Lessons from the BlogHer conference in Los Angeles

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I’ve never experienced a blogging conference on the scale of BlogHer. Around 2,000 attendees, a huge expo, fun parties, and non-stop celebrity appearances.

It was fun and fascinating.

I’m sitting on the couch of my Airbnb apartment watching a bit of the Olympics while recovering from a fun celebration party with new blogging friends and looking for profound words to describe the experience and what I’m mostly taking away from it.

Was BlogHer worth it?

Blog Her 16 (4)

Considering I flew over 7,000 miles to attend, this is an important question to answer.

For me, it was worth it. The sessions I attended didn’t provide a lot of value for me as it was aimed more toward beginner bloggers so I don’t feel like I improved my skills, but I did learn a couple of new things that can help me refine our strategy.

The value I received more was from listening to the speakers and gaining a lot of inspiration from their stories and success and getting a glimpse of what is possible for me.

We only know what we know and being amongst these inspirational women my eyes have been opened to possibilities I’ve never thought of before. I felt many doors opening within me while I was sitting and listening and I was filled with so much excitement, hope, and motivation to keep growing and doing better.

For that reason alone BlogHer was invaluable and I’d come again.

It was also worth it for the amazing connections I’ve made with new blogging friends. There are so many people doing amazing things. I met many wonderful women at BlogHer who I’ll be keeping in touch with and hoping to meet up with again.

The networking parties and opportunities were great.

What I didn’t like about BlogHer

  • Not enough intermediate/advanced sessions
  • Limited gluten free food options
  • Kim Kardashian – where I found all other celebrity speakers provided inspirational stories, advice for empowerment, and a focus on making the world a better place, I felt her talk was self-indulgent and self-serving. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. It felt like such a misfit compared to Sheryl Crow, Mayim Bailik, and the incredible panel of Matt, Jurnee and Heather talking about feminism.
  • The speaker in one session who pretty much put her head on the desk when I made a comment – obviously she didn’t like it.
  • I would have liked to have heard a few more stories with joy as a focus. I feel like joy gets overshadowed too much by struggle and pain. The stories of pain are important so we never feel alone and it’s where we gain strength, BUT, it’s equally important to put joy on the centre stage too. Feeling joy is not something to hide away and I think society has a habit of doing this. Not surprising given how much the news dominates our space. I want to hear about joy more. I want to feel joy more. There was a lovely bracelet making service at Blog Her where you could give them a word and they’d etch it on a bracelet for you. My word was JOY. It’s why we’re here. Give JOY a chance.

Some fun pinch me moments at Blog Her

Blog Her VOTY eye candy

Winning an award for our Kakadu National Park photo (above). We got beautiful trophies and had a private celebration session with champagne and cocktails served by Aisha Tyler, an actress, comedian, and podcaster. She also has a new cocktail range out, which was enough to light a fire in your gut.

Blog Her VOTY honoree

Blog Her Asisha Tyler Aisha was hilarious as the compare for the Voices of the Year Honoree session and her favourite quote for me was when she walked on stage with a glass of her Courage and Stone cocktail and she said, “Although if you’re not having what I’m drinking, I suggest you make a change!”

Attending the Adam and Eve Aphrodisiac Cafe on the first evening. We had a three-course meal designed to focus on the five senses and help you feel more love mojo.

Listening to Sheryl Crow talk about living a whole, balanced life. Her thoughts and daily practices are very similar to mine.

Having Jennie Garth appear as the special guest of our Go R’Ving party!!! Wahoo. Long time 90210 fan here!

Blog Her Jennie Garth

Biggest lessons from Blog Her

Use my platform well

Blog Her 16 (1)

A consistent message from all the speakers was the valuable role bloggers have to help make a positive difference in the world. It’s our responsibility to use that platform well, a topic I spoke about recently in this post.

It’s leading me to ask many questions of myself in regards to our platform, what I’m doing right and what can be done better and how I can talk more about important issues without feeling so much fear of judgement and hatred.

As Aisha Tyler said, “We are the makers and makers change the world” and Sheryl Crow, “Bloggers have the unique ability to disseminate the hate and spread love, kindness and empowerment.”

