I’m going to try to give you the BEST pieces of what I learned/heard…
in addition to why you should come next year…
with a bit of war-story bragging about the massive amount of muscle shredding.
Here we go.
BlogFest Gets Bloggers!
I’ve been to a few social media conferences/fitness events and in comparison, BlogFest really did things well. I mean, really well. It’s no surprise, though, because we Inspired Advisors had a chance to give input last year on how to make BlogFest awesome. It was great to see a few of those ideas come to life!
- Power strips under all the tables so you can recharge devices during sessions? Check.
- Dedicated wireless internet? Check.
- Tweet breaks? Check.
- A list of presenters AND their twitter handles on the schedule? Check.
So, yeah. You’re welcome.
The other important thing is value.
We all want to know what the value is if we’re investing $400 into a conference (plus travel, hotel, and food). Will we really learn anything that helps us? What will our takeaways be? Well, let me just say that if you only count the free, tangible swag alone…without even touching on the knowledge/experience/networking value, you definitely get your money’s worth.
The Perfect Combo of Fitness & Blogging
We had 2 full days of BlogFest sessions that did a great job of balancing fitness/health experience and topics with blogging/social media topics. This really is the ultimate niche conference for health and fitness bloggers/online influencers. Here is my quick boom-pow highlight reel of the sessions/presentations.
Kick-off with Lorna Jane
Technically a Reebok representative spoke during the kick-off as well but he was not particularly memorable. Before Lorna Jane spoke, there was a little Move/Nourish challenge where these three brave contestants made a snack and did some squats. I feel like I see Lorna Jane Clarkson several times a year now! I’ve heard her share about how she got started and her passion for the Move.Nourish.Believe philosophy before but it’s always nice to hear it again.
- Meal Prepping & How to Blog About It – Laura Lynn Klein
Laura’s most helpful tips (to me) were about finding the best place to take photos in your home in regards to lighting. It could be a bathroom or a hallway. It doesn’t matter if your photographing food or a product you’re reviewing, good lighting makes a world of difference.
- How to Approach Brands & Sell Yourself – Panel
1) Be ready to explain to brands why it is beneficial for them to work with you.
2) BE GENEROUS. Over deliver & you will beat your competition. Brands will want you.
3) Check back with brands after a campaign to see if they’re satisfied with the results.
4) Brands are put off when there is too much “brand noise” already on your site.
- Hack Design: Blog Design Tips and Tricks on a Budget – Rita Barry
1) Stop being a fidgety-widget! Don’t WASTE time trying perfect your menu, side bar, etc. All these things are a very SMALL percentage of what makes a blog successful!
2) What is your emotional space? What do you want readers to “feel” when they come to your blog? Discovery? Adventure? Enjoyment?
3) Limit the choice of clickables on your site. Too many options actually make your readers take less action on your site.
- Turn Your Blog into a Money-Making Brand – Cassey Ho
Much of this was the same as what I heard last year [click here to read about that]. Of course, Cassey’s key points about being “you to the max” still ring true and is always good advice. A few new tidbits from her:
1) People on Instagram don’t want to get off Instagram. Bring them value by sharing your full workout/recipe on Instagram every once in a while.
2) Sell a product! Even if it’s a t-shirt or a bracelet. This is a good way to let your loyal readers have a piece of you. Interesting idea!
- Keynote by Jillian Michaels
Mega wow. Anyone who wasn’t a Jillian fan before came out of that keynote in love with her. A lot of what she had to share was applicable for anyone who has a dream they want to pursue. Her best comments:
1) Know your weaknesses and recruit others who are good at those things to help you.
2) No one has THE ONLY answer to fitness. There is no ONE correct approach to nutrition.
3) Work with passion is purpose. Work without passion is punishment.
4) Embrace your mistakes. The key is to always make NEW mistakes.
- Business of Blogging – Masters Edition – Lecture Series
Ashley Long, Jessica Mishra, and Katy Widrick all took turns sharing on some important aspects of the business end of blogging. Things like legal liability, trademarking, accounting, ad networks vs affiliate networks, etc.
1) Getting a copyright for your blog is relatively cheap and easy so don’t delay there.
2) Make sure you have a disclaimer on your site if you provide workouts/health tips.
3) Brands don’t only look at numbers, they also want to work with low maintenance people.
4) When approaching a brand, ask them “What can I do for you?”
- Bloggers Tell All – Monica Olivas, Julie Fagan, Gina Harney
1) Be you. Don’t try to be anyone else.
