I really enjoyed attending Central Florida BlogCon yesterday, big thanks to the planning team for all their hard work organizing and running the conference. There was a lot of great learning and sharing going on during the sessions that addressed different topics related to blogging and social media. The conference got off to quite a start with a flash mob, then a great keynote by Lou Mongello on how to quit your job and blog full time. I think everyone got a kick out of seeing his slides projected on the huge Cinedome screen.
After the keynote, I checked out a session on monetizing your blog through online advertising, which provided a thorough explanation of the different options for online advertising on your blog and guidance as to typical rates that advertising networks may offer. I then took some time to prepare for my talk and relax in the Ford recharge lounge, which featured strawberry cookies from Parkesdale Market, Nawgan energy drinks, and free massages from Motherlove Massages. My talk on IP issues that bloggers need to be aware of went well, there were lots of great questions from the audience. Then it was time for lunch courtesy of Bahama Breeze, who not only provided quite a lunch spread, but also a steel drum band to entertain attendees during lunch. The afternoon kicked off with a yoga session before the slate of afternoon sessions. I checked out Mark Krupinski’s talk on how to best monitor and use social media analytics, which was full of good tips, then Joshua Johnson’s session on blogging for business. He stressed the importance of using an editorial calendar to help keep you plan posts and stay on track with your blog. Then it was time for Mark Baratelli of the Daily City’s hilarious talk about how to find and share content to build a passionate following. He pulled no punches as he shared his experiences in building the following for his blog, and his thoughts about topics like niche blogs. He’s clearly not a fan, as he said that he doesn’t think you should focus on a niche, and that “niche= no no, then you’re stuck with a scarf blog and what happens if you tire of scarves, moron.” It was definitely some good food for thought on how to approach building your following and the different paths that bloggers can take. Then it was time for the session on storytelling and creating infectious blog posts presented by Justice Mitchell, which was really interesting. Then it was time for the breakout sessions where bloggers met with other bloggers with a similar focus to discuss their experiences and challenges blogging in that area. I met with the business blogging group, and we had an interesting discussion to end the day.
After a long day of sharing and learning, everyone was glad to check out the Yelp after party, which was held in the dinosaur area of the Science Center. It was cool to mingle with the other attendees among the dinos, and enjoy the drinks and great food, like the vegetarian gumbo provided by Qdoba, pitas and hummus from Crave, and sushi. Big thanks to the planning team, can’t wait to see what they come up with for BlogCon next year.
As if it hadn’t been a busy enough day, Strung Out was also playing over at the Social. I headed over there in time to catch the Swellers’ set, which was energetic and melodic. Energetic was an understatement for Strung Out, who are probably the only band who could play 2 sets and an encore in under 2 hours. They stormed through their albums Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues, and Twisted by Design, to the delight of the crowd. The Swellers joined Strung Out on stage to play “Justified Black Eye” as a tribute to the late Tony Sly. It was a great end to a long but fun day. I highly recommend checking out the conference and the bands if you get a chance.