This was my first blogging / social media conference to attend, and I must say I loved it! I can totally see why so many bloggers attend conferences of this sort. These are the top things I loved about Evo ’11 and why YOU must consider going next year!
- The swag! I’m a sucker for free stuff, but when that free stuff is totally amazing…well, then, that’s even better. Brand spanking new New Balance shoes, enough breakfast from Nature’s Path Organic to feed my family for a couple of weeks, Me Ra Koh‘s book, Your Baby In Pictures. Is anyone jealous yet?
- Relational connections. I met so many great people (including awesome Today’s Mama staff) and came home with oodles of business cards to check out amazing blogs. I also LOVED getting to see Erica again after 5 years!
- Connecting the dots. You know how you have this online world of reading blogs, following tweets, and clicking through Facebook photos of people you’ve never actually met in person? (I know that sounds stalker-ish, so hopefully I’m not alone in that!) I loved connecting the dots in person. Sitting next to Tip Junkie during the opening dinner and keynote had me a little giddy inside.
- The food. It’s not often that you go to a conference and name the food as a top reason to go back, but it’s true. I found the food at Evo to be totally tasty and healthy. In my opinion, that’s a perfect combo that’s worth mentioning.
- The family fun. When I told my husband that he and the kids could accompany me to the Friday night dinner sponsored by Bush’s Beansand the Saturday night dinner sponsored by Together Counts, his reply was something like, “We’ll see.” He pictured himself as a the lone male amidst lots of mommy bloggers. Well, Saturday night he was thanking Rachael for the family love. Zooming down the slides at Park City Mountain Resort and a good old family game of finding flags using the GPS were the highlights for us. (Check out the Together Counts pledge where families are pledging to become more active and healthy together.)
- The keynotes. From the opening Ignite keynote to Jonny Sinclair talking about Oprah’s tweeting evolution, I felt energized and inspired in my blogging journey. Watch all the keynotes on the Evo Conference YouTube channel. They’re awesome.
- The sessions. I feel like I learned so much from the sessions I attended. Where topics like SEO and How To Grow Your Blog seemed like a mystery to me, I now have practical tools to increase my blog’s visibility. So.much.info.to.process. To read the highlights from all the sessions, read the Evo Conference blog.
- Emotion. You better believe that when you get around 350 women in a room that emotions will fly high. It’s in those emotions that a simple connection is made. A roomful of laughter erupted while watching Sesame Street’s I Love My Hair (as well as the alternate version of Whip My Hair) and a little boy getting down while dancing on Xbox. The tears came while watching how Xbox Kinect is benefiting autistic children and children in S. Africa. Connections were made through the laughter and tears.
- Sponsor suites. I started my conference off right by getting a massage at Aveda‘s sponsor suite. Totally amazing. The progressive dessert party gave us a chance to meet all the amazing sponsors. I loved chatting with the lovely ladies at the Kodak suite (find a kiosk where you can now print photos from Facebook), getting photographed in the Kudos suite, and talking about orphans in Africa in the Huggies suite (you must check out their Every Little Bottom campaign). They were all lovely people that treated us right!
If that last isn’t enough to convince you of the awesome fun of Evo ’11, check out the highlight video as well as the photos on Facebook. In full disclosure, no one asked me to write a post on how much I loved Evo ’11 or to plug Evo ’12. No, this is my own doing because it was seriously great fun, great connection, and great learning. I went knowing only one person and left with lots of new friends! (By the way…buy your Evo ’12 tickets for only $249 until September 1st!)