Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Type A Mom Conference Recap, part 1

I attended the Inaugural Type-A-Mom Conference this past weekend in Asheville, NC.  There are other blogging conferences, some that have been going on for years, such as BlogHer, Blissdom, SITScation, and Blogalicious, in case you have ever heard of those.  You might be wondering, "what do you do at a blogging conference?"  Because this is my first one, I can only tell you what this one was like, but I would imagine that it has the same general format.  General sessions, keynote speakers, receptions, dinners, events surrounding the conference like tours, etc.

The schedule of events at the Type-A-Mom conference was something like this:

Thursday Evening

Sign in, meet people, get your conference "swag bag" full of sponsor freebies, and your nametag.  Look around nervously for people you know.  Or if you are brave, start introducing yourself.

Photo courtesy of Mishelle Lane
If you're me, drop your four little kids off at Kid Con, the children's conference, sponsored by iRobot! ($35 per child for the one evening and 12-14 hour full days of conference!!)  As an aside, all 4 of my kids LOVEd KidCon and can't wait to go back!

Participate in blogger to company speed dating (LOVED this.  It was a time where you had about 20 minutes to go around your table, share about your website or business, and get and give business cards.  You got up and changed tables about 6 times, and met loads of people!)

Photo courtesy of @paperfans and tinyprints
visible are: @jenniferjames, @mutheringheights, @resourcefulmom, and @marybabysteps

Welcome Reception - time to meet and chat, drink some Biltmore Estate Merlot or Reisling, munch on the appetizers and finger food desserts.. I made some new friends there!  I also got to talk about the ways I have found to grow my readership and find new blogging friends.  I love the SITSgirls website - The Secret is in the Sauce.  We check in on the SITSgirls site, follow the link to the featured blogger of the day, and are invited to read and coment on three of her spotlighted posts.  Generally, if you visit a featured blogger, she will come visit you as she weeds through all of her comments on her feature day.  And sometimes you find someone that really resonates with you!  (Hi MutheringHeights!)  I also try to participate in some Blog Carnivals and BlogHops if I see buttons on sites or links from Twitter that mention that there's a blog hop or carnival happening, especially if its for something like homeschooling.  I participate in Wordless Wednesday on my website, I participate in FollowFriday on Twitter, and I share on "Your Life, Your Blog" each week when Sarah puts up a MckLinky to list your site.  Any other random time there is a MckLinky on a site I visit, I will leave a link to a recent post too.

photos courtesy of @paperfans and tinyprints



A yummy breakfast burrito and fruit were served just after at 8 am with a fashion show courtesy of Dress Barn.  About a dozen lovely women from the blogging panels were taken and treated to new outfits from Dress Barn, and strutted their stuff on the playform while Dress Barn talked about what they were wearing.  It was so much fun to see them enjoy being in the spotlight!!!

Photos courtesy of Mishelle Lane
Visible in the fashion show picture are @katjapresnal, @shash, @mrsflinger, @jenminer, @reneejross @geekmommy, @vdog, and @mamaspohr

Speaker Sessions and Panels

To kick things off, there was a general speaker panel discussing Collaborative Blogging after breakfast, and I learned a LOT of things from these fine women.  The schedule, posted at TypeAMomConference said of this panel:

"Blogging as part of a collaborative or social group on a multi-author blog has many benefits beyond getting your work posted, ranging from a fierce social network with other power mom bloggers to simply being seen as more of a force with marketers and boosting your social reach. For marketers, learn how you can reach a large group of influencers in these mom blogging communities."

photo courtesy of Michele at scrappinmichele

 Jennifer James of Mom Bloggers ClubTrisha Haas of Momdot, Alison Worthington of Blissfully Domestic Megan Jordan of Blog Nosh Magazine (moderating), Jill Asher of Silicon Valley Moms, and  Kelby Carr of Type-A MomChristine at CutestKidEver had these notes to share

