Women Bloggers Are Good for Business - A Review of BlogHer '11
By Dana Theus on August 08, 2011
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This was my second year attending the BlogHer annual conference in lovely San Diego (is the weather there ever bad?) Last year I went representing Owning Pink and this year I was there again for Owning Pink and my own blog, Reclaiming Leadership. Once more I came away with hope for the planet because of all the smart women I met who are blogging out of love and to make a difference for themselves, their families and the world.
Of course there were more sessions than I could get to, but I focused on the ones that were helpful to me from a business point of view. One in particular was helpful to me on leveraging your blog to sell e-products. I am planning my first eCourse on Speaking Truth to Power later this fall (to learn more start by taking the survey to share your own experience. This session was great because it made me feel good about what I was already doing to research and promote the eCourse, but it gave me some new ideas too. I particularly loved panelist Tara Sophia Mohr's approach to "graceful marketing" which relies on fostering genuine relationship ties with your audience instead of trying to sell/cram something down their throats. I also appreciated the panel's advice to approach affiliates in ways that help them promote you; offering graphic promotions, interviews with you and/or pre-created content they can use to highlight your offering on their site.
In another session on community and helping other women bloggers I met a phenomenal powerhouse panelist, Amanda Leeke. We really hit it off and she ended up interviewing me for her blogtalk radio show right there in the conference hall! I can tell she and I will find ways to collaborate and help each other promote our blogs and businesses - especially since we're both in D.C.
Finally, I attended an interesting session Saturday morning on how to pitch a freelance article to editors. It was great to hear the perspective of magazine editors in addition to the BlogHer editor moderating the panel. It confirmed what I've learned in the world of ePublishing, which is that when it comes to publishing, establishing a relationship with an editor is the best way to get in and stay in and that brief pitches are the order of the day. However, there are some meaningful differences between print and online I was unaware of - particularly in the amount of editing you have to prepare to be subject to when in print. The panels' noteworthy advice included, "develop a thick skin."
The information I got from the sessions helped me sharpen up my thinking about my blog as a business, but just like last year, the real joy of the BlogHer conference was all the wonderful women I met. I've been to a lot of conferences in my career and most of them I hate going to alone because meeting all these new people can be exhausting. But not at BlogHer. Not only is everyone nice, but they're interesting too! Just ask people what they blog about and their passion spills forth. It is so easy to get into good conversations with amazing, thoughtful people. I also love chatting up the men there (husbands, daddy bloggers and exhibitors) because they are usually overwhelmed and more than happy to tell you about it. I am not a big party girl, but the parties are fun and if you're into swag it's a fantastic swagfest in the Expo hall.
You cannot NOT have fun and enjoy chatting up everyone you meet. BlogHer is the most effortless networking event I have ever been to (and I've been to a lot!). As I chatted with people I invited them to send me their biggest ah-has from the conference. Here are a couple of responses I got and I find them inspiring, too.
Joy McG - Parenting Myth Twitter: @parentingmyth
I have been told by publishers and editors that in order to reach a wider audience I need to tell my sad stories, my tragedies, the ugliness in my past - because that's what sells. I have been reluctant to do so. I've worked hard to move on from my past and I think my niche is humor.
Two sessions at BlogHer reminded me that people do want to read the happy stories.
They do want to laugh. Joy can sell too. I don't need to profligate the fear factor.
I can be defined by my happiness now.
I was inspired to continue to entertain and engage people by finding the funny in life and celebrating happy!
I wish the sessions at BlogHer11 had been more enlightening and informative (I mean, HELLO, where was a session on using Google+ to boost your blog traffic??): I picked up the most useful, informed advice from conversations with other bloggers. I was impressed at women's willingness to share and offer praise. I was also incredibly inspired by Indra Nooyi's keynote Q&A. Listening to her, and getting to spend some time with Gatorade CEO Sarah Robb O'Hagan, makes me feel women can accomplish anything.
Next year I hear the conference is in New York again (like last year). I'll probably be there again. Will i see you?
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