The 2018 Blog Connect Conference
This year's Blog Connect Conference took place on Sunday, April 29, 2018, with a fabulous kick-off party the night before. The theme was "find your roots," aimed at mid-level bloggers to help give them a bit of inspiration, put systems in place, and dream bigger.
We started the Blog Connect weekend with a Saturday night speaker dinner to give our presenters a chance to get to know each other a little bit better, and to show off our wonderful city of Philadelphia. Founding Footsteps sponsored a trolley tour around Philadelphia starting from the Betsy Ross house, up around the Art Museum, and then back down to Independence Hall. Our guide, Tim, gave an excellent tour of the city for locals and tourists alike. We brought along pizza, cider, and beer for the ride and enjoyed a fabulous spring evening, and even got to step outside along the way for a photo opportunity right on our fabulous Rocky steps.
This year's kick-off party was at TORC yoga studio, a new studio recently opened in Old City, Philadelphia. Brands and businesses were invited to purchase tickets to join in on the fun and to get to better know the bloggers in the city.
A.C. Moore setup a "make and take" wine glass decorating station and offered two awesome giveaway baskets to the store.
Plant Nite setup all of the fixings for each attendee to take home an adorable succulent planter (complete with little figurines!).
TORC presented on what their studio offers, and introduced PHLbloggers to Robert Li, a man on a mission of lifting 10,000 people in various acro yoga poses.
Not only that, but there were plenty of goodies to eat and drink, with special thanks to Insomnia Cookies for keeping our sugar levels peaked with their delicious treats.
The conference doors opened at 8:30am on Sunday morning. When attendees arrived, they received their name tags, received a fabulous notebook printed by Lulu, had the option of getting free head shots from Julia Dent Photography, grabbed breakfast sponsored by Saxbys, and of course, all the coffee (and chai!) their hearts desired.
If there's one thing the Blog Connect planning team wants to make sure of, it's that nobody is ever hungry throughout the day, thanks so much to these sponsors for helping us out with that! Emcee Andy Shaw from InstaFather kicked off the conference and welcomed our morning keynote, Sarah Von Bargen from Yes and Yes to the stage. Sarah spoke about defining what success looks like and how to put habits in place to achieve it. It all starts by choosing one aspect of what success looks like to you and putting action steps in place to make it happen.
After our morning keynote, AK Brown and Diamond Hudson from Just Bloggers: No Explanation (who ran into every possible travel problem they could have in traveling from St. Louis to Philadelphia) spoke about Nicheless Blogging and how it really does exist. They went ahead and provided tips for providing content, networking, and running your social media accounts as a nicheless blogger. Authenticity is key.
Next up was Len Markidan, CMO of Podia, who spoke about how bloggers can earn a living without sponsors, advertisers, or affiliates. He reinforced the fact that everybody has something they know well enough to teach, so once you figure out what problem you can solve, you can help other people reach the solution faster.
Right before lunch, we heard from our panel for the day. The Blogging for Passion, Profit, and Impact panel was facilitated by Lori Rochino from LoriRochino.com and featured panelists Jessica Lawlor from JessicaLawlor.com, Melissa Alam from Femme and Fortune, and Sarah DeGeorge from Socially Dedicated. These business owners discussed brand, audience, strategy, and pivoting and how their blogs and businesses got started and grew over time.
We loved partnering with Snap Kitchen once again to bring lunch to our attendees this year. The amazing range of food they serve accommodates every dietary need. Not only that, but they hosted an Instagram raffle where two attendees who posted a photo of lunch received a $75 gift card.
The afternoon line-up consisted of four speakers, each keeping to the conference theme, finding your roots. Judy Freedman, from A Baby Boomer Woman's Life After 50, discussed the benefits of meditation and using mindfulness to manage stress, and then led attendees through a series of meditations.
Antoinette Minor, formerly known as The Young Professionalist, now from AntoinetteMinor.com, spoke about what to post on social media.She spoke about how knowing your goals, as well as your audience can help you choose your social media platforms and create content. And remember, when it comes to your audience, it's all about quality over quantity.
Next up, Michelle Conron from Cashman & Associates spoke about the ins and outs of working with PR professionals. Make sure to know your worth and think like a media outlet - and remember, it's about the quality of the engagement on your site, not necessarily the numbers.
Amber Burns from Space on Third spoke about how consistency is key and how to master your content calendar. She broke it down into creating the content, ask your audience what they're struggling with and help them to solve the problem. Then the next step is to become consistent through batch scheduling and checklists. (That said, don't forget to give yourself some grace.)
After Amber spoke, we did breakout sessions where Amber taught a session on content planning using an editorial worksheet developed just for The Blog Connect Attendees.
The other half of the attendees worked with Sarah Moore from smoorelovin to create vision boards that focused on their goals for their blogs. A special thanks to A.C. Moore for helping us to buy all of the necessary supplies to make this happen.
Our final speaker of the day was our afternoon keynote, Tara Gentile from CoCommercial. Tara spoke about how to use unrealistic goals to create uncommon success. She told the story of her own athletic journey to show how taking small steps in the right direction can eventually change your mindset.
Each attendee went home with not one, but TWO swag bags after the conference. In addition to all of the fun A.C. Moore brought the night before, they created an individual swag bag for each attendee featuring some of their most fun and new products around the store.
Thanks again to everybody who helped out with The Blog Connect 2018 Conference. Thanks again to Saxbys who kept us caffeinated all day long. And thanks to all the attendees who came and engaged with the speakers and the content to invest in their own blogs. We're so glad to have you as a part of our community and can't wait to see you again soon!
xo The Blog Connect Team
To see the conference through our attendee's eyes, please visit their blogs below:
- Three Important Truths About Blogging in 2018, by Jessica at JessicaLawlor.com
- The Blog Connect Conference 2018, by Sharan at My Golden Beauty
- My 1st Blogger Conference Experience, by Jesse at Revamp Champ
- 7 Things I Learned From Attending the 2018 Blog Connect Conference, by Chrystina at Chrystina Noel
If you attended the conference and wrote a recap, but we don't have it listed, please reach out and let us know!