I’ve been home for a week and my brain is still bursting with all things BlogHouse. I wish I could just take a week to go sit in a cabin in the woods and begin to scratch the surface of implementing all the new things I learned about blogging during the four fabulous days of the BlogHouse workshop run by Navigate Media Group. And then there’s the city of Milwaukee itself – yet another example of how the Midwest does cities right – it has all the friendliness and blue collar atmosphere that I love about Midwest cities, a vast expanse of water (Lake Michigan) that makes me feel right at home, and a food scene that won’t quit.
I arrived in Milwaukee after midnight and headed straight from the airport to Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, our gracious hosts for the long weekend. Even at such a late hour the reception desk attendants were cheerful to greet me and give an overview of the casino, nine restaurants, and other amenities on the property. When I finally reached my room, the luxurious king size bed made it easy to fall asleep fast and rest up for all things to come.
One of our sponsors, Visit Milwaukee, recommended a running and breakfast plan for me so before meeting all my new blogger friends for the first time, I got to decompress from work and transition from home-brain to travel-brain with a short run along the Hank Aaron State Trail and breakfast at Engine Company No. 3. (Thanks to Katy Deardoff for the things to in Milwaukee and the assurance that sweaty running clothes were acceptable attire for breakfast!)
Shortly afterward, the non-stop BlogHouse weekend began. Over the course of three days, I took notes and made to do lists on all things blogging like social media, pitching, monetization, media kits, photography, and writing. The days were a mix of talks for the whole group and one-on-one site audits. One of the biggest take-aways for many of us was the importance of defining our niche and branding to match. We had many talks about new blog names, new tag lines, and choosing a niche. Without revealing anything at all juicy, I can say that there are excellent things to come from my new blogger friends.
I also got some great tips on how to manage the blog even when I’m not feeling well (thanks Crohn’s):
- When the joint pain in my hands flares up, voice record blog posts and type them later (so obvious, but I’d never thought of this – thanks for the idea Stephanie!!)
- Set up HootSuite to preschedule social media posts so there’s always something out there
- Since my niche is travel with Crohn’s: be more candid about not feeling well
- Don’t stress about it, that doesn’t help anything
When we weren’t attached to our laptops and notebooks (and sometimes when we were), we ate, drank, and explored all the things to do in Milwaukee. For afternoon snacks we were treated to Kringle from OH Danish Bakery and cupcakes from Classy Girl Cupcakes. Every night we had some Sprecher soda waiting for us in our hotel rooms. We took lunch breaks, once at the hotel restaurantLocavore, and once at the Milwaukee Public Market. And every evening we got treated to more food, more drinks, and more learning moments. The Potawatomi Hotel and Casino hosted an opening reception for us in the Presidential Suite. The Rumpus Room hosted our industry night. And, far and away my favorite evening, Milwaukee Food Tours took us on a Bikes, Brats, and Beers tour. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite for Milwaukee.