[The above photo is of me and Vodkapundit–aka, Stephen Green.]
This past weekend, FreedomWorks put on a national blogger conference in Washington D.C. called BlogCon, that was open to all bloggers who wanted to attend. Tabitha Hale, the brains behind BlogCon who put the whole thing together, really outdid herself. (All attendees should participate in a quiet “golf clap” for Tabitha.)
Folks, I had a blast this past weekend. Seriously, if any of you ever get the opportunity to attend a national blogging conference like BlogCon, I highly suggest going. In fact, there are three very good reasons to attend BlogCon next year (or any similar national blogging conference in the future). So, without much fanfare and ado, let’s get right to it.
1.) BlogCon is a great place to learn how to use the new media in order to more effectively market yourself and your blog/work.
Yes, I realize that this subject matter may be boring to some of you (I’ve saved the most fun reasons–and some great pics–for last), but trust me, it’s important. No matter what your business is (and yes, blogging is a business), it is critical to know how to use the new media in order to better market yourself and your business. And, BlogCon had panel after panel of experts who provided invaluable instructions on how to be effective on camera, pimp your blog/videos and use humor in your blogging so as to immediately grab readers’ attention. John Hawkins of Right Wing News has written a concise and excellent summary with regard to how instructive these panels actually were (and he also has some spectacular photos from the event on his Web site):
Now, I’ve been around a long time, so if I really enjoy a panel and learn a lot, it’s a pretty good bet that a lot of other people did, too.
My three faves were,
Vlogging, YouTube, & interviews: How to be effective on camera: Lee Doren , Jason Mattera , & Steven Crowder: The information they gave out, particularly on marketing your videos, was absolutely invaluable. Here’s just one hint: the key to taking a video viral is to get heavy views for it in the first 48 hours and then, if it does well enough, it will show at the top of YouTube’s promotional pages and it’ll really have a chance to take off.
Pimp your blog: Maximizing your WordPress experience: Cord Blomquist. Word Press is what powers Right Wing News and Cord knows it like the back of his hand. His suggests were invaluable and some of the plugins he suggested were EXACTLY what I had been trying to find for months.
Humor in Blogging: Ace of Spades HQ, Caleb Howe, Snark and Boobs, and Iowahawk. It’s actually very difficult to be funny while you talk about HOW to be funny, but they managed to pull it off. Ace in particular, was on fire. (PS: I know people would love to see some Ace pictures and I have ‘em, but he requested that they be embargoed. Besides, you guys have seen the Ewoks from Star Wars, right? Okay, now imagine a very tall Ewok that drinks a lot and there you have it!)”
Now, on to the second reason why BlogCon is a must for any aspiring blogger.
2.) BlogCon is a great place to meet people and network, network, network.
First of all, I obviously can’t stress the whole networking part enough. It is one thing to converse with your fellow bloggers online or via email–it is a whole ‘nother ball of wax to meet them face to face. When you meet someone in person, you can get a much better feel for who they really are by their body language or facial expressions–which are things that cannot possibly be conveyed by simply communicating with someone online. Furthermore, if you form a personal bond with someone at a conference like BlogCon–even if you only talk to the person for, say, fifteen minutes–given the choice, they are much more likely to link to, or pimp, your stuff than someone that they think is a total douche (no matter how good of a writer the douche in question might be). (Hey, I don’t make the rules–those are just the facts. You have to accept the world how it is, not how you want it to be.)
Moreover, at BlogCon, I had the unique privilege of meeting some of the most iconic bloggers/writers online. It was a phenomenal experience. I mean, it is so totally cool to actually meet people that you’ve been reading or conversing with for years online (see the photos below that my husband took).
Above are two pictures myself with the the lovely ladies of NewsReal (Lori Ziganto in the turquoise dress, and Jenn Q. Public in the black top)–where I am also a contributor. I obviously had an awesome time hanging out with them. Not to mention, they are both such great writers. (By the way, Lori is also a contributor at Redstate.com, iOwntheworld, Right Wing News and has her own blog called Snark and Boobs–well, she pretty much writes everywhere.)
Above is a photo of the adorable Tabitha Hale who was the brains and the force behind BlogCon (and who is also a contributor to Redstate.com). Again, she deserves a round of applause for her outstanding organizational abilities.
Above is a picture of me and Dave Weigel of Slate, who is also an MSNBC contributor (the photo was taken by John Hawkins of Right Wing News). Now, I realize that there has been some controversy surrounding Weigel in conservative circles. However, I can personally attest to the fact that he is a very nice, totally unpretentious guy in person, and I really enjoyed talking to him. The dude has the 411 on everything, so I highly suggest picking his brain if you ever have the opportunity to talk to him. Anywho, after having the pleasure of chatting with Weigel, I can totally see why Tabitha Hale and Robert Stacy McCain like him so much.
Above is a picture of me and John Hawkins who is the editor of Right Wing News–where I am now going to be a contributor (he has more great pics from BlogCon up on his Web site). Hawkins is a prince of a guy and a lovable teddy bear. He is another person that one should chat up at any conference if given the chance.
