Blogpodium 2014 Recap: 4 years later

Good Morning!

I finally got my Blogpodium 2014 recap written! Yea, me!  First of all, I had a great time at Blogpodium , I always do.  I was using my iPhone for photos that day, and the venue was a bit dark, so needless to say this post is going to be Texty McTexterson so bear with me.  After this Blogpodium was all said and done, I definitely had lots of thoughts about blogging in general, which I will get to later, but first I want to share some of my highlights.

I loved the keynote speech by Donna from Funky Junk Interiors.  It had humour, passion, and grit.  She drew us in with her story, which really showed us how she got where she is today.  She did give us some tips and hints but it was her story of perseverance that made us all relate to her and it really set a great tone for the day.  I loved the picture she posted talking about people’s reactions when you tell them you are a blogger….

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Now, I have been blogging for over four years and generally haven’t really paid much attention to the numbers.  Recently, I have been trying to figure out traffic, the best ways to improved my google rank, and other techie things, and well, it been frustrating.  So this year, I decided to nerd it up and focus on the technical sessions. I went to 2 sessions.  One by Nicki Lamont on Essential SEO and one by Avery Swartz from Camp Tech on Google Analytics.  Both were really, really helpful and I left with a much better of a grasp on all those crazy blogging metrics.  And can I tell you how much I love Camp Tech?  Seriously.  They had a nerd station at Blogpodium where bloggers could ask questions and get specific help for their own blogs.  As you can see from the photo below, they were pretty busy all day!  Also they have the best tag line ever.

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And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the panel discussion with Jen Flores, Scott McGillivray and Monika Hibbs.  I knew Jen would be great….obviously she has the finger on the pulse of bloggers.  But I’ll be honest, although I enjoy both Scott’s shows and Monika’s blog, I went into the session wondering what exactly they would bring to the table that would be applicable to the average blogger.  Well, I will tell you I was really impressed with both of them.  They told their stories which were very interesting in their own ways and also they provided good advice on career paths. And they both had a huge amount of drive, which resonated with me.  What I took from that discussion was be true to yourself, make a plan and then go get what you want.

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Another great thing that I always love about Blogpodium is seeing all the bloggers I don’t see in real life often enough.  This year I was so happy to have my friend Sarah of More than Denim, staying with me for her first blog conference.  Sarah is a Canadian blogger over at More than Denim, who just recently moved back to Halifax from the US and is excited to get tapped into the Canadian blogging scene. Check it out for some fabulous fashion and food posts.

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Now on to the more introspective stuff. I have been attending blog conference since before I had an probably had any right to do so. I’ve been to all four Blogpodiums and I also attended Alt Summit in Salt Lake City in 2012.  Looking back, I will say that for the first 2 Blogpodiums and Alt, I KNEW NOTHING. I learned a lot but maybe not a lot that applied to me directly since my blog was so small and newer at the time.  Now, that being said, my blog isn’t much bigger now than it was then, but I would like to think it’s slightly more sophisticated. I certainly would say that the last 2 Blogpodiums were the most rewarding. but also very different. Last year, I left feeling super inspired and motivated. For me it was about the relationships and connections, but looking back I didn’t leave with a huge amount of tangible information to actually apply on my blog.  This year, however, while I didn’t leave with a sense of euphoric blog bliss, I learned a ton and left with so much information that I could put into action right away.  It wasn’t better or worse than last year, just different.  But I think maybe that is the evolution of attending blog conferences.  Every experience is unique and speaks to you differently.

Now, it’s no secret that the word on the street is that that blogging as we know is dying. Readership is down, comments are down, major publications in the US are shutting down blogs.  And for sure, all that may indicate a significant change to blogging.  The next big thing may take blogging in a whole new direction.  Big changes. But just because something is changing it doesn’t mean it’s dying.

And I think something is missing from this conversation and that is that people don’t ever get tired from hearing stories. About a month ago I read great post written by by Erin Loechner over at Design for Mankind titled Blogging, Now  that was posted back in August and talked about the state of blogging.  I think Erin’s take on the topic is bang on.  I would encourage you all to take a read of the entire thing but I want to share with you a quote from the end of that post…..

“Blogging won’t die, because it was never truly alive. The stories, the voices – that’s where the heart beats. And storytelling, friends, is forever.” – Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind

Truth. Look at my Blogpodium highlights above. Do Donna and I have the same aesthetic?  No. Do I love every single project she does?  Not necessarily.  But I still loved her keynote and love how she writes on her blog. Why? Because she is genuine, tells a story and I connect with that in some way.  And then, Scott and Monika, two people that I didn’t anticipate taking much away from who really surprised me, and why?  Because they told their stories before they launched into the advice. I understood where they were coming from.  Genuine stories make all the difference. Isn’t that how blogging started?  It doesn’t matter what a post is about or how short it might be, if you there is a reflection of you and your story weaved in there in even the smallest way, someone is likely to enjoy it.

