was a bit remedial - not everyone in the room even knew what SEO was, or how to use Twitter, so I had to bear with it for a while, but I did get some good bits of knowledge from the session. Elisa Page is great - I always love to hear what she has to say!

Lunch was another quick affair and again I headed back to the Expo and sponsor lounges after eating. (Yes, I wanted all the swag I could get, but I also was very interested in making some great contacts for blog partnerships.) The next thing I knew, it was already time to head back to sessions! Next up on the agenda? "Putting the 'Professional' in Professional Blogging." This was BY FAR the best session of BlogHer 2011. Amy Lupold Bair was very funny and entertaining as moderator, and I loved hearing what the panel had to say. Within the first 15 minutes I felt like I had gotten my money's worth. (That's $300, folks! This was a GOOD session.) The room was packed, and I filled page after page of notes. I haven't felt so inspired to blog in years. I don't know quite where I'm going with my blog and career yet, but now I feel like I have a starting point. I can't wait to sit down and go through all my notes and put together a plan for myself. I now feel like I have enough knowledge to start making something of myself, and I can't wait!

My last session of the day was "How to Create a Kick-A$$ Proposal". I liked it - it was good - but it really only answered the bare minimum of the questions I had, and I felt like it wasn't really quite what I was expecting. I am completely new to proposal writing so I was hoping for a step-by-step breakdown of what a proposal looks like and how to put it together. Instead it was more of listening to an established ad agency talk about their great ideas and how they share them with companies. We got to see what a BAD proposal looks like, and then we got to see what a good one looks like. I did find this helpful, so even though I don't know how to actually come up with creative ideas for a proposal and how to put them together, at least I now know what one is supposed to look like.

Once out of the sessions, feeling totally fulfilled like I was on a high, I headed (yes, you guessed it...) back to the expo. Time to hit up all the final sponsors and try to grab some last minute goods before it all came to a close. I am still so floored by how generous all the BlogHer sponsors were. I came home with toys for Sam, food and medicine for all of us, coupons galore, and enough reusable bags that I should be shot if I ever use another plastic grocery bag. I found some awesome companies that I am looking forward to working with on my blog, companies that will be a great fit for Stuff Parents Need, and information about products that will be very useful to me and my family. I ended up with 6 bags full of goodies. I added up the value of everything, and it came in at well over the amount I spent on my BlogHer ticket. Absolutely amazing.

Last (but certainly not least!) on the BlogHer agenda was more partying. I was fortunate enough to meet with several of the local San Diego bloggers for dinner at the Melting Pot. It's so nice to be able to network with other local women who have so much in common with me. After dinner I was planning to head to the Plum District sponsored party, the Secret Style Suite, and my boss, Michelle, ended up meeting us at the Melting Pot and hooked several of my friends up with party passes. To make things even more amazing, she picked us all up in a limo and took us to the Hard Rock Hotel for the party. Way to go, Plum District!!! The party was hosted by Savvy Sassy Moms and Moms Fashion File. The hosts and all the sponsors for this party went ALL out. There was gelato and cocktails provided by Ciao Bella, a drawing for some beautiful baby gear from Stokke, hair feathering by Detour Salon, and more. It was so much fun to party in style and feel young and carefree again. After the party several of us just weren't ready to call it quits, so we headed back to the hotel for the last BlogHer sponsored party, CheeseburgHer. We made the mandatory paper bag hats, ate a cheeseburger, and snapped some photos. Now that was a party! It was SO much better than Sparklecorn the night before. The crowd was great, the atmosphere was awesome, and I am pretty sure everyone was having an amazing time. My only regret is that we didn't get a photo on the cheeseburger bed!

So, my recap of day two? Much better than day one, and worth the price tag of the conference:
Workshops: Excellent - especially the one on Professional Blogging!!!
Networking: still great - I met some really great people that I hope to maintain friendships with!
Expo: worth every $$$ I spent on BlogHer
Sponsored Parties: awesome all around - I ate free all weekend, drank free all weekend, made some great connections, and felt fabulous and special.
BlogHer Parties: CheeseburgHer is a must-attend - even if you don't like McDonalds.


Stuff Parents Need said...

This was SO exciting to read!!! And I love that picture of the back of your trunk! :-)

You've got to tweet this to the leader of your favorite session. To say that 15 minutes into the panel you felt like you got your $300 worth is a seriously powerful compliment!

Free Range Chick said...

It sounds like you had a lot of fun.

Danielle said...

YAY! Had so much fun with you :)