Breakout Session 1

There were three separate speaker sessions available three times per day.  On Friday morning, the first sessions to choose from were
Breakout 1: Personal Blogging - Trolls, Delicate Topics and Controversy (Julie Roads moderating, Heather Spohr, Trisha Haas, Cecily Kellogg and Anne Fitten Glenn), which I attended
Breakout 2: Building a Blog from Start to Finish (featuring Victoria Haller moderating, Leslie Flinger and Dawn Schnee of Room704)
Breakout 3: Blogger Outreach and Online Public Relations (featuring Jessica Smith moderating, Katja Presnal, Nancy Martira, Stephanie Smirnov, Marcia Hansen and David Griner)  Christine from CutestKidEver had notes from the Blogger Outreach and Public Relations session, and they can be found here.
Breakout 4:  Political Blogging (featuring Joanne Bamberger)

I attended the Personal Blogging session, listening to the women in question talk about the instances on their blogs where they have been personally attacked by people they don't know, how they handled one time instances versus repeat offenders and borderline stalkers.  How their community of bloggers defended them in those situations, the opportunities they have had to make peace and even educate some of those trolls who have visited their blogs.  They also discussed the varying levels of security and anonymity they have had with their blogs and answered questions from those of us who were in the session.

photo courtesy of@paperfans and tinyprints
pictured are @edgymama and @cecilyk

Lunch Session
During lunch, there was a panel discussing Working with Companies.  The schedule for the conference said:
"Companies want to work with bloggers, and most bloggers want to work with companies. From reviews to spokesblogging to direct blog advertising, there are many ways for the two worlds to collide. At the same time, there are questions about how to do it right. Experts from both the corporate/marketing side and the blogging side share their experiences and insights.

photo courtesy of Kris Cain
pictured are Stephanie Smirnov, Dave Binkowski, and Nancy Martira

photo courtesy of @paperfans and tinyprints
Lucretia Pruitt was the moderator, and from left are Angela LoSasso, Amy Lupold Bair,   Jessica Smith  Stephanie SmirnovDavid Binkowski, and Nancy Martira

Having never worked with a company, and not knowing much about networking with companies, this session was chock full of good information.  Christine at CutestKidEver has this synopsis.

Breakout Session 2
Breakout 1: Writing with Authentic Voice and Passion (featuring Anne Fitten Glenn moderating, Anissa MayhewJulie Roads and Robin Dance), which I attended.
Breakout 2: Mom Blogger Rising - Leveraging Your Pre-Kid Career into a Successful Blog Niche (featuring Kristie McNealy MD and Renee Ross)
Breakout 3: High ROI Social Networking (featuring Angela LoSasso and Lindsay Maines) Christine at CutestKidEver attended the High ROI Social Networking session, and her notes can be found here.
Breakout 4: Branding 2.0 (featuring Allison Worthington and Janice Croze)

Breakout Session 3
Breakout 1: The 3,472,109 Hats of a Mommy Blogger - Your Number May Vary (featuring Shannan Powell moderating, Astacia Carter, Angela England and Tara Gerner-Ziegmont) which I attended
Breakout 2: Selling Advertising on Your Blog (featuring Cheryl Phillips moderating, Victoria Haller and Dawn Schnee), Christine at CutestKidEver took these notes
Breakout 3: Business Blogging (featuring Alyssa Gregory and David Binkowski)
Breakout 4: Video Blogging (featuring Sugar Jones moderating, Janice Croze and Trisha Haas)

Breakout Session 4

Breakout 1: Photoblogging and Better Blog Pictures (featuring Mishelle Lane) Breakout 2: SEO in Plain English (featuring Astacia Carter moderating, Kristie McNealy MD and Jen Miner)

Breakout 3: Earning Money via Blogging (featuring Cecily Kellogg and Janice Croze) notes from this session can be found at CutestKidEver
Breakout 4: Power Facebooking (featuring Lindsay Maines and Kris Cain)


