Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fitness+Blogging = Fitbloggin' 2012!

This weekend I attended FitBloggin' 2012 in Baltimore, MD.  If you are a fitness or healthy living blogger, I HIGHLY recommend you attend this conference next year.

What is FitBloggin'?  

FitBloggin' is a conference that brings together fitness and healthy living bloggers to talk about passion for fitness, food, living a healthy lifestyle, and to learn more about building your blog, using social media to expand your reach, and optimizing your content.

Why did I go?

Friends tried to persuade me to go to BlogHer this year, but it seemed like a lot of money for my itty-bitty blog.  Plus, I wanted something more running fitness focused.  So I was THRILLED to discover FitBloggin' was in my neck of the woods this year.  I figured I would go, mingle just a bit, learn just a little bit, and get just a little bit of free stuff.  Wow, was I wrong.  I learned A TON, met LOTS of really great people, and... well, holy swagballs:

FitBloggin 2012 Swag
Just some of the awesome swag.

What did I learn? 

First of all, I NEED A CAMERA.  (Also, if anyone is keeping track, an iPad would be awesome.)  My silly iphone just isn't cutting it.  So, unfortunately, pictures on this post will be few.

More substantially:

I learned that video and vlogs are a powerful tool in reaching a broader audience.  Did you know that?  I had NO IDEA.  Sarah Dussault of SarahFit.com talked about how to "Harness the Power of YouTube."  I'm not sure if I'm ready to step in front of the camera just yet, but the possibility has definitely piqued my interest.  If only my fashion consultant and make-up artist didn't live thousands of miles away.

I also learned that even though I'm on Twitter, I really have no idea what I'm doing there.  Emily Sanford, owner of Authentically Social, talked about Using Social Media to Drive Blog Traffic, which I found fascinating.  There are lots of sites out there that can help you determine how far your reach extends, and will even tell you whats the best time of day to tweet so you'll reach more of your followers!  Knowing your numbers is key, apparently.  And pretty darn interesting, if you ask me.

Emily Sanford FitBloggin 2012
(From FitBloggin Live Blog)

I also really enjoyed the panel on Building Your Brand with Amy Nowacoski of Fat Girls CAN Run.  Who is 'Ama?  Why should I follow 'Ama?  Where is 'Ama going? (not to bed like I should be, I can tell you that!)  I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and its been rather overwhelming.  This session really gave my thoughts some direction, and you'll be seeing some changes in the next few months!

I also learned about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which I had heard of, but never really knew what it was about, or what to do with it.  Brandi Koskie of DietsinReview.com spoke on Driving Traffic Through SEO, which I found to be so helpful: tag your pictures, title your blog pages (different from blog posts), use trending keywords when possible.  Apparently there is a certain way to talk to Google (and other web engines), and I am not yet fluent in that language.

Driving Traffic through SEO Fitbloggin 2012
Learning about SEO (from FitBloggin Live Blog)

Lastly, but definitely not least, I learned how to connect with brands and maybe make a little dough from my blog.  Kelly Olexa of FitFluential talked about Monetizing through the Pitch. I've never had dreams of making any significant money off my blog, but a few bucks here and there would be nice. Especially considering the time it takes to maintain this puppy.  So this was an insightful session for me.

And there were SO MANY other discussions and panels to attend.  I wasn't able to make all of them, but I still feel I got my money's worth and so much more.

PLUS...I met so many amazing bloggers:

Run, Write, Conquer who is now less of a runner and more of a cross-fitter AND she is transitioning into competing!  We had a great conversation about Cross-Fit and she's moved me just a little bit closer to checking it out.

Ericka of The Sweet Life is training for her 7th marathon (I'll wait while you process that.  Yes, 7!!).  She'll be running the Marine Corps again this year.  DJ Research is also running MCM, so I'll be there to cheer her on!

Meg of RunFitKin is training for her 2nd marathon (CIM).  She also recently ran Hood-to-Coast, which I'd love to do some day.

Laura of Mommy Run Fast completed her first marathon last year AND her first triathalon this past year.  She is also mom to a beautiful daughter.

Tim of Midpack Runner will be running the Amica Marathon in Newport, Rhode Island and has a super informative blog on all things running.  Check it out!

Hit the Road Jane will be running 3 more half marathons this year--that's one per month--and she'll finish 2012 with 10 half-marathons under her belt!  She'll be tackling her first full marathon in February 2013.

Jaime, founder of Fit Approach, is an ultrarunner and recently ran Pine to Palm.  I. am. so. jealous.

And  my blogger-celebrity sighting of the conference: Miss Zippy.  I've been following her blog for a while, and learn so much from her.  I actually mustered up the nerve to ask for her autograph introduce myself, and it was super cool to meet her in person.

FitBloggin 2013 will be in Portland, Oregon next year.  I REALLY want to go (family vacation, maybe?), but its too soon to make a final decision.  If you're on the fence about attending, I HIGHLY recommend you do, especially if you live on the west coast.  Its truly a great experience!

Back on the Home Front

DJ Research and Nugget had a blast themselves while I was partying it up in Baltimore.  The DJ kept sending me pictures of their adventures.  Nugget apparently  took care of the grocery shopping and paid some bills over the phone:

He also indulged in his obsession for water fountains:

I was so thankful for these pictures.  As much as I enjoyed FitBloggin, I sure did miss my boys.

What is the most helpful blogging tip anyone has given you?  Have you ever attended a blogging conference?



  1. It was really great to meet you at FitBloggin Ama!! I'm in the same boat as you, feeling itty-bitty as a blogger, and got a good amount out of the conference that helped inspire and inform me! I have some video of you running that made it into the overall video that me, Erika, Sana and Gabby made. I'll try to figure out a way to send it over to you so that you can use it as b-roll if you ever step in front of the camera and need some extra footage!

    1. So great to meet you too! And thanks for running with me. Next time I'll show up on time! Saw the video you guys made and its awesome! I was impressed that you whipped it together so quickly. Do you think you'll be doing more?

  2. So happy you got SO much out of this conference! AND ALL THAT SWAG!!!!!! Youʻre really on your way, Ama....canʻt wait to see/hear more.

    1. Awww, you're my biggest fan. Definitely my tallest fan. Did you see the little shout-out to you I put in the post?

    2. Yes....of course I noticed! I read that particular paragraph multiple times because of it.... :)

  3. This is such a great recap! It's hard to know how to wrap it all together, I love that you also shared snippets of things you learned. I'm trying to figure out how to include that soon. So glad I got to meet you!!

    1. Thank you! Wrapping up such an awesome weekend is really difficult; I felt like I could just keep writing. It was so great to meet you too!

  4. Thanks for that updated info, a fantastic service for everyone. More power to you!