Blog World LA 2011 Recap – Session Notes and Experiences from #BWELA

I really couldn’t think of a better way to end my first week of being self-employed than by attending my favorite conference – BlogWorld Expo in LA! It was a fun filled weekend of learning and networking, and I would like to share the highlights with you today while it is all still fresh in my mind.

Thursday

Unfortunately, due to some other commitments, I wasn’t able to get into BlogWorld as early as I had planned. Instead of taking a slow drive out on Wednesday and mixing in some scenic photography along the way, I ended up leaving later than planned on Thursday instead with no time to pit stop (even if the Salton Sea exit was calling to me). Why so late you ask? Because I decided the night before, until 2:30am in the morning, was a great time to update my blog with new pages for my favorite subjects (blogging, business, SEO, and social media) and my new services.

Thanks to my great driving skills (particularly speeding), I arrived in plenty of time to check into my lovely room at the Sheraton.

Blog World LA 2011 - Room at the Sheraton Blog World LA 2011 - Room at the Sheraton

When I say lovely, I mean I wish I could have stayed in this room all day long to do some writing with all the windows open, or maybe sat out on my terrace if the weather was nice. All I ended up doing was sleeping there, but it definitely the best three nights of sleep I’ve had in a hotel in a while.

Anyway, I arrived in plenty of time to check in, freshen up, and get head out to the Social Media Examiner dinner where I got to dine with some awesome social media enthusiasts as shown below in the photo from Social Media Examiner’s Facebook page.

Blog World LA 2011 - Social Media Examiner Dinner

Pictured above: Marc Pitman, Irene O’Leary, Patricia Redsicker, Tim Ware, Stephanie Sammons, Jeff Korhan, Nichole Kelly, me, Andrea Vahl, Phil Mershon, Mari Smith, Jason Falls, Michael Stelzner, Rich Brooks, Denise Wakeman, Jeff Wiant, Cindy King, Amy Porterfield, Elijah Young, and Marcus Sheridan.

Afterwards, as much as I wanted to attend the opening night party, I succumbed to the need for sleep after the previous late night and day of driving so I would be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the next day’s events.

Friday

Friday morning started with a brisk walk to the Westin for the Social Media Examiner breakfast where I got to meet even more social media enthusiasts and have my only decent, hearty breakfast of the trip. Then I took the shuttle from the Westin to BlogWorld with Jelena Woehr whom I met at last year’s BlogWorld where she gave me a copy of the Yahoo Style Guide (great guide for blogger, copywriters, editors, and so forth in the digital world).

Once I arrived, I was able to quickly register, but then proceeded to get a little lost looking for the first keynote. I managed to find the right room at 9:58, two minutes before it ended. It was just the beginning of the me-skipping-sessions trend that prevailed throughout expo.

After a little time spent in the exhibit hall, I met up with Leo Widrich. We chatted for a bit about guest blogging (he’s posted just about everywhere including Mashable and Social Media Examiner). Then he gave me a quick tour of Buffer App. For those who know me, I’m hard to convince to try out a new application. But after getting to see it in action and realizing it was much more efficient than my process (copying tweets from a retweet button, shortening the links, and then scheduling), I put it on my to-do list. Before writing this post, I set it up in less than 10 minutes (including installation of the Chrome extension) and am ready to rock into the world of simpler sharing on Twitter and Facebook.

Next, I went to my first session – the Technorati State of the Blogosphere keynote. I probably would have just stayed out in the exhibit hall if I had known it would be just a run-through of the stats published here. Sure it was good data, but I could have read it on my own. Thank goodness for my iPad which kept me otherwise entertained!

Next was a much more interesting lunch with Naomi Trower, Elijah Young, and Are Morch. Unfortunately Elijah left before we grabbed this shot!

Blog World 2011 LA - Kristi Hines, Naomi Trower, and Are Morch

Following lunch, I met Kristi Trimmer, Stephanie Quilao, and Kelly Loubet – three awesome gals from Arizona along with Leah Segedie. We all went to the Finding a Better Fit session where Stephanie and Leah were on the panel along with Andrea Metcalf, Kelly Olexa, and Carla Birnberg where they discussed turning their healthy lifestyle experiences into blogs and strong personal brands.

