#BlogHer15 is the largest blogging conference for female content creators. It highlighted the power of women in business, and fueled creativity by presenting stories, lessons learned and tips and advice from great minds in the industry.
The informative sessions covered topics like gaming, coding, SEO and data, the art of partnerships, and how to "perfect your pitch." My personal favorites were “The Pitch,” “Brands on Bloggers,” and a few success stories from women in business.
A new part of the conference was introduced this year: The Pitch. Six contestants were selected to pitch their company concept in front of a panel of judges.
All candidates received live feedback in front of the audience. The panel then voted along with the audience to choose the 2015 Pitch Winner, who received, among other prizes, $100,000 in marketing support from the conference host.
The pitchers included:
- Luvvie Ajayi, Founder and Executive Director, The Red Pump Project
- Majora Carter, CEO, StartUp Box
- Courtney Macavinta, CEO, The Respect Institute
- Meghan Martinez, Founder, Keasy Lock
- Christine Souffrant, CEO and Founder, Vendedy
- Tanya Van Court, CEO and Chief Sower, Sow
Each pitch clearly impacted the audience as attendees took to social media to express their positive feedback:
— BlogHer (@BlogHer) July 18, 2015
Most eye-opening advice so far at #BlogHer15: As women we tend to add qualifiers when pitching an idea or talking about our work. DON'T.
— Christine Hanolsy (@hanolsy) July 18, 2015
— amy juicebox (@amyjuicebox) July 18, 2015
This year’s winner was Majora Carter: "I am a female entrepreneur and I am not afraid to cry. But I am upset that I'm ruining my makeup." - @majoracarter #BlogHer15 — SheKnows (@SheKnows) July 18, 2015
You As A Brand: Brands on Bloggers
The session on brand and blogger partnerships was also fascinating. The focus of the conversation was around the experiences of well-known brands and the four panelists who represent them:
- Mary Beth Brault, Everyday Good Thinking
- Angela Chambliss, Best Buy Blogger Network
- Sheila Dowd, GoDaddy, xiaolinmama
- Lauren Wesley Wilson, ColorComm, Inc.
When asked what advice she would give to bloggers, Mary Beth said that all brands are currently working with bloggers, and to focus on developing the relationship for the long-term — how bloggers approach brands does matters. “Great content is crucial, but so is writing, grammar and great photography,” she said.
Sheila Dowd related the brand/blog relationship to a dating relationship. She advised bloggers to know what they want first, then invest time in getting to know the brand. This way, bloggers can assess whether or not their objectives and the brand objectives align.
Angela Chambliss suggested you “do your homework,” and help the brand do theirs. Know how you can affect the brand’s bottom line, she said.
As much as these sessions were valuable, the real takeaway for me was less about skills and learning from the experts, and more about hearing real stories from women who have lived amazing lives and continue to push the status quo everyday. Women like Soledad O'Brien, the CEO of Starfish Foundation, who devotes her time to helping female scholars to and through college by assisting with finances and providing mentorship opportunities.
— Levo League (@levoleague) July 17, 2015
Teneshia Jackson Warner shared her story of leaving a successful corporate job at IBM to pursue her passions as a writer, speaker and CEO of her own successful marketing firm. She talked about her “defining moment,” which was when she realized she was at a crossroads and needed to, as she put it, “STRETCH” herself. Teneshia defined STRETCH as “the distance between your comfort zone and your dream.” Her advice for women:
S - Seek your truth
T - Test and learn
R - Run toward your dreams
E - Expand your thinking
T - Take risk
C - Commit to your success
H - Help people
Ava DuVernay shared her story of personal growth and plans for the future. When giving advice to the crowd, Ava encouraged attendees to “ask for what you want.”
Women helping women was a theme that kept coming up, and one that I think sums up the conference very well. Women came from all over the globe, sharing much more than a common skill set or love of the industry — there was authenticity, passion, conviction, enthusiasm and a lot of heart. The conference demonstrated the power of women and the effect they have on business. When women take on leadership roles, the impact is great.
— BlogHer (@BlogHer) July 17, 2015