Central Florida Blogger’s Conference 2012 (the afternoon)

19 09 2012

Where did I leave off?

Oh, that’s right. It was lunchtime at CFLBlogCon, and lunch was provided by Bahama Breeze. I piled my plate with lots of delicious food. I had their mashed sweet potatoes, paella, a crispbread, fresh salad, some spinach dip (hidden under the salad) and some glazed chicken. What a tasty meal! Everything was delicious, and I can’t wait to use the $10 coupon they were handing out! And can we talk about dessert?

Individual cups of their dulce de leche dessert. The chocolate brownie, the caramelly mousse, the chocolate sauce, the fresh whipped cream. SO GOOD!

Happy Bloggers! From the left front going clockwise: Paula, Jackie, Caroline, Rachel, I’m so sorry I don’t remember your name!, Christine, Theresa, Michelle.

After lunch, there was a short yoga session, but I was so full from lunch, I opted to hang out with some of my blogging buddies in the Recharge Room.

By “so full from lunch” I mean that I still had enough room to squeeze in a strawberry cookie from Parksdale Farm Market.

YUM-O. We all kept asking Xiomara for the top secret recipe, but she wouldn’t budge. I did ask her about how she got them to be so red. After my whoopie pie experiment, I was convinced she had to have used jello or something to flavor and color them. Nope. They are made with strawberries and strawberry seeds, plain and simple! Now I want to go back and experiment!!

Before heading to the next session, the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers in attendance gathered for a group pic. Macbeth Photography was the photographer for the day, and he and his team did a great job capturing the event. They were set up to take headshots (which I totally regret not taking advantage of!), but he made accommodations for a group shot.

Check out some of Macbeth’s other photos from the conference. 🙂

“Tweet Your Way to Success” with Rachelle Lucas was my next session and I kinda want to be her. She gets to travel the world and tweet/blog about it. Next up for her: South Africa. Jealous!! Anywho-she had loads of interesting Twitter tips. She should know- she as over 40K followers!

Here’s a summary of her presentation (my version of her handout):

Be Genuine: Use a photo (of you!) for your avatar.  Tweet things that interest you.

Be Consistent: Create lists and schedule tweets.

Be Resourceful: See who is tweeting about your site or brand.

Be Friendly: Follow tweets with similar interests and delete inactives and spammers.  Find chats and conversations. Use first names when you respond to a tweet.

Be Efficient: Measure the reach of a hashtag campaign, share articles, videos and photos with your social networks.  Track your time.

Lot’s of resources! After hearing about HootSuite and TweetDeck yet again, I figured it was time to check it out.

I got to my next session, “Working With Brands” with Julie Deily (The Little Kitchen), and opened up my computer to take notes and experiment with TweetDeck. I’ll be honest, I was sitting in the back of the room near some of my Tampa Bay Lady Blogger friends, exploring TweetDeck so I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have. But, one of the big takeaways from Julie’s presentation was to work with brands that you actually want to work with. Don’t just work with a brand because they are giving you some super sweet new gadget thing that you could care less about. Be genuine, and work with brands that you and your audience will use.

Think Specialized would work with me? I ❤ Snowball.

Or maybe a nut butter company…

From there, I moved on to Mark Baratelli’s session: “Finding (and Sharing) Content that Leads to a Passionate Following.” I plopped on the floor in the back of the room with Kat, Beka, Rachel, and Marcia so we could all charge up our computers and phones. The combination of sitting way in the back, surrounded by new friends, and the overstimulation of TweetDeck and HootSuite resulted in a lack of attention to Mark’s talk. However, I did catch some of his jokes- he was definitely the funniest speaker I saw all day- and I caught some of his comments that were a bit controversial: “Don’t go to blogger meet ups” (Uh, isn’t this conference really one big blogger meet up?) and “Don’t be a niche blogger” (Uh, aren’t we breaking into niche groups later this afternoon?) Regardless, his points were well made, and he is making blogging work for him! I’m definitely going to start checking out The Daily City more often.

Ok, last formal session of the day! By now, I was getting a bit tired. My brain was so full of information! I went to “Storytelling & Problem Solving: The Keys to the Infectious Blog” by Justice Mitchell. Yet another great session with some great tips. He recommended setting up blog posts like myth busters: start with a “story seed,” then define the problem, then apply science, then test the theory and then there’s a conclusion. At the end of the day, write a story that is easy to retell, and one that is worth retelling. Even as I write this post, I realize I’m not applying Justice’s tips…

The next two things on my agenda didn’t require as much brain power as the rest of my day. First, an informal breakout session with all of the Central Florida bloggers who would consider themselves bloggers about health/fitness. There I got to meet up with some pretty amazing women.

Photo courtesy of Caroline

In no particular order:

Better Sleep Coach
Running for Cupcakes
Run Eat Date Sleep
You Me Fit
Fit To Flex
Runners Tales
Core Connection Lifestyle
PB Fingers
Cuban Running Crisis
Sneakers and Fingerpaints
Crazy Running Legs
Eat Watch Run
My Fascinating Life
Danielle Dillard
321delish (Me)
Rebecca Roams
Margarita Cambest (new twitter friend!)

(Another “to do:” Make business cards!)

And last but not least, the Yelp after party!

T-rex was excited that the party was moved indoors!

Yelp hosted a great after party, with food, drinks and entertainment.

Drinks by Tito’s Vodka

Pita and Hummus from CRAVE Orlando.

Swag from Yelp.

Vegetarian Jambalaya from Qdoba

I paid for a Florida Roll from Sushi 101 Orlando,

and at the end of the night, they were giving away these potsticker bowls so I snagged one of those as well:-)
I left the conference with a full belly, a full mind, and a huge smile on my face. I’d say that’s a sign of a great day. Who’s ready to do it all over again?