And I’m off my officially getting down off my soapbox. (*Drop Mic)

XO,

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Blogpodium

 Good Morning!

Sorry for my absence yesterday! I was hoping to get this post finished yesterday, but alas, it was not to be.  I’m very happy to be talking about Blogpodium which I attended on Saturday.   More than 150 amazing ladies (and a few men) attended this fantastic event,  which focused on the business of blogging.  It is always great to meet up with fellow bloggers but I also learned a lot!  This series of events was started by Jen and Lindsay to promote learning and conversation within the blogging community. And after two events I would say it has far exceeded anyone’s expectations.

The Keynote Speaker was Nicole Balch, of Making it Lovely who spoke in depth about monetizing your blog. This woman has talent oozing out of her pores.  Smart, creative and just a lovely person all around.

Some key things I learned from Nicole’s speech:

1) When you are starting out approaching vendors for advertising, try offer a couple of months free.  That way you can get some advertisements on your blog which makes you look more legitimate to other potential advertisers. Also, it gives the vendors a chance to see some results from the ad on your site in order to be interested in paying later on.

2) I knew very little about Ad Networks so it was very interesting to hear about the ins and outs of using them.  I’m nowhere near the level of where an Ad Network would make sense

3) Similar to newspapers, you can charge more for ads “above the fold” (i.e.what you see when you first bring up the your blog) than ones “below the fold” (when you scroll down).

Next up was the panel discussion, moderated by Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, Colour and Design Specialist with Benjamin Moore and regular design expert on Cityline. The panel consisted of Cheryl Kozoriz is manager of marketing and communications at GlucksteinHome, Laura Muirhead is a Community Cultivation Manager with Tribal DDB, on the Radar DDB social media team, Christine Dovey author of the blog Bijou and Boheme, and Lindsay Stephenson of author of Little House Blog.  The discussion was a great balance between both the point of view the blogger and the brands, and I think that the brands gained as much insight as we the bloggers did. The whole panel did a fantastic job.

See how engrossed I am with the content?

Then there was scrumptious food…

And a meet and greet with the vendors who had fabulous booths set up….

and friends…..

Photo Sources for above: All Mango Studios Photography except top left and bottom left and right which are mine.

Always the nicest part of these events is meeting new people and catching up with my blogger friends. Almost too many to name in the above, but I’ll give it a shot… Heather, Sarah, Meagan, Sarah G, Christine, Barbara, Lindsay, Jen, Nancy, Beatrice, Amy and Pam.

Oh then the swag….

Thanks so much to all the amazing sponsors!

And thanks to Jen and Lindsay for an amazing event! You can see more photos, here, here, and here. Can’t wait for the next one.

XO,

Photo Sources for above: All Mango Studios Photography except where noted.

 

Last Weeks Loves and a Birthday!

Good Morning….as I have done the past few Mondays, I’m featuring my “last week loves” from other blogs that I follow and love!

BUT FIRST….

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To my niece Katrina!  She turns 11 today!

A silly picture of us, but I still love it.

Wish I could be there with her in New Brunswick for her special day but I hope she has a great one! XOXO

Now back to my blogger inspiration from last week…

First up, Sharalee over at Escapade posted about stylist Sasha Seymour‘s kitchen that was featured in House and Home magazine back in September.  I really like this whole kitchen but I LOVE the herringbone wood floor.  To. Die. For.

Next, I loved this post by This is Glamorous on mermaid pearl hairpins at Chanel. The shots were so gorgeous and there was also fab DIY on how to make them yourself!

And this fabulous nook posted by Blair over at Delight by Design….um, gorgeous…..

Ok, I don’t about you guys but I LOVED paper dolls as a kid.  My favourite was a set I had commemorating the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana.  It had all the fabulous outfits she wore, including her wedding gown. So, I felt a little nostalgic when I saw this post on Poppytalk on paper dolls.  So much fun.

I’m not even sure if I like it, or just the colour, but I was immediately drawn to this Design Sponge post on Malachite. A little retro love for the week.

With the gorgeous weather today, I am reminded of the fact that I so need new sunglasses.  So this post by Brittney over at My Daily Randomness with a whole bunch a fantastic sunglasses was perfectly timely.

AND, lots of great announcements over at Blogpodium this week about the next session called “The Business of Blogging”.  I’m super excited to be going and if you are near Toronto and are not, you should be!  Check out all the fun below. (And huge props to Jenn (Rambling Renovators) and Lindsay (Little House Blog) for creating this amazing forum and for all their work so far).

Oh and last but not least, another proud moment for Canadian design bloggers (and some of my fave people eva…..). Check out this article in the Saturday’s Globe and Mail featuring (some of my fave people eva…..) both Jenn, Lindsay, and Christine of Bijou and Boheme and Emma Reddington of The Marion House Book.  Bloggers Unite, we are taking over 🙂

Have a great Monday!