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February 12, 2008

BlogHer announces keynote speakers for BlogHer Business ’08

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BlogHer, Inc. has announced a number of keynote speakers at the forthcoming BlogHer Business ’08 Conference (NYC, April 3-4).

Not only has the Conference attracted some top-notch commercial sponsors — including Intuit, Wiley, and Cisco — but the lineup of speakers currently billed is also impressive.

A keynote panel entitled “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation” will feature BlogHer co-founder/CEO Lisa Stone moderating a discussion on trends and behaviors across generations of women. The panel will consist of Maria T. Bailey, the leading authority on marketing to moms and author of a recent book focusing on Gen X and Y moms; strategist and entrepreneur Mary Furlong, who specializes in reaching the boomer and senior markets; and media entrepreneur Robin Wolaner, founder of the online community for boomers, TeeBeeDee.

The closing keynote — “You Can’t Manufacture Buzz…Or Can You?” — a discussion on building traffic, community, and buzz, will feature BlogHer co-founder/COO Elisa Camahort Page, plus Melissa Anelli, proprietress of LeakyCauldron.net, a comprehensive media outlet for fans of the Harry Potter series; Elise Bauer, whose food blog Simply Recipes has evolved into a publishing juggernaut; Kerry Miller, who leads a double life as a reporter from BusinessWeek by day and proprietress of the addictive PassiveAgressiveNotes.com by night; and Ellen Siminoff, Chairman of Efficient Frontier, the leading search engine marketing firm.

Also included during the two-day conference will be breakout sessions focusing on creating an online presence in social media and building effective relationships with bloggers.

“We are excited to bring together leaders from the worlds of business, marketing and social media in the spirit of collaboration, rather than contention, to demonstrate and discuss innovative ways for organizations of all kinds to reach and connect with influential customers in a rapidly changing media landscape,” said Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder and COO of BlogHer.

The full agenda can be found at http://www.blogher.com/blogher_conference/conf/5/agenda/2.

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January 14, 2008

More Tips for Conference Blogging

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The Blog Herald previously covered blogging conferences with great articles on Tips for Conference Blogging, Tips for Conference Blogging – Part 2 and Tips for Attending Conferences. Last year I covered many new media conferences in the Netherlands with the Masters of Media, a collaborative blog from the University of Amsterdam. We’ve been to very different venues and ran into various interesting problems including no power and no internet access. How do you deal with these issues?

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December 4, 2007

nextMEDIA: Branded Entertainment

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Renee Hill of eyeReturn started by saying that if you bought advertising executives a PVR or TiVo for their home they would never buy a thirty-second spot again, instead taking that money, and spending it online, and that really made sense to me.

David Carson, Co-CEO of Heavy.com talked about branded entertainment, an area of advertising that doesn’t shill the brand endlessly, rather trying to find ways to get the word out there while still making it fun for its users.

His presentation was amazing, funny, and had some of the best slides from the whole event. They were well designed, and weren’t as text heavy as some other companies. One of the more interesting things David did was to remind us that the Internet is nothing, and if you weighed the data in the internet as a single bubble of electricity, it would only weight two ounces. Saying that someone has actually gone ahead at one point and time to measure it.

David also said that innovations come from big ideas that are put into action. The ideas don’t have to be amazing, as even the most mundaine product or idea can allow room for innovation.

He then brought up the videos featuring the Blentec blender. Most people would think that a blender is a blender, and choose one with the feature they want, or a brand they trust, but Blentec decided to do something different, and showcase their brand by creating online videos that were funny, interesting, and crazy.

David also brought up the Eepybird video with Diet Coke and Mentos. While not being created by either Coke or Mentos, it instantly made both brands “fun” and interesting.

It is all about finding new, and powerful ways to get your brand noticed, and sometimes the best way is to use a form of branded entertainment. I really enjoyed this session, and while not answering the “how” of creating a campaign that would work, it did remind me that if others can do it, I should be able to as well.