I loved the final keynote session – a discussion on feminism. I had so many aha moments in this talk about my own life, how I’ve viewed myself as a woman and other women. Boy! Far too deep to write about here. But, I appreciated the lighting shining moments of this talk. I appreciate people such as Matt McGorry, Jurnee Smollett Bell, and Heather Hardy on the panel who are the ones working for change and all the people who have gone before them, and those such as Hilary Clinton who are smashing down those glass ceilings for us now.

I’ve never felt disadvantaged as a woman as I’m so headstrong in going after what I want and not letting anything get in my way. I’ve never believed that being a woman gets in my way, But what I learned from this talk is you don’t know what you don’t know. The disadvantages are there, I’m just not aware of how they are disadvantaging me. I want to do more to encourage women and shine a light on those extraordinary women helping to make the world an extraordinary place.

Own it more

Sarah Michelle GEllar Blog Her 16 (2)

My favourite session was from Tiffany Pham, founder of On Mogul. I’d never heard of her, but she’s now my new role model. Under 30 and build a website that reaches 18 million women a week with the intention of empowering their lives – a success achieved in just two years!!!

She was incredible.

I loved her stories and insights. It provided a lot of clarification for me and validated that I do know what I’m doing more than I realise.

I whispered many “Oh wows” through her talk as she mentioned several principles of success that I talk about in my training How to Move from Blog to Business.

The biggest thing I took from her session was to own our success and value more. It’s something many successful people, especially women, suffer with.

They call it the Imposter Syndrome – this feeling you have that you’re a fraud and the more success you’ll have the more you’ll get found out. It’s that feeling I have almost daily – I don’t know what the hell I’m doing which often leads me down the comparison path which only tells me how I’m not good enough.

It’s time to change that.

I do follow the step of “doing anywhere” but it’s time to focus and celebrating what I get done and look only at my progress and stop looking sideways so much.

Instead of looking sideways, I’m going to throw out. It’s a term I just made up as I wrote that last sentence. Each time I go to cut myself down and underplay my value, I’m going to look up and throw something valuable out to the world – either a kind and supportive word, or way that I can serve someone else to help them grow.

“Own what you do know will get you to your goal. Claim your expertise and do your what you’re doing with confidence and authority.”

Live streaming is where it’s at

I attended a few sessions on Snapchat and Facebook Live which verified the importance of live in the moment, behind the scenes stuff.

While at the conference, Instagram released Instagram stories, which we’ve been using. So check them out if you’re on Instagram. You can follow us here. Now I have to find a way to balance Instagram and Snapchat even tough they are essentially the same thing.

During the conference, Erin Bender and I did a Facebook live streaming together where we chatted about travel. It was a lot of fun. I’m keen to do more of them. Perhaps a weekly live Q & A. Stay tuned or leave your thoughts.

A couple of tips from Lizza Morales and Ryan Bell:

  • Know your house rules before starting your live stream. It makes it easier to deal with the trolls and haters.
  • I loved Lizza’s tip n the same session about taking a post it note and covering up the number of viewers you have so you can instead focus on the serving amazing content to hep those who are watching.
  • Be smart with content and strategic about where it is placed
  • People want the behind the scenes look into your life. Be real. Be authentic Add value
  • Remember people have liked you because they want to protect you and hear what you have to say. Don’t be afraid to share and go live. Your true fans will help you block out the few haters.
One thing I want to add in for you, not for us as you know our Pinterest community is gigantic (at 4 million) ad the biggest driver of traffic to our site. So it’s not a lesson I learned at Blog Her. Pinterest has been our major focus and love for years. But many speakers spoke of how instrumental Pinterest is to your blog’s growth – waaay more than any other platform. Get on the Pinterest train. Many speakers also raved about Tailwind being their favourite marketing tool. Here are 8 ways Pinterest improves our marketing and drives traffic to our site

Collaborations and networking

Blog Her
With Erin (Explore with Erin) and Alex (Travel Fashion Girl)

Of course, the importance of collaborations and networking was also brought up. I couldn’t agree more and it’s one reason I flew all the way to Blog Her.

