Over the weekend I attended the inaugural Midwest Moms Media Brands and Bloggers Summit, right here in Chicago.
It was fantastic.
BBSummit is a one-day conference meant to, as you can probably guess from its title, bring brands and bloggers together to talk about how we can all play in the same sandbox.
It did that.
The sold-out conference took place in one huge ballroom at the Doubletree Magnificent Mile, which was really nice. With 150 bloggers from all over the Midwest (and I think a couple flew in from other areas, too) seated at huge, round tables, we all experienced the same agenda all day. The sessions were:
Building Blogger & Brand Relationships – What’s the best way to pitch a blogger? What’s the best way to pitch a brand? How, when, where?
Moderated by: Barbara Rozgonyi
Bloggers Panel: Beth Rosen of 4Keys Media, Duong Sheahan of Digital Girlfriends, Dwana De LaCerna of Houseonahill.org / Chicagonista, Meagan Francis of MeaganFrancis.com, Stephanie Precourt of Adventures of Babywearing, Wendy Piersall of WooJr.com
Brands Panel: Connie Burke for GMC, Nicole Simonds for FlatOut Bread, Sheila Bernus Dowd for Clever Girls Collective and Ubisoft
FTC Guidelines Overview and How it Impacted the PR and Blogger World
Speaker: Sarah Evans
Catching Traditional Media’s Air Waves – Beyond Press Releases
Speaker: Nancy Loo of WGN-TV
Taking The Stage – Lights, Camera, Be Ready!
Speaker: Miss Lori
EVERY. SINGLE. SESSION. was fascinating, and there was so much useful information flying around the room that this conference will be rattling around in my head for a long time to come. (My buddy Michelle took copious notes: I’m not kidding, her fingertips were click-click-clicking on her keyboard all day long. Check out her recap of the first session, here.)
In between sessions we networked with each other and with brands that were present, including Flatout Bread, Ubisoft, IZEA, PopChips, Mario Tricoci, Verizon, and many more. It was FUN.
I was excited to finally meet Sheila Bernus Dowd from Clever Girls Collective (are you a Clever Girl yet? No? GO CHECK IT OUT AND APPLY!), which is one of my favorite companies in the world, and I even helped Sheila recruit some Clevers at their table, since she also had to man, er wo-man, the Ubisoft table (Ubisoft is a CGC client).
After the day’s sessions were over, we all headed over to the John Hancock Observatory for the (first) after party. (Many of my friends made fun of me for attending since I am a Skydeck Chicago Ambassador this summer, but I never claimed exclusivity to Skydeck: I’m for all Chicago tourist attractions! Plus? I love JHO and the folks there. So hush, friends!) The party was lovely.
I had to catch a train so I missed the after-after party at GRAMI, but I wouldn’t have been any fun. At about 9:30 p.m., after such a long day, I felt myself mentally snap. I was done, and wanted to be home, in my own bed. (Longest train ride ever!)
I hear that the conference trended locally on Twitter for most of the day: I’m not surprised, because the tweets were flying. As I sat there at my table, right up front, I kept looking around the room and it just felt so incredible to be in the same room as so many of the people I’ve met and spent time with over the last four years I’ve been blogging. The size of the conference was perfect.
That said, it made me even more excited about BlogHer, which is coming up in 2 1/2 weeks (and is much larger: 2500-3000 bloggers?). This was a great warm-up for what’s to come: I can’t wait!
Congratulations to MJ Tam and her team for pulling off an amazing, amazing day.
You? Should consider attending next year. Yes, you.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to attend #BBSummit11 and was not asked to write about it but loved it and decided to do just that!