BlogHer 2014 Recap: 8 Things I Learned from the Conference
I was so excited to be able to attend the BlogHer 2014 Conference this year. It did not disappoint. I really enjoyed it and looking forward to attending more BlogHer conferences in the future. In this recap, I'll start with the superficial and make my way to the key insights at the end.
1. Khloe Kardashian, to my surprise, was really pretty in person. She made an appearance at the Hairfinity expo booth Saturday afternoon and I was blown away by her beauty. Also, I'm not one who usually pays attention to these things, but she was wearing a low-cut top and her boobs looked amazing.
2. Since she's supposed to be a modern-day fashion icon, Kerry Washington was really underwhelming when she came out on stage, especially since she purports to be a student of fashion. She looked like she threw on clothes from the Gap sales rack. Whenever I see her in magazines, she always looks perfect which was why I was so shocked by how average she looked in person. That said, she's clearly a smart cookie and deeply involved and passionate about politics. I was impressed by how articulate she was.
3. I love Guy Kawasaki even more than I did before. He was so gracious and asked to take pictures of us, just as we were asking to take pictures of him!
4. Arianna Huffington was a really engaging keynote speaker. She was funny and charming and witty. Everything she said could go into a book of memorable quotes. One of my favorites was that we all need to "stop glamorizing being busy."
5. Apparently affiliate links are supplanting the sponsored post and making a comeback when it comes to monetization. I don't necessarily agree, but affiliate marketing was something that was being touted throughout the conference.
6. Walking around the expo hall filled with all these sponsored booths made me realize once again the power every blogger has to cash in. It's insane. I must've walked away with hundreds of dollars worth of swag. Everyone thinks these brands are simply looking for high page ranks and lots of traffic, but that can't be true because those blogs are easy to find. They're coming to large conferences so that they can talk to bloggers of all sizes. I felt like I was a school counselor, telling bloggers that I met throughout the conference that, yes they can monetize!
Major props to McDonald's for throwing one bad-ass closing party with Run DMC.
7. Even though there's money to be had, you don't have to make money blogging. One panelist kept insisting, it's ok if blogging is a hobby! That got me thinking about when I started blogging back in 2005 and never did I expect to make money doing it. I did it because I wanted to write. Plain and simple. There's so much pressure on bloggers these days to make money, but if you're not passionate about it, then stop doing it. The same panelist made an analogy to being a marathoner. Marathoners run because they love how it makes them feel; they like being healthy. They're not necessarily thinking about how to get sponsorship. That's so true. Once again, it boils down to doing what you love whether or not you're getting paid for it.
8. You don't have to spend the time and money to go to a conference to glean these insights. Everything I learned at the conference will be recapped over and over by thousands of bloggers who attended. Feel free to read those recaps. But really it's all about being authentic and developing your little piece of the interweb so that people want to come to you, so that brands are attracted to you. And yes, there's a lot of networking going on, but you can just as easily find more blogs to follow and seek out the sponsors who were at the conference. It's not rocket science.
Lastly, I have to admit that it was really difficult attending the conference as a new mom. I've wanted to go to a BlogHer conference for quite some time and figured I'd take the plunge since it was local (San Jose, California) this year. I am deeply grateful to BlogHer for providing complementary babysitting through Wondersitters during all hours of the conference, to Lansinoh for hosting a lactation lounge, and to a kind soul at the BlogHer registration desk who printed out a badge for Dean, allowing him to accompany me along with Baby Franco to the closing party. I can't have fun unless I'm with my babies!