We recently announced over on the HLS website, that we’re kicking things off in a major way at this year’s summit. When we were planning this year’s activities, an idea came up to offer a platform that we all have deemed an important part of our own blogging growth: a blog workshop time! To make the event even more exciting, our pal Derek, the founder of Greatist , will be kicking off the workshop time with a presentation and discussion on how he turned his passion into a successful, high-quality and trusted health and lifestyle resource. We at HLB LOVE Greatist (check out the AWESOME Greatist manifesto here!) and are so excited to be partnering with Derek and the Greatist team in Boston!
If Derek sharing his story isn’t bonus enough, our dear friend Courtney from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life is here to share her own experience with blog workshopping to give you a look into why you should make sure to make this bonus session a part of your Summit experience! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Courtney!
Just a few days more than two years ago, I had the pleasure of attending my first ever blog meet up – a potluck brunch. I can still remember the day…I was a little bit nervous but a whole lot excited to finally get to meet some people who not only enjoyed blogging the way I do, but who actually lived right near me.
My husband and parents thought I was crazy. Why was I going to meet an entire group of strangers? I mean, when you think about it, I suppose it is kind of crazy. But then again, I feel like blogging was nowhere near as popular two years ago as it is now, so a lot of people (my friends included) just didn’t really get it. Some of them still don’t get it, and that’s cool with me, too.
But back to that first meet up. I can’t even begin to share how awesome it was, on just so many levels. Of course, there were the slightly awkward “hello” and “nice to meet you” introductions at first, but it didn’t take long before the cameras came out and the conversation just started flowing.
After eating a delicious meal together, we sat and talked about blogging for a long time. That first meet up of ours must have lasted a good four hours, and by the time I left and got into my car, I was downright pumped! I not only had the chance to talk and discuss something I love so much, but I learned so much more than I could have ever imagined. In that first afternoon together, we swapped software suggestions, series ideas, lessons learned along the way and so many other resources that soon became an important part of my blogging career.
And that’s the beauty of networking. Sharing knowledge with others. Having ideas spark out of a single comment that makes you think about something just a tad different then you had been.
Had I not attended that first meet up, I would have had no idea about TweetDeck or how to make lists in Twitter. I wouldn’t have known as much about how to track blog statistics. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to actually talk about blog statistics, which is usually a fairly hush-hush topic in the grand scheme of this community. And I’m pretty sure this is where I also learned about Windows Live Writer which, as a PC user, has been a blogging lifesaver.
It didn’t take long after that initial meet up for others to start coming to fruition. Sometimes, we planned well in advance and there were large groups of us. Events like grocery shopping across state lines, cookie swaps, post-race birthday celebrations and dinner outings have been favorites of mine.
Other times, things are planned last minute and there may only be a few of us chatting it up at a friends’ home, grabbing dinner at local pizza place, or hanging out a local coffee shop, where a lot more blog workshopping is sure to take place.
But no matter where we are or how many of us there are, the topic of blogging is guaranteed to always come up because that’s what brought us together in the first place. We all share a common interest that we’re passionate about so of course it’s going to come up, and we all encourage each other to continue to do what we love to do.
I can tell you with 100% certainty that there has been never been a time where I’ve met up with girls from this group and have not either learned something new or figured out a way to better my blog. Every single time I leave, I wind up with a renewed drive to jump even deeper into my blogging, propelling me further as a blogger. Maybe it’s a new topic to cover. Maybe it’s a new widget to add to my sidebar. Or maybe it’s a fun new plugin that I’m just hearing about for the first time. It could just be a renewed sense of energy to share more or find a fresh way of expressing myself.
Whatever it is, I am just so, so thankful for those early days of CDNYEatDrinkBlog. Not only have I made some incredible friends, but I also know that they have helped my blog grow, and I owe so much credit to those incredibly helpful workshop times.
People often ask me what some of my favorite things about blogging are, and this, my friends, is right up there on my list. These casual blog workshops, as I like to call them, are just so valuable. Whether you need to work on getting your blog better organized, want to head in a certain direction, learn some “must-know” tricks and tools, or simply just get excited to make blogging a bigger part of your life, THIS IS IT.
So for those of you who are heading to HLS this year, I can’t stress it enough – make sure to attend the blog workshop. Because I can promise you…by the time you leave, you will be feeling absolutely PUMPED for your blog. Guarantee it.