Tidbits from Finding a Better Fit

  • How will you monetize your website for mobile? Visitors may not be able to get to traditional revenue generators such as sidebar banners or affiliate links.
  • “Say yes to what fits for you.”
  • Expand onto different platforms because different people may only follow you on one (Twitter, blog, YouTube, etc.).
  • Do more than just a blog post for a product review. Tap into video and images.
  • If you are trying to get brand advertising/sponsors, remember that brands like people with influence on multiple platforms. Show them what you can do to promote them to your blog, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter audiences.
  • Blog about what people ask you about in real life. Make yourself stand out.
  • Be consistent. Become a part of people’s routine.
  • Talk (or write) about stuff you can’t shut up about.
  • If it sounds weird, it’s probably a good idea because no one has done it before.

At some point throughout the day, I got to meet Brandon Yanofsky, the first person I added to my BWELA Twitter list of people I wanted to catch up with. I also heard from someone (I’m sorry I don’t remember who you are, but you are awesome), I was told that Mari Smith mentioned me in her latest book, The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web. I downloaded it on my iPad, and there it was in the Acknowledgements. I cannot even express how honored I am to be mentioned in her list of fellow professionals in the online marketing world. :)

After the last session (and skipping the closing keynote of the day), I took the shuttle back to the hotel sitting near Srinivas Rao and Sid Savara. Along with Capsun Poe, we headed over to the Livefyre Happy Hour where I met Dave Ursillo. I only stayed for about half an hour as the place was a bit too dark for my taste.

I then took a cab to the book launch party for Jason Falls and Chris Brogan where I met Ricardo Bueno who is a pretty awesome connector (or person good at introducing new people to each other, something I need to work on). I also met Becky McCray and another Arizona native, Joe Manna. Joe gave me a tip to try increasing the font size of the titles of my posts for more emphasis, which I have done with adding the following to my custom.css code in Thesis:

.custom .entry-title {font-size:22px;}

The final highlight of the evening was playing pool with Jeff Wiant and Michael Stelzner, both of whom have some pool shark-like skills! I’m just glad I threw in a few good (lucky) shots.

Saturday

I took the liberty of sleeping in a bit Saturday morning, because who needs breakfast when you have a Nature Valley peanut bar. I spent the morning hanging out in the new media lounge and exhibit hall where, over the course of an hour, I conversed with Sid Savara, Capsun Poe, Lara Kulpa, Bob Dunn, Are Morch, Sandra Foyt, and Joshua Dorkin about everything from weddings being Ponzi schemes to not getting hosed by your web hosting companies.

The first session I decided to attend was Hey Bloggers! with Rich Brooks and Denise Wakeman. It was the perfect topic about how bloggers can package, promote, and profit from their expertise by creating information products.

Tidbits from How to Package, Promote and Profit from Your Expertise

  • Get product ideas from Google and YouTube’s suggested search. Just start typing in a phrase to see the top 10 queries related to that phrase.
  • Don’t answer an email – write a post or even an eBook. Look toward your email as a source for topic ideas.
  • Use your Analytics – your most popular blog posts and the keywords people search to get to your website could be the basis for great product ideas.
  • Define your ideal customer, then find out what is their biggest problem.
  • Ask your readers what they want to know via Google Forms or SurveyMonkey.
  • Create products from content you already have. A set of blog posts can become an eBook, an eBook can become a book on Kindle, and any book can become an audiobook.
  • Add a freebie, such as a free MP3 that people can download to accompany a Kindle book. Include the link to the MP3 throughout the Kindle book, and have the reader opt-in to get the MP3.
  • Err on the side of more expensive when pricing a product. You can always offer discounts. More people complain about lower priced products than higher priced ones (oddly enough).
  • When people buy from you, they are going to be more connected to you.

After this session, I went to a lunch I was invited to by Shashi Bellamkonda for Network Solutions with special guest Cloris Leachman.

