The Power Of Community – a SweatPink BlogFest Recap

Well, it’s Wednesday and I think I have finally come down from the ridiculous endorphin high that I was on from last Thursday until Saturday at BlogFest (which was a part of IDEA World).  So I can’t think of a better time to wrap up a post than right now. 

I left to LA on an early flight from Boston, because I wanted to have some time to find some wifi and get some work done. Turns out, when I got to the hotel, those plans were quickly dashed as signs saying “ESPYS” were everywhere.

Yes, I had the pleasure of staying at the hotel where the ESPYS party was held. 

Yes, I had a major fan girl moment. 

Yes, I went to the red carpet and watched for a little bit.

They had a cool area called the #ESPYExperience, where there were dance competitions, dunk competitions, football throws and boxing challenges. It was pretty awesome to be able to have something to do, especially while I was waiting for the hotel room.

Once I got into the hotel, I headed back out to meet up with Sandra Laflamme, who blogs over at Organic Runner Mom, and is another New Englander from NH! We enjoyed a delicious snack, and then wandered down the road to City Target for some conference snacks, and then hopped into H&M and Zara for some browsing. What we noticed? There was a ton of WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD things in there.

Ok, so the next day was the first day of BlogFest and we kicked off the day with a 2.5 mile run with Truitt Foods, Tiffany Henness and Linzie Starr. I went with the group that was going to run a 9:30 – 10:00min/mile pace and had a blast chatting with everyone.  Plus, I even won a bluetooth trigger for my phone, that will let me snap photos without having to touch my phone!

After the run, it was time to head into the LA Convention Center for BlogFest kickoff.

BlogFest was two days of social media/blogging goodness with a serious fitness twist.

So here’s the thing about going to ANY conference (and life) – You get out of it everything you put into it. This is now my 4th conference that I’ve attended this year (and the 3rd that I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at), and the real reason I love attending them is the people.

I have worked in the social media and digital marketing world professionally for the past 5 years, and have grown massive social media presences for a couple widely recognized brands (want to know more, connect with me in LinkedIn). The idea of connecting my two passions together is one of the reasons why I started this blog, and was something that I was interested in learning more about at this conference.

No matter what, I refuse to call myself an expert in anything that has to do with social media. Why? Because it’s changing EVERY DAY. While I work very very closely with virtually every single social media channel, targeting changes, audiences change, CPC’s change and Google seems to think its hilarious to change it’s algorithm on a whim, just to see how people react. The key to being successful in the space, is always wanting to learn and accepting that how someone did something is not always going to work for you. It’s thinking outside the box. It knowing that you will never know everything and that “how-to’s” have a shorter shelf life than most fresh fruit.

I took something away from every single talk – whether it was from Katy Widrick talking about the “Future of Blogging” or Melissa Burton busting the “Top 5 Nutrition Myths”, or hearing how @Powercakes built an Instagram following of 25K to having a very detailed SEO discussion. I walked away learning about Canva (which is seriously awesome), and a whole bunch of tools to try out before I add the to my social media tool box.

Some people seem to be upset about the lack of a “checklist” – or the actual “how do you do it”. I see the how as the easiest question to answer here. How did they do it? They just did it. 

How do you do it? You just have to try it. Some things will work, somethings won’t work. You have to take the risk and try something that no one else is doing and see if it works. There is no “one size fits all” for anything social media.

It all comes back to what your “why” is. I wrote about the “why” earlier this year, and I truly think it all comes back to this. Why are you at the conference? Are you here to be told what to do? Are you here for affirmation that what you are doing is correct? Are you here to build relationships? Why is that important to you? (As you can see – my journalism background makes questions fly a mile a minute). 

What’s my why? Why do I care about this blog and attending a conference like BlogFest? 

Because I want to show people that if I can do it, they can too. I want to show people that with support, drive and a little bit of umph they can change their life and live their dreams. 

And I got that.

 I got the inspiration to go and put some more umph into what I do, and go get people excited. 

Hearing speakers like Gabby Reese and taking classes with Jeanette Jenkins, Beto Perez and Jillian Michaels all echoed the themes that successful bloggers had spoken to us about:

You have to be true to you.

 You have to work hard. 

You have to take a risk.

I met people from all walks of life, and shared a room with three incredibly strong women. Those are the connections that make BlogFest worth it. Each one of us has a story to tell, and I can’t wait to keep on following the stories of the incredible people I met at BlogFest. 

I have already penciled in next years BlogFest into my 2016 calendar. I learned about new tools, I met knew people and I left with a renewed sense of who I was. As cheesy as it sounds, I left there standing a little taller, with my head held a little higher and ready to give life everything I have. 

I can find a checklist online on how to create a successful social media plan (heck, if you are looking for one, I can probably create one for you <insert shameless plug here> ). You know what I can’t recreate? People.

The other big part of it? Again the workouts!

You know what I love more than meeting amazing people? Going through a few workouts with them. I think you learn a lot about a person when you work out with them, and I am so happy to say I feel like I’ve just acquired 200+ new virtual workout buddies. 

It feels like winning the lottery.

Each one of us has an amazing story to tell, and that story is what keeps (awesome) followers like you around. I hope you have enjoyed the ride so far, and will keep on following!

If you are a blogger who is looking to connect with likeminded people, learn about some new tools and have a great time I would HIGHLY suggest going to BlogFest at IDEAWorld next year! I know I’ll be there!

I’ll be posting later this week the top 10 things I learned at BlogFest – so stay tuned!

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