The Hive Conference Debrief - Day 2

Day two of Hive started off with as much excitement and enthusiasm as day one. Again, the blow-by-blow:

Freunde von Freunden - From Blog to Book, this  talk was also a behind the scenes look at how the blog got started and how it's run today. One of the real eye openers for me is that the blog is actually one giant business card for the production and design agency that the FvonF team runs. It generates no direct revenue and is subsidized by the money the agency makes. However, Freunden von Freunden brings in a lot of work from big corporate clients (Nokia, etc.) who want corporate content produced in a similar style. The stylistic discipline and creative control of the project is impressive, as is the fact that it was borne out nothing more than the urge to do something cool and interesting. Fun tidbit: none of the portraits are staged, the team visits the subjects for only a couple of hours and then does the shoot on the spot without any extra styling.

How to grow your readership. I really appreciated all of the thought Oum from Un blog, une maman put into this presentation. She clearly considered what was not only be interesting to the audience but also included actionable suggestions. She surveyed 11 established bloggers throughout Europe and even Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely on the topic, and bundled the answers into about six categories (content, SEO, engaging readers, etc.) She even made her presentation available online for a week after the conference. I'll definitely be downloading it.

Emily Holmes of From China Village gave a helpful presentation on creating great DIY tutorials. I actually have a perfect product and outlet to create tutorials, in fact I HAVE to, but for reasons that remain mysterious to me I always resist doing them. This talk really showed me that I need to get on it because they can be a great driver of traffic especially when combined with good photos and Pinterest. I cornered her after her talk and asked if she felt video tutorials were likely to overtake simple photo tutorials, her helpful answer was: not likely since video can be overwhelming when you are trying to actually make something. The session left me motivated and inspired to tackle some DIY tutorials!

Anki from the Dutch blog Zilverblauw on Walking the thin line: what to keep private - this was probably one of the most personal and touching sessions of the weekend. Anki shared how her blog skyrocketed from 1000 readers to 100,000 per month  after ending up on some big blogs and in the IKEA Family Live magazine (which is circulated to 30 million people) and the impact this had on her and her family. Some odd things can happen when your life becomes so public, from inadvertently becoming a poster child for attachment parenting (she had her baby in a sling in the IKEA Family Live shoot, but doesn't actually practice attachment parenting) as well as having pictures of your son's bedroom ending up on a flyer for a disco in Australia (without permission) or having your images go viral (212,000 re-pins!) on Pinterest. Anki has handled her blog fame with grace and smarts and openly shared her tips and guidelines (would I want my neighbor to know this?) for walking this very fine line.

Advertising - Vasco Sommer from Populis broke down the whole monetization game. It was all about ca$h munny, baby , and the audience was all ears (including me.) On day one when Gabrielle Blair from Design Mom mentioned the gap in the European market for ad networks and her praise of Federated Media, it was made clear during the session that Populis is the European version of Federated. Vasco outlined how much money (lots and lots) in Europe is ready to be spent on online advertising but that there needs to be some kind of aggregator to facilitate the coordination of media buys between marketers and (blog) publishers, which is where Populis comes in. You could almost hear the collective wheel-turning in the audiences' mind!

Beyond the great presentations I also made super connections. I met two fellow Münchnerins and at the last presentation I met two other women in the wedding industry; the gal behind Lieschen heiratet and Teresa from Iconoclash Photography we had a spontaneous and lively brainstorm session on how we could all work together in the future.

It was an exhilirating weekend full of 'buzz', great shoes, stylish outfits, inspiration and lots of new ideas. As The Hive website promised, friends were made and my contact book was filled. I'm already looking forward to #hive13!

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