Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! I just got back from BlogFest yesterday and have been recovering and catching up on things back home. I wanted to share a quick recap of my experience at this year’s BlogFest. Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of photos to share because I was taking most of my photos with Snapchat and due to a technical glitch, a lot of my pictures didn’t get saved. 🙁 But, I’ll share as much as I can with the photos I have.
I loved BlogFest this year. I thought Kelli, Jamie, and Alyse did a wonderful job of organizing the event and finding great speakers. It was also really nice that attending BlogFest was free this year. I liked that they sponsored Tweet Breaks still gave us great tips and content, instead of just selling products. And, as always, it’s nice to get to meet people in person, and I enjoyed seeing friends from last year, too.
I got in to LA early on Wednesday, before the conference started. The early morning flight was much cheaper, and I was actually able to check in to the hotel when I got in. (Thanks, JW Marriott!) I grabbed some food at Starbucks, spent some time working in the room, and headed over to the convention center for a bit to check in for the conference.
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The swag bags were HUGE this year:
We got a couple of water bottles, including some collapsible pouches specifically made for mixing up powdered drinks. There was a bottle of sparkling mineral water from Gerolsteiner, a bag of Manitoba Hemp Hearts, and protein mixes from Vega and Vital Proteins. iBand Sling gave us a cross-body sling for carrying goodies while hiking and doing other activities. We also got a 3-day body reboot from Fresh Start. And, there were a bunch of coupons from different companies. Overall, I was really surprised by how many products we were given to try, and I’m just impressed with myself that I was able to fit it all in my carry on. 😉
Wednesday night I went out to dinner with my roommate Megan (from Skinny Fitalicious) and her friend Kelli (from Hungry Hobby). We tried out a Japanese restaurant called Katsuya. Megan and Kelli both had sushi and said it was delicious. I unfortunately had to live vicariously since pregnant ladies shouldn’t eat sushi. But, I did have a really delicious asian chicken salad. We headed back to the hotel after dinner and I crashed out after the long day.
Thursday was the first true day of BlogFest. We had a delicious breakfast from Bell Labs that was totally Instagram-worthy, then it was time to start in on the BlogFest sessions.
Here’s what I learned:
Dos and Don’ts of Working with Brands
- Make sure your posts work with the brand’s image. For example, do you want to help promote a low-sugar food but you post a lot of photos of sweets?
- Include links to samples of your work with other brands in your Media Kit.
- Authenticity is incredibly important. You really need to believe in the brand you’re working with.
- In your sponsored posts, you should work to amplify the brand’s message.
Food Photography Tips
- Use natural light whenever possible.
- Play around with angles to find the best shot for your food. For example, short, wide foods or plates are usualy best photographed from above.
- Play around with texture in your photos. Add napkins, smaller plates stacked on larger plates, and so on to make your photos visually interesting.
Why You Should Be Gathering Emails PLUS How to Do It
- You may want to consider adding more products to sell. More products usually result in more sales.
- The more information you ask from someone, the less likely they’ll be to actually fill out the form and sign up for your list.
- Be prolific with your emails. Ryan Lee actually suggested sending out emails daily.
Building Your Brand with Snapchat & YouTube
- 40% of millennials feel like their favorite influencers know them better than their friends and family. (Can’t believe that fact!)
- Stay on brand. What you’re sharing should make sense with your brand.
- When working with brands, take screen shots of the views of your snaps so you can track the number of views and screen shots people took of your sponsored snaps.
- Consider doing unboxings or giveaways as ways to work with brands.
After the BlogFest sessions, I wandered around the expo for a bit, I grabbed a quick dinner at the IDEA World Party, then headed back to the room and passed out. (Falling asleep early is going to be a common theme here. ;))
Friday morning we started out with a breakfast sponsored by Silk featuring some of their dairy-free products. I’d never had their dairy-free yogurt, but it was really delicious. It’s definitely something I would consider buying in the future.
After breakfast, we headed to more sessions, starting with a keynote from Jenna Wolfe. That speech was amazing. She was funny, personable, and inspiring. I wish I had recorded her entire speech because it was just phenomenal. And, I loved how honest she was about taking a new step in her life, stepping away from the Today Show, and admitting that she doesn’t have all of the answers. Great speech.
And here’s what I learned in the other sessions:
Becoming a Thought Leader
- Be careful about the brands you work with. Only work with brands that mesh well with your own brand.
- Stay connected to your community on social media. If they need more support in an area, create a program to help.
- When working with brands, add value for your readers. Tell your audience how they can use that brand’s producs, create new recipes with food products, or present scientific research behind a product.
Smart, Authentic Content Marketing
- Aim to get your readers to subscribe to you in three ways, whether it’s your newsletter, your social media channels, or to your blog feed.
- Your followers have to hear something 8 to 10 times before they’ll start to listen.
- Live video is king, especially for millenneials. Live video is more authentic and your followers will get a better sense of who you really are.
Saturday we had the opportunity to head to IDEA World sessions. I started with a workshop about adjustments in yoga, which was really helpful. Due to the rules of the studio I’ve been teaching at, I haven’t really been doing hands-on-corrections in my yoga classes. (I’ve just been relying on verbal cues to help students correct their form.) So, it was nice to have a refresher about adjustments, and I got some good ideas for different ways to adjust and assist, too.
I also went to two sessions about myofascial release and learned a lot. The fascia really does have a huge effect on range of motion and flexibility, something I’d love to study more in the future. I now have some great ideas for helping clients do self myofascial release. I also learned a bit about addressing imbalances on different sides of the body by releasing the fascia, which was really interesting. I left those sessions wishing I had infinite time and money to learn more about releasing fascia, and human kinetics and biomechanics in general.
I spent a little time at the expo on Saturday, too. I was proud of myself–I only bought a Sweat Pink trucker hat and this adorable onesie:
Sunday was my day to travel home. I caught a shuttle at 3:30 am and was in the air around 6 am. We had some great views on the flight home, and I actually got a lot of work done on my computer on the plane. With all of the traveling I’ve done so far this month, and all I still have to do (heading to Indy to go to FitBloggin’ on Thursday!), it was nice to get home and spend time with my hubby and dogs. And take a nap. 🙂
Next year BlogFest is going to be in Las Vegas and I definitely plan to go. Not only is it a really great conference, but it would be so much fun to get to hang out in Vegas. (I’ve actually never been!) I’ll be marking that one on my calendar!