This one time at Bloggy Boot Camp …

Today our July Blogger of the Month, MeLinda Schnyder, shares her experience at Bloggy Boot Camp in Texas.

This is my third installment as July’s Blogger of the Month here on Kansas Women Bloggers and it’s my third post about blogging workshops. Hmmm. I fear I’m going to be typecast! I promise I really do write about other things – from silly posts like running out of gas in every vehicle I’ve ever owned or wanting to punch my husband in the face during a long road trip in Texas, to serious stuff like my brother’s suicide or what I wished I’d asked my mom before she died. Oh, and lots of words and photos about all the trips I take both near and far.

In fact, I rarely write about blogging but since the month’s theme here at KWB is Going Away to Summer Camp/Blog Conferences, it seemed like a good time to share my two experiences with blogging workshops. I wrote about the TBEX conference in my first two posts. The other blogging conference I’ve attended was Bloggy Boot Camp in Dallas last September.

I didn’t even have a blog started yet, although before I went to the conference I did purchase my domain. You know, just to feel a little more legitimate! I needed something to push me forward with blogging, though. I was trapped in the world of online research about blogging and couldn’t get to the point where I felt ready to push publish. I thought maybe some real-world, in-person research would do the trick to push me into action.

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I researched conferences and found one that was offered around the country just four or five times a year, and there happened to be one coming to Dallas in just a few weeks. Tickets were sold out but I watched the Facebook and Twitter feeds and found someone selling their ticket.

Several things appealed to me about this conference – the cost was low ($99), I could drive there and visit friends while there, it was limited to around 120 participants, it was predominantly female, they assigned seating and changed it for each session in order to encourage networking with new people and, of course, the content looked relevant. Sessions included developing a unique voice that’s authentic, tips for improving your blog’s design, ways to make money on your blog, ways to increase traffic.

The conference was just what I needed to get going. The rest of the attendees had already been blogging, some for years and some only for months. I learned a lot of useful tips on what to do and what to avoid when starting my blogs, I met a few freelance writers who had two blogs like I was planning (one for my portfolio and one for fun), I heard several inspiring speakers and I connected with a lot of great bloggers.

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Top tip: every blogger should set up Google alerts for yourself, your blog name, any unique phrases you use in order to keep up with who is sharing your work.

Top inspiration: Elizabeth Jayne Liu – she is one of those speakers who I would go to a toilet bowl convention just to hear speak. I didn’t know her before this conference and now she’s one of my favorite bloggers. She shared her amazing story (she was not a writer and only started blogging to hold herself accountable to a pledge she made to not shop for a year & now she makes her living from writing/blogging) and did so in a way that inspired us all to be ourselves when we write our blogs, f-bombs and all.

Bloggy Boot Camp is connected with an online women’s blogging community called SITSgirls. They have a huge online forum full of blogging and social media advice, and it’s a great way to grow your online community. I had great intentions of using all of the resources there but truthfully I haven’t taken the time to do that.

If you’re interested in making your blog more of a business, Bloggy Boot Camp is bringing its Brand Edition to Dallas this fall. It’s a different format than the one I attended and you can find out more on the topics covered here.

Please share in the comments section about any blogging conferences you’ve attended.

Click here to check out the program from the Bloggy Boot Camp in Dallas to get a better feel for the event: BBCDallasProgram

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