Social media conferences are popping up all over the place. But none truly engage, educate, and collaborate with business as flawlessly as the EVO Conference hosted by Rachael from Today's Mama and Jyl from Mom It Forward. If you re a blogger who wants to know how to use your blog to create your impossible dream, if your a business wondering how to properly sell using social media, or if you're just curious to how this online world works... you'll want to keep reading.  {snicker}

EVO Conference Facebook LikeMy roommates and yes we all "LIKE" each other! {snicker}   Mandi, Me, Jamielyn,and  Kami

Be warned this post will be a little long as I share:
  1. What I learned at EVO and what you should know too!
  2. Influential people you should be following.
  3. Insider tips and how to get the most out of a social media conference.
  4. What you can do at home to grow your own blog and business.
Would you believe it is possible to live your impossible dream?  Who knew 4 years ago that I would be able to make a living promoting creative women through their products and tutorials?  Who knew Me Ra Koh could charge $30,000 as a wedding photographer?  Seriously, who knew?

That's my biggest take-away from the EVO Conference this year and I want to share with you how you can create your impossible dream!

Bush Baked Beans Photo OPBush's Baked Beans hosted Friday Night's Party with fun Photo Ops!

Why Attend EVO?

At EVO Rachael and Jyl do what they do best ~ Engage women in important conversations! Yep, that's really all it's about. They are masters at engaging bloggers, business, and even large corporations in conversations in a very organic and non-advertorial way.  This is the key to making money online!
  • At EVO you'll network with the most influential and brilliant women on the planet.  You'll learn from them, eat with them, dance with them, and before you know it you'll be working with them. ..
  • You'll be entertained and have so much fun as you fill out your passport while engaging with popular brands.  Attending are influential corporations like Kodak, X-box, Sesame Street, McDonalds, Huggies, Southwest, Aveda, PBS Kids, Mars brands, Johnson and Johnson, and New Balance to name a few. ..
  • You'll learn how to properly run your business. Why?  Because blogging is a business Ladies!  It doesn't have to be ~ but it can earn you some cash, gain some amazing exposure for your talent, and be a launching pad to make your impossible dreams come true. .. At EVO you're not going to learn the fluff -  you'll learn about Email marketing, Syndication, Apps and Tech Gadgets, how to work with designers and programers, YouTube strategies, SEO, Media Skills, Growing Your Blog, Photography, and HTML.  These are serious skills that you'll need to take your blog or online store to the next level.
This year EVO also had a mobile app!  It was really cool as it was so easy to see my schedule at a glace.  I used it over and over again throughout the conference to keep me flowing from session to session without feeling lost or out of the loop.

EVO Conference Jo PackhamMe and Jo Packham with Where Women Create Magazine {And YES I'll be speaking at TCC again this year!}

The #1 best thing about a conference is networking!  I know it's really tempting to hang around your friends who you are really comfortable with and who you don't get to see all the time.  But branch out!  Resist the urge to be safe and extend your circle of friends.  The speakers and people walking the halls are hidden jewels of information and brilliant beyond belief.  Meeting these women is the key to success in social media.  You'll work together, you'll share strategies and tips, you'll be able to stay-in-the-know by Skyping with each other and talking on the phone over the next year.

EVO Conference Danielle SmithMe and Danielle

Seriously, that's really the success to TipJunkie.com ~ it wouldn't be as successful as it is today with out the women I associate and collaborate with.  Hands down networking has given me an edge and tools that I wouldn't have been able to receive on my own.  Here's a great article to give you some conference networking tips:  Networking: How To Effectively Mingle With People at Conferences.

EVO Conference Ignight Jenny doing her Ignite Presentation ~ She ROCKED it!

EVO {The Evolution of Women in Social media}  truly has it's pulse on trends and current issues.  This year they opened up the conference with several impressive Ignite Videos from fellow bloggers.  Check out a few of my favorites:
  • Meredith Sinclair kicks off Ignite Evo by describing how she rediscovered her "play" button and encourages us all to find the fun in life by taking time to play.
  • Rachael Herrscher Ignite Video - Rachael tells the story of how a life-threatening event helped her discover the importance unplugging from technology at times to focus on face-to-face relationships at Ignite Evo.
  • Jenny Ingram gives 6 steps to ignite your inner sparkle at Ignite Evo.
  • Helen Jane Hearn shares her method for coming up with good ideas at Ignite Evo.
These women talked about their passions which are actually an important part of their businesses!  Yep, there's money in igniting your inner sparkle! {dude}

EVO Conference '11Barbara, Me and Alli {I'm sandwiched by greatness}

Social Media Tips Unmasked

This year EVO had live bloggers who captured important take-aways in each class for those who couldn't attend the conference. WOW!  These articles are so valuable and you will learn a lot.  So read them quick before EVO realizes that they should be charging a membership fee for this stuff!

Beginning SLR Photography with Justin HackworthMe and Justin being cheeky at the camera ~ Thanks Trevor!

