I am back from my first ever blogging conference, #BlogHer17 and what an incredible experience it was! I was lucky enough to be a Volunteer at this Conference and hope to attend again next year. BlogHer is presented by SheKnows Media and is the largest women’s blogging Conference.
The Conference was in Orlando, Florida at the beautiful Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek . Check out the stunning view of the lazy river pool:
Such a perfect setting! The Conference was held over three days and was packed with activities. As it was my first time attending a blogging Conference, I was a little nervous. But my nerves were quickly calmed once I arrived at the volunteer training session. The blogging Community truly is a supportive group and from what I encountered at BlogHer the ladies I met were very friendly. There were a few male bloggers but for the most part it was all female bloggers. What I liked about this Conference is the bloggers are not limited to one particular niche-there were bloggers covering everything from fashion to food and everything in between!
There is no way I can include everything from the 3 days as it was seriously packed with information, but I will include highlights from the 3 days with some of my favorites!
We started with the Kick-Off Keynote presented by HelloFlo and a frank conversation about women’s bodies, health, and rights. This included a conversation with Chelsea Clinton and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.
Next up was an open conversation with SheKnows Senior Vice President Naama Bloom , comedian, actress, activist Margaret Cho and television sexpert Logan Levkoff . You know with Margaret Cho it is going to get a little wild and it most definitely did! There were lots of laughs and I really walked away from this session feeling empowered! Like I am woman hear me roar!
Next up was the Evening at the Expo and I was giddy with excitement!!
The expo hall was packed with Sponsors for us to meet and hopefully pitch an idea to collaborate on a future post. Meeting a brand in person is worth its weight in gold to a blogger. Here are just some of the Sponsors that were at the expo:
- Best Buy
- Zaycon Fresh
- Ebay Partner Network
- Princess Cruises
- Day Owl Rose
There were drink and food stations set up all throughout the expo and each sponsor had “swag” for attendees. This was such a great opportunity to not only meet and learn about different brands, but also to mix and mingle with other bloggers. Networking at its finest! They even had a photo booth set up for an early premiere of the new movie Girl’s Night! All attendees received passes in their swag bags at registration!
I woke up ready to learn with a full day of sessions. The morning keynote included
Andréa Richardson from Hilton
Ananda Leeke, Founder, Digital Sisterhood Network as well as a yoga and reiki teacher, who lead us in our Mindful Moments exercises to start the day.
Gina Pell, serial entrepreneur, elaborated on her philosophy that there is a totally age-agnostic generation of people called Perennials.
The Keynote Speakers were Ana Navarro and Joy Reid – two huge news commentators who spoke to us how to use social media to get views distributed to an even wider audience. There was an intense conversation about the influence and impact of news media in today’s landscape…especially the importance of women’s voices in that media. Next we were able to choose what session we wanted to attend for both the morning and the afternoon. I decided to attend a session presented by The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) which covered concepts like responsive design, the new 2017 IAB Ad Portfolio industry standards, boosting your content, viewability and ad blocking. As a Blogger, it is so important to know about ad placement and performance of ads. I definitely learned a lot from this session! I have already implemented some of these changes to my blog and have been seeing better performance!
Lunch was provided by Walt Disney World Pandora-World of Avatar! What a great presentation! The keynote lunch speaker was Serena Williams As part of this keynote Serena discussed the various philanthropic efforts and causes she has been both spearheading and supporting for years now. She is one busy woman!
Again, you were free to choose the session you would like to attend for the afternoon. I really wanted to focus on learning tips and tricks for growing my blog so I attended the session on Powering Up Your Business For Success. The expo hall was open this afternoon for additional opportunities. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to one of the private events for Friday night, which was a VIP pass to the Medieval Times show. I have never been and was thrilled for this opportunity!
This was such a fun night and I met several bloggers who I really hit it off with-to the point that my new blogging buddy Amber, gave me a ride back to my hotel so I didn’t have to wait around for Uber! She was a sweetheart and I hope to keep in touch with her over social media and hopefully see her again next year. Here we are with one of the Medieval Times Knights!
She is the one in the pink shirt. How cute is she? Check out her lifestyle blog at Amber Downs. Thanks again for the ride Amber!
If you have never been to Medieval Times you should definitely add it to your bucket list. Not only was the show amazing, but the food was awesome as well. Check out their locations here. It was definitely a long day starting at 8:00 am and not getting back to the hotel until 11:30 pm but worth every moment!
Our final day was another jam packed day filled with training sessions and additional expo time. We started with the morning Keynote Speakers including a fun series called The Pitch, where where women business owners and founders give a pitch to a high-profile panel of judges and audience. The judges were:
The winner received a year-long marketing, media, and promotional support package valued at $50,000 from SheKnows Media! Congratulations to Lynn Johnson who won the Pitch!! Next was the session that I was most looking forward to and as the room was standing room only, definitely the most popular session of the Conference. We are talking about SEO: Conquering Search Engine Algorithms. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it is so necessary in the life of a blogger. This basically determines how and if your blog is found if a relevant topic is searched. The Speakers were the dynamic father/daughter team:
Chloe Spencer, SEO and online marketing specialist
Stephan Spencer, internationally recognized SEO expert, consultant, and bestselling author. A huge highlight for me was meeting Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s Emmy award winning, popular lifestyle series “The Chew,” and getting a signed copy of her new cook book. She is just as sweet in person as she is on television!
The final day ended with a closing party to rival all closing parties!! It was held in an air conditioned tent directly on the water. As I walked to the entrance I was greeted by a waiter handing out STRAW-BER-RITA from one of the event sponsors.
Not a bad way to be greeted right? Check out the spacious tent and food display:
Definitely the largest tent I have ever seen!
This was the outside area:
In closing, the BlogHer Conference was something I would definitely attend again. I will say it was a lot to navigate for a first time attendee, but BlogHer did such a good job at making “newbies” feel welcome and included and after my initial nerves settled, I was able to take in all that was this incredibly informative, but also fun Conference! Thank you BlogHer!
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