Last weekend, two the BlogathonATX team members–@IleenieWeenie and @ImTheQ–headed down to Houston to attend the 2 1/2 day BlogElevated conference. They packed their bags, loaded up on Starbucks, turned up the Spotify and hit the road…
We checked in to the swanky Hotel Sorella when we arrived and got ready for the opening night mixer which was hosted by Kroger. (It’s always a good sign when a party is hosted by a grocery store chain. That means there will be plenty of FOOD there.) We showed up ready to meet folks and were not disappointed. Lots of bloggers were already in the room when we arrived, sampling wine and cheese and other treats. Weenie and I decided that we were going to strike up random conversations with anyone who was standing alone. It turned out to be a good decision. We didn’t stay too long at the party but met several cool folks including an awesome person from AUSTIN named @Play2LearnSarah.
BlogElevated is designed to help bloggers develop professionally and increase the earning potential of their blogs. When we hit the conference the next morning we were ready to learn! The first panel was called “Brands and Bloggers PR Panel” and featured my friend @KamiChat (along with other PR and marketing folks) who shared insights on how to contact and work with large companies offering sponsorships.
One of the cool things about this conference is that they were holding it at a place called “City Centre” which is very much like The Domain here in Austin. As such, there were tons of restaurants and shops surrounding the hotel and conference center. The lunch that day was awesome because various restaurants in City Centre donated gift cards to the conference-goers. Weenie and I were pretty excited to head out and find our lunch spot but as we went outside rain was pouring. We had one small, useless (leopard-print) umbrella that Weenie brought and the two of us (directionally challenged as we are) wandered around in the rain desperately looking for our restaurant.
Eventually we found it but we were so soaked we had to take our food to go back to the hotel room. We ended up missing the next session because by the time we dried off, ate and cleaned up it was too late to head over there. We opted to watch some TV in our bathrobes instead.
One of the coolest vendors we met that day were these guys from a small, family-owned business called @Lemishine. They were hilarious and gave us samples of their product, which is designed to clean dishwashers. These guys are awesome. You should totally support them and buy their product which is available at HEB.
Later that night was the Blogger Fashion Show and dinner. We had a great time at this event–we sat at the table with two sisters. One is a blogger and the other is an insurance agent who wants to start blogging. We all spent a lot of time laughing and swapping stories about work, travel, marriage, and food. The fashion show was actually pretty good, too. They had bloggers modeling outfits that could easily be transformed for day-to-evening wear. Very practical advice, all of which was completely lost on me. (I’m a fashion disaster).
The next day, we split up and went to separate sessions. I attended one on SEO strategies, and one on Google Analytics, both of which were extremely helpful to me. The SEO Strategy session guy (@ZLDoty) was actually pretty funny… and he gave us a way to download the slide deck of his presentation. Go here to get it.
The whole conference was over before we could say SWAG. But we enjoyed ourselves and learned a lot. While it was an entirely different format from our own event here in Austin, it was beneficial to see how other folks do blogging conferences. We appreciated all the hard work that went in to organizing BlogElevated. The folks who put it on clearly put a lot of effort into making it special.