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.

 The Blog Connect Founding Footsteps Tour Rocky Philadelphia Museum of Art Stop - our trolley is the red one in the background! || Photo by  Julia Dent Photography

The Blog Connect Founding Footsteps Tour Rocky Philadelphia Museum of Art Stop - our trolley is the red one in the background! || Photo by Julia Dent Photography

 The Blog Connect Speakers & Presenters, and our fabulous Founding Footsteps tour guide Tim (pictured in the hat on the left). || Photo by  Julia Dent Photography

The Blog Connect Speakers & Presenters, and our fabulous Founding Footsteps tour guide Tim (pictured in the hat on the left). || Photo by Julia Dent Photography

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.

 The first and second place gift basket raffle prizes brought by A.C. Moore. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The first and second place gift basket raffle prizes brought by A.C. Moore. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 The beautiful make and take wine glass station sponsored by A.C. Moore for all Blog Connect attendees and visiting brands. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The beautiful make and take wine glass station sponsored by A.C. Moore for all Blog Connect attendees and visiting brands. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

Plant Nite setup all of the fixings for each attendee to take home an adorable succulent planter (complete with little figurines!).

 Plant Nite's amazing assortment of goodies to make individual succulent planters. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Plant Nite's amazing assortment of goodies to make individual succulent planters. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 Each Plant Nite planter had layers of beautiful rock and sand, potting soil, an array of succulents, and a little figurine on top. Some of the attendees favorites were the little mushrooms and jungle animals. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Each Plant Nite planter had layers of beautiful rock and sand, potting soil, an array of succulents, and a little figurine on top. Some of the attendees favorites were the little mushrooms and jungle animals. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Robert Li lifting up blogger Gurpreet from  Moda Ninja  in acroyoga poses to reach his goal of lifting 10,000 people. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Robert Li lifting up blogger Gurpreet from Moda Ninja in acroyoga poses to reach his goal of lifting 10,000 people. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 Robert Li lifting PHLbloggers founder, Chrystina from  Chrystina Noel , surrounded by The Blog Connect 2018 Planning Team, (left to right) Priyanka from  Paint the Town Chic , Sarah from  Shades of Sarah , Annsley from  thatsreallypretty , and Melissa from  Skinny Affair . || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Robert Li lifting PHLbloggers founder, Chrystina from Chrystina Noel, surrounded by The Blog Connect 2018 Planning Team, (left to right) Priyanka from Paint the Town Chic, Sarah from Shades of Sarah, Annsley from thatsreallypretty, and Melissa from Skinny Affair. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Melissa with one of the delicious chocolate chip cookies from Insomnia Cookies. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Melissa with one of the delicious chocolate chip cookies from Insomnia Cookies. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

Additional giveaways for the evening were provided by Smak Parlour, A.R. Workshop at Chestnut Hill, Schmear It, Neon Coral, and Seed Phytonutrients. In addition, Neon Coral provided bracelets for each of the attendees to the presenter happy hour. 

 This cute little nook at TORC hosted all of our giveaways. Each attendee was given 5 raffle tickets upon entering the party and they placed their tickets in the jars of their favorite items. || Photo by  Julia Dent Photography

This cute little nook at TORC hosted all of our giveaways. Each attendee was given 5 raffle tickets upon entering the party and they placed their tickets in the jars of their favorite items. || Photo by Julia Dent Photography

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.

 Custom-printed notebooks for The Blog Connect 2018 courtesy of Lulu. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Custom-printed notebooks for The Blog Connect 2018 courtesy of Lulu. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

There was also a fabulous flower wall, created by the craftologists at A.C. Moore, as well as our very own PHLbloggers sign created by A.R. Workshop at Chestnut Hill. These two design elements of the day definitely captured most of the space on our #theblogconnect hashtag for the weekend. 

