Friday and Saturday I attended a conference with the hashtag #BBCPHX even though it had nothing to do with the British Broadcasting Company, except perhaps for one attendee, Jan Ziff, and was held in Scottsdale, not Phoenix, Arizona. The conference was called Bloggy Boot Camp by the SITS Girls even though it was not a conference for beginner bloggers and even though I did not immediately think of “The Secret to Success is Support” but rather thought of what is called a sitz bath.
Anyway… I loved the conference! Why? Same reason I love any conference: networking. I know I am supposed to say “content” or “speakers” or something like that, but, in all truth, after being an inquiring mind for 50 something years, well there just isn’t a lot I don’t know, or don’t know how to find out. I did spend years working at reference desks in academic research libraries, and have been blogging, although I didn’t call it that initially, since 1998 or so. And I was a Mommy Blogger long before there were Mommy Blogs. I wrote for local and specialized parenting publications all over the country way back when the only Mommy Writers who didn’t write for glossies were simply thought of as novice freelancers. If I remember correctly I wrote for the likes of Tucson Parent, Atlanta Parent, Boston Parent, Denver Parent and a GLBT pub called Alternative Parent or Family… can’t remember which. This was back in the 1990s!
When I first attending BlogHer back in ’07. There were probably things I didn’t know how to find out, but now I am pretty sure that I can answer almost any question with which I am confronted when it comes to blogging. What I cannot always do, however, is meet the people behind the social media accounts with whom I interact.
The other thing I cannot always do is justify the expense of travel and lodging for a conference.
Bloggy Boot Camp – Brand Edition was only a couple hours drive from my home. $50 bucks in gas and $150 a night (including resort fees, taxes and so on) was definitely the most reasonable price I had come across for travel/lodging considerations for blogging conference for a while. And the early bird registration for the 1.5 day conference was VERY reasonable too.
I was pleasantly surprised by how valuable such a small conference was; small compared to BlogHer’s mega-sized conference anyway.
Glad to Meet You!
I met all the savvy women behind Generation Fabulous including Chloe Jeffreys and Anne Parris. I’d previously met and been impressed with Sharon Greenthal.
Also got to hang out with Lois Alter Mark, Lynette Young, Jan Ziff, Mona Darling, Shannon Carroll, and Ann Odle – what a diverse group of women! And got to meet and talk with many other wonderful women bloggers, PR representatives, and of course the conference organizers.
Perspective on Brands
The conference subject matter was all about brands. I was hoping for a bit more on developing a brand and finding other partner brands, but it was heavily weighted toward connecting to major corporate brands. Nothing wrong with that, but I am the type of person who will not limit espousing my guiding beliefs to curry favor with multinational corporations.
If anything, I am about encouraging women to think through the choices we all make that impact commercial processes so as to minimize untenable practices given global warming that is creating drastic local climatic fluctuation, extinction in some species, and overpopulation in others, as well as unsustainable energy capture and use, and over-consumption of resources.
I totally understand that most people don’t want to think about anything unpleasant, but the world is changing quickly in ways that will transform everything we know. So the most valuable information from BBC for me involved:
- how to sell my services to small and or sustainable businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations
- find speaking gigs
- build stronger networks through effective use of social media
- enjoy the company of like-minded writers
As always I seem to look down the road a tiny bit farther than many folks, or maybe it is just that I have a less fine-grained filter than many people. The trends, open niches, or needs for development that struck me as most evident were in the areas of:
- a how to for bloggers to partner with local and small businesses
- the differentiation of Mommy Bloggers into more useful categories
- the recognition of Aunties and Elders as communities of women with value
So as always after a conference, I am reconsidering all my sites, actions, and plans. Slight trajectory adjustments will be made. But for the moment my head is still spinning, and I am reassessing markets, competition, and evolving client needs as well as what I can and should offer.
I’m unsettled but that is a good thing. Getting stirred up and OUT of a comfort zone is good from time to time. Complacency can become dangerous quite easily.