I loved hearing Ryan Bell talk about Periscope and how on one of his earliest scopes, he only had about 9 people watching but one person was watching who reached out with an amazing collaborative opportunity – focus less on numbers and more on quality, in content and relationships.

The message of building relationships is always about how you can help and what you can offer before you can give. Tiffany spoke of the incredible opportunities and growth that came her way simply because she built a few solid relationships with people and always focused on helping them out. “Always giving brings back opportunities.”

She spoke about the importance of moving through rejection to get closer to those yeses. “One yes gives you the leverage to go to the next person.” Which is how she continued to get one big financial backer to another.

The importance of self-care and unplugging

Sheryl Crow Blog Her 16 (3)

You know I talk about this a lot. I recently shared many of my tips and daily routines here and here. Many of the speakers spoke about this during their talks.

At the Vega Breakfast, celebrity Vegan chef, Leslie Durso, spoke about making small changes each day to your health practices. She spoke a lot about the importance of a bedtime ritual which invites winding down from 6 pm. She says having a good nightly wind down will help with your energy lives the next day.

Sarah Michelle Gellar spoke about the importance of unplugging and reconnecting with your children. As did Sheryl Crow. It makes me even prouder and more excited about the purpose of our America Unplugged trip and all the things we can do on this blog to help people unplug more.

“We’re losing peripheral vision and not stimulating all sides of our brain because we are so focused on our screens” Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sheryl Crow spoke about her breast cancer journey and how it returned here to whole foods and the nourishment of herself. “A lot of the stress we live with now is a result of what we let in – the constant barrage of people’s opinion”  Yep it’s time to unplug from all of that and go within.

Yep, it’s time to unplug from all of that and go within.

As Sheryl says,

“Being empowered means seeking what our soul wants. Life is made up of circumstances reminding you of who you are.”

I absolutely loved this. It was the quote of the conference for me alongside Jessie Weiner, who said in the panel discussion about feminism

“When do the grown ups step in to fix this. Hang on we are the grown ups”

Word.

Some more inspirational quotes from Blog Her

“We didn’t do anything by the book and I don’t believe there is only one road map” – Sarah Michelle Gellar

It’s good to be bored. It helps us get creative  Sheryl Crow

If you have the ideas but don’t have the skills to do it, just start anyway. It’s how you learn the skills.You become a winner when you start! – (I have a post coming out about that soon!) Lauren Antonoff

“Don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re passionate about isn’t important. Find your thing, share it, and change the world.” Mayim Bialik

And that’s a Blog Her 16 wrap. I’m so stoked I went and I just loved all the people we met and hung out with. We had such a blast a lot of laughs on the last night at the Conga Party.

You can read about my travels and things to do in Downtown LA here. 

You can watch the video of my travels in LA by clicking play below

27 thoughts on “Lessons from the BlogHer conference in Los Angeles”

  1. Hello, I also love to participate in events, always take new experiences and contacts after events and conferences. First of all, congratulations on the award, the picture is beautiful even. I hope the site and the podcast, continues to grow day after day.

    Hugs.

  2. BlogHer sounds like it was a blast, glad you had fun! Oh and of course congrats on the reward!

    p.s. I love that you are honest about the experience and didn’t just say it was amazing just cuz! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thank you Jazzy! i know a lot of people are curious about what Blog Her is like. It’s not perfect, but I still loved it and am keen to go next year as well.

  3. “Imposter syndrome” Love that, yes, I have it in spades. Who am I to tell anyone anything? Self confidence has never been my strong point but the truth is, I know my stuff, particularly the home education . I need to give myself a pep talk! Glad you enjoyed it and glad you got together with Erin, she’s always been very supportive and helpful, she’s a gem.

    1. The Imposter Syndrome is huge and I spoke to many women about it. We feel it worse. Keep giving yourself those pep talks and stepping into your expertise. Erin was a lot of fun to hang out with!

