As soon as I saw the headline in my Sunday paper last March: Blogging Boot Camp, I knew I had to check it out. Jennifer Mendelsohn, the reporter and a blogger herself, described the daylong conference for mommy bloggers as a networking and social event to learn more about search engine optimization, driving up page views and building a comment tribe. The sold-out Baltimore conference was the first stop on a five-city tour and there was one scheduled for the San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel on August 21, 2010.
I went straight to their website and registered. Although I’m a grandma blogger, I love hanging out with mommies, especially when I can learn how to become more tech-savvy like them. And boy, did they deliver! At my first table there were three moms typing away on their iPads and two on laptops. When our host/organizer, Tiffany Romero, welcomed everyone and told us we should “feel free to tweet,” just about everyone whipped out their iPhones and Blackberries to oblige.
Bloggy Boot Camp is the latest offering of The Secret is in the Sauce (SITS) community, which was co-founded by Tiffany Romero and Heather Blair in June 2008. Their “SITStahood” is among the fastest growing online communities on the web with more than 6,000 women bloggers “dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments. Lots and lots of comments.”
About 100 of us gathered in the ornate Victor Room on the 32nd floor of the St. Francis Westin with a 360-degree view of San Francisco. This was by far the most luxurious boot camp I’ve ever attended. The program got off to a hilarious start with Vlogging Queen, Jessica Bern. She introduced us to video blogging, which took off in 2005 with the help of YouTube. Using her deadpan standup humor, she proceeded to show us the do’s and don’ts of creating your own vlogs. Jessica inspired me to try using that Flip video I bought last year for some vlogs of my own.
Julie Dance, of Angry Julie Monday (the blog names absolutely fascinate me), shared ten great tips about privacy when blogging. She speaks from personal experience as she keeps her work (Orange County law enforcement) and personal life separate.
For those of us interested in product endorsement Ciaran Blumfeld explained her “momfluential” viewpoint. A mom of four, an avid shopper, and an information sharer (my kind of woman), Ciaran founded her website for influential women who want to do product reviews and share their great finds with others.
The conference seating was assigned, which made it easy to meet lots of different women as we moved to different tables for each speaker. Lunch was spectacular, one of the best “conference” meals I’ve ever eaten. The fruit tart dessert looked like one of those pastries created on Iron Chef America.
After lunch, Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers Club, blew me away when she said she has 17,000 followers on Twitter. She’s been using social media since 2004 and offered Ten Tips for Getting Maximum Exposure on Social Media. She should know: Her Mom Bloggers Club is one of the largest social networks for mom bloggers with over 10,000 registered members.
Linsey Krolik, another dynamic speaker, offered a legal perspective on blogging. Besides being a technology, media, and business lawyer in Silicon Valley, California, she blogs about being the mother of twins. One thing she did not share was how she finds the time to do all these things!
Another mom who did not divulge her secrets for packing stuff in—she’s mom to five as well as a writer, speaker, and actress—was Kristy Campbell. She inspired us with ideas for finding our voice and how to keep writing. I loved her calm exterior and great wit. One of her blogs is called: My Cape Is At The Cleaners—Secrets from an ex-supermom about keeping it all together.
The lone daddy blogger on the program was Ted Rubin, who boasts 26,000 followers on Twitter. He is totally passionate about the Open Sky Project, which gives bloggers a marketplace to share their favorite products while generating income.
Besides hearing from these amazing speakers, I met dozens of fascinating women who are passionate about the subjects they blog on. I did meet a few grandmas, and even one great-grandma who inspired us all when she said she came to learn how to blog because she’s got “something important to say!”
When I waved goodbye to my new blogging friends, I could hardly wait to get home and explore some new blogs and share what I learned with all of you.