Fitbloggin’ 13 Social Media Conference Recap – FAQ Style
Event: Fitbloggin’ 13
Why: To bring together the community of health-conscious bloggers for education, networking and friendship.
When: June 27-30 2013
Where: The Nines Hotel, Portland Oregon
How much does Fitbloggin cost?
If you can swing it, Fitbloggin can be free. I was able to host a small discussion session to get my free ticket. Others signed up to volunteer in various ways and others gained sponsorship to attend. Many other save their hard earned pennies to attend. If you want to go next year, think about which option you’d like to choose and start thinking about ideas now.
Where do you stay for Fitbloggin?
The Fitbloggin organizers choose wonderful venues to host these events. This year, accommodations were at The Nines Hotel in Portland, OR. Most conference attendees stay at the hosting venue. I chose to room with others, (which I highly recommend, even if you don’t know them). Other attendees drove in daily because they were local and other folks stayed with local friends or family. While some attendees may have ended up on a floor, cot or couch, we all found a place to stay to attend this great event.
What should I wear at Fitbloggin?
One of the things I love about Fitbloggin is that it really is a “no judgement zone.” You can just be you and wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy. Some participants where workout clothes the entire time. Some change into casual clothes for learning/networking sessions and some dress up for evening events.
I wore a blend of all three, but felt most comfortable on days where I stayed in workout clothes. Dress in layers because hotel air conditioning can be REALLY cold! Thank you SO MUCH to my amazing clothing sponsors: Zee Bee Threads, Handful, and Moving Comfort. There is still a chance to win some great clothes from my sponsors so hop on over to my giveaway here.
What do you learn Fitbloggin?
What happens at Fitbloggin stays and Fitbloggin! Seriously, there are some sensitive topics that are discussed that do not leave the conference, but there are also amazing chances to network and learn at Fitbloggin. Here is just small example of the topics from this year’s conference:
- Turning your blog into a business: Key to Monetizing Your Work
- Building your blog through organic SEO and image optimization
- How to set health and fitness goals
- Hosting a Successful Twitter Party / G+ Hangout
- Writing the Perfect Pitch
- How to Create a Media Kit
- Video SEO
- Tackling the Taboo of Therapy – The importance of mental and emotional health
What is the food like at Fitbloggin?
I have only been to 2 Fitbloggin conferences, but I can say that each time the food was really good. The organizers make sure to provide lots of options for both meat eaters and vegetarians. I especially enjoyed breakfast and the “make your own yogurt parfait” bar.
Will there be Fitness Classes at Fitbloggin?
Fitbloggin would not be the same without some amazing fitness classes. This year, attendees were able to choose from a wide variety of exercise genres including:
- Boot Camp
- Cross Fit
- Trampoline fitness
- Reebok Cardio Dance
I especially enjoyed Zumba and Cross Fit (which I had never tried before)
Will there be Swag?
In this case “swag” means: promotional items, given for free to conference attendees
Hell YES! There is so much amazing swag at Fitbloggin that you’d better pack an extra bag or leave room in your suitcase for all the stuff you will bring home. Some of my favorite items included new Reebok Crossfit Shoes, Fitbloggin’ 13 socks, and a Reebok yoga tank. But, there was SO MUCH MORE!!
How do you connect with other attendees?
The Fitbloggin organizers do a great job creating opportunities for attendees to meet virtually before attending the conference. There is a Facebook group and this year they used a smart phone app that connected Linked In profiles for attendees and allowed you to have the event schedule on your phone. I used the Facebook group to find my great roommates and to make sure to hook up with bloggers I really wanted to meet. Collect cell phone numbers and/or twitter handles before you go so you can contact those folks you really want to connect with.
It was so great to meet up with some of my fitness blogging favorites like Tamara Grand (Fit Knit Chick) Alicia Benjamin (@leximaven), Carla Birnberg (Miz Fit), Susan Ito (Food Food Body Body) Margo Donahue (Brooklyn Fit Chick), Emily Ho Sandford (Skinny Emmie) just to name a few.
What if I am scared to death to attend this conference? Will I be the only one!
