DigitalSherpa, along with Mack Collier’s #BlogChat, are proud to be presenting sponsors for the upcoming: BlogH.O.T. Conference – Hands-On Training for Professional Bloggers. This first-of-its-kind conference that will give professional bloggers live, hands-on training through three concurrent tracks: Knowledge, Interactive, and Constructive. Along with Mack Collier, the conference will feature an all-star lineup of speakers that include C.C. Chapman, Marcus Sheridan, and Mark Horvath.
I recently sat down with Mack Collier – social media strategist, speaker, and founder of #BlogChat, the largest running Twitter chat – to get his insight and expectations regarding the upcoming BlogH.O.T. conference.
What can bloggers expect to get out of the Blog.H.O.T. conference?
With BlogH.O.T., we wanted to create a blogging conference where attendees learn by doing and interacting with others. We didn’t want to just send attendees home with pages of notes that they don’t understand, we wanted to teach attendees how to be better bloggers, so they can go back to their office when they get home and then show their boss and team what they learned.
I think a lot of social media conferences can become glorified social events. Which can still be a good thing, because what happens is that attendees spend a lot of time interacting with each other in the hallways between sessions and at dinners that night. For example, SXSW is one of the ‘must attend’ events in the social media space and a phrase you often hear about SXSW is ‘the magic happens in the hallways’. This is a big reason why we strived to build interaction into each and every session. We wanted attendees to be interacting with each other and the speakers as much as possible. Because that’s how we learn. In fact, we have an entire Interactive Track that’s designed so that two experts lead a room-wide discussion about a particular blogging topic.
Yes, there will be a Live #Blogchat to close out Day One. These are always very popular when I’ve done them at previous events, so we wanted to include one at BlogH.O.T. But past the Live session, really what we tried to do is incorporate what works with #BlogChat into the structure of BlogH.O.T. And this is where I again go back to having attendees and speakers interacting with each other. Those interactions are a great example of what has made #BlogChat so successful, and it will be a big benefit to BlogH.O.T. attendees.
Absolutely, this conference will be useful to anyone that wants to become a better blogger. Whether you blog for yourself, or a brand/business, and whether you are using your blog as a tool to build your business, or to just connect with like-minded individuals. Another reason why we wanted to focus on building interaction into the flow of the event is so every attendee can get customized attention and answers to their issues. Let me give you an example: Last year I did a Live #Blogchat at another conference, and we were discussing how companies can get their employees involved as part of their blogging team. One attendee spoke up and said that was almost impossible for her because she worked in a highly-regulated industry and her employees couldn’t blog so she had no idea how to create blog content. Another attendee jumped in and said he had dealt with that exact problem, then walked the attendee through how he fixed it. What I loved about that exchange is that by solving that one specific problem that the attendee had, that alone might have justified her entire trip to the conference. So while we want to give attendees a sense of direction on how to improve their blogging efforts and teach them how to be better, we also want to give them the exact answers to their exact problems. Because that’s where the value comes into play for attendees.
You know, I am really surprised at the amazing quality of the speakers that have committed to BlogH.O.T. What’s really awesome about this group is when I told them about the format of BlogH.O.T., and how we wanted to focus on teaching attendees how to be better bloggers, they all loved it and said they were in. As for individual speakers, I’ve already seen almost all of these speakers before, which is a big reason why we selected them, because they know their stuff and how to engage an audience and create value for them. But there are a few I haven’t seen yet that I am really looking forward to:
Marcus Sheridan’s Day Two Opening Keynote: I’ve never seen Marcus speak but everyone that has just raves about him. What I love about Marcus is his passion, plus he has a real-word case study on how he has used blogging to grow his business. I thought Marcus would be exactly what we needed to get started on Day Two; A kick in the pants and some inspiration to get started learning!
Jessica Northey and Tom Martin’s Interactive Session on Beyond Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook: Innovative Ways Brands Can Use Social Media to Connect with Customers on Day One: Tom and Jessica are two of the best-kept secrets in the social media space, and what I love about them both is that they are constantly experimenting with how brands can use social media and pushing the envelope. Whether it’s Tom’s Talking With Tom year-long campaign or Jessica doing live #CMChat events all across the country, both of these guys will give you some bold and new ideas for how brands can use social media to connect with customers.
Mark Horvath’s Closing Keynote: I just love passionate people, and especially people that are passionately devoted to helping others. I know a little bit about how Mark is using Invisible People and social media to help the homeless around the country, but I can’t wait to learn more from Mark. I have a feeling this could be the most talked about session from BlogH.O.T.