The first Minnesota Blogger Conference took place Saturday, Sept. 11 at CoCo in St. Paul. Based on all the tweets and posts I’ve been watching over the past 48 hours, I think it’s safe to say the conference was a big success. As a founder of the event, I’m insanely proud of our planning team and volunteers, forever grateful to our generous sponsors and speakers, and gloriously happy that approximately 150 Minnesota bloggers found the event meaningful and helpful to their craft.
I could spend hours upon hours waxing poetic about all the fabulous people I met, connections made and light bulb moments I witnessed… but for now I’ll tell the story through pictures.
Conference attendees posed for a large group photo following the afternoon keynote session.
, Lindsay Verbaten
and Suzi Magill
welcomed attendees at the registration table. Our team arrived at 6:30 a.m. These three ladies volunteered many hours towards organizing the event. Thank you!
joined the planning efforts by organizing the fabulous Don’t Drink and Blog
event at Club Jager the night before the conference. It was a great opportunity to come together as a community. Many folks who couldn’t attend the conference were able to attend this event. Also pictured is the lovely and talented Katie Schutrop
. Katie was Arik’s and my go-to person to make things happen for the conference. Most of her work was focused on building our social media presence through the web site and twitter account. Katie is now on my “will hire one day” list.
My conference co-founder and partner in crime, Arik Hanson
, along with Bill Van Cleaf
is not a blogger – but a health care marketing colleague of mine. I was thrilled when he volunteered his graphic design and copywriting skills to create the signage for the event. We all loved it! Thank you, Bill!
Volunteer extraordinaire, Josh Braaten
, won a special place in my heart for nodding and smiling (rather than running and screaming) when I asked him to stand outside to help people find their way to the conference through the massive construction. He also made coffee that morning. Helping people find their way AND caffeinating them? I wonder how many people kissed him that morning. Or at least wanted to…
were among the first attendees to arrive, bright and early Saturday morning.
, who represented our sponsor WCCO
, talked with Molly Snyder
, who presented: How can I host blog giveaways without giving away my integrity?
, attendee, with Sasha Westin of Fabuliss
, another conference sponsors. Sasha provided two of the conference speakers with style consulations to help them look their best for their presentations.
, closing keynote speaker, with Darcie Gust
. Darcie volunteered her time for a fundraiser at the conference on behalf of the Liz Logelin Foundation.
One of the best parts of blogging are the relationships we can form with other bloggers. Here I am with some of the amazing women I’ve gotten to know over the last three years. Darcie
We kicked off the opening keynote session to a full house. It was truly amazing to welcome the group with Arik
. (Photo courtesy of Jo
We kicked off the event with a keynote panel: Minnesota’s pioneering bloggers and lessons learned, best practices and stories behind their success. Speakers were Nancy Lyons, James Lileks, Teresa Boardman, Patrick Rhone and moderated by Dave Erickson.
At any given time during the conference, you would find about 1/3 of the people watching the speakers intently, 1/3 on their laptops either taking notes or tweeting and 1/3 taking pictures and tweeting via smart phones. (that’s my estimate, but you can see it happening here!)
I wasn’t able to get pics of all the speakers in action, but I did get quite a few… in no particular order:
spoke to a packed room on: Growing as Writers: Taking Your Blog Posts to the Next Level. Attendees loved the creative writing exercise Kate assigned during her session – I’ve already seen one blog post published over the weekend that was inspired from that exercise.
spoke on Finding Your Authentic Voice: the benefits and risks of sharing your personal life online. You know a presentation is successful when you make your audience both laugh and cry, and the writing teacher
in the group shouts out “LOVELY – THAT WAS LOVELY!
” after you read one of your posts.
Heather wrote a guest post for my blog earlier this year: Motherhood and Addiction
. I encourage you to read it to get a true sense of Heather’s writing style and touching story.
presented Blogging shouldn’t be a hassle. It should be easy! It should be fun! and won major geek points by skyping in special guest Leo Laporte.
and Salisha Armour spoke on The business of blogging: the legal side of trademarks, copyright, marketing and more.
Blogging for Business: Making Connections & Building Buzz –
Alan from sponsor OLSON introducing the group – Ryan May
, Jamie Guse, Adam Singer
and Kevin HuntToby Cryns
presented Zero to CSS in 45 minutes: A beginner’s guide to editing CSS in WordPress.
presented From Blog to Book – Convert your blog content into book format for personal, professional, or archival purposes.
inspired the group to better track and increase traffic at his Analytics for Bloggers session.
The afternoon keynote was an energetic, sometimes heated panel titled Can bloggers and PR people co-exist?
Our generous sponsorships allowed us to offer up free lunch to attendees — and we were proud to buy box lunches from the Q Kindness Cafe in St. Paul. Supporting small businesses is always a good thing — and this particular business has a great mission of spreading kindness.
Attendees also had the opportunity to get a professional headshot taken by photographer Nancy Reins. Nancy donated 100% of her services that day so that the entire $25 donation went to support the Liz Logelin Foundation. We were very happy to provide this cool offering to attendees and raise $550 for the foundation that day. A big thanks to Darcie for helping connect us to Nancy and volunteering your time to coordinate the photo session. The Liz Logelin Foundation has some awesome events coming up this weekend – I’ll be at both the celebration and the 5K this weekend. Please consider joining us.
I’d like to end this post with a personal thank you to my co-founder and planner, Arik. Working with you on this endeavor has been a privilege and an honor. We put in a crazy number of hours Skyping, chatting and breaking bread over this conference. Thank you for joining me in taking this lofty idea and helping make it a reality. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.