I’m no stranger to conferences.
For the past five years, I’ve worked at, organized or attended more conferences than I care to remember. Big ones. Small ones. Good ones. Bad ones. You name it and I’ve probably either worked or been to it. (Fun Fact: I actually got my start in the public relations industry by volunteering on the logistics and operations teams of charity events.)
From both an insider’s and outsider’s perspective, none of these could compare to the BlueGlassX experience. From the accommodations, to the food, to the material presented, to the friendliness and openness of all in attendance–it really was an unforgettable event.
Having been with BlueGlass for just over a month, I could not wrap my mind around how well-planned and organized the team was in preparing for the show. I’m pretty sure I drove them crazy with my constant “checking in.” I kept thinking, we’re a week away. Why isn’t anyone running around in a panic? Why isn’t anything going wrong? I guess I should stop being so pessimistic. The reason is because our team knows what they are doing.
“You Had To Be Thair…”
We limited attendance to 125 this year, which proved to be appreciated by attendees who leveraged the opportunity for more meaningful networking and relationship building. Although many of the attendees have known each other for years, we also had a number of newcomers at this show, as well as a number of new BlueGlassers (including me!). By the end of the two days, you would’ve thought we all were old buds. The inside jokes still haven’t stopped. See #WinfieldHair.
It turns out, this has been going on for years. It was just brought to a whole new level this year.
Getting Down to Business
The sessions were jam-packed full of useful content. I can tell you that attendees (and even people who weren’t there) seem to have been blown away by the information shared during the presentations. Just check out some of these tweets:
(I had to add this last one, don’t judge me :)
As the designated live-tweeter for BlueGlass, I was too focused on grabbing soundbites to really absorb ALL of the information. Fortunately, we also had BlueGlass Editor, Michelle Lowery on hand to live-blog all of the sessions! Except for the super-secret parts, of course. ;-) Check out all of the the posts here:
- BlueGlassX Kickoff
- Harnessing Change and Chaos to Foster Marketing Innovation
- Beyond the Buzz: The True Power of Content Marketing
- Technical SEO Wizardry (How to Get the Most From Your Data)
- How to Build a Large, Passionate Audience from Scratch With No Connections
- Link Building Strategies That Actually Work
- Local and Mobile Domination: Harnessing the Changing SERPs
- Mastering New and Hidden Paid Search Strategies
- Transforming Your Visitors Into a Dedicated and Passionate Community
- Secrets of PR Success: Real Tactics for Building a Massively Popular Brand
- Boser, Clark, Friesen & Zwicky Wrap Up BlueGlassX
We’ve also uploaded most of the speaker’s presentations on SlideShare. You can view and download them here.
Then There’s The Networking
Well, I think these tweets pretty much say it all:
Oh, There Was Food Too
BlueGlassX really is all about the eXperience. From the time you step off your plane (car, bicycle, moped, what have you) to the time you leave the venue, we work hard to keep you happy. This includes lots of food and drinks. The Sheraton Riverwalk in downtown Tampa was absolutely amazing to work with. Everyone we interacted with was incredibly accommodating to both BlueGlass staff and BlueGlassX guests. They put out quite the spreads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well.
I can’t forget the after-parties. We turned the Sheraton’s Riverwalk Room into a BlueGlassX arcade, because how else do you celebrate a successful first day? The biggest hit by far was the photo booth. (Next year, there will be a Winfied Hair prop ;) BlueGlassers got pretty competitive with the basketball game too. And what’s a better way to cap off the last night than an adult hot chocolate bar? Yep, you read that right.
So About That eXperience
All-in-all, I would say everyone seemed pretty happy with the event. Exhibit A:
Through The Eyes of a BlueGlasser
BlueGlassX was an amazing bonding experience for our team. Not only did we all get to learn about the space we work in from industry leaders, we also really got to learn a lot more about each other. But before I get to my key take-aways, I would like to share what some of my colleagues had to say about the experience:
Content Promotion Specialist, Brittany Klontz said: “My most memorable moment of BlueGlassX was the overall energy that was coming from the entire BlueGlass team. For those two whole days, we lived, slept, ate, and breathed BlueGlass and everyone was so proud to be a BlueGlasser. As an employee of BlueGlass, it was an incredible feeling to know that you’re a part of a company that is considered a forward-thinking business in its space by so many other leaders in Internet Marketing.”
Senior Account Manager, Amy Do said that BlueGlassX is different from other industry events because: “People wanted to be there. It wasn’t forced – people wanted to network, talk to others and learn.”
Social Media Analyst, Tori Cushing said: “The most memorable moment for me was socializing during the breaks and happy hours. I really liked being able to make so many new connections so comfortably.”
I second all of the above, but my most memorable moment from the show was during the last panel when Todd Friesen, Greg Boser, Brian Clark, and Richard Zwicky agreed the fundamental characteristic of a good SEO or digital marketer is to “be good” or “be generous.” I experienced one of those ah-ha moments when I realized that I truly love my job and respect the people I work with. And trust me–I’m not just saying that. To quote Richard, “There’s a lot of garbage out there, but there’s also a lot of good. Focus on completing the circle, doing it right, move on instead of doing it half-assed. We should all just wake up and do that all the time.”
Another statement that really resonated with me was from Brian Clark when he said, “Content’s not a fad. You don’t go backwards from this. Our job is to either be a pioneer, or serve the pioneers. If people have objections, let them object.” Being someone who loves to write and values good content, this is music to my ears. With that–and the fact that I love helping people–content marketing seems a natural fit for me. I really look forward to what’s in store for BlueGlass, and to being a part of the experience while learning from some really great people along the way.
Unable to make it this time? Join us at BlueGlassX LA on May 21st and 22nd, 2013. We have some exciting announcements about the show coming in the next few days…