The whole weekend of Healthy Living Summit was a whirlwind, but I think the part that went the fastest was the actual conference day. This is the third HLS that I’ve been to, and I think I was more excited about these sessions than pretty much any in previous years. Not to say that the other years didn’t have interesting sessions, this year there just happened to be some that I personally was 100% interested in. One of the things that I was very excited about was the addition of individual Twitter hashtags, and live bloggers, for each session! This makes it a lot easier to go back and look at what you missed!
(Photo courtesy of Heather)
My day started with a session about improving your photography with Gretchen of Honey I Shrunk The Gretchen. I’ll be honest and say that I went into this session hoping to be entertained by Gretchen rather than learning anything new about photography since I felt like it would be more for beginning photographers. However. Gretchen of course was entertaining, but I definitely learned things as well! One of the many things that I learned is that I need to get a Gorilla Pod for my camera – there are so many more uses for it than I ever thought – and everyone else seemed to second Gretchen’s recommendation to get one as well! I live Tweeted this one quite a bit – to see all of the tweets from the session check out the #HLSBlogPhotog hashtag!
The second session I went to was the Blogging with Brands panel discussion. I was the official live tweeter for this one so I tweeted quite a bit – there was so much great information! (Thank you to all of you who didn’t completely disown me after the ridiculous amount that I was tweeting on Saturday!!) The hashtag for that session was #HLSBrandTalk, and below is a small portion of my tweets from during the session.
I loved that there were bloggers represented as well as large and small brands. I learned a lot about working with brands – not only when you are approached by brands that want to work with you, but approaching brands that you might want to work with. One of the big points that I got out of this session is that the most important thing when choosing brands that you want to work with is to be YOU and not be afraid to ask for what will work for you. If it seems out of place for your blog/brand, don’t do it. Something just as good, or better, will come along! I especially loved hearing from Kelly Olexa who literally built the Fitfluential brand from the ground up, and it has become a huge success in the past year. I highly suggest scrolling through the tweets from this session if you work with brands or are interested in doing so in the future. Lots of great information.
After a much needed lunch break (it is tiring tweeting so much!) the awesome people of Wild Harvest spoke. Kim Kirchherr and Genie Nicholas spoke about recipe development. But more than just creating recipes, they talked about how to engage your readers in your recipes – which was something I could relate to. Even though I don’t generally create my own recipes, I do read other blogger’s recipes and the tips that they gave were things that I personally look for in recipes that I want to make, so I hope that they helped bloggers who actually write recipes as well! To check out more of the conversation, search the Twitter hashtag #HLSKeynote.
The next session that I went to was about reaching out to local business partners/community/newspapers etc to take your blog to the next level. This panel was led by my local blogger friend Holly and had SO much useful information. The big takeaway that I got from this one was not to be afraid of looking local first! Don’t shoot for a big national magazine first, look at local options for exposure to start with, they might be more receptive! Something that I didn’t know about, and will definitely be starting to use since hearing lots of positive things about it at this panel, is Yelp. In certain cities Yelp has an Elite club for people who are very active in reviewing things the community thought Yelp. Sometimes you are invited to participate, sometimes you have to apply, but it definitely seems like something worth checking out! I just checked and it looks like Yelp has a launch party for Madison coming up September 16th! To check out more of the community involvement conversation search the twitter hashtag #HLSBlogLocal!
The last session of the day was a presentation about social media by Heather of Running with Sass. I was pretty pumped for this session because, well, some might say I’m a bit obsessed with social media. I love it. So not only did I live tweet this session, I also live blogged it! You can check out my live blog here. Social media is such a vast topic to cover in such a short amount of time, but Heather did well and covered some big points. A few of the biggest takeaways for bloggers I think are 1) Use Buffer to schedule your tweets/Facebook posts. This way your followers don’t get bombarded with a ton of posts in a row, and you are able to still share as much as you want to. 2) Make sure links to your social media outlets are prominent on your blog! Make it easy for people to find you, and you will have more people to share with! 3) Make sure you use your accounts consistently so that people keep coming back, have fun, patience, and the numbers will eventually increase! For more about this session check out the twitter hashtag #HLSMedia!
Overall I learned a LOT over the weekend about blogging, and more! It is going to take some time to digest everything, but I have so many ideas spinning around in my head I can’t wait to put my new knowledge to use!
I know it has been said over and over, but Meghann, Heather, and Julie really deserve another round of applause for putting together a fantastic conference that outdid the previous two years that I attended. They put many, many, MANY, hours of work into making this year better than ever and it really was amazing.
Here’s to an even more amazing HLS in 2013!