My first class was Beginning SLR Photography with Justin Hackworth - Now that you’ve purchased that expensive camera, how do you create the type of high-quality, beautiful photos? Justin Hackworth to the rescue. In Thursday’s Beginning SLR Photography class, Justin lead a hands-on discussion on how to get your camera to capture the image you’re envisioning.

EVO Conference Craft BloggersKelly, Melissa, Kim, Me, Maya, Tsh, and Shelley

Email Marketing Tips and Best Practices

My second class I took was the E-Mail Marketing: Tips and Best Practices panel, that link will take you to the live blogging notes, but here are my personal notes and take aways from the session.
  • Set up proper expectations during signup process
  • Earn trust
  • Provide value
  • Make subject line compelling
  • Flow to email then to website
  • So compelling they want to share it with their friends.
Who are you trying to reach and what are you trying to tell them.
  • Did you feel welcomed
  • What was your reaction
  • Was it easy
  • Check privacy language
Strong call to action!
  • Don't forget your goals
  • Don't worry about being redundant
  • Be your best self.
So expect a better Tip Junkie newsletter as I plan on really using these strategies and making the newsletter even more valuable than it is today.  Really quickly, did you know that you receive several fabulous free printables when you sign up for the  Tip Junkie newsletter?  Yep, it's worth a quick subscribe! {wink}

EVO Conference GroupMe, Carley, Jenny, and Meredith ~ Bonding!

My third class was Syndication - you've heard of it, but is it for you?  Get tips on who to work with and what questions to ask, learn about compensation, and find out how it can affect your website.  Here are my notes from the Syndication panel by Dina Freeman, Robyn Hessinger, and Sheila Bernus Dowd. You'll be blown away at how simple steps of re-purposing your old blog posts can earn you some cash, gain influence as an expert in your field, as well as give you some powerful SEO juice.

EVO Conference Party Alli, Me, Barbara, Catherine, and Danielle

The Business of Blogging

The fourth session of EVO I attended was full of great information!  When in the business of blogging, a great first impression is key.  Learn how to secure sponsorships from brands and agencies with top-notch pitches and proposal.  Get the low down on how to keep brands coming back with ROI reports and campaign recaps.  I took so many notes that they wouldn't fit here, so check out my post on the amazing panel from Danielle Wiley and Carol Schiller.

Kim squeezing my tush!

Of course there was a LOT of fun and crazy times at EVO.  That's just what naturally happens when you get a bunch of fabulous and talented women together!  No, it's not all work.  Don't tell my family but there is a lot of play that happens as well.  There are many memories to be had!

EVO Conference KodakMe and Jeanette Playing in the Kodak Suite

One Minute Elevator Pitch

My last session was the most difficult for me.  I took the hands-on media skills workshop by Teri Goudie who's resume and career in this field is more than impressive.  I just might have choked when it was my turn to preform. {sigh}  However, I am determined to over-come my stage-fright! We learned way too much to explain here but I will give you her 7 questions to ask yourself for the most effective one minute elevator pitch:
  1. What do you want me to do?
  2. Why should I listen to you?
  3. What is the true dilemma?
  4. What is your theme?
  5. Prove it with one comparison.
  6. What you may be wondering is...
  7. Close with a verbal picture.
The key is to have your very specific target in mind and then answer these questions as if they were sitting in front of you.  Keep the answers to these questions short and to the point.  Then just read it as one long paragraph and you'll have your very own elevator pitch!

EVO Conference '11 MayaMe Ra Koh and Me {Laughing at John}

One of my new favorite people I met at the conference is MeRa Koh who gave the closing keynote on her journey and passion for photography.  Holy smokes she is so inspiring!  You can check out her recap of EVO and Why Attend a Social Media Conference article to get her point of view.  Follow Her!  She lives her biggest dream and actively teaches others how to do the same.

  • What is your impossible dream?
  • Your creative voice never makes sense but it's always has your best interest at heart.
  • Creation starts in the unknown - the dark.
  • Ask yourself what are three things you can do to open yourself up for a more creative and impossible life?

You can also check out her Closing Keynote Video - Me Ra Koh, an incredibly candid inspiring speaker shares it all, the highs and the lows, (even the times her family has lived with monkeys and apes in Thailand's jungle!), all the while empowering you to join her in living your impossible!

EVO Conference Dance

The Art of the Follow Up

Whew!  Ok, you made it home from a conference with all of these new friends, new information, and a ton of business cards.  What do you do next?

Can you tell that I had the best time and learned so much on this trip?!?  Normally when I attend a conference I pick the topics that I'm most excited to learn about.  But considering I've been around the block, I changed my focus this time and took classes on topics that I knew nothing about!  That was the perfect strategy for EVO as now I feel like I am armed with an entirely new arsenal of information to make TipJunkie.com even better and more effective. I know I gave you a TON of information, so feel free to ask questions here in the comments or over on the Tip Junkie Facebook Page.  I'd be happy to answer all that I can.  {you know I've got your back!}

More Tips From Conferences:

Also, don't forget to check out the Tip Junkie Facebook page for even more blogging tips, creative ideas, and free tutorials.

Tip Junkie ~ Laurie Turk

Creating Memories that Endure,

Laurie