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Tips for Attending Conferences

Over the last two years, I have attended a few conferences, and while I haven’t been a guest at nearly enough in my opinion, I do have some early lessons and information to hand out to bloggers thinking of attending conferences.

So far, I have been fortunate enough to attend two BarCamps, Northern Voice, Mesh and nextMedia.

Pack Light

With the crazy weather in Canada, you would think that you need tons of gear to deal with anything the city you are visiting decides to throw at you, but moving around a hefty bit of luggage, as well as any technology you bring with you can be a nightmare.

Bring only the essentials, and deal with whatever mother nature decides to throw at you. If you are going for a three day event, and bring three sweaters, just in case it gets cold, you will be lugging them around for no reason if the weather stays nice, or you go from the event, to a cab, to the hotel without spending more than thirty seconds outside. If for some reason, you do end up needing a sweater on the second or third day, then pick up an inexpensive one, or take it as a sign you needed to shop for a new favorite.

This leads me to my next point.

Make Sure You Have Somewhere to Store Your Gear

I have been a bit silly before, and not arranged somewhere to put my suitcase before going to the conference, and so far I have been fairly lucky, with the facility either having somewhere for me to store it, or just having a place to tuck it out of the way, and hope no one walked off with my clothing.

If you have come into the city of the event before hand, and have a hotel, you already have a place to put your stuff. Otherwise, pay the fee to get storage at the airport, bus or train station, as most of them seem to have some coin operated storage. It can be a little annoying to come back and pick it up later in the evening, but it can be better than carting it around to different rooms at the conference.

Write Down Lots of Bullet Points

If your memory is anything like mine, you will want to be sure to write down lots of bullet points from each session you attend. Key information about the presentation can mean the difference between being able to write a comprehensive article, and just doing a summary of an entire day.

I don’t know about you, but I like coming away from conferences being able to create at least three great posts per day of the event.

Have Business Cards Made

When I went to my first conference, I didn’t have business cards yet, and so when I talked to people, I felt a little silly not being able to join the trading system that seemed to be at the end of any new meeting.

Even if you only blog for yourself, it never hurts to have business cards made, so that you can hand people your name, and contact details for reference later.

Network with People

One of the first things I have noticed at conferences is that people like to stick to their groups. If you go with a few people, you will probably spend the whole time talking to each other. I have been known to stay within my comfort zone as well, but you won’t build a great contact list if you sit and wait for people to come up to you.

Don’t be shy. They are all there to network and learn, just like you. If you see someone alone, walk up, introduce yourself, and ask which company they are from and what they have thought of the event so far. If none of the sessions have begun, ask them why they are at the event, and what they are hoping to learn. These are easy ice breakers that will quickly give you a sense of the person you are talking to.

If you see a group, and they seem rather casual, walk close to them, and see if you can join in. Don’t interrupt, but listen for key opportunities to break into the conversation and join in.

Take a Day Off After Returning

Even if the trip is only a few hours away, when you go to a conference, there is no one doing your work, and even if you only blog for yourself, you will still feel behind. When you get back, give yourself a little time to recharge, and let everything from the conference sink in.

I use this time to organize the rest of my week, file away the business cards I received, and organize my notes from the event.

You will be surprised how draining conferences can be, or how exhilarating they can be. Getting back into the working, writing, publishing groove can be fairly difficult.

Involve Yourself

One of the best ways to get noticed by people at an event is to participate and one of the easiest ways to participate is to ask intelligent questions if and when there are openings for them.

Any way you can involve yourself will help set you apart from others, and also derive more value from the conference. I have lost count at how many new things I have learned just by being able to get an expert to answer my question.

Also, I noticed that people that asked questions were more likely to have people talk to them between sessions, and anything that gets people willing to approach you, makes your job of networking that much easier.

