I’d be lying if I said I didn’t leave Blogfest/IDEA World this year absolutely exhausted. Happy and with tons of new information, yes, but also terribly exhausted. Our days started around 5am and I didn’t end up getting back to my hotel until close to 10pm each day! Pair that with anywhere from 2-3 workouts per day, and this girl is kaput.
I originally intended to do a day-by-day recap of all of the sessions I took, but I decided to just do a highlight of some of my favorite things and sessions. I warn you that this recap will absolutely not do the greatness of Blogfest/IDEA World justice, but it’s all I can muster up as I’m still recovering from a sore body and full mind. Here we go…
1. Pre-Blogfest Run with Truitt Foods: A few days before Blogfest, Jessie told me about a run that some of the other bloggers were doing before Day 1 festivities kicked off. Since I didn’t know anyone going, I figured this would be a good way to meet some of the other girls. Not only was it a good way to meet the other bloggers, but it was also a perfect way to get in some activity before a long day of sitting. Our route took us through downtown LA, which isn’t the most beautiful city if I’m being honest, but it was still nice to see some of it!(my selfie game is not strong in general, let alone when I’m in motion)
2. How to Increase Your Readership and Market Your Message to the Masses: I’ve read Katy’s blog on and off throughout the years mostly when I needed some social media or blogging advice. She is a great resource, so I was super excited about her session especially after reading recaps of her session from last year on other blogs. My big takeaways:
- There are so many social media platforms nowadays so, unless you really enjoy a particular one or it drives a lot of traffic to your site, don’t feel the need to post to them all or you will drive yourself crazy. <— This is so true of me + Twitter. It’s just not my cup of tea.
- Find your microniche and target them (i.e. something like workouts for special populations like postpartum women or women over 50, etc.)
- What makes you special? How can you use this to help someone else?
3. IDEA World Expo: I’m just gonna put it out there now – I AM A SUCKER FOR FREE SAMPLES. If you want me to come up to learn more about your company, a surefire way is to lure me in with food. Over the course of the 4 days, I ate my weight in LARA bars, various other protein bars, yogurt, and hummus. Oh, and check out this stash that Ed and I acquired:Pretty serious, huh? I knew of a lot of the brands before going to the expo, but hadn’t tried out a lot of their foods because I mainly stick to eating the same things. I’m glad I got to finally try so many of their products!
4. Gabby Reece/HIGHX workout: I knew who Gabby Reece was before Blogfest, but I now officially have a serious girl crush on her. Her outlook on life and fitness is so amazing and real. It’s rare that you meet people (especially celebs/pro athletes) who are so open and honest. You could truly feel her authenticity.She recently developed a new workout called HIGHX that we got to try out after her session. AMAZING, JUST AMAZING. It has everything I look for in a good workout: challenging, high intensity, variety, and awesome music. It’s basically a circuit workout where you alternate between 2 workouts per station before moving onto the next station. You never have time to get bored of one exercise and you hit every body part. For 50 minutes straight, you are working your ass off to great old school hip hop/rap music. I really hope this comes to San Diego ASAP.5. Workout with Beto Perez, Founder of Zumba: My experience with Zumba is limited to 1 session with my sister where I felt like I was being majorly shown up by the 80 year old ladies in the class. After that, I decided it just wasn’t my cup of tea as I usually opt for running, spinning, yoga, or strength training workouts. Well, I am officially a Zumba convert. You guys, it was so much fun! Even though I was fumbling all over myself half the time, I was laughing and had a great time. I especially loved the part after the workout where we had a chance to talk to Beto. His background and story of how Zumba came to be is so inspiring. He had to sell his car in order to be able to come here from Colombia to audition for a job to teach 1 class at a gym. But he did it and look at how huge Zumba is today! It’s really is a testament to following your dreams and believing in yourself no matter what the cost.
6. The Future of Blogging with Jessica Matthews: Not only does Jessica have a ton of knowledge to share, but she is also hilarious. Her session delved into how blogging has evolved over time. What we used to think of as a blog has morphed into so much more and can be anything from writing our day-to-day activities to content curation to vlogging to micro-blogging via social media. It gave me so much to think about in terms of where I hope to take my own blog in the future. I also had the opportunity to talk to Jess after, which was so helpful. Part of her job is writing for websites like SHAPE and ACE as well as other publications. As I’ve said before, my job involves marketing, blogging, and social media for a San Diego based gym and I also write press releases, blog posts, and handle social media part-time for a few travel/hospitality companies. By the time I’m done writing for all of my jobs and handling social media for multiple companies, the last thing I want to do when I get home is write more for my own blog even though I love it. I’m just worn out on writing by that point. Luckily, she gave me some pointers and a lot of options to think about.
7. SEO Tips & Tricks with Sara Downey Robinson: This session was probably jam packed with the most information and I loved that! Even though I know a fair amount about SEO, it was super helpful to have certain points reiterated and I learned so many things I haven’t yet put into practice. Now, it’s just a matter of actually doing it. SEO is a necessary evil if you want to grow any website. A few resources she mentioned if you want to learn more about SEO: Hubspot and Moz.
8. BODYSHRED workout with JILLIAN FREAKING MICHAELS!!!: This had to be the highlight of IDEA World for me personally. I have loved Jillian Michaels since I was in high school. I’ve watched her on the Biggest Loser, done her workout DVDs, and love her podcast. To have the opportunity to exercise less than 20 feet away from her was a serious life goal accomplished. She is just as amazing and motivating as she seems and the workout was the perfect mix of strength and cardio.(shout out to the girl who took at least 20 selfies with Jillian!)
9. Blogfest Networking Party: Like I said earlier, I am pretty introverted overall which makes meeting new people difficult sometimes as it takes me a while to warm up to people. Because of this, I was nervous about going to the Networking Party. Luckily, everyone was so open and inviting and I had no trouble chatting it up with several other bloggers (who I’m sure were also nervous about meeting new people). I especially like the part where we played a game where we grabbed a random question and had to ask it to 10 different people. It helped to break the ice and meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise talked to.
10. Hot Topics in the Saddle with Amy Dixon: Amy is a powerhouse Equinox instructor and actually won Group Fitness Instructor of the Year at the IDEA Opening Ceremonies! After taking a session with her on hot topics and new trends in indoor cycling, I can definitely see why she won the award. She has a wealth of knowledge and brings a great energy to her classes. After going over various topics/trends in indoor cycling (i.e. heart rate monitoring, upper body strength training on the bike, etc.), she put us through a vigorous 45 minute workout on the bike. Her cueing was on point, her motivating words helped to push us to our limits, and she made the class so much fun. I left DRIPPING in sweat. I hope to be half the instructor she is one day.As I’m sure you can tell, I had a ton of fun and learned SO SO SO much information. I can’t wait to start applying it all to my blog/job. I’ve wanted to come to Blogfest ever since I saw everyone’s recaps last year and I’m so grateful that I finally got the chance to. I met a ton of amazing people/bloggers and hope to continue to learn and grow from them.
Have you ever been to any conferences/workshops for your hobby or job? If so, which one?
People who went to Blogfest/IDEA: What is the ONE best piece of information you took away from the conference?