Above is a great shot of Haystack–aka Dave Poff. (Stack is a contributor to Redstate.com and Liberty.com, and is also a contributor with me at 73 Wire.) I have known Haystack for a couple of years now, and I can personally attest to the fact that the dude is made of awesome. Seriously, do any of you all know anyone else who can pull off a handlebar mustache with such panache and look cool doing it? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Above is a picture of Steven Crowder and me. Of all of the people that I met at BlogCon, Crowder surprised me the most. He is so larger than life in his videos for PJTV and on the Fox News show “Red Eye.” However, in person, Crowder is such a polite, quiet, reserved gentleman. Not to mention, he’s extremely knowledgeable, yet totally unpretentious. Oh, and of course, he’s a lot of fun to talk to (definitely pick his brain if given the opportunity).
Above is a photo of me and Nice Deb who owns the blog Nice Deb. My husband and I had lunch with her, and she was very … well, nice. She just exudes this whole Midwestern class/politeness from every pore. Her blog is quite aptly named.
Above is a picture of the lovely Heather Kirkham, who is the Oregon coordinator for Docs 4 Patient Care. Not only is she a beauty, but she’s a lot of fun to drink cocktails with.
Above is a picture of my husband and me taken by Robert Stacy McCain. By the way, you can see a bunch more really cool photos from BlogCon on his Web site of some really nice people (like Christopher Renner, Adrienne Royer, Cheryl Prater, Sarah Desprat and Redstate‘s Erick Erickson).
And finally, here he is ladies and gentlemen. The man, the myth, the legend who made the fedora cool–it’s the one and only Robert Stacy McCain (with me) in the above picture. This guy is only the coolest cat in the conservative blogosphere. Getting linked on his blog means that you’ve finally arrived. Enough said.
Oh, one more thing before we move on to reason number three. One person that I really wish that I had gotten a picture with was Da Tech Guy. He is a kind-hearted person with a tremendous love of life and family–and, he’s a great storyteller to boot. Not to mention, he said some really nice things about me and my husband on his blog, so I totally appreciate him.
Now, on to reason number three why BlogCon is the bomb.
3.) You get to party like a rockstar with Vodkapundit, Stephen Kruiser, Caleb Howe and Amy Miller.
Seriously folks, these are some of the most fun people that I’ve ever hung out with in my life. For starters, Vodkapundit (aka–Stephen Green from PJTV’s Trifecta) is a blast to hang out with (see picture of him and me below). They don’t call him Vodkapundit for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that the guy’s a drunk–in fact, far from it. Green can down vodka martini after vodka martini, and yet still manage to be cultured, classy, witty and urbane in almost a retro sort of way. (He kind of reminds me somewhat of Don Draper, but without the womanizing.) I gotta confess that I’m a tad bit jealous of Vodkapundit. I mean, if I downed vodka martinis all day long, I would be anything but cultured, classy, witty and urbane. (I would probably be dancing in a corner somewhere with a lampshade over my head acting the ass–but, I digress.)
And, Stephen Kruiser is just a stitch (as we say down south). He’s a stand up comic who works for PJTV and is a frequent guest on Fox’s “Red Eye.” Kruiser is absolutely hilarious and he doesn’t seem to require much sleep. Not to mention, he tells great stories about all of the comedians that he’s either worked with or met on the road (like David Spade, Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor).
Oh, and Amy Miller is famous for her hilarious snark over at Redstate and The Minority Report (both she and I are contributors over at TMR). However, Amy’s brilliant wit/snark also make her a total hoot to hang out with. She’s adorable, and she’s always the life of the party.
[Below is a photo of me, Amy Miller and Stephen Kruiser.]
And finally, Caleb Howe is a man who needs no introduction. He is the assistant editor for Redstate.com, and he is a legend in the blogging community. The dude is just too cool for color TV, and he makes any party that he attends teh awesome. (See the picture of him and me below.)
So, in conclusion, I think that I’ve concisely summed up why BlogCon is a must for any and every aspiring blogger–not to mention, why it’s truly a “can’t miss” event if you want to meet the who’s who of the conservative blogging world.
However, I just have one more thing to add. Tabitha Hale told us to feel free to make any suggestions for next year’s BlogCon. Well, here’s mine. I think that we need a theme song for next year. I’ve come up with an idea–how about “I Got a Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas. Scott Brown used it as his theme song at the very end of his victory speech, and I thought that it worked just great.
[Warning–the video below for “I Got a Feeling” shows a lot of scantily clad women (like most music videos do), so if you’ve got kids in the room, then I suggest throwing a towel over the computer screen. However, the song itself is, of course, harmless.]
Furthermore, I think that “Let’s Get it Started” by the Black Eyed Peas should be our theme song from here on out until November (don’t worry, this video is pretty harmless with the exception of Fergie in a short skirt).
And on that note, I say that I truly can’t wait to see you all again next year!
PS–Yes, wussified is indeed a word–look it up.
PPS–I see you over there dancing at your computer.