Personally Thank the Organizers

One thing that I have found very helpful is to thank the organizers. If you can’t find all of them, any single one would do. Getting a business card from an organizer allows you an easier way to be invited back to the next event, get priority information, or even helps get you speaking at the next event if that’s your goal.

Also, it never hurts to let them know when they did a good job, so that they will feel just a tiny bit more compelled to do it again.

Have Fun

While all the other points are important, and hopefully helpful, this last point is the key to the whole article. Conferences are a chance to network with like-minded people and do something out of the ordinary. It is a chance to let loose a little, and make some great business connections.

Don’t let these opportunities pass without having some fun. You never know when it will all end and you will be doing reports at some desk somewhere.

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November 29, 2007

Which Blogging Conference Would You Go To?

If you could choose from all the blogging conferences held around the world, which one would you most want to go to?

Don’t know which ones there are?

Coming soon, I’ll be reporting on blogging and blog-related conferences currently scheduled for next year. I mention a lot of WordPress meeting and conferences in my weekly WordPress Wednesday News reports, but I want to reach beyond WordPress to blogging conferences worldwide.

If you have a favorite blogging conference, please let me know so I can add it to the list. Know of blog-related meetups and groups in your area? Tell me here or contact me at: lorelleonwordpress@gmail.com.

I need links to the main site that hosts the event, as well as a description and dates, if available, for the events.

I’d also like to know why you recommend this event, and if you attended, what you got out of it.

If you are part of the group that produces blogging events, or know of people who are involved, I’m looking for you to help me create this big list of blog conferences.

If you haven’t attended a blog conference, would you? What do you expect to get out of such a meeting of bloggers or representatives of the blogging industry?

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October 20, 2007

b5media hosting additional teaching day at BlogWorld Expo

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Darren Rowse has reported that blog network b5media will be holding a day of teaching before the BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas officially kicks off.

The schedule on 7th November is as follows:

0915-1000: “How to Use Digg to Assplode Your Blog” – Brian Clark/Aaron Brazell
1015-1100: “Thriving as a B-List Blogger” – Jeremy Wright/Allen Stern
1115-1145: “Creating a Powerblogging Toolset” – Marshall Kirkpatrick/Tris Hussey
1200-1230: “Amping Up Your WordPress Blog” – Brian Layman/Mark Jaquith
1430-1515: “Survival Tips for Network Bloggers” – Leora Zellman/Mary Jo Manzanares
1530-1615: “Creating Conversations With Your Readers” – Alex Hillman/Jake McKee
1700-1800: Private update session for b5media staff and bloggers

I’m intrigued about “assploding” my blog – I think there’s an in-joke there I’m not familiar with.

The day is free to anyone attending the Expo.

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October 15, 2007

Blogging for Business Conference comes to Salt Lake City, 22 October

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Though the publicity has been underway for well over a month now, the Blogging for Business (B4B) Conference in Salt Lake City next week caught my eye in a press release today.

It’s a single day event aimed at helping business owners, marketing experts and PR pros make the most of new social media technologies.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Edelman Interactive’s VP, Gary Goldhammer, who will give the afternoon keynote speech
  • Podango’s CEO, Lee Gibbons
  • Know More Media’s Co-founder Tim Stay
  • Liz Strauss, speaking on “Making Businesses ‘Sticky'”
  • eMomsAtHome.com’s Wendy Piersall on “Blog Entrepreneurship”
  • Generation Y Expert Lindsey Pollak on “Marketing to Gen Y”
  • Dave Politis on “PR 2.0″
  • Malcolm Atherton on “BusinessWire on the Blogosphere”
  • Cheryl Snapp Conner on “Should Companies Encourage Their Employees to Blog?”
  • Rand Bateman and Brian Lloyd on “What Your Attorney Hopes You Know About Business Blogging”
  • Tim Stay on “How to increase your company’s online visibility”

More information is available at B4BConference.com.

