First and foremost, let me tell you this: I am so happy that I went. The conference itself was wonderful, with some of the most knowledgeable people in blogging presenting on topics such as the business of blogging, the how and why of ebooks, top ten tips to blogging success and keeping your content authentic. There were plenty of other things discussed (isn't that the nature of a room full of 100+ women?!?!), but even having been blogging for over three years, I learned so much about the aspects of monetization, working with businesses and brands and basic SEO, and met so many lovely ladies!
At the Kroger Reception with Stephanie from Food and Fitness 4 Real, Melissa from Domestic Engineering, Leigh Ann from Genie in a Blog, and the Barefoot Wines guy! Yes, I'm drinking a wine sno cone. Whatevs.
The lovely Laurie Turk from Tip Junkie - such an inspirational speaker!
Again, and with wine again, with Leigh Ann and Melissa. These ladies were my awesome carpool buddies and roommates, and I had such a blast getting to know them better!
The Doubletree by Hilton Campbell Centre. Melissa had a fancy rewards card, so we got to stay on the top floor. Awesome view!
Third, and potentially most eye-opening, is that I have zero desire to be a "big" blogger. I don't mean to put down those bloggers who write more sponsored material than original thoughts and content - to each their own. But for me, I will always be about the writing and the connection and community that blogging provides. As the first mother in my friend group, it was absolutely essential to me to connect with a community of ladies who had similarly-aged children and who were going through similar things. Ashlie, Emily, Anika, Rene, Jenn, Jen, Kristin, Stephanie and many more - you guys have been lifesavers on countless occasions, giving me comfort and support through your words as well as your responses to my own. And so when they talked about your tribe and who you write with in mind when you blog, I thought immediately of you guys, not of businesses I'm trying to attract. When that happens organically, it's so great. I've partnered with some local businesses that I'm proud to promote, and because I take pride in their organization, I feel great doing that. Again, it's about the community - local Austin mothers and mother-run businesses have so much in common and so much to contribute to one another, and I adore those opportunities. But like I said before, this is about me, and us, and having a supportive outlet, not about plugging ads for BBQ sauce and the like, and whereas I think a lot of people may have walked away from BBC Dallas with a renewed interest in advertising, I feel stronger now than ever that I am on the right path for me limiting my partnerships to companies and people I really believe in, and that are doing what they can to help mothers and families (ahem, Plug & Play).
So, in a nutshell, those are the three main things I took from this experience. I learned so much, and met some wonderful women, but more than anything, I came home with a renewed interest in writing (I know there have been months on end when I post mainly picture-centric posts!) and creating authentic content that suits my original purpose (to keep family and friends up to date on A and our family happenings!), and furthers my goals (to collaborate with local businesses and fellow mothers to make life a little easier and better for all of us!).
Happy blogging, everyone!
(What would have been my new headshot, had the flash not made my eyebrows look nonexistent. Eh, oh well.)
(Note: my picture uploading is a bit screwy, so pardon the choppy photo inserts...)