Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference 2015 #LBNC15

I was so excited when I found out that I won a ticket to attend the fifth annual Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference which was held at LA Maker on February 20-21. I immediately went to get an oil change on my car because I wanted to make sure I had my car in tip top shape for my drive from Orange County to Los Angeles. The one thing I looked forward to the most was networking with other bloggers and learning how to take my blog to the next level by attending the various workshops.

My first day was so much fun. I arrived at about 9am just in time for breakfast which was hosted by Corner Bakery. I immediately started talking to the bloggers at my table about my blog ideas. I shared with them that I've had my own blog since 2011 and that I contribute to my friend Pattie's blog as well. I also mentioned that I would like to turn my blogging adventures into journalism one day and what really catches my attention is writing about political issues. I talked about wanting to pursue a master's degree either in journalism or political science. My blogging colleague suggested I go into political science since I already know how to write. I also mentioned that my blog is very simple and I need to connect with someone who can take my website to the next level so it can look more professional. My colleague suggested I take a class that focuses on social media or web design. I gained a lot of feedback and I have more sense in direction now.

I learned various tips throughout the day's various panel led workshops. I learned that I need to update my blog at least once a week with relevant content. I also learned that I need to tell my story to my readers. Various bloggers were also mentioned by the agencies that work with them and I'm grateful to say I follow these bloggers on my Twitter and on Facebook. The fact that they were mentioned shows their expertise, professionalism and growth in the industry. I will now look to them as mentors. In the "How to Work with Ad Agencies & CMO's" panel, we learned about creating media kits to contact the agencies. We also learned that we should follow the brands we like on Twitter and to talk to other bloggers who are already working with certain brands. We should also follow PR (public relations) agencies on Twitter and interact with them. We should blog about what we are passionate about and we should network by attending conferences like LBNC15. We should also attend meetup groups and attend blogging networking events as well. This way we can establish relationships which is so important.

I took away so much information the first day and I walked away feeling confident because I have been attending blogging networking events and conferences. Although I can't travel far right now because of personal reasons, I have attended other blogging conferences this past year in the OC/LA area. I have also attended a blogging social this past year as well. I look forward to looking at my Twitter feed now because I can see what all my blogger friends are up to these days. It's nice to follow along all their endeavors and see them covering events in their areas. The day at LBNC15 concluded with happy hour hosted by Anepalco's, a restaurant from Orange County. I tried their chilaquiles and one of their specialty drinks called a Piel Morena. The drink was so delicious that I left with the temptation to try it again soon. I was so ecstatic to find out the restaurant is based out of Orange County and they have two locations in the city of Orange. I told my best friend about it and we decided to try it out one of these days.

The second day at the conference was even better because I didn't have to battle rush hour traffic to get to Los Angeles since it was on a Saturday. They had amazing bagels and bread but I can't remember the name of the company. Coffee was also great too just like on Friday. The first panel was how to make a career from your blog. I definitely learned that you have to be true to yourself and your writing if you want to make it into a fulltime gig. I learned that it's important to join blog networks and make connections at places like blog conferences. This point was touched on the day before as well. As you can see, it's vital for a blogger to stay connected with other bloggers. I also learned that it's important to keep a calendar to track all your events and meetups. Some points touched upon were to be consistent in what you blog about and know your audience. You should also have a vision and it would also be great to partner with someone who has tech knowledge to help set up your website. This point touched me dearly since I have so much work to do to make my blog look professional. It is also important to write about what your audience wants. You may want to contact brands by email that you would like to work with. Don't be afraid to reach out to them by email. You might be surprised at getting a yes. What's the worst that can happen? If they say no, then don't worry about it but what if they say yes?

I hope you are able to take away some points I mentioned from this conference. If you are starting a blog, I would advise you to just write about what your heart desires. That's how I got started. It all started at work in 2011 when I had some down time. I wanted to start an online journal and so I began posting videos I liked and I was also heavily involved in my church at the time so I talked about inspirational stuff. It was at that time that I began researching some blogging networks and joined a few of those. I had a lot of buttons on my blog at the beginning but I took them down to make it look more professional. It will take time to build an audience and I can honestly say that my blog is a work in progress. I hope you gained some knowledge by reading this post and can take away some of the points I mentioned. I would highly recommend this conference next year to any bloggers out there and I hope I can attend next year as well. It was well worth it!

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