Heck NO! I attended my first Fitbloggin without knowing ANYONE. I roomed with folks I had never met in person. I did the same this year. I knew many attendees this time, but there were still likely 100+ that I did not know. As an introvert, this scared me to death. For me, branching out in smaller discussions at meal times and breaks between sessions helped me to meet new people. Susan Ito also did a great job of leading some wonderful ice breakers. At the larger events, I sometimes felt out of place, and even a bit lonely, but I just needed to find even one person to connect with to feel comfortable again.
Photos courtesy of Carrie D Photography
Conference creator, Roni Noone says:
FitBloggin’ is SO much more than what we look like. It’s a state of mind. It’s the belief that you can use blogging and social media to spread a culture of health. Fat, skinny, short, tall, black, white — I don’t care what you look like — you are welcome at FitBloggin’. The only requirement for entry is that you have an interest in using blogging to better yourself and your readers. Geesh! I don’t even care if you currently HAVE a blog. Come learn how to get started. That’s the point.
While I did not connect with hundreds, I built strong bonds with a few, and that was my goal. I highly recommend Fitbloggin. If you come next year, come find me and say hi!
What were the best parts of Fitbloggin’ 13?
There were so many great parts to Fitbloggin this year. Some of my favorites include:
As mentioned above, there were some very informative and helpful sessions as well as some though provoking discussions. I enjoyed learning from my fellow bloggers not just about the business end of blogging, but about the emotional end as well. One blogger mentioned, “Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside” I do this far too often, so it was nice to learn more about the “inside” of many bloggers that I admire.
I got to be a model for Handful. It was so much fun. A big thank you to Carla for leading the group. I was nervous enough without having to take the lead.
Photo courtesy of Carrie D Photography
Small group discussions
I liked the intimacy of these discussions. I think it was a way for the more introverted people to open up and share. Breaking into even smaller groups within these sessions helped even more.
Photo courtesy of Carrie D Photography
For the fun run this year, there were choices for a 1 mile walk, 5K run/walk or 10K. It was nice for people of all levels to have the choice of difference routes. The run along the river was just lovely and the group was so supportive to everyone along the way.
Ignite Fitness Presentations
We did not have this at Fitbloggin 11. This is a presentation in which a bunch of bloggers get 5 minutes to talk about their passion to the group. They get about 30 seconds per slide as a “show-and-tell” for grown ups. Some of the presentations were truly inspiring. They made me laugh, cry and just about everything in between.
Between 10-1:30 on Saturday we had free time to explore Portland. It was nice to get out of the hotel and see some of the local sites.
What would you recommend for the next Fitbloggin?
As with any conference, there are always things that could be done a little better. Some things I would like to see done differently include:
Limit overlap of informative sessions with fitness sessions
In 2011 all fitness sessions were in the morning often leaving time to shower and change before hitting the information sessions. I would love to see future conference go back to this schedule.
Perhaps lengthen the conference
The conference is essentially two full days of important content. I did appreciate the free time, but it made the rest of the conference feel a bit rushed and made it very difficult to choose between overlapping sessions. Lengthening the conference by even 2-3 hours could help. For example, perhaps a final keynote could be moved to Sunday morning so that Saturday afternoon can have more sessions prior to the “fun stuff.”
Review presentations prior to the event
The presentations in 2011 seemed more professional and engaging. I am not exactly sure why. I liked the panel style presentations in 2011 and the few presentations this year given by more than one blogger. Putting all the pressure on only one presenter did not seem as successful this year. If someone has never presented before, perhaps pair them up with someone who has.
Well, if you have stuck with me this long, I thank you for reading. If you are a blogger, I highly recommend attending a social media conference be it Fitbloggin or another of your choice. I am also going to try Type-A Parent in Atlanta in September so I’ll report on how that goes as well.
A HUGE thank you to Roni Noone and her team for putting together another great event. Thanks as well to my terrific roommates Megan (MNM Special), Heather Hurd (Yummy Sushi Pajamas), Mariana (Project Unfluff) and our adopted roommates Lena (Way 2 Good Life) and Pepper (Pepper Scraps).