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October 1, 2007

BlogHer announces expanded 2008 events lineup: Blogher ’08, BlogHer Business ’08, BlogHer Reach Out Tour

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BlogHer Inc., the community and network for blogs authored by women, has announced an expanded 2008 program of events, including the annual conference, specialized business blogging conference, and a tour of six eastern and southern American cities.

“In our fourth year, we are excited to produce events that embody what we find women are seeking online: Greater fulfillment via community connection and exposure for their blogs,” said Elisa Camahort, BlogHer Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer. “Our members inspired our theme — Reach! — and in addition to our annual and business conferences, we’re excited to hit the road in October with BlogHer’s first-ever Reach Out Tour, as we endeavor to bring together members of our community in more areas of the country.”

The conference series includes the following:

BlogHer ’08 – Reach!
July 18-21, 2007, San Francisco, CA, The Westin St. Francis Hotel

The annual conference offers quality networking opportunities and participation in unique programming focused on the many ways women bloggers are changing the landscape of technology, online media and journalism.

BlogHer Business ’08 – Reach! Your Customers Are Where the Action Is
April 3-4, 2008, New York City, The Affinia Manhattan Hotel

The conference will deliver a focused, common-sense approach to how companies can work with social media to serve their customers. “BlogHer Business” will offer case studies, workshops and consultative programming to help attending companies take advantage of the best the social media world has to offer.

BlogHer Reach Out Tour
Mid-October, 2008: Six Cities in Two Weeks

The BlogHer Reach Out Tour schedules visits to Boston, Washington D.C., Greensboro, Nashville, Atlanta and New Orleans, featuring one-day events offering sessions to encourage new bloggers to get on board, plus content tailored to each tour city community, its interests and its local bloggers.

Registration for all of BlogHer’s 2008 events will launch in tandem with a new Conference web site on Monday November 26th.

BlogHer.com

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July 31, 2007

Where Are the Women Bloggers? They WERE in Chicago!

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Ever since I arrived in the blogosphere two years ago, I’ve been hearing, “Where are the women bloggers?” This past weekend we were in Chicago for the third annual BlogHer Conference held at Navy Pier. The event, sponsored by the organization of some 13,000 women, launched in 2005, offering a blogging conference that invited everyone, but limited speakers to women.

The event kicked off with the first General Session: Speed Dating for BlogHers, in which two massive circles of attendees faced each other as pairs to exchange introductions. Five minutes later one circle moved on to repeat their hello to the next BlogHer in the circle across. In the group of about 25 or so that I met. Many were charming new bloggers at their first conference of any kind . . . ever. Most of them had mommy blogs or were political bloggers. Two were conference sponsors.

The conference had sessions that followed six strands of information.

  • The Art of Life: Sessions on writing, storytelling, reviews, visual art, foodblogging, crafts, community
  • The Business of You: Sessions on branding and self-promotion, speaker training, media training, mentoring, turning a blog into a book, problogging
  • Community: Sessions on life stages of communities, raising money for causes, raising consciousness, women across the world, oppressed or silenced communities, inclusion and exclusion
  • Identity: Sessions on digital exhibitionists, blogs about body issues (weight loss etc.), intolerance, state of the momosphere
  • Politics: Sessions on election 2008, breaking news to Op-Ed, Patriots Act
  • Technical: Sessions on design, web standards, technical tools and traffic, workflow tools, taking your blog to the next level, multimedia labs, food photography

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June 20, 2007

BlogHer 2007 conference expands into Second Life

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This year, the BlogHer conference will take place both in the real world, in Chicago from July 27-29, and virtually, in Second Life, from July 27-28.

BlogHer Second Life will offer the opportunity to experience the Chicago conference live on a virtual platform, complete with general sessions, audio feeds, and even a virtual cocktail party! Similar to BlogHer ’07 in Chicago, the BlogHer Second Life virtual conference will feature an interactive format designed to inspire discussion.

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