Sep
13

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.
Katie Schutrop, 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!
Judy Grundstrom 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.
Bill 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…
Monika, Katie and Liz were among the first attendees to arrive, bright and early Saturday morning.
John Daenzer, who represented our sponsor WCCO, talked with Molly Snyder, who presented: How can I host blog giveaways without giving away my integrity?
Tameka Davis, 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.
Matt Logelin, 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, Jen, Liz and Trish.
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.

James Lileks standing with the mic. Nancy Lyons sitting next to him in blue. On the right is Dave Erickson.

Teresa Boardman shared how she gets most of her new business as a realtor through her blog. She has also developed her photography talent through her photo blog St. Paul Photos.
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!)
You can watch the opening remarks and keynote panel on Dave Erickson’s site.
I wasn’t able to get pics of all the speakers in action, but I did get quite a few… in no particular order:

Kate Hopper 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.
Heather King 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.
Julio Ojeda-Zapata 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.
Kara Jensen 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 Crynspresented Zero to CSS in 45 minutes: A beginner’s guide to editing CSS in WordPress.

Carrie Pauly presented From Blog to Book – Convert your blog content into book format for personal, professional, or archival purposes.
WordPress Think Tank – Tim Elliott, Ray Champange, , Gillian Reynolds, and Eric Johnson
Bonnie Harris presented How to get published: Get a book deal out of your blog. Check out the slides for her presentation.
Allison Olfelt, Christina Brown and Carrie Rocha presented on How bloggers can generate revenue from advertising. They were introduced by Jolina Pettice, representing conference sponsor TopRank Online Marketing.
Aaron Landry 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?
The panel speakers were Greg Swan, Tony Saucier, Sally McGraw, and Jennifer Emmert. The discussion was moderated by Trish Van Pilsum.

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.

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27 Responses to “Recap of the 2010 Minnesota Blogger Conference”

 
  1. LoveFeast Table says:

    Thanks for all your work on pulling together a successful event!! ~Chris Ann

  2. Kakie Fitzsimmons says:

    Congratulations to a successful conference and a huge thanks for the hard work that went into it.

  3. Stephanie Meyer says:

    It was a fantastic conference, I learned so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Shaina says:

    Thanks for a fantastic conference, Missy! I was so happy to have the opportunity to connect with other Minnesota bloggers, and I made some wonderful connections.

    Thank you again for all your hard work.

  5. MollyinMinn says:

    Perfectly perfect recap. It's like I just went again, except this time I got to peek into the sessions I missed. Thanks again for all you did to bring this idea to fruition.

  6. Suzi says:

    Saturday was a huge success and I am so happy to have played a small part in helping make it what it was. You, my dear, are a rock star and you should be extremely proud of what YOU accomplished. Now, go take a nap. 😉

  7. a girl says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. For a wonderful day, filled with new and not-so-new friends, inspiration, ideas, laughter, tears, hugs and good ol' bloggy fun. For this post, which recapped eloquently. For all the work you put into the day and the post 🙂 I can't WAIT for the next one!

  8. LutherLiz says:

    It was an amazing day and you pulled it off wonderfully my friend!

  9. Jackie says:

    I wish I would have known about it! Sounds like a great event!

  10. Sallisha Armour says:

    What a wonderful recap! Thanks so much for all of your hard work… we as attendees benefited greatly from your incredible event. THANK YOU!

  11. David Erickson says:

    Thanks for the recap, the wonderful photos, but most importantly, thank you SO MUCH for making this conference a reality!

    It was truly an amazing event.

  12. Katy says:

    Great post! I love blogger conferences…I've attended several, but am speaking at my first one in the fall!

    Also, the Liz Logelin foundation is such an amazing organization. I've been reading Matt's blog for years.

  13. jlbraaten says:

    This was so much fun, Missy. I'm glad I got a chance to meet/get to know you a bit better in the context of volunteering for this awesome event. Consider me signed up to help at the next one!

  14. Becky B says:

    A beautiful summary of events. Thank you for everything. I'm glad I was able to be a part of it!

  15. Tina says:

    I don't know what I could say that hasn't been said already. It was such a super fantastic event! I met some wonderful people and learned a lot about myself! So much laughter and tears throughout the day. Definitely a success!

  16. Katie says:

    Missy – Let me know when you want me to start 🙂 Thanks for the kind words and offering me the opportunity to work with you and Arik. I truly had a lot of fun doing this and am so glad we got to know each other. Congrats on heading such a successful event!

    Katie

  17. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says:

    Thank you so much! The conference was more than I was expecting – you guys did a great job putting it together. It was well worth spending a gorgeous fall day indoors.

  18. andreaberg says:

    It sounds and looked like a huge success! Congratulations.

  19. fabuliss says:

    Great photo recap of the day. And thanks for all of the sponsorship support you gave me. I hope to get lots of clients out of it (hint, hint, everyone!). It was a rewarding day personally and great to connect with so many people.

    You did a FAB job of creating an event I want to come back to next year!

  20. Dave says:

    What an awesome conference my son and I experienced this past weekend at the Minnesota Blogger Conference! Informative, fun, thought provoking, and worthwhile are adjectives that immediately come to mind. I had the joy of experiencing the conference with my son, a recent college graduate who loves to write, and I was thrilled when he decided to start his own blog after the conference was over. I am already waiting to sign up for next year!

  21. darcie says:

    What a recap – what a day! It was so awesome! So much GREAT information – so many talented speakers and writers – I wish we could have spent an hour with each and every one of them!
    Also, a huge thank you for giving us the opportunity to support the Liz Logelin Foundation via the conference…You have no idea what a gift that money is to people struggling with the unthinkable loss of a life partner.
    Kudos to you for pulling it all together –

  22. Pulling Tin says:

    Missy and Arik thank you for taking this idea to delivery! I was unable to attend live but all the tweeting and live feed provided by @theuptake was AWESOME. i got to catch @adamsinger, @leolaporte and @mattlogelin. I got many nuggets to use venturing into the word of blogging. I technically run three different blogs (1 active weekly hopefully, one for RV travels, and 1 for one off topics). Running on three different platforms. With potentially 2 more coming into the corral. So all the tweets, blogs and live feed from Sat really helped me make final strategies and tactics for each.

    What is next? What are you and Arik cooking up next? Heehee kidding

    1. keithprivette.com
    2. pullingtin.com
    a. smtochat – page weekly twitter chat
    3. crosspollinatingverticals

    TBD: sdlcchat.com? weekly twitter chat
    TBD: thirdboxover.com?

    Thank You to Don, Kyle and Katie too for being extra special partners in crimes to bring it for this 1st of many annual #MNBlogConf's in Minnesota!

  23. Kat says:

    Thank you-thank you, Missy! It was such a wonderful event and I can't wait to participate next year – I was so inspired, sitting around so many other driven people who understand why we do what we do.

    Basically, we all owe you big time 🙂

  24. Anti-Supermom says:

    So happy that it was such a huge success! It looks like an amazing event. I hope to be able to participate next year, without a newborn!

    Hopefully I'll see you on Saturday at the 5K. I'm so excited to finally be able to run again (without a little person jiggling inside!)

    Kudos to you and Arik.

  25. kate hopper says:

    Missy, thank you so much for making this happen. It was truly a wonderful event. I felt so honored to be a part of it. (And thank you for your kind words about my session.)

    I look forward to the next one!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Love this blog. I’ll be bookmarking this one. Thanks!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Amazing, totally awesome. I am just getting into writing articles myself, nothing remotely close to your writing potential (ha!) but I'd love for you to take my stuff someday!

 

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