My Top 10 Lessons from BlogHer 2013

By Emily A. Hay

BlogHer 2013 in Chicago: An amazing city to visit for a conference filled with like-minded women and a few men. With so much going on, it was challenging for anyone to stay focused and take the most useful and relevant info away from the conference. It was an exciting few days and an experience that benefitted me both professionally and personally.

As I reflect on my time at BlogHer 2013, 10 main themes emerged and are outlined as follows:

  1. Here I am with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, author of Lean In. My favorite chapter of “Lean In” was “The Myth of Doing It All.
    Here I am with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, author of Lean In. My favorite chapter of “Lean In” was “The Myth of Doing It All.

    Sheryl Sandberg is a force. Seriously. I highly recommend reading “Lean In.”

    • You’ve heard people being called a Force of Nature or hearing that people change the atmosphere simply by entering a room? Those expressions come from people like Sheryl Sandberg. From the stage, she exudes confidence, empowerment and compassion.
    • Her key message for the audience was to answer the question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and then go do it.
    • After Sandberg spoke, the audience experienced a Lean In Circle session led by Dr. Carole Robin, professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Check out to learn about these sessions and how you can host your own Lean In Circle in your city!
  2. The Makers & Creators Panel with Media Entrepreneur, Randi Zuckerberg (Yes, she’s Mark’s sister)

    Standing with Randi Zuckerberg and her new children’s book, “Dot”
    Standing with Randi Zuckerberg and her new children’s book, “Dot”
    • During the panel, I learned Randi Zuckerberg is a mom. I asked her after the session what the sentiment of investors is like towards female founders of tech-based startups who are pregnant or want to start families. She shared some candid feedback and said it is not unlike the sentiment in corporate America. Randi advised any founder to focus on building a team that can help support the growth of the business.
    • Brit Morin (Founder of Brit + Co.) shares the importance of knowing you have the right business model before seeking capital investment. Work it through until you get there.
    • Feedback shared by all members of the panel: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
  3. Amazing roommates can make the conference experience.

    Erin Rawlings (@mommyonthespot) and I enjoying some bonding time before the Voices of the Year program
    Erin Rawlings (@mommyonthespot) and I enjoying some bonding time before the Voices of the Year program
  4. 3 things I plan to implement immediately (and so should you!):

    • Incorporate 3 facets of a successful sponsored blog post according to @KludgyMom (I couldn’t agree more!):
      • Delight the brand
      • Always educate your readers
      • You (the blogger) should benefit in some way
    • From the Pinterest session by @jillsgoodthings & @phylliskhare:
      • Be sure you name the image file before you upload it into your blog, Facebook album, Pinterest post, etc. Don’t just let the image be named “image001.jpg,” for example; it’s much better for search to name the file first. (This is a tip I have learned before but admittedly don’t remember to do this everytime.)
    • A must do according to Lisa Donovan, an actress with 590,000 subscribers and 185 million video views on her YouTube channel:
      • Create a video content schedule and stick to it.
  5. Collaboration is key.

    • Share ideas, compare notes, be open to new experiences
    • Want to start a blog but don’t think you have the experience? Find a fellow enthusiast or subject matter expert and build the space together!
    • Have you identified your strengths? Make this a priority. Once you know them, find others with strengths in complimentary areas and don’t be afraid to join forces in any way big or small.

      On the left with Liza Hippler of Bloganizer on right with Rachel Schostak of Styleshack
  6. Calling all the aspiring writers!

    Guy Kawasaki, entrepreneur, author, Silicon Valley investor and social media marketing thought-leader, led a session on self-publishing. These tips from Kawasaki resonated:GuyKawasaki_BlogHer

    • Hire a copy editor and have an amazing book cover.
    • Quote I loved that applies in life: “Don’t be like a buffalo; buffalos run in herds and keep their heads down.”
  7. Use Twitter. Period.

    • Twitter kicks your networking capabilities into a different stratosphere. It adds a phenomenal dimension to any conference experience.
  8. It truly takes a village to raise a BlogHer.

    From my former experience in major event sponsorship sales, event management can be thankless work. Whether you’ve planned a wedding, a baby shower or a major conference, it takes a TON of work to ensure logistics go smoothly and the experience is enjoyable to all. Mission accomplished by Team BlogHer (with notable mentions of Sheraton Chicago, McCormick Place and the sponsor exhibitors).

  9. Set yourself up for success.

    We women try to do it all; this is simply not possible, so be flexible and have reasonable expectations for what you can accomplish at any conference. Surround yourself with friendly, supportive people and know that “like attracts like.” I found myself saying that to many new friends made at the conference. Whether in person, via social media or in a professional environment, we tend to attract the same energy we exude, so be a positive force and get ready for things to happen for you!

  10. Finally, please check out “The brand and blogger ecosystem as witnessed at BlogHer 2013” and let me know your thoughts!

What thoughts do you have on the above points? Did anything hit home or jump out? I’d love to hear any thoughts and see you at a future blogging conference ☺

Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to read!

4 thoughts on “My Top 10 Lessons from BlogHer 2013

  1. #5 is so true. Strength in numbers and all that. Once I found a great collaborator for one of my best ideas, it propelled the thought to a whole new level.

    • emilyhay

      Isn’t that so true, Shelley?! It is IMPOSSIBLE for one person to achieve all they are capable of if they go at it alone. LOVE hearing about your personal experience with this — congrats on being brave enough to collaborate which led to an awesome outcome!

      Thanks for your comment!


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