Saturday morning began with a fantastic Mom Market, and some great breakfast finger foods and coffee.  The Mom Market room was lined with fantastic information, goodies, clothing, baby toys, wall decor, books, software, you name it! I restrained myself and bought $10 worth of wall decor, but took lots of business cards and information home.  I got a free shirt from Kika Paprika too!  Dawn Camp, from My Home Sweet Home Online was taking free profile pictures, too!

photo courtesy of Dawn Camp Photography

photos courtesy of @paperfans and tinyprints

Breakout Session 1
The first sessions to choose from on Saturday morning were:
Breakout 1: The Blogging Payoff - Understanding the Longview (featuring Angela England and Joanne Bamberger) and notes for this session can be found here.
Breakout 2: Blogger’s Balance (featuring Tara Gerner-Ziegmont moderating, Robin Dance and Melanie Edwards) which I attended
Breakout 3: Twitter 101 (featuring Shari Keating moderating, Anissa Mayhew and Cheryl Phillips)
Breakout 4: Power Tweeting (featuring Amy Lupold Bair moderating,Lucretia Pruitt and Sugar Jones)

photo courtesy of @reallifesarah I think. 
@amberrunsamuck and @pensiverobin pictured

I am particularly partial to Robin Dance at Pensieve for a variety of reasons.  She was the first person from twitter to reach out to me and meet me in person, she has been a blogger for Compassion International, she shares my faith in God, her writing is emotive, filled with bold and italic and exclamation points.  She loves fiercely, and is a genuine person, generous with compliments, and ready to share her heart with you.  Her writing really resonates with me.  She had these thoughts to share during the session:

"The purpose many of us have in blogging is to share our hearts.  Brevity is usually not our strong suit, we write to remember, we give voice to causes, and because blogging is fun and creative.  You can get lost in the matrix, so to speak, and it can negatively affect your family and your relationships.".  These things all resonated with me, and the getting lost in the matrix part, too.  One of my favorite things about being at the TypeAMom conference was finding other people who understand, are attracted to, and have trouble pulling themselves away from online interaction through message boards, twitter, and blogging.  Robin also shared that you need to be living it to be able to write it, so you need to be out there living your life, too.


You are the only one with your particular sphere of influence, people read your blog for a reason.
You sway people with your words, so speak up about things that you love and get you enthusiastic.
Think about who inspires you and what you get from the community around you.
The way to have authenticity when writing about brands is to be yourself and don't write like you are someone else.  Don't be other than your style, your readers will know!

Breakout Session 2
Breakout 1: Blog Kharma and Social Capital (featuring Katja Presnal and Kelby Carr).  Christine from CutestKidEver attended this, and her notes are here.
Breakout 2: Special Needs Blogging (featuring Shari Keatingand Astacia Carter), which I attended.
Breakout 3: Travel Blogging (featuring Traveling Mamas Jen Miner and Kara Williams)
Breakout 4: Problogging (featuring Angela England and Cheryl Phillips)

Here is a picture of @shash in her stunning blue dress with her unique laptop skin, probably prepping for our very small session on Special Needs Blogging.

photo courtest of @paperfans and tinyprints

Our Special Needs Blogging session was very intimate, it was held around one table, actually.  Two women were there for just the first 10 or 15 minutes, and then the only ones left were Holly from IlikeitFrantic, me, and our speakers, Astacia and Shari.  Shari and Astacia told us about the journey they had each had with their children with special needs, the advocacy they have done for their children, the laws in various states, professionals to contact relating to getting diagnoses and a lot of validation of our feelings.  Shari and I started talking, and she gave me what was quite possibly the most important advice I'd gotten all weekend.  "JUst because she sits stoic in a classroom for 6 hours a day doesn't prove that she doesn't need special services, and they must provide it by law.".  So the signing of the IEP from August, we might have to overrrule that.  Astacia also suggested that we get a developmental pediatrician to back up the psychiatrist's diagnosis with a medical diagnosis as well.  A very important session for me  to have attended, and I am so grateful for their perparation and support!