Blog World LA 2011 - Network Solutions Lunch with Cloris LeachmanBlog World LA 2011 - Network Solutions Lunch - Kristi Hines & Cloris Leachman

I sat at a table with Anita Campbell and Lori Crock. We were actually quite a lucky table as four of us won an autographed copy of Cloris’ new book. Somewhere out there is a video of us accepting our prizes – I’d be curious to see it!

After lunch, I headed down to the Live #BlogChat session hosted by Mack Collier where I ran into Ric Dragon, Bruce Sallan, Allison Boyer, and Judy Helfand. Also got my pic taken with Calvin Lee (photo coming soon).

Blog World LA 2011 - Kristi Hines & Calvin Lee

Tidbits from #BlogChat #BWELA

I was going to post my favorite tweets, then I got a tweet from James Dabbagian who already put them in his post #blogchat LIVE at BlogWorldExpo: The Greatest Tweets & Quotes. So I’ll just let you check them out there. :)

The closing keynote started off with a bang – aka Jordan Cooper performing some hilarious comedy. Two parts in particular were so funny because they were painfully true. After a bit, I exited the keynote with Ricardo Bueno to catch the last person on my to meet list, Nathalie Lussier. We walked back to the Sheraton, grabbed a quick slice of pizza, had some great conversation, hung out at the hotel bar, and then headed to the closing party at The Belasco.

At the party, we ran into Derek Halpern who did a funny impression of a kid getting into mischief, some guys from Pagelines, and a various assortment of people who I wish I could remember better, but it is hard to network with loud, booming base all around you. After a bit, the club kicked us out of the main floor and ushered everyone into the lower level (aka basement). Nathalie and I eventually walked back to our respective hotels and thus ended the Blog World experience, which was all in all an excellent one!

Top Three Questions I Was Asked

Aside from the standard who are you and what do you do, there were three questions that kept coming up, and I thought I would take a moment to answer them here for anyone else who is curious.

1. Where does the name Kikolani come from?

It’s a combination of my middle name (Leilani) and my grandmother’s name (Akiko). Although I thought I was pretty creative with it, I later found out it was a Hawaiian first name.

2. How do you get so much writing done?

I write all the time. If I’m not actively writing at the computer, I am probably thinking about something I will write about (this might be why my tennis game has been off recently). We don’t have cable at home, so I don’t watch much TV which frees up a lot of time. And I will write a post anywhere if the inspiration strikes – this once included writing a full post in tiny print on the front and back of a check stub while watching my husband play tennis.

3. Why are you not speaking at BlogWorld?

Believe it or not, I am an introvert (specifically an INFJ) and have a huge fear of speaking or doing just about anything that involves me being recorded on audio or video. But I am working toward getting past that barrier. I have my first two webinars scheduled (one is private, and the other one might be – not too sure on that one yet). I also have some interviews and plans to do video & screencasting. So maybe next year I’ll try pitching a session for NY or LA. :)

Photos, Video, and Additional Recaps

Want to find out more aabout the conference? Check out the following photos, videos, and additional recaps from Blog World LA. I will update this periodically as I find new stuff – let me know if I’m missing something good!

Virtual Tickets Still Available

If you’ve been following the #bwela hashtag, reading all of the recaps, and kicking yourself for not going, don’t worry. You can still get the Blog World LA virtual ticket for $347.

Join Me at Blog World LA

Visit the site for more details about the 100+ sessions and extras included in this online access package. While you can’t get the in-person networking or the parties, you can still get the education!

A Huge Thanks

A huge thank you to the BlogWorld organizers, owners, speakers, and sponsors. It was great meeting Rick Calvert and Deb Ng, even if just briefly in halls.

Your BlogWorld Experience

Did you go to Blog World? How was your experience? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!

Also, a quick note. I met a lot of awesome, awesome people at BlogWorld this year, and while I wish I could have mentioned all of you in this post, I’m bound to miss some people. But just because you’re not mentioned doesn’t mean you’re not awesome. It just means it was late when I was writing this (ending at 2:30 AM) and I couldn’t get everything in without turning this recap into a small novel. But if I did meet you and I’m not following you on Twitter, give me a shout out here or @kikolani so I can start following you! :)

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Comments

  1. says

    I am learning from your notes and experiences. Wow! The photo above made me “wow” as my blogging idols were there present in the event. It’s so nice to see blogging superstars in your blog.

