The Overwhelming Experience of BlogWest 2013

I always seem to have a hard time writing about my experiences at blog conferences, but it’s not because I have nothing to say. To the contrary, it’s because I learn so much that I have trouble narrowing down exactly what I want to share. And at no conference do I have a harder time with that than BlogWest. I’ve attended BlogWest 2012 as a panellist and BlogWest 2013 as a speaker and conference ambassador and both times the sheer volume of knowledge I gained left me overwhelmed for weeks afterwards.

There were a few key learning moments from the conference that really started to stand out to me over the last couple of weeks, though. These were my top three BlogWest 2013 takeaways:

blogwest opening keynote
Almost time for the opening keynote at BlogWest 2013

Have a Vision

This is a message that was echoed by more than one speaker at BlogWest. From Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Living Jen Reynolds’ opening keynote to Disney Imagineer Jayson Acquilanti’s Visual Metaphor session, the importance of knowing where you are going with your life and your business was stressed more than once. I especially loved Jen’s idea of having clearly defined core values and goals for your business. It’s something that I’ve been working at putting into place with my own site so that I’m moving forward with deliberation instead of haphazardly.

jody arsenault jen reynolds blogwest 2013
Jody of Mommy Moment and Jen Reynolds of Canadian Living just before the BlogWest 2013 opening keynote.

Form Partnerships that Fit Your Brand

This is a message that both bloggers and brands, myself included, emphasised repeatedly as well. Trying to form partnerships with companies and businesses that don’t fit with the key values of your business will never create long term benefits for you or for the company. So find the businesses that align with your own principals; it will end up being a much more valuable relationship.

There’s Always More to Learn

When it comes to blogging, there’s always something new to captivate readers and absorb your energy and the speakers at BlogWest had a very detailed handle on some of the upcoming changes in SEO, social media and website design. Julie Nowell and Christine Nielsen mentioned the increasing trend of visual elements in the social media space. Glenn Walker explained why keyword analysis was no longer an effective focus for SEO experts. And Quentin Collier discussed the increasing trend of bloggers taking on the role of journalists by breaking news stories. Needless to say, I’ve been tweaking my site since I returned from BlogWest.

blogwest 2013 moments kathryn lavallee
The lovely Molson Julie at the BlogWest opening reception, Julie Nowell and me posing beautifully, and the BlogWest pitching panel having way too much fun!

Of course, in addition to plenty of learning, there was also the chance to connect with other amazing bloggers and the BlogWest sponsors. The highlight of that event, for me, was the pitching panel, a chance for bloggers to pitch their sites to some of Canada’s top brands including Disney Parks, Chevrolet Canada and Molson. I had a great time chatting about my site with some of my favourite brands and will now be heading to Disneyland in May!

BlogWest 2012 the previous year had left me with pretty high expectations but BlogWest 2013 didn’t disappoint. I laughed with the lovely ladies of Mom Central Canada, cried along with my fellow Saskatchewanian Elan Morgan of Schmutzie during her emotional closing keynote and made connections that I know will last a lifetime. I cannot thank the fabulous Felicia Dewer enough for letting me play a part in BlogWest these past two years and with the conference now over, there’s really only one question left in my mind: will I see you at BlogWest 2014?

Disclaimer: I am a BlogWest 2013 Conference Ambassador and will be receiving special perks as part of my affiliation with the conference. Views expressed belong to Mommy Kat and Kids and are not influenced in any way. Please view full Terms and Policies.

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