How I’ll Sleep My Way to the Top: BlogHer 14

By on 5-16-2011 in Affiliate Marketing, Conferences & Networking

Yes, my title was totally meant to get you to click.  Linkbait for the win!

A couple weeks ago I attended BlogHer ’14 in San Jose.  This was the 10th BlogHer conference, but my first.  I’ve been thinking of going for some time, wondering if it would be beneficial for both of my two lives – my affiliate manager day job, and my blogger night job.  Well, that question was answered.  Since the conference was taking place in San Jose, a short distance from me, it seemed like a sign that I should finally attend and see what it was all about.  Even though I took my Nikon D5000 with me, it ended up staying in my room the whole conference as most of the picture ops were selfies, and taking a selfie with a huge DSLR is incredibly cumbersome.  So excuse the sub-par photo quality!

Our #ImEnough Room GraffitiThe Networking

There were plenty of opportunities for schmoozing.  I took part in a mini geek meetup before the opening party courtesy of Williesha Morris’ wrangling and wore my awesome Sodium Batman t-shirt (seen in the pic), which got me plenty of compliments throughout the expo hall that night.  I appreciated that there was time in the agenda dedicated to checking out the expo hall.  Some booths changed over the 3 days, but most didn’t, so it was nice to get that “swag run” in at once for the bulk and let my conference bag live in my room for the rest of the conference so I could instead carry my fashionable bag with iPad and such in it.

Most of the meals were great for networking as well.  Instead of buffet style, meals were at the tables, so you never had to get up, or excuse yourself… once you found a place to sit, you could relax for the entirety of the keynotes and meals.  I like that they were combined as well, but on some level that did sort of hinder the networking once they started.  I met a few people at the tables, but note to self: next time I need to be more outgoing and introduce myself instead!

There were also suite parties, which apparently were supposed to be limited in the number of people invited, or who could register to attend, but through some snafu with Eventbrite, they had to open them up to everyone.  One was just two doors down from our room, and it was one I was actually interested in the product for to talk about on Girl Scout Guide.  But it was so crowded people spilled into the halls and by the time I waited for it to die down a touch, they were out of any items to give away but gave me some info.  I feel like those could have been good networking opportunities had they been a bit tamer.  I heard it got so bad that people were bribing others to get off the elevators in the Hilton so they could get on!  No thanks!

The Sessions

Trisha Lyn Fawver listening intently at a BlogHer SessionI tried to balance my attendance of sessions between what would benefit me as a blogger and what might be interesting to learn from an affiliate manager perspective.  I went to several sessions on writing and being a writer, which were a bit of a review for me, but I still ended up with some notes (that I’ll share in separate posts for you).  Overall I was disappointed that there were not more actionable items that I could bring back to my business of blogging to apply.  During one session, an attendee actually took time to criticize the way the panel was talking about things and how she wasn’t learning anything, which, aside from being rude, the moderator apologized and said that the BlogHer 14 organizers had encouraged the speakers to be more anecdotal with less slides.  Which is a bit disappointing as I think a lot of more advanced bloggers were looking less for stories and more for take-homes to improve their blogs or businesses.  I had assumed, going in, that I’d learn a TON about being a blogger, when in fact most of the sessions were review for me and I discovered I was able to answer a lot of the questions people asked.

I also didn’t like how monetization was somewhat demonized.  In the freelance writing panel I attended, someone in the audience put it best “You can’t take exposure to the grocery store”.  Preach, sister!  So I wonder why making money was not brought up more.  A lot of times in sessions and the 10×10 project talks, I would hear someone reference monetizing something in a way that sounded vaguely like affiliate marketing, but no one used those words.  It wasn’t until the second day that I heard someone use the words “Affiliate Marketing”.  I feel like a lot of this community just doesn’t know how easily they could monetize their content, even old content, effectively.

Which, as you might expect, means I’ll be looking out for how to submit a speaker proposal for BlogHer 15.

The Keynotes

Delicious State Fair Fried Dough ice cream from Baskin RobbinsTalk about star power: three of the keynotes were major celebrities: Comedienne Tig Notaro, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and actor/activist Kerry Washington.  The 4th keynote was from The Bloggess herself, Jenny Lawson, who I’d never heard of before but she was hilarious so she’s on my radar now.

