Keynote: Alli Worthington~ digital strategist, business coach, author and speaker. She is the founder of Blissfully Domestic online magazine, and the co-founder of Blissdom Conference.
Who Are You On and Offline –Brand YOU, Part I
Your brand is not just your logo or tagline; it is who you are in work and life. As bloggers you are developing a presence online and off. This session will cover the elements of your brand, from business cards to taglines and everything in between. You will be surprised at how much developing and deepening your connection to the essence of YOU in your business and your life will help attract the right readers and the right opportunities.
Who Are You On and Offline – Brand YOU, Part II (Hands On)
This session will take the practical of what you learned in the first session and make it real for you. We will be identifying and defining your personal brand, learning how to blend your personal and professional self, and how you share your brand on and offline.
Brand Partnerships: Win-Wins for Everyone
Brands and their agencies are seeking blogger partnerships more and more. But these partnerships have to be win-wins for everyone involved—the brand, agency, blogger, reader, and consumer. Learn how to create a winning partnership and what the role of you and the agency is in moving the needle for brands and providing readers with valuable content.
Blogging for Charity/Social Good
Heidi Clark, Heather Disarro, Mel Lockuff, Jacqueline Presley
This is a panel discussion of different ways we can all use our platform for good. Whether we have five or 500,000 followers, our influence can be one that leaves a lasting mark on the lives and in the hearts of people all around the world. Come be inspired to leverage your platform for the betterment of others!
Bloggers Are the New Travel Writers
Allyson Twiggs Dyer
Dreaming of balmy locales and big city lights? If you’re going to get there someday, you’ll need to start locally and learn the basics. Allyson, a seasoned tourism professional and Executive Director of Visit Rogers (your host city’s tourism bureau), will offer a follow-up to last year’s popular AWBU session. The session will explore how blogging has been successful for the city of Rogers and other cities and how bloggers can reach out to CVBs (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) and tourism entities to offer their expertise. Allyson will cover how to approach a destination, what destinations are looking for in bloggers, and why you should think about adding “travel blogger” to your list of credentials.
Small Business Nut and Bolts
Bloggers often benefit from intangible benefits such as product samples and giveaways, and many may even be earning some extra income (or a living!) through blogging. Whether you’re heading down that path or aspire to in the future, you’ll need to take some basic steps to protect yourself, your blog, and your family. Bring your questions regarding whether or not you should incorporate an LLC, how to protect your content, photos and hard work and what sorts of contracts and agreements you should seek when working with brands and corporations.
Freelance 101 Panel
Panel headed up by Laurie Marshall, with Jamie Smith and Rhonda Franz
Sometimes the hardest part of taking a new path is figuring out whether or not you can make it work. This session is intended to help you take the leap into the awesome, and sometimes scary, world of freelancing as a writer/blogger/social media professional. Whether you are interested in working with companies, writing for news outlets or magazines, or just blogging for pay—this panel of wordsmiths has probably done it (whether they were ready or not!) and can help you figure out what you need to know and what you can do to prepare.
Become an Evernote Ninja
Far from just a note-taking tool, Evernote is fast becoming the essential tool for makers, doers, dreamers, and schemers around the world. Evernote is a virtual file cabinet, a nimble note-taking app, and a mind-blowing life management tool all rolled into one. For bloggers, Evernote offers an incredible solution for keeping up with topic ideas, editorial calendars, draft posts, and assets (photos, info graphics, logos, links, and reference articles) in one handy, searchable place that travels with you everywhere.
Join this session if you’ve been on the hunt for a way to get control of the chaos of information flying at you daily, want to maximize your efficiency in meetings, or just want to understand what all the fuss is about. The people at Evernote set out to create a “hundred-year company:” join this session, and prepare to be a convert. Would-be Evernote ninjas are welcome!
Subdued, Shaky, and Scared: An Introvert’s guide to successfully Navigating a Conference
Subdued voice. Shaky hands. Just plain scared. Any of these seem familiar? If so, Paige definitely knows where you’re coming from. She understands that attending a conference can be intimidating. Whether it’s your first or 50th, the intention of this session is to help you learn how you can successfully navigate any conference-type situation by playing to your unique strengths. All personality types happily accepted. Smart phones, tablets and/or laptops highly encouraged.
How to Make Your Blog Stand Out
We’ll focus on blog design, your sidebar, site navigation and categories, content and writing with storytelling tips, photography tips (styling and editing, apps for mobile), community and engagement, business pages, and more.
The Writing Process
Mari Farthing, Tayla Tate Boerner, Jerusalem Greer
Mari Farthing (Oklahoma Women Bloggers), Talya Boerner (Texas Women Bloggers) and Jerusalem Greer (Araknsas Women Bloggers) discuss good writing practices and how it applies to blogging (and beyond).
