12 Most Empowering Facts From BlogHer 2012
BlogHer is the largest blogging conference for women in the world, and this year it grew to over 5000 attendees who swarmed the New York Hilton from August 2-4. This was my first blogging conference and it was exciting, overwhelming, informative and exhausting all at the same time.
1. President Obama thinks we’re worth his attention
This being an election year, President Obama was most likely advised that speaking to a huge group of women — who blog — would be a positive step for his campaign. Though Governor Romney was also invited, he chose not to participate. Via live video, President Obama acknowledged the strength and power of women.
2. Mobile compatibility is vital for a blog to succeed and is the future of social media
This was the tech message of the weekend. Check your blog on a mobile device (iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.) to see how it looks and how quickly it loads. If it’s not up to par, fix it. By 2014, mobile usage is predicted to outnumber desktop usage. This is especially true for personal bloggers.
3. Video is very, very important
Google is ranking blogs with video higher than blogs without. Not only that, but the video needs to be original, not culled from YouTube. So get ready for your closeup — someone’s going to be watching.
4. Self-promotion is the name of the game, whether you like it or not
There’s no point in going to an event like BlogHer if you’re not willing to boast and brag a bit about yourself and your work. Everyone is swapping business cards, following each other on Twitter, and showing endless enthusiasm for each other.
5. Google Analytics is the final word on site traffic
Your numbers on WordPress, Blogger, or any other traffic tracker are not relevant when it comes to advertisers. Only your Google Analytics numbers matter. And if you don’t know how to interpret your numbers, you should learn.
6. The best bloggers believe in themselves
Blogging is a lot of work, with very little initial return, and takes commitment, perseverence, and a tough skin. All of the women I met — from the blogger with 1 million hits per month to the bloggers just getting started — love what they do and believe that they will succeed.
7. Connect, connect, connect
I went to BlogHer with no IRL relationships. I left BlogHer with some amazing new friends, great business contacts, and sponsorship opportunities to pursue. As terrific as the virtual world is, it’s vitally important for us social media users to get out and meet each other as real people.
8. Women bloggers are important to large companies
With over 130 official sponsors (and dozens of unofficial sponsors at offsite events) ranging from Samsung to Dole Foods, BlogHer demonstrated how much mommy bloggers, coupon bloggers, lifestyle bloggers and others mean to large — and small — businesses’ advertising strategies.
9. Finding sponsors and advertisers to work with is still hard work
There are some bloggers who have advertisers climbing all over each other to build a relationship — but not many. Most bloggers have to spend hours and days and weeks cultivating relationships with PR companies, social media managers and more. Making money for bloggers takes an enormous amount of effort.
10. Swag is a big deal
Many bloggers go to BlogHer just to collect the stuff the sponsors are giving away, both at the conference and at the many, many offsite, unofficial parties. Sponsors are eager to give you stuff, but keep in mind that you then have to get it all home.
11. There’s so much to learn
With multiple sessions each day ranging from “How to Vlog” to “Advanced SEO,” there was a lot of information to take in. By focusing on the technological track, I was able to learn more about the nuts and bolts of blogging but missed out on the more nuanced classes about using your voice and the challenges of being a midlife blogger (though I already know about that).
12. Midlife women are still invisible — but not for long
I can’t tell you how many advertisers — and bloggers — got a bored, distant look in their eye when I said that I’m a midlife blogger writing about things of interest to people my age. Despite that general reaction, I was able to connect with a few sponsors who were happy to hear that I was an older blogger — so there is progress.
The most empowering fact of all is that we women bloggers are a collective voice that’s being heard. The keynote speakers, Martha Stewart and Katie Couric — two of the most successful women in media today — both made it clear that in order to make a difference, whether in our lives or someone else’s, women — bloggers or not — must be strong, self-reliant and, to some extent, hard-headed. They are absolutely right.
Have you ever been to the BlogHer conference? Any thoughts on women bloggers? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy of JD Hancock licensed via Creative Commons.