My Top 5 Take-Aways from CFLBlogCon

When the speakers for Central Florida Blogger Conference (CFLBlogCon) set out to create their unique presentations, each speaker was asked to provide a list of “take-aways,” or what we expected each attendee would take away from our sessions.

Last Saturday, I arrived at the Orlando Science Center with a combination of a caffeine high and butterflies in my stomach, as I anticipated speaking at my “Blogging for a Cause” session. To be honest, given my anxiety level at the time, I didn’t have remarkably high expectations for what I thought I would get out of CFLBlogCon.

I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised!

One of the conference organizers, Katy Widrick delivers some heartfelt words to kick off the day in the Orlando Science Center Cinedome.

 

Aside from my own session, which (*AHEM*) was pretty darn awesome ;) , I was able to take advantage of many other great seminars and workshops. Among my favorites were:


Noticing a pattern? While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed blogging to raise the public’s awareness of spina bifida, there are other platforms out there that I can earn money with, and as long as I love blogging and want to continue to do this, I have to figure out a business plan! 

These were just a few of the sessions I enjoyed. Equally valuable to me were the networking opportunities between sessions, the amazing keynote speech by Lou Mongello, and the chance to branch out and learn about topics I wouldn’t normally consider. 

Keynote speaker Lou Mongello was totally channeling Jerry Maguire during his speech as he encouraged attendees to pursue financial success while still doing what they love.

 

So, here are just a few things I was able to “take away” myself from the conference; lessons I hope will stick and allow me to grow as a professional and as a person: 

 

  • It’s okay to make money as a blogger. It may sound silly, or even arbitrary, but I can’t stress enough the confusion and internal conflict that this one issue has evoked in me. I’ve been conflicted as to how to go about it and still maintain my authenticity in your eyes– my readers’ eyes. But I learned there are many different ways to skin this cat, and what works for one blogger may not work for another. 
  • There are no natural-born “experts.” No, this wasn’t stated per se during the conference, but it dawned on me after several hours of hearing different speakers talk about how they worked hard to acquire their skills and “expertise.” We can all be experts at one thing or another. It just takes time, commitment to the craft, and lots of patience. 
  • Most bloggers are eager to connect with other bloggers and help each other out. While yes, I have noticed a little bit of a “cutthroat” trend in this business, for the most part I’ve found that my fellow bloggers are more than eager to have you contact them with questions and pleas for help. There seems to be an unspoken “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” code of mutual loyalty in the blogosphere. So, while your favors might not always be paid in money, they will eventually be paid in an action, such as a promotional plug or by helping you with a technical aspect of blogging you might not understand. 
  • Cultivating a “following” for your blog or social media outlets is more often than not a “hit-or-miss” strategy, as evidenced by the variety of advice– sometimes conflicting– from the different presenters. I also caught on to this during the Blogger Breakout session, during which bloggers were encouraged to hang out with other bloggers in their niche. I chose the non-profit writers, and met some pretty fantastic people. But one of the main concerns brought up was how to engage their community beyond just reading their posts. I found it to be a very thought-provoking conversation that challenged me to think of creative solutions to the everyday struggles of being a cause or non-profit blogger.

Kudos to the CFLBlogCon team for thinking of everything-- and everyone.

  • Blogger conferences attract many incredibly talented photographers! It’s hardly a secret that blogging and photography often seem to be inextricably intertwined. My photography abilities are definitely lacking finesse and practice, but I’m so glad two amazing photographers were on hand on Saturday to make us all look professional and poised! A special thank-you goes out to Jim Hobart of Macbeth Photography, who took complimentary professional headshots (see mine!) of all the attendees! It was definitely a great opportunity to update my professional persona. I have to add that Jim was also my professor at UCF for Introduction to Advertising! It really is incredible to see that what goes around, comes around. For my final advertising project, the assignment was to design an ad about yourself, and think about how you would like to see yourself advertised. One of the last slides of my presentation on Saturday happened to be that ad! I continue to use it because it really gets to the heart of who I am, and what I fight for. Thanks, Jim, once again, for inspiring me a few years ago!

    One of my new headshots, courtesy of the über-talented Jim Hobart of Macbeth Photography. Check out his awesome work at MacbethPhoto.com!

Another photographer who is equally worthy of mention is my friend Josh Murdock, a Valencia College professor, a digital media guru, and fellow spina bifida cause activist. Thank you so much, Josh for taking beautiful photos capturing the day’s events! Here are a few he took during my session. Again, I’m so grateful that you took such great-quality photos of a special moment for me! 

One of the photos taken by Josh Murdock of my session. See more photos at: http://facebook.com/ProfessorJosh.

So, there you have it! Five things I loved about CFLBlogCon and that I learned from. Also, without further ado, here’s a direct link to the PDF of my presentation for anyone who might be interested. 

And here’s…the video! It’s not the best quality because I literally set my laptop on the table to “look up” at me. But alas, here it is. 

 

 

I’m now so excited to feel more connected to the Central Florida blogger community. While it’s important to put your name out there and try to be a success, it’s all the more important to build each other up and encourage each other as professionals, as valuable assets to the constantly-growing industry, and– as friends

Bess Auer is the lovely and fantastic founder of CFLBlogCon. Thanks Bess, for starting all this and inviting me to be a part of it!

Nick Lagalante of TimeDog is seriously one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet. It was great catching up with you!

I have absolute confidence that next year will be even more EPIC

And maybe just a little more prehistoric! 

Love, 

Laurita ♥

 

 

 

© 2012, Laurita. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “My Top 5 Take-Aways from CFLBlogCon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>