This grant was provided to me by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #CollectiveBias
I love it when I leave a leave a conference feeling equipped, encouraged, challenged, and inspired. That’s exactly what happened at SoFabU On the Road (“OTR,” for short). Here’s how it happened…
On the Road Again
I hopped in my car before the sun came up a few Saturdays ago. I gassed up the car and hit the open road, headed east towards the Land of Seven Hills, the home of the Reds, Graeter’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, and Ahalogy. It was also a stop on the SoFabU On the Road world tour.
Cincinnati or bust, y’all! #SoFabUOTR
— Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) April 25, 2015
OK. It’s not really a world tour. But they’re definitely hitting all regions of the contiguous United States. And that’s pretty cool!
Ahalogy was a gracious host
For the morning session, we met in the offices of Ahalogy. They’re experts about marketing on Pinterest. They know their stuff. Not only did they welcome us to their amazing facility, but they also dropped some serious Pinterest knowledge on us.
Joe Robb opened my eyes
Before I go much further, I should probably remind you that I used to work for a company that focused on content creation and promotion. During my tenure with that agency, I came into contact with tools like Buffer, If This Then That (IFTTT), Google Analytics, and Feedly. While I knew about these tools, I really didn’t know how to use them. And I certainly didn’t know how to use these tools to improve my own blogging efforts. Joe Robb (@JoeLRobb) changed all of that. He opened my eyes to the world of possibilities that are available to me through these tools. He also showed me what I should be looking for when checking out the analytics for my social networks and my blog. That alone made the trip to Cincinnati worth it.
“And now a word from some sponsors…”
The SoFabU OTR team lined up some pretty amazing sponsors for our gathering. Breakfast was provided by Müller. KIND was kind enough to share some tasty snacks to help keep our stomachs from grumbling during the sessions (I highly recommend the Peanut Butter and Strawberry, by the way ). And lunch was catered by Chick-fil-A and Graeter’s.
It didn’t stop there, though. After lunch, some of the brands’ representatives say on a panel for us. They provided valuable insight into what brands are looking for when working with bloggers.
After soaking in the brand representatives’ advice, it was time to say goodbye to our gracious hosts at Ahalogy, load up or cars and cross the Ohio River for an afternoon at New Riff Distilling in Newport, Kentucky.
The afternoon at New Riff was a hands-on experience as Nathan Engels (@NateBlogs, WannaBite.com) guided us through the process of creating amazing photography for sponsored content. He was passionate in encouraging us to tell stories with our words and with our photos. You don’t have to scream the vendor’s name in your posts in order to promote the vendor, he reminded us. People love to connect with people and sponsored posts are a great way to connect a brand with people.
We learned about his photography studio that he set up in his garage. And we also got to experience a small taste of his massive collection of plates that he uses as props for his food photography. With all of those plates and backgrounds at his disposal, he can create photos that pop with rich colors and deep textures within just a few minutes.
We spent the rest of the session practicing food photography and editing via PicMonkey. I’ve been using PicMonkey for more than a year and didn’t realize how powerful the tool actually is. Thanks to Nate’s walkthrough of PicMonkey, I feel better equipped to make the most out of one of my favorite tools.
When in Rome
The conference concluded with a party upstairs at New Riff. As one would expect at a distillery, bourbon was available. When in Rome, you do as the Romans do. Right? So when you’re in Kentucky, you drink bourbon. It’s the polite thing to do.
Hit the road with SoFabU On the Road
I’m thankful I had the opportunity to participate in this event. I know I’ll be a better blogger because of it. And that’s a great thing since it’s time to step up my blogging game.
Cincinnati isn’t the only stop on the SoFabU
world national tour! In fact, they’re probably still headed to a city near you. You’ll have an amazing day full of learning new techniques, hearing new information, and networking opportunities. You’ll leave the event ready to take the next step in your blogging efforts.