    I really checked out the resources you have linked and shared. Yeah, I bet you’re a very informative speaker – basing mainly on your very informative blog posts.

    Thanks for sharing!
    SEO Blogging just posted "Keep It Simple Stupid" Blogging Updates

  2. says

    Kristi,
    Thanks for sharing the information from the Blog World Expo! We had hoped to attend both the Blog World , and Pub Con in Las Vegas but it didn’t work this year. Hopefully, we will be able to connect with all the wonderful bloggers at the conferences next year, and build up our social media presence to a higher level of recognition. As always, I enjoy reading your posts.
    Monica just posted Using Your Reward Points this Christmas to Save Money

    • says

      Thanks Monica! I wish Pubcon wasn’t so close to BlogWorld – two in a row is a bit of burn out for me. Hope you get a chance to go next year too! :)

  3. says

    Kristi, you just made me feel so much better about one thing. I am a real social and outgoing person in real life, but also have problem getting on audio and video. I could never imagine you would be like that and this is the perfect start to my week. Thanks!

    I just read The Sales Lion’s post about the Blog World and it seems like something really great, I am thinking I should probably do it the next time.
    Brankica just posted How to Use Favorite Tweets to Build Trust and Get Customers

    • says

      You definitely should go. Even if you just get the expo pass so you can hang out in the exhibit hall and hit the after-parties, you’ll meet so many awesome people and learn a lot through the various discussions that it will be worth it. Would love to meet you IRL too! :)

      With video, I think the issue (for me at least) is I am used to writing where I can read over it, revise, and clear up any mistakes before I post. If I’m interacting with someone, I can say something weird, laugh about it, and move on. But with video (especially live), you get one chance and once that oops is out there, you can’t take it back. The top advice I got about it is to accept the fact that you will probably say something goofy and move on which is what I’ll be working on for the next few months!

    • says

      It was definitely great hanging out with you too Ricardo! I got a lot out of the few sessions I went to, but a lot more out of the interactions with everyone around the exhibit hall and the after-parties. :)

    • says

      Anyone can come to this conference! While most of it is by bloggers and for bloggers, there were still people that there who, believe it or not, didn’t even know what a blog was! :)

  4. says

    Kristi,

    I was going to do a recap of my own, but you really nailed it. I found the keynotes very helpful and worthy. Some sessions were so-so at my level, but for some of the less (SM) experienced attendees, it was solid and well-balanced.

    It was great to meet up at BlogWorld. You’re right; one of the questions I had but didn’t ask was about the name of Kikolani. Now, I know. You have all my support to speak at BlogWorld next year. Hit me up if you want to conjure up some ideas.

    Welcome back! :-)

    ~Joe
    Joseph Manna just posted Risks of Financing A Small Business on Credit Cards

    • says

      Definitely great to meet you too Joe! I was actually kind of surprised when I realized those were my top three asked questions, so I had to share them for everyone. :)

  5. says

    Just wanted to thank you for the mention, and I’m kinda sad we never actually met despite being in the same sessions on Saturday. :(

    The sessions really are making me want to get off my ass and do something, especially Rich Brooks and Denise Wakeman. It’s so easy to make products yet we never seem to get around to doing it!
    James Dabbagian just posted Nook Fights Fire: Nook Tablet VS Kindle Fire

    • says

      You’re welcome James – thanks for including me as one of your favorite tweets! I probably should have tweeted more throughout the event – then we would have known we were in the same sessions and said hi! :)

  6. says

    Kristi I’m so happy for you and your growth over the past few years. Hey you know I’m watching right? I think the work you have done over the past few months with social media examiner has really brought you to a new level of online entrepreneurship.

