This past weekend, October 14-16, I learned a little of how to be Webconsuls' Chief Listening Officer (CLO). Yes, the C-Suite at many companies does now include a CLO and happily I attended Blog World Expo 2010 to learn how to listen, engage, and as @lizstrauss says "manage the present and create the future." This is my second year participating in Blog World and I will tell you it was an entirely different experience in many ways. Here are my "outtakes" from this year's conference:
Familiarity can make conference attendance a little easier. The on-line registration process was simple. Blog World's Blog allows potential attendees to get to know more about Blog World and the key players at Blog World. In addition to their blog, you can also stay current and engaged by "liking" them on Facebook and following them on Twitter @blogworld.
I flew Southwest Airlines again this year direct non-stop from Tucson to Las Vegas. Last year I was a bit overwhelmed by their boarding process, but what a difference a year makes. I like Southwest!
This year the conference venue was the Mandalay Bay Resort and Conference Center. I cannot say enough good about Mandalay Bay. I hope to do another post just about this experience. It was great to be able to enjoy the conference and know your suite was just upstairs, a short walk and elevator ride away.
During the past several months I "met" Deb Ng, Blog World's Conference Manager, Allison Boyer, a Blog World Blogger, and Rick Calvert, Blog World's Founder via Twitter, Facebook and blogging. I set a goal to meet them in person.
Over the past year I have also met some very interesting people, like John McLachlan, so engaging them at Blog World was a major goal for me.
KEYNOTES and SESSIONS
Deb Ng did a fantastic job of putting together a diverse conference schedule. I hope this link stays live for a while so you can peruse what life is all about at Blog World. (Disclaimer: I took advantage of the Weekend Pass, so I was not in town for the October 14 events.)
Blog World sessions are designed by tracks. For example, if you are a TRAVEL blogger you can opt to attend only sessions that deal with the travel industry or if you are non-profit you attend sessions and learn from the social media experts on how to tweak your social media campaigns. But...you can mix and match.
I attended three of the Keynote addresses, but the most provocative was Friday morning's State of Digital Communications in Politics with Mark Penn, Karen Hughes, Hugh Hewitt, and Reid Wilson. This keynote was moderated by Blog World's founder, Rick Calvert. (I learned for the first time that Rick is a self-described "political junkie.") For a few minutes Rick had to do some masterful moderating!
I chose sessions that had to do with SEO and monetization. The Social Media and Corporate America was very informative. Where else can you listen to expert strategists like Jeffrey Hayzlett (think KODAK), Frank Eliason (formerly of COMCAST, presently SVP of Social for Citi), Bonin Bough (PEPSICO) and Scott Monty (FORD Motor Company)? I think it was Mr. Hayzlett who cautioned us to remember "the customer owns the brand" and you better have a "Chief Listening Officer" in your C-Suite (no matter the size of your company).
I enjoyed meeting C.C. Chapman (I have been reading his blog for about six months) and learning from him on the panel "How to Hire a Social Media Agency."
Liz Strauss, Carol Roth and Terry St. Marie (@starbucker) are very personable and they offered valuable strategies for building your on-line business, such as "Think BIG and value your time!"
Friday afternoon I attended the Monetization Super Panel (two hour session). Learning from successful bloggers like: Anita Campbell, Darren Rowse, John Chow and Jeremy Shoemaker was exciting. They talked about affiliate marketing, Commission Junction, and provided a road map of how one can monetize their blog. The next morning I ran into Darren Rowse walking through the lobby of Thehotel at Mandalay Bay. We had a nice conversation.
Socialization, Exhibitors and More
Deb Ng and Allison Boyer. This took a little time as there were over 4000 people attending the conference. You would be surprised how hard it can be to spot someone with PINK hair...hello Allison! I saw Rick Calvert a lot, but he was BUSY. I did not meet him personally, maybe next year.
I was able to meet and spend some good time with John McLachlan. You can see our photo here. We were able to attend some sessions together and had a nice dinner.
For the first time GOOGLE was an exhibitor, specifically BLOGGER. This was wonderful as Webconsuls is a BLOGGER house, that is we use and recommend the BLOGGER platform. Imagine my surprise to meet Brett Wiltshire manning the BLOGGER/GOOGLE booth. Brett has been working on a question we posed about BLOGGER, so it was great to meet Brett in person. Also, I answered a BLOGGER survey and received a BLOGGER T-shirt.
I have a friend MaryAnn Martinez; she is a news reporter for Fox5News in Las Vegas. MaryAnn called me Saturday afternoon to tell me she had passes to see Shakira. Shakira's concert was Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Event Center(see photo below). Can you beat that? What a night!
Finally, while leaving Las Vegas, I had $7 in quarters that Dennis has given me prior to leaving Tucson. I played a slot machine at the Las Vegas airport and won $120. I put it in my pocket and waited for my flight home.
Ok, that is about it. I need to get back to work. If you were at BWE10, let me hear from you.
Hope to see you at Blog World Expo 2011.