Since being back from Blissdom, I’ve had the opportunity (thanks to the” Blissdom Plague” I brought home as a lovely souvenir) to look back on an amazing experience.
When I arrived at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland, I knew that this conference was going to be SO different.
I was essentially on my own.
Last year, I came with my security blanket. I had some of my closest friends with me to help guide me through the hotel, the conferences and just keep me from feeling alone (and feeling like the odd duck out).
This year was completely different, and essentially a whole new conference for me.
Sure, I knew the hotel, but the conference sessions and people were (almost) new to me. There were some old faces from the year prior which I was SO happy to see, but then there were some new faces that I was happy to embrace.
I was even there as a brand representative to Kleenex, and their “Softness Worth Sharing” campaign.
In each Blissdom welcome bag, there were boxes of Kleenex that had the name of another attendee printed on them. We were then to take the name, find the person through Twitter and connect. It was the most wonderful experience- that I’ll be sure to blog about more later. But for now, if you want to share some softness with someone in your life, head to this website to sign up. It’s free, will make you smile, and is still available.
But all friends and sponsors aside, the content of the sessions at Blissdom 2011 was full of wisdom, courage and even heart. I was pleasantly surprised that they left me wanting more.
Some of the key points that I picked up and brought home with me are:
- You own your blog. Your blog does NOT own you.
- Be present in your own life. Live outside your blog, and draw inspiration from your (very) real life.
- Finding balance is essential to successful blogging.
- You don’t have to be defined as a “mommy blogger”, but it’s okay if you do, and identify with that label.
- You don’t have to take EVERY review that comes into your in-box. And do us all a favor, delete those “Dear Blogger: Please tell your readers about us and our product FOR FREE.” they help no one. Your blog is ad space, even when you’re reviewing an item. You need to keep in mind that unless you delete the post, it’s a PERMANENT ad. Think about this, and charge accordingly.
- It’s okay to ask for payment for posting.
- You chose who you make a commitment to. It’s okay to let some things go.
- If you’re not having fun, neither are your readers.
- It’s okay to interact with just your community. Don’t feel like you have to extend yourself to everyone.
- If your stats rule you, DELETE them. If companies want to work with you, they will. If PR folks really want your stats, there are several tools on the internet that they can use to find them out. It’s their job to find things out about you. Don’t do their job for them. You’re not getting paid for it.
- Put a note in your sidebar if you’re over whelmed. Let your readers know that you appreciate them, but also let them know that you don’t have the time to respond to everyone.
And the #1 thing I took away from Blissdom 2011:
YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW OTHERS FEEL ABOUT YOUR BLOG.
In the past, I’ve been worried about how a blog posting might (and did) make someone feel. But as Cecily so kindly put it, “we all need to make our own choices”. I shouldn’t have to censor myself because it might hurt someone. I blog to figure out what I’m thinking. It’s my space, and if someone doesn’t like it, they can leave. Simple as that!
But to give you a REALLY good idea of what the conference was about- check out the opening video we were blessed with:
*Dear FTC: I went to Blissdom on behalf of Kleenex (as in: on their dime). Doesn’t influence my opinion in any way, shape or form. We use ’em already. We’ve loved them a long time. Waaay longer than me ever being on their radar.