Tig Notaro was a relatively unknown, working comic until a couple of years ago when she went through her mother dying suddenly, a serious breakup, and a cancer diagnosis all in a few months span and decided “screw it” one night and went on stage to talk about it.  It made waves and Louis C.K. pushed her to let him distribute it on his website, and it was amazing.  She did a comedy set, which was hilarious, and then a Q&A with one of the BlogHer founders.  It was very insightful and I loved her humor.  I went out and bought her album Good One since a lot of people in the Q&A referenced jokes from that album.  It is, indeed, a good one.

I’ve been a fan of Arianna Huffington for a long time, back from her appearances on Politically Incorrect  back in the day.  So I was very interested to see her.  She had some terrific advice on day 2 of BlogHer 14: sleep your way to the top.  Literally.  See, she has recently written a book called Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, and she had a lot to say about the power of getting enough sleep in order to be successful in life.  She suggesting reading a real book (not on a Kindle or iPad) and not checking email an hour before bed, two things I’m going to try to do more.  Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom I tweeted out during her keynote:

Kerry Washington was a peach.  I don’t watch Scandal, so a lot of the questions the interviewer asked her at first were over my head, but she had some universally cool truths to share too.  Being someone overly interested in the mechanics and behind-the-scenes aspects of acting and the entertainment business, I enjoyed a lot of what she had to say.  She did talk more about her acting than her activism, but I appreciated how real she was with her answers and genuine.  Here’s some of the wisdom I tweeted from her keynote!

Overall Verdict

My Selfie at the BlogHer 14 Closing Party, Sponsored by McDonaldsAs a blogger, I’d definitely go again.  It was empowering as a woman, and encouraging as a blogger.  There were lots of positive messages and it was very uplifting.  I’m definitely more energized to blog!  Now, as an affiliate manager… I don’t think it’s a conference for that, unless our agency or one of the merchants I represent exhibited or sponsored a suite party.  I tried to shoehorn in my position as an affiliate manager into most conversations, but most people seemed to open up with “what do you blog about”, so really it would be rude not to answer that question first.  If we exhibited, it would be a more natural conversation and the networking-as-recruitment aspect wouldn’t be so ham-fisted.

There was affiliate industry representation in the form of both ShareASale and CJ Affiliate exhibiting, and tools Skimlinks and FMTC.  I may have had shots with some friends thanks to the Twisted Shotz booth :)  So I think the affiliate industry is creeping slowly into the blogging community and making itself know, so I can only hope that, maybe in a few years, BlogHer would be a better investment as an affiliate manager.  But I think for now, it’ll just be a good shot in the arm of “you can do it” and “I’m enough!” messages to get me through the rest of the year of blogging!

And yo, it was all super worth it to be at the closing party, sponsored by McDonalds, and have Run DMC’s own Rev Run DJ for awhile and rap along with It’s Tricky and Walk this Way.  And my selfie won me a copy of Mario Kart 8.  Boom!

Affiliate Marketing Fanatics #59: A Gateway Conference

By on 5-16-2011 in Affiliate Marketing, Conferences & Networking

Affiliate Marketing Fanatics – A couple of hyper-caffeinated affiliate marketers (Mike Buechele) and (Trisha Lyn Fawver) talk about all things Affiliate Marketing. From blogging to branding, social media to search, video and more!

Mike and I jump back into the saddle with this whole podcasting thing.  We talk briefly about how great Affiliate Summit West 2012 was, get off track in some places, and try to get the innocent kids in the Midwest hooked on some affiliate marketing conference goodness. In in this episode we discuss:

Find us on Twitter: @AMF_Podcast, @MikeBuechele & @TrishaLyn. Like us on Facebook! Be old fashioned and just leave us a comment!

