I know this post is a little late, but I’ve been traveling all over western PA with a Toddler for the past 10 days – so finding time to sit down and write out about something MOM enjoyed, well, took a back seat.
CEDAR POINT! Throw your hands in the air if you have ever been to this INSANE amusement park. We used to go EVERY SUMMER as I was growing up – and let me tell you, it was fun and weird to see it again so many years later. So, I won’t lie – the fact that BloggyCon13 was at Cedar Point as a little bit of a selling point for me as well! (Really – how many times do you think New Yorkers make it there?)
BONUS: Nicole and I got a moms-only road trip. (Um yeah, this too also happens once a blue moon – so again, I was sold. Plus I would learn lots of cool new things right?)
I met LOTS of really awesome new bloggers. I think the best part of BloggyCon13 is getting out of your routine. You start blogging, you’re busy, you’re a mom- and boom – you’re stuck in this boring routine that no one wants to read about anymore. Or well, maybe they do – but hearing different ways of reaching readers, seeing how passionate moms really are about their blogging, and finding a way to reach their audience – it was very inspiring! From a business stand point as well, it was eye-opening to see the broad spectrum of knowledge of social media and marketing – from some bloggers not using Twitter or understanding it (does anyone really though? haha) to others using advanced tools like Hootsuite to manage and monitor their accounts.
Shout-out to all the awesome bloggers I met – check out their sites and show them some love:
- Beth Nowak over at Giving Families - a really cool concept!
- Nicole and I’s newest Canadian friend, Katrina Thom, over at From The Stash
- Pittsburgher Lea over at Shh! Momma’s Writing
- The amazing Laura Kelly of Laura Kelly Designs – those cute little me and my peeps I know you’ve seen around
- My newest New Yorker mom blogger connection who plans Disney trips! Score! Gina Vercesi over at Gina@Mickey Travels
And of course:
- Tiffany Noth at Bloggymoms.com
- Debba Haupert the founder from Girlfriendology - was AMAZING!
Sverve and SEO. These were the two classes I took into serious consideration. When I started blogging, it was all for fun. And as a blogger, now I think there is a fine line between writing for fun, and making a profit and actually reaching more readers than just your aunt (sorry, Kimmy! haha)
Sverve is a great network for bloggers because (1) you get access to lots of paid opportunities as a blogger and (2) it gives you a reality check as to JUST how powerful of a reach you have – based on your blog, your social media reach, and your sverve influence. Needless to say, my score is lower than my ego thought, so now I know where and how to start perfecting my reach.
SEO – oh Dan Morris, you’ve ruined me. I can now never go back to just ‘writing.’ Now writing has become a process – a process of research and data collection and keyword analysis. Now I just can’t write about creepy baby shower cakes, I have to find the best way to get that article into the hands of people who want to READ about creepy baby shower cakes. But, it takes a little time and money to make money, and let’s just say – Dan Morris knows what he is doing. And you have to appreciate someone who is really invested in YOU succeeding, and is easy to reach and communicate with should you have a question.
Frankly, I was way more interested in finding the line of success for my clients using their own blogs for profitability, and I use mine to test theories for them. If I can get my dentist in Pittsburgh to rank and reach more users JUST by writing a blog post once a week, why wouldn’t I?
Well, I hate to nit pick, but I mean, I wouldn’t be who and where I am without it! I don’t think I should call this the ‘bad section’ but the – ‘what I would like to see next year’ column- but hey – the titles go together.
Mad props to Tiffany Noth for pulling off BloggyCon13 all on her own – she does a great job, but if she’s listening (I bet she is because she’s a social media addict like us all), next year I hope to have a little more one-on-one time. I think one of the greatest pieces of this conference, were when we broke into ‘group discussion.’
My favorite part of BloggyCon13 is that it’s smaller and easier to talk to and meet people instead of just a huge, discombobulated mess of a conference. And I want to take advantage of that, and be able to chat one-on-one or one-on-group with more of the attendees (and speakers!)
I love that you get free tickets to the park as part of the conference, but I would’ve still liked to spend more time with the bloggers (maybe others want to get out early to go to the park!) but for me, I would’ve rather taken more advantage of spending time brainstorming on all the latest changes to online marketing and blogging, and how other bloggers are navigating the highway. Some of the best conversations I had happened while dining in TGI Fridays Friday night and meeting and chatting with other attenders, like Brad (who was the conference photographer) and Jeannine Crooks (speaker on affiliate marketing, from Affiliate Window) – we dove in and discussed lots of possibilities happening in the industry. I believe this is what would’ve happened at the opening night party – had it not been 30 degrees outside where we were supposed to meet! (and if nicole and I had actually packed for cold weather – LOL!)
Ok, here comes my New Yorker. Listen, like I said, I LOVE Cedar Point – we went EVERY YEAR. However, it’s now 2013, not 1993. With all the money the resort charges you and makes, you would think they could make a few ‘minor’ updates.
Such as – did we miss that this country has an obesity problem? I am not one to point fingers – but when I am stuck some where for an entire weekend with zero options to eat anything but fried food, I question if it’s somewhere I want to take Maxmio when he’s older as well. I understand that it’s a getaway, and you should live a little and have a funnel cake, but when I am there for three days, and all I can eat is corndogs, TGI Fridays, and funnel cakes, we need a healthy (er) option. At least once!
My continued rant on this – charging me $5 for “starbucks” coffee and then not even having milk or creamer to use in the coffee. You might call it a minimal issue – but I want and need my coffee every morning, and literally, this can make or break me staying in this resort next year. If I have access to “healthier food” and coffee by staying OUTSIDE the resort, I question just how valuable and convenient it is to park and stay within the resort.
I usually don’t really care about amenities, and I get it – you’re spending all the time in the amusement park, and not in the room. BUT – I mean, again, it is 2013 – is it really too much to ask for an updated television set? This one could possibly be older than me. We have kids, and if it’s raining, or they may not be feeling good, I’d like to know I can at least watch something on television besides fuzzy reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Nicole also made me aware of how awful the towels are. Awful. Like, rip your skin off awful.
So anyways, I am just one mom, and I am not REALLY that high maintenance, so Cedar Point – I feel I am doing you a favor by giving you a little insight into how other moms probably feel too. And, if you want to attract more people to come from farther away, I think maybe you need to step up your game a little.
So, sorry Cedar Point – but hey, if no one says anything, nothing will change! I think the actual amusement side of the park as still awesome as ever, but I think it’s time to look at all the components of the family stay, not just the thrill.
Overall, I know Nicole and I look forward to attending BloggyCon14 next year, however, I think we will probably be staying down the street instead of at Hotel Breakers this time, unless Cedar Point makes some serious changes in the next 12 months. Also, I think we might bring the kiddies – so I’d love to stay (ahem) at Cedar Point, but only if I know I can give Maximo the best experience he can get.
Just being honest, isn’t that what blogging is all about?!
Author: Stephanie Barnhart
Stephanie is a published author—featured in the New York Times, NY Metro Parents Magazine, PARENTGUIDE NEWS, as well as an #expertmom for MommyNearest.com, and contributing author to KidzCentralStation.com and Kidville.com’s Voices of the ‘Ville — author and speaker/consultant on motherhood and the importance of marketing and research in a business arena, specifically online. She also owns her own social media company, www.socialmindedmediagroup.com