 The Blog Connect team members Priyanka (left) and Sarah (right) posing with speaker and workshop lead Amber Burns (middle) showing off our new PHLbloggers sign made by A.R. Workshop in Chestnut Hill in front of our beautiful flower wall made by A.C.Moore. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The Blog Connect team members Priyanka (left) and Sarah (right) posing with speaker and workshop lead Amber Burns (middle) showing off our new PHLbloggers sign made by A.R. Workshop in Chestnut Hill in front of our beautiful flower wall made by A.C.Moore. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

Snacks were provided throughout the day by hint, popchips, RXBAR, and Made in Nature.

 Snacks provided throughout the day by Popchips, RX Bar, and Made in Nature. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Snacks provided throughout the day by Popchips, RX Bar, and Made in Nature. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 hint provided water for The Blog Connect Conference and kick-off party. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

hint provided water for The Blog Connect Conference and kick-off party. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Sarah Von Bargen from Yes and Yes presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Sarah Von Bargen from Yes and Yes presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 AK Brown and Diamond Hudson from Just Bloggers:No Explanation presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

AK Brown and Diamond Hudson from Just Bloggers:No Explanation presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Len Markidan from Podia presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Len Markidan from Podia presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 The Blog Connect 2018 Blogging for Passion, Profit, and Impact panel. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The Blog Connect 2018 Blogging for Passion, Profit, and Impact panel. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Cranberry pecan chicken salad wraps from Snap Kitchen. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Cranberry pecan chicken salad wraps from Snap Kitchen. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 Snap Kitchen brought an assortment of meals, wraps, and salads for our Blog Connect attendees. Here you can see the protein options provided for each salad option. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Snap Kitchen brought an assortment of meals, wraps, and salads for our Blog Connect attendees. Here you can see the protein options provided for each salad option. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Judy Freedman from A Baby Boomer's Life After 50 preesnting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Judy Freedman from A Baby Boomer's Life After 50 preesnting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Antoinette Minor from AntoinetteMinor.com presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Antoinette Minor from AntoinetteMinor.com presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Michelle Conron from Cashman & Associates presenting at The blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Michelle Conron from Cashman & Associates presenting at The blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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. 

 Amber Burns from Space on Third leading an editorial content calendar workshop at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Amber Burns from Space on Third leading an editorial content calendar workshop at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Sarah Moore from smoorelovin leading a vision boarding workshop at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Sarah Moore from smoorelovin leading a vision boarding workshop at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 The Blog Connect 2018 attendees working on vision boards. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The Blog Connect 2018 attendees working on vision boards. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 The Blog Connect 2018 attendees working on vision boards. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The Blog Connect 2018 attendees working on vision boards. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Tara Gentile from CoCommercial presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Tara Gentile from CoCommercial presenting at The Blog Connect 2018. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

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.

 Just a few items from A.C. Moore's swag bag for the 2018 Blog Connect Conference. || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

Just a few items from A.C. Moore's swag bag for the 2018 Blog Connect Conference. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

 The Blog Connect 2018 Conference swag bags. Thanks so much to  Press & Release Printing  for the excellent job on printing the bags!  || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The Blog Connect 2018 Conference swag bags. Thanks so much to Press & Release Printing for the excellent job on printing the bags!  || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

Thanks so much to our swag bag sponsors: Podia, Saxbys, TORCRXBAR, Insomnia Cookies, Neon Coral, Winky Lux, Made in Nature, jcoco, Seed Phytonutrients, IntegriChain, and Kendra Scott.

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

 The Blog Connect 2018 Team (left to right) Annsley from thatsreallypretty, Priyanka from  Paint the Town Chic , Chrystina from  Chrystina Noel , Melissa from  Skinny Affair , and Sarah from  Shades of Sarah . || Photo by  Tim Becker Photography

The Blog Connect 2018 Team (left to right) Annsley from thatsreallypretty, Priyanka from Paint the Town Chic, Chrystina from Chrystina Noel, Melissa from Skinny Affair, and Sarah from Shades of Sarah. || Photo by Tim Becker Photography

To see the conference through our attendee's eyes, please visit their blogs below:

If you attended the conference and wrote a recap, but we don't have it listed, please reach out and let us know!

Chrystina Cappello