Special thanks to GeekCast.fm for hosting Affiliate Marketing Fanatics!

ad:tech San Francisco: Affiliate Marketing Innovations for Brands and Advertisers

By on 5-16-2011 in Affiliate Marketing, Conferences & Networking

Session Description: Affiliate marketers are the most adept at harnessing new technologies in their marketing efforts. As a result, the industry has evolved faster than most marketing channels. During the past decade, affiliate marketing has grown from basic text links and banner ads to geo-targeted mobile campaigns and social media swarms. In this session, we’ll delve into how brands can leverage their affiliate channel to multiply reach and the number of consumer touch points. What market factors have driven the rapid growth so far in affiliate marketing? Has the increase been consumer-driven or technology-driven? And what sort of changes will come next? Join us as we find out.

This session took place Wednesday, April 13, 2011. The speakers:

  • Carolyn Tang Kmet, Director of Affiliate Marketing, Groupon (Moderator)
  • J.J. McCarthy, Sr. Manager Internet Marketing, eBay
  • Alicia Navarro, Co-Founder & CEO, Skimlinks

This was a great session.  It gave some insight on the beginnings of Affiliate Marketing that even I didn’t know.  It was also chock full of interesting tidbits and insight gained from eBay & Skimlinks’ experiences.

Bullet Point Review!

  • Affiliate marketing really started in 1886 with Avon ladies.
  • People didn’t realize sites were interactive at the dawn of the internet.
  • Consumers are responsive to free and discounted offer.
  • Approving of animation.
  • Consumers lost interest in flashy stuff, needed to find relevance.
  • Groupon basing the ads not on the content, but the consumers location.
  • Consumers felt their privacy invaded by contextual ads.
  • Key to delivering content is relevance to individual consumer.
  • Recognize where services are needed.
  • RFID helped Walmart improved out of stock by 16% and improved restock efficiency by 60%.
    • Staples reduced out of stock by 21%.
    • Harrahs used RFID in chips – knew where to send cocktail waitresses or pit bosses according to the concentration of where the chips were located on the casino floor.
  • Market fragmentation: broadcast to the individual instead of to the masses.
  • Groupon has added incentives for users to share deals via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Affiliate marketing has become device agnostic.
  • We’re constantly wired.
  • Convergence used go just be a phone, but now it’s a PDA, camera, Internet, television, & more.
  • eBay been actively marketing in affiliate space since 2000.
  • eBay partner network launched 2008.
    • >100k websites actively driving traffic.
  • Unlike all other marketing channels, success in affiliate marketing is predicated on competing for affiliates mind share & loyalty.
  • Success is a function of reputation, ease of use, & earnings f(ree).
  • Invest significantly in reputation.
  • Being successful isn’t always about tech innovation, it’s also about cultural innovation.
  • QCP: quality click pricing.  Volume isn’t a proxy for value.  Would rather have quality. De-averages the CPC.
  • Build world class tools.
  • Do-it-Yourself Affiliate Marketing is more costly than the revenue.
    • Integrate with the affiliate networks.
    • Apply to individual merchant programs.
    • Create deep link syntax.
    • Hard code into site.
    • Maintain links.
    • Access multiple reporting interfaces.
    • Optimize.
  • Publishers don’t think of themselves as marketers, so appeal to them with that angle.
  • Perhaps affiliate marketing should be affiliate linkage.
  • The closer funnel (converto.com)

Affiliate Marketing Fanatics 31: Interviewing Joe Stepniewski

By on 5-16-2011 in Affiliate Marketing, Conferences & Networking

Affiliate Marketing Fanatics – A couple of hyper-caffeinated affiliate marketers (Mike Buechele) and (Trisha Lyn Fawver) talk about all things Affiliate Marketing. From blogging to branding, social media to search, video and more!

We’re continuing our series of interviews with some speakers at Affiliate Summit East 2010, coming up in just a month in New York City. This time, we talk to Joe Stepniewski about his origins in affiliate marketing & his presentation “Innovate! New Exciting Applications of Affiliate Marketing”.  Joe is still working on his presentation, so you’ll have to listen to know how to help him address your questions!  In this episode we discuss:

Want to catch up with us & ask questions for the next show? Find us on Twitter: @AMF_Podcast, @MikeBuechele & @TrishaLynLike us on Facebook! You can also ask Trisha questions through FormSpring.me. Or leave us a comment!