  4. Thanks for sharing the rundown, Caz! I love the tweet / quote: “If we had a world where women supported women how great would that be?” Even as a man, this speaks volumes to me. We could all be more supportive of each other and advance society faster, together! Inspiring me to think about how we can support that spirit / mission in our day to day work at Tailwind. Hmmm….

    1. Totally Daniel. There was a lady who spoke from Go Daddy about how she’s made many changes through hiring more women. I’m not really a big fan of Go Daddy but I was inspired by her and what she has implemented. Well worth checking out.

      There were several speakers I heard who said Tailwind was their Could-not-live-without tool So congrats to you for creating something so awesome. And thanks for leaving me a comment to remind me. I’ve gone back and added something into the post about it!

    1. Thanks Bryanna! I know we’ve spoken about this a fair bit. I’d say this is one conference to see if you can get to next year! We can go together!!!

  5. Great to read, Caz. I hadn’t heard on OnMogul either but popped over to have a look and was impressed. I’m not able to get to PB Event this year and am very sad about that as the connections made and inspiration gained are so valuable. Next year! And BlogHer one day, one day.

    1. OnMogul is amazing. To think she created that in two years blows my mind! Yes, keep aiming and dreaming for Blog Her, you’ll be eyes wide open the entire time! It’s a whole new level.

  6. Great read and source of information! I didn’t know much about BlogHer until this post. Looking forward reading up on all the goodie offers. 🙂

    CONGRATULATIONS!!

    P.S. I’m laughing about the Kim comment.

    1. The swag bag added an extra couple of kilos to my luggage and I barely even took anything as I hate accumulating junk!! It’s crazy what’s on offer there. Ah… Kim…. If only you saw my friend’s Snapchat where she randomly caught my reaction to her talk. LOL. Hilarous face palm

  7. I love the quote “They call it the Imposter Syndrome – this feeling you have that you’re a fraud and the more success you’ll have the more you’ll get found out. It’s that feeling I have almost daily – I don’t know what the hell I’m doing which often leads me down the comparison path which only tells me how I’m not good enough.”
    Funny how you have that failure feeling daily and yet you have inspired me to do more about my passion of Travel Blogging. If you can inspire one person then your clearly not a failure 😉

  8. Thanks for posting this article. I am currently looking for different blogging conferences/workshops to attend and it was great to hear your thoughts on this one. I really appreciate your pro’s and con’s list. It is hard sometimes trying to decide which events to attend based solely off the conferences website; honest reviews like yours are quite helpful.

    1. Holy roundup batman! I’m glad to have met you, even briefly! I came away thinking Blog Her was not worth it for me, but you definitely had a more immersive and intentional experience.

  9. Great post Caz! I got a lot out of your summary so I imagine there is lots of awesome tidbits to get from attending the conference! I really got the bit about the self-care and unplugging… this will be a key focus for me when we head off on our trip (in less than three weeks time!!!).

    Thanks for the recap and I’ll look forward to delving into some of this a bit more 🙂

  10. Wow, excellent quotes and take aways that you have compiled in one post.

    I just hope I will get a chance to attend BlogHer conference at least once! So many powerful and inspiring women at one place, sure must have been worth everything that you put to go there.

    An inspiring post, thanks for sharing it 🙂

  11. Thanks for the great wrap up of what sounded like an excellent conference. It’s so affirming to know that I am following the right path for my blog.

  12. Great to see your review and call outs on your dislikes about the session. Appreciate your opinion on the significance of joy.. thats a very good point and i have observed it too in few forums..it reminded me of an article written by lilistravelplan on how travel blogging is the toughest job ?…

    Great work once again !

  13. I can’t believe I am just reading this now!! Sounds like an amazing conference. I have yet to attend any blogging conferences, but I want to!! At this point I am still on the all the freebies I can get and them moving onto paid things. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  14. Hey, Caz!

    Im also enjoy spend a time watching these kinda of events… Its a possibility to learn more and specially, learn from experience from another people. Congratulations and keep the blog and the good workd!

    Cheers 😀

  15. I used to live in Alaska, I dont know much about these events, but when I can, always try to watch and learn. Love your blog, colors and articles! keep it up!

    Billy

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