Kelly the Culinarian: What I Learned at the Chicago Bloggers Workshop

Monday, March 25, 2013

What I Learned at the Chicago Bloggers Workshop

As I mentioned yesterday, I hosted a fun get together Sunday morning for the Chicago Running Bloggers network. Erica brought up the idea of getting together to swap ideas a few weeks ago and I'm so excited I had the chance to entertain as a result. I do love having parties and I don't seem to have nearly as many as I used to.
So first, the eats!
We had brunch, which means I prepared an epic oatmeal bar. I started with a pot of overnight crock pot oats, then laid out every possible topping: chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, sliced almonds, walnuts, pecans, raisins, dates, strawberries, bananas, apples, peanut butter, brown sugar, jam, cinnamon and PB2. I also made my crock pot French toast casserole, but I should have added more liquid. Add a side of mimosas, coffee, fruit salad and croissants, and we were off to a wonderful start. Alissa also brought these heavenly gluten-free cinnamon banana muffins that were very popular and Marcia brought some protein peanut butter eggs that were delicious, too.

After we noshed, we sat down to talk blogging. It was great to hear about everyone's reasons for getting into blogging and how they increase blogging traffic. Here are a few ideas that came up that resonated with me.
Erica brought raffle prizes and I won big!

  • Be genuine. And be genuinely helpful. This is my number one rule of blogging. I am me, this is my space. You get me all the time. I only blog for me.
  • Participate in link ups. It's a great way to work your connections and learn more about your fellow bloggers.
  • Comment, comment, comment. And follow back comments, too. It's all about community and community start when you provide useful, relevant feedback.
  • Work expos. This is your chance to get in front of potential sponsors. Give your feedback on their products. ASK for giveaway items. The worst that can happen is they say no.
  • Guest post. Accept relevant guest posts and write them for others bloggers you admire. This exposes you to new readers and gets your name out there.
  • Tweet out every new post. More eyeballs on your work!
  • Reach out to brands you like. Sponsorships grow our of relationships. Contact your favorite brands and tell them what you think about their products. Post about things you love (see the first bullet).
  • Join in on photo a day challenges. These are great ways to try something new, flex your creative muscles and again, be part of another community.
  • Work your brand contacts regularly. If you haven't heard from a brand contact lately, follow up and see if they have anything new going on or any new initiatives.
  • Focus on your community and the journey. Alissa brought up a good point about the journey - while running and celiac's disease doesn't have a direct tie in, people follow our respective blogs for the same reason. They want to hear about your journey. They want to hear about the triumphs and the struggles, the tears and the elation. And that's what blogging is: your journey through life and what makes YOU unique.
Thank you, ladies! 
From left: Marcia, Emily, Maggie, Erica, and Katie. Then me/Napoleon and Lauren. Alissa snapped this photo. 
This was refreshing and enlightening. It's great to meet bloggers in real life, and I loved their perspectives. I really need to do this more often.


Michelle @ said...

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can comment! This party looks like it was a blast! Thanks for the tips!!!

Teamarcia said...

Thanks again for hosting! Its always fun to get together with my blogging peeps. : )