How to Cure Writer’s Block
Being “stuck” isn’t any fun. Luckily there are ways to look at what being stuck really means, and how we might change our thinking around the whole notion of stuck-ness. Through the use of improvisational techniques, we can change the way we look at things. And when we do that, the things we look at change.
Improve Thru Improv® is a fast-paced session using insight, perspective, and humor to “play with how you think!”
The Reality and Journey of Writing a Book
Becoming a published author isn’t all puppies and sunshine. Kat will share the frustrations of grabbing a publisher’s attention, the surprise of a random contact, and the agony and the ecstasy of writing a first book on deadline.
Breathe Deep: Practices for your Heart, Soul and Mind
This is a writing workshop for all five senses. This interactive experience will allow you to actually eat, pray, and love your way to the bottom of your story (just like Elizabeth Gilbert). The session will include something homemade & super yummy to eat, a short, guided meditation/yoga session, and a guided partner exercise with another blogger—where you both leave encouraged because generosity wins!
Session takeaways include an experience you can write about, a new openness and sense of peace, and a new friend/peer to trade writing and feedback with. Alison will be available post-conference to read through and give feedback for suggested writing exercises from this workshop.
StoryLiving for StoryTelling
In this session, Alison shares about how living great stories is part of having great stories to tell on our blogs—not necessarily that we always have incredible success, but that we take risks and be vulnerable enough to share what works and what doesn’t.
Letting the Cat Out of the Bag: Coping with the Anxieties of blogging
Dr. Margaret Rutherford
This workshop will focus on the three different levels of change necessary for you to feel personally successful as a blogger: behavioral, self-expressive, and conceptual. Sounds formal, but it’s really about developing new skills such as time management, networking, and finding and honing your own voice while confronting the anxieties that may hold you back. It’s important to identify to yourself the value and purpose of your blog: how it fits into your own life. We will talk about it in 45 minutes or less, and see how it all works together with lots of discussion about our journeys into blogging and what we have learned.
Becoming a Pinterest Rockstar
Taylor Bradford, Texas Women Bloggers
Want to be a Pinterest Rockstar? I’ll be sharing my secrets of how I went from 3000 Pinterest followers to 12,000 Pinterest followers in 5 months WITHOUT being featured on Pinterest. You will learn how to optimize your profile, your boards and your pins! You will also learn how to turn Pinterest into the top referrer to your blog or website.
I’m telling ALL! And you will walk away with the tools to become your own Pinterest Rockstar!
Coding Your Blog
Your blog is powered by some standard code and languages. HTML and CSS are easy to learn, and can help you fix your blog and clickify your site. Let’s write some code! Bring your machine and we’ll get busy.
Tech Up Your Blogging Business
Let’s discuss the tools that will connect into your business to help automate and amplify the great content you are creating. All the new cloud-based software tools are free or cheap and can help you focus on your blog instead of file management: Google Drive, Dropbox, FreshBooks, MailChimp. How can these work for you?
Video Blogging 101
James Busvlogger, yes THE Busvlogger
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video that displays 60 pictures per second tells a mouthful. James will keep it simple as he covers the basics of video blogging (vlogging). He will discuss the advantages of vlogging and the best practices for shooting and producing video while taking on your questions. (You might be amazed at how little you need up front). The goal of this session is to help you feel at ease so you can get started and make deeper connections with your audience.
Still Life Photography, Styling, and Basic Photo Editing
In this session, we’ll look at basic photo skills, whether you have a point-and-shoot, mobile, or DSLR camera. We’ll focus in on positioning and lighting, photo styling and prop tips (especially when it comes to food), crafts, gardening, any type of still-life photo, etc. We’ll also talk about where to look for and find affordable props, mobile apps you can use to improve and enhance photos, basic Photoshop and PicMonkey skills with steps you can take to improve photos, and tips for how to use photography in everyday life and blogging. We’ll also learn how to work with brands—including down-to-earth tips anyone can implement.
Take Better Pictures: iPhoneography Tips & Tricks
Sarabeth Jones and Whitney Loibner
You are already taking pictures with your iPhone. You’re already sharing them. Now, let’s take your pictures from average to great. Get ready to get out your phone and work with simple techniques and favorite apps that will make your pictures shine. Want to take better pictures? We can’t wait to help!
Ever Googled your own blog and didn’t see what you expected? It’s because your website isn’t focused on SEO (search engine optimization). In this session, we’ll cover the basics of how search engines work, how these engines rank websites, and how bloggers need to speak to search engines. Session participants will walk away with a plan to tackle SEO for their blog.