Town Hall Meeting
The schedule for the conference said this about the purpose of a town hall meeting: "Blogging ethics, spokesblogging, reviews (paid or not), whether companies should pay more, pay less or not pay bloggers for representation and consultation… Let’s get it all out there and make sense of this brave new world of mommy blogging. With leaders in blogging, PR and advertising and the whole audience participating, we take all those sticky blogging topics and talk them through to come up with best practices and some consensus."  The notes from this event were taken by Christine from CutestKidEver and they can be found here.

Keynote Address -  Breaking the Mommy Blogging Mold

The schedule for the conference had this to say about the purpose behind the keynote address:  "There is no such thing as a cookie cutter mommy blogger. Moms who blog cover the entire spectrum of political beliefs, religious beliefs, ethnic background, areas of expertise, topics of interest. No two moms who blog are alike, despite a general view that mommy bloggers just write about parenting. In that spirit, the Type-A Mom keynote attempts to reflect the amazing and wonderful diversity of the momblogosphere."

photo courtesy of Kris Cain
speakers were, from left to right: Renee J. Ross, Cecily Kellogg, Megan Jordan, Allison Worthington (moderating), Anne Fitten Glenn, and Julie Roads.  Here is a great synopsis of the Keynote from Christine at CutestKidEver.

After the speaking was all done, some attenders left, some got dressed up for the reception, some went and played Rock Band at Mulligans, and some went back to their rooms and packed and put their feet up after a long long day. I had some dinner, listened to @angengland and @reallifesarah sing about our weekend, and circled between the front lobby, the bar, and the reception.  I did not play rock band, but I sure enjoyed watching these ladies!  And in the lower picture, we are dancing down the hall to Michael Jackson's Beat It.

photo courtesy ofKris Cain
@MomRN @mabelslabels @cutestkidever @twincident @ilinap @canape

photo courtesy of Mishelle Lane
@jylmomIF @mommyniri @savorthethyme @frelle @momspark @debrox @ilinap @morningsidemom

Please, please, try to come next year.  It was a wonderful time! 


Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing!! Looks like fun!

saratara said...

We would love if you could send us some photos of dressbarn's involvement! We would love to put it on our Facebook page (and of course give you credit)! Let me know if you'd be interested!

(on behalf of dressbarn)

Al_Pal said...

Hi! It was great meeting you! Cool wrap up post!

I saw your DM that you want to follow me, & tried to write the yahoo email you have on your profile page, but maybe you check that less?
Just come to my page and "send request", and I'll accept!


To Think is to Create said...

It was so lovely meeting you and sharing with you some of the struggles your having with your child. I'm so glad you came to our panel on writing with authentic passion and voice -- we enjoyed speaking about it too!

I was bummed to miss the special needs panel (I was in bed with a migraine) but I'm so thrilled to hear that they gave you advice and some really helpful action steps that you can do moving forward.

Love your blog xoxo


Renee said...

What a wonderful weekend. I can't wait to have the opportunity to attend a blogging conference so that I can grow into what I dream of it becoming. Thank you for sharing.

Mary said...

Awesome recap! I love what you say about each of us being unique and having so much to bring to the table. I was excited to hear the phrase, "Know your worth." used in more than one session. We all put a great deal of time and heart into our blogs.

ScrappinMichele said...

WOW! This is the BEST recap I've seen. I was there (thanks for using my pic and including my name) and I loved this. I love all the links to everyone who spoke too. THANK YOU!!!!!

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

Great recap! You did a great job of capturing the feel of Type A Mom. It was my first blog conference too, and I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with you.

Colleen Lanin said...

Wow - what a detailed recap! I would love to hear more about the Kid Con portion of the conference. I did not bring my kids and I'm curious just what was going on at Kid Con. Did they have different activities/rooms for various age groups? What did your kids like best?

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

What a great recap! Thanks for sharing and I am so glad you got so much out of the conference. The fact that your kids were happy in KidCon for that long really speaks to the quality of the childcare as well!

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