2) Know your worth. Be realistic about the value you bring to brands, but don’t sell yourself short or ever do any work that doesn’t fit you.
I found it interesting that they all started blogging at a time when they could get paid by PAGEVIEWS. So that’s why Run.Eat.Repeat posts TWO TIMES A DAY! I always wondered how/why she did that. Now I know.
- BlogFest Lightning Round & Closing
Uhm. I didn’t take any photos. Several awesome women got up and gave short powerpoint presentations that were inspiring and motivational. I can’t even begin to mention them all here but I will say it was a great way to get to know a handful of women and perfect ending to a very FULL two days of wow.
Do ALL the Workouts!
I “only” did 7ish workouts in the 3 days I was there but I have to tell you about them.
IDEA World is known for bringing top fitness pros in and all the endorphin junkies come to try to do all the workouts! I mean, how often do you get to do PiYo with THE Chalene Johnson or yoga with THE Tara Stiles?
- Thursday 6AM Fun Run
I had planned the route to go from the convention center into Downtown Disney and back and I had NO idea if it would work. I half expected we would encounter some gates we couldn’t pass through, but…all went well! 3 miles of morning fun before BlogFest began!
- Thursday 7AM Yoga with SweatGuru
Immediately after the run we went inside for some yoga. I got to get my warrior on next to Melissa Running It and Stay Fit Jill! It was like FitBloggin’ all over again. I wore my pretty INKnBURN healing mandala tank. Perfect for yoga.
- Thursday 5PM PiYo with Chalene Johnson
For my 3rd workout of Thursday, I got my butt handed to me doing PiYo for the first time ever. I am not a fan of the PiYo flip. Quite frankly, my body isn’t used to this much exercise in one day.
- Friday 7AM Bootcamp with Sweat Pink
Friday morning, bring on the burn! I was a touch sore Friday morning and I could feel it when we got into the lunges and squats. We did a circuit of exercises for 1 minute each, then rested and did them all over again for 45 seconds each. All bodyweight stuff.
What I enjoyed most about this workout was being able to do some partner exercises. I like to program those into my faith and fitness women’s group (which is starting up again next month) and it’s always fun to try some new things.
- Friday 4PM Yoga with Tara Stiles
Friday afternoon was a Showcase session with ALL of IDEA World. Well, at least several hundred people. I felt like I could use some stretching and yoga so I went but with the mentality that I wouldn’t do 100% of it. I was tired, hungry, and stiff.
Tara Stiles was not what I expected. I don’t really know what I expected? She leads a very free, “do whatever feels good” and “try this if you want too” type of yoga with tons of gushing giggles sandwiched between her enthusiastic cues. I ended up resting in child’s pose and left early.
- Saturday 6AM with Shauna Harrison
This was a wild workout with battling ropes, box jumps, those gliding floor plate things, resistance bands, and some more yoga to finish it all off. I felt like I totally half-assed this workout but my UA 39 HR monitor gave me an 8 out of 10 for effort.
- Friday 7:30AM Runner’s Revenge GRIT Cardio
Less than 30 minutes after barely surviving Shauna’s workout…Pavey and I headed outside to get our GRIT Cardio on. We figured if the workout was called “Runner’s Revenge” then we’d be well suited for it, right?
This GRIT Cardio workout reminded me of some evil bodyweight CrossFit MAP WOD, with three 5 minute sessions of AMRAPs broken up by the fact that each team of 3 participants got to take turns. I did okay on the 50 Ladder, but those push ups got me. The HIIT Burpees wasn’t that bad at all, considering it was a plank at the bottom (no push up) and no jump at the top.
The Suicides at the end were…well, just exhausting. Diane and Katy and I cheered each other through it but it we came out of there feeling like survivors, not champions. Pavey worked out with a team next to us and we were both feeling the back-to-back full body workouts for the rest of the day.
What I loved the most:
I love that BlogFest combines my two favorite things: fitness/exercises with blogging/social media. We were well hydrated and snacked. We got to learn about new trends and attend networking events. If I were you I’d come to this every year.
Katy says it best: EXCITED. OVERWHELMED. HAPPY. CONFUSED. SORE.
Pavement Runner remembers the workouts.
Melissa’s point of view: IDEAWorld BlogFest Recap
Fitful Focus has great notes from the sessions.
Bobbi’s Top 10 from IDEA 2014
The Balanced Brunette has a pic of us out at dinner!
Kayla joined us for the group fun run.
Mar got to hang with the Eleven By Venus crew.