This year I will be heading to BlogWest 2013 as a BlogWest Ambassador and as I’ve been chatting with some potential attendees on Twitter, I have been asked about how one goes about gaining sponsorship to conferences. I am by no means an expert but in my blogging experience, I have learned some things about how to approach companies for sponsorship to events. Here are the four most useful tips I’ve both found and used when partnering with companies.
I love blog conferences because they give me a chance to connect with other people and learn about how I can make my blog better. Doing so almost in my own backyard was a totally new experience to me and it was absolutely fabulous! One of the things that I loved most about BlogWest 2012 is that, unlike some other blog conferences, it really had information that was valuable for any blogger, not just the Mom bloggers that tend to be the majority group at events like this. Whether attendees blogged about food, fashion, funk or family, there were sessions to help them better their brand and their blog.
The conference, to me, had two recurring themes that kept popping up throughout the sessions. The first theme was that of actually making a blog better. I learned how to write engaging headlines with the help of the fabulous Idris Fashan, got some great tips about using Google Analytics to my advantage thanks to Dana DiTomaso and learned how to make a professional media kit with Raj Thandi. I love sessions like these and I always find that when they’re done, I’m tempted to hide away in a corner with my laptop so that I can use some of the tips I’ve learned right away!
The second theme focused on figuring out who you were, why you were blogging and how you defined your personal brand. I started out my journey by learning about the importance of relaxation and releasing stress with the beautiful and informative life coach Deepka Mittra. Kim Page Gluckie ran a fabulous session that not only had great information for those that were unsure about how to start a blog, but also had some handy tips for making your blog more interactive and enjoyable for readers. I tend to write long posts, so I especially loved her tip about splitting longer blog features into a series of posts. And finally, the charming and debonaire Dr. Jared Tabler led a lively discussion about defining yourself, your brand and your place in the blogosphere.
Amidst the learning, there was the interaction with wonderful and inspiring individuals I was meeting for the first time, online friends I was finally able to connect with in person and beloved bloggers I had met and befriended in the past. BlogWest had some great evening events that let us all connect with one another and enjoy some socializing and networking. After a fun opening reception hosted by Travel Alberta, I enjoyed dinner and drinks with some of the other speakers including Kathy Buckworth, Julie Cole, Melissa Vroon and the wonderful women from Mom Central Canada. The next evening, I got to enjoy more fun and conversation at the luxurious pamper reception hosted by Eveline Charles Academy where I enjoyed a fabulous primping session. A few of us later headed to one of the hotel rooms for cheesecake and conversation, which really let us get to know each other and bond even more.
Finally chatting with Sheri from This Bird’s Day and Stacey from This Lil Piglet was wonderful; we clicked just as well in person as we had online. I had an amazing time talking again with my beloved BlissDom Canada friends, fellow speakers Sober Julie and Nicole from My Real Review. And meeting women like my fellow panelist Julie from Dinner with Julie and Heather from Home to Heather for the first time led me to discover great new blogs that are sure to become fast favourites.
Events like this are about so much more than just attending informational sessions. They are about staying up-to-date with the latest happenings in the blogosphere. They are about making friendships that are so meaningful they are not affected by distances. They are about growing as bloggers…and as people. I am so grateful to my sponsor Skinfix for giving me the chance to attend Western Canada’s first blog conference, and to Felicia Dewar for having the vision and the determination to put together this fabulous event. I was honoured to be a part of it and I can’t wait to see what BlogWest 2013 has to offer!
Thanks to my fabulous sponsor Skinfix, I recently attended the first-ever Western Canadian blog conference: BlogWest 2012. I knew almost immediately upon my return that one post wouldn’t be appropriate for sharing the event, since for me the event had three major highlights. I’ve decided to cover each one of them in a separate post; my first post is about my experience speaking on the Monetization Panel.
When I was given the opportunity to speak on the Monetization Panel at BlogWest 2012, I was completely thrilled. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started blogging and I was so excited about being able to share some of them so that other bloggers could benefit. I was also nervous, but I dealt with that by just pushing it out of my mind.
And that worked absolutely perfectly until the morning of our panel. That’s when the nervousness really hit hard. Fear sat in the bottom of my stomach like a lead weight. I took some deep breaths and forced myself to look calm and confident. I smiled a lot, talked about how excited I was and did everything I could to ensure my nervousness was known only to me. When I sat down moments before the panel started, I had already decided that I would contribute as much as I could because I really didn’t want to appear silenced by fear.