    I’m proud to say you’re my friend and that we have worked together over the last two months promoting your guest posts and recent contests with Gerald. It’s my hope that over time we will be able to work together more and help one another achieve success. I think the Blog Engage community has a lot more to offer you and we are very happy to have you as one of our community members.

    Perhaps next year I will be lucky enough to join you at this great event!
    bbrian017 just posted Politica 1.0 Child Theme by StudioPress

    • says

      Thanks Brian! I am looking forward to doing more with the Blog Engage community and definitely would like to meet up when you have your own booth at the next BlogWorld! :)

  7. says

    Awesome post Kristi!

    Even though we at our end would never get a chance to attend BlogWorld- but reading your post sure makes one feel as if we were right there! I love the pictures shared in the post and you look remarkable :)

    I can now understand how you manage to get such great posts up with so much of writing work- no cable at home! I guess that is a learning lesson for the rest of us! I second the fear of audio and video- something I too need to get rid off.

    Thanks so much for sharing all the wonderful links and so many wonderful people with all of us :)
    Harleena Singh just posted What Moves You?

    • says

      Thanks Harleena! Yes, no TV at home makes a huge difference. I’ve already had a few moments where I thought – ooh, it would be nice to watch ___ – but then just kept plugging away at my writing because the cable wasn’t on. :)

  8. says

    Thank you SO much for always being such a supporter of BlogWorld, Kristi! I’m glad we finally got to meet in person, though hopefully next time I won’t be running off to the next event and we’ll actually have time for a chat. I have a total blogging crush on you for all the awesome work you do online! Thanks for writing a wrap-up post and see you again soon!
    Allison just posted Blog Zombies Make Awesome Roadblocks

    • says

      It’s ok Allison! I saw several people just briefly as they were heading off to other events – I think that’s just the nature of the conference! We’ll have to catch up more next year. :)

  9. says

    Thanks for the great review!

    I saw your picture with Calvin Lee of Mayhem Studios – one of my greatest pleasures was meeting him at the event. Such a great, humble and amazing guy!

  10. says

    Hey Kristi,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about how so many small businesses were also attending this year’s blogworld, since social media is becoming a huge part of keeping current customers coming back and attracting new ones.

    I certainly hope, I can attend one of these events soon.
    Satrap just posted Get Paid to Drive

  11. says

    Hey Kristi,

    That is so wild about Kikolani! I had 2 college roommates that were named Akiko & Leilani. :) Cool combo name for your blog. I did the same thing to name my daughter. Her name is a combo of my mom’s, my sister’s and my name. It was great having lunch with you again and I look forward to making it our annual tradition. That is so funny about being sent to the basement at one of the clubs. That is what I felt like at one of the clubs in Vegas at last years Blog World when they didn’t allow us to sit down anymore. I need to do my recap although most of my post will be about talking way too much between sessions. haha! However, those are some of the best times too. Can’t wait to be at your session next year. :) :)
    Naomi just posted 3 Mistakes To Avoid Using Social Media For Real Estate

  12. Annette says

    Sounds like you had a great experience at Blog World LA. Congratulations on the Mari Smith acknowledgement too. I hope you do branch out and start sharing your expertise via public speaking. I always seem to learn something new every time we get a chance to talk face to face :)

  13. says

    Kristi, first, I’m glad we were able to meet in person, finally, since I’m a big fan of yours. I do wish we had had more time to chat.

    And second, thank your for attending our session and for sharing your notes. I’ll add a link to my resource page for the session.

    Thanks too for the detailed wrap up BlogWorld. From one introvert to another, I do hope to hear you speak next year!

    Blog on!
    Denise Wakeman just posted How to Package, Promote and Profit from Your Expertise #BWELA

    • says

      I’m glad we met too Denise! Everything is usually chaotic when meeting people around a conference, so I’m just happy to get a minute or two in if nothing else. And I wouldn’t have guessed you’re an introvert – you did a great job in the session! :)

    • says

      It was nice to meet you too Rich! I’m quite sweet until you get me behind the wheel on the highway – then my racing side shines through. I’m pretty sure I have NASCAR genes built in somewhere that were just underdeveloped. I hopefully will make it to BWENY and see you then! :)