At the end of September I went out of the country for the very first time. Nadine was gracious enough to let me sleep over at her gorgeous apartment and it was so fun to get to have some quality girl time with her, and meet her roommate. Nadine had wine ready when I arrived and also talked me into trying Periscope for the first time! It was super fun. Do you have any suggestions on what you’d like me to talk about on Periscope (@Brittany_WMSB). Let me know in the comments. I’d love to make better use of that platform!
On Saturday I woke up bright and early to go to BlogPodium! I didn’t pack warm enough clothes and while I was curling my hair, Nadine came in with the cutest black leather jacket with floral detail. I was glad to be staying with a blogger who knew the importance of the right accessories at a blog conference!
Vancouver is a gorgeous city! I am so glad to have finally visited. The conference was at the Pan Pacific Hotel, which was stunning.
The conference was stocked with coffee all day (key) and in the morning had a couple different smoothies to choose from. There were also the cutest fruit kabobs for breakfast. Everyone got a small journal to take notes (you could choose which style you wanted) and the table settings were so pretty with a cookie and program for everyone. Yum!
I did buy my own Starbucks before I went in, but mostly because 1) I wanted to see if my debit card would work there, and 2) it seemed fun to buy “Canadian coffee.” … oh, and 3) I was really nervous.
When Nadine dropped me off in front of the hotel her exact words were, “Have fun! Make friends!” and I really tried to take that advice to heart.
BlogPodium is a Canadian conference so I didn’t know all of the big name speakers or bloggers that were in attendance. This meant I found TONS of amazing new people to follow and I wasn’t as starstruck as I’ve been at other conferences.
The Conference used Sched, a platform I’ve ever used before. I really liked it! It’s an electronic agenda that we were able to go peruse during the time leading up to the conference and pick our sessions. Only one session was too full to where you had to go to the session you chose (Interior Photography by Tracey Ayton), but the reason I liked it is that a month or so before the conference I’d already picked what I wanted to attend and my phone was able to remind me before each session which one that was. Work had been crazy in the weeks leading up to this conference, and we were out of town a lot for different weddings, so I’m glad I made decisions back in August!
Next, Avery Swartz spoke about Google Analytics. Avery is a Google Analytics genius. She also founded and runs Camp Tech, an in-person training company all about blogging tech stuff. Avery was the first presenter I’ve ever seen who spoke more about USING Google Analytics and made it understandable, instead of just about where the buttons are that you should press. If you can go to any of her classes, I’d highly recommend it.
She also sat with me at the Camp Tech Station and personally helped me move things around to show what I wanted to see and to set goals! It was so cool! I made sure to snag a photo with her before I left (bottom right).
Next, Gemma spoke about monetizing your blog! I liked her presentation because she started simple, for those who haven’t monetized their blog at all, and then finished with more complicated offerings. It was super inspiring and gave me some great ideas for this space!
Then, we had lunch! BlogPodium definitely had the best lunch of any conference I’ve ever been to, including lawyer conferences. The lunch was diverse and even as a picky eater, I was able to take a full plate of food back to my table and chow down.
Also, they scheduled lunch in the best way possible for the Marketplace booths and networking. Lunch was an hour and 30 minutes! This gave ample time to wait in line for food, eat, and still be able to peruse the shops, talk to the exhibit hall vendors and meet new bloggers! That was when I finally got to meet Brianne (top left in the photo collage)! Brianne and I have been twitter friends for ages. She lives in Seattle too, but for some reason we’d never met up. She was the one who told me that BlogPodium even existed and I’m so grateful she did! It’s always fun to meet other women that are also in a predominantly/stereotypically male profession.
I also got to know Samantha, which was really fun (in front of the giraffe print). She had to leave early so before the last session ended we snuck out to take some photos together! She has an amazing sense of style and brainstorming posts and social media ideas with her was so awesome! One thing that is hard about blogging is the lack of in-person interaction. The opportunity to brainstorm with another blogger in real life is totally worth the price of admission!
The next three sessions were so informative and inspiring! Gloria and Tania spoke about visual branding. Their sites and instagrams are absolutely stunning and you need to click those links to follow them right away. Then, there was a panel on being an influencer. Because I’m in the US and not Canada this wasn’t 100% relevant but overall the advice was great and, again, so interesting to listen to bloggers interact! Finally, the gals from Poppy Barley spoke. This was a brand I’d never heard of before. It’s custom sized shoes! If you have a hard time finding shoes, or just love shoes in general, you must check them out.
I’ll talk more about my stay in Vancouver and the incredible swag bag later, but I feel like 1,100 words is enough for today :). If you take one thing away from this, it should be:
If you can go to BlogPodium next year, you have to do it. It was totally worth it and I’m so thankful that my first trip into another country was spent learning from and being inspired by these incredible ladies (and a few men)!