So the panel began. I didn’t stutter. My voice didn’t shake. I was told afterwords that I had looked and sounded confident and professional. I said most of the things I wanted to say and forgot a few points that I wish I had remembered. But overall, I’m pretty sure I did a darn good job.
And then the panel ended. And I waited for the flood of relief to hit me now that the panel was over….
And it never came.
Instead, I think I actually felt worse. That lead weight in my stomach was even heavier. Because it was done now. And if I had said anything people didn’t like or didn’t agree with, there was nothing I could do. It was over. That was that.
I gradually did fight away that “after-nervousness.” And when it had finally retreated and I was feeling like my usual chipper and outspoken self again, I asked myself, “Will I do this again? I know if I do it long enough, I’ll become comfortable with it. But is it worth the agony and insecurity I’ll feel in the meantime every time I stand up to speak?”
And part of me screamed, “NO!! Absolutely not! You proved your point! You NEVER, EVER have to do it again!”
But after that first reaction, I thought back to when I was afraid to be videotaped, and how completely natural and comfortable I am on video now. I thought back further to when I first started blogging and I was so uncertain about it that I considered just posting other people’s buttons so that I could get bonus giveaway entries without actually ever having to write anything myself. I thought back even further, to a time when I was so shy that I was scared to even reply to somebody if they said, “Hello.”
And I thought about how I conquered all those fears. I didn’t do it by thinking about that voice screaming, “No!” in my head. I didn’t do it by thinking at all.
I did it by blindly leaping into anything that I had decided was interesting. I did it by shutting off my brain and blocking out the doubts, insecurities and fears that were running rampant inside my head. I did it by doing, I did it by pretending that I loved doing it, and I did it again and again and again until I actually felt as comfortable as I looked whether I was meeting a new person or shooting a promotional video.
And I’ll be darned if I’m not going to do it with public speaking too. So when the opportunity presents itself, I WILL dive in again and I will do it until I have mastered it; until I am as comfortable on a stage as I am in the audience.
Having made this decision, I know I have some uncomfortable days ahead of me. But will it be worth it?
There’s not a doubt in my mind.
I have officially arrived at BlogWest 2012 thanks to my wonderful sponsor Skinfix! I have tons of goodies to give away to recipients, so if you’re at the conference, make sure you come and ask me for a gift bag! But even if you’re not, you don’t have to miss out! I have a gorgeous baby-blue Skinfix windbreaker, a Skinfix t-shirt and a bag of Skinfix products to give away to one lucky reader!
To win, just follow @SkinFixInc on Twitter and then Tweet about your favourite Skinfix product using the #Skinfix hashtag! I’ll randomly draw a winner at the end of the conference, so the more you Tweet, the better your chances of winning!
In just three weeks, Western Canada will be holding its very first blog conference, BlogWest 2012, in Edmonton, Alberta. And I will be right there with over 200 bloggers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the rest of Canada for three days of learning, networking and fun in one of Canada’s most high-energy cities, thanks to my amazing sponsor Skinfix!
I fell in love with SkinFix products before I even started Mommy Kat and Kids. I received a sample of Skinfix Diaper Rash Paste at a Welcome Wagon baby shower event and when Benjamin developed an absolutely horrible diaper rash when he was about three months old, the diaper rash paste cleared it up almost instantly. I honestly couldn’t believe how fast and effective it was and my love of Skinfix was born. Needless to say, I am just thrilled that I have been given the chance to spread my love of this great company with my readers and with other Western Canadian bloggers!
I am very excited for this fabulous conference and I am already planning my schedule for the event. I can’t wait to meet some of the other bloggers in Western Canada, learn about new ways to improve my blog and connect with amazing sponsors. I’ve even been given the opportunity to speak on the Monetization Panel led by the fabulous Melissa Vroon!
I will be sharing my experience with all of you thanks to Skinfix and I’ll also have some amazing samples and giveaways of Skinfix products during the conference, so if you’re attending, be sure to find me to get a little SkinFix swag for yourself! And keep your eye on the #Skinfix and #BlogWest hashtags; I’ll be Tweeting out info about how you can get your hands on some sweet Skinfix merchandise!
In the meantime, I would love it if my amazing readers could show Skinfix some love by following @Skinfix on Twitter! They really deserve it; their products are phenomenal!