Top Five Things I Learned at Type A Parent Bootcamp at Walt Disney World

type aThis weekend, I attended Type-A Parent Bootcamp sponsored by Disney Parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Type A is a blogging-for-business conference that teaches bloggers how to work with brands, how to find new avenues of monetization, how to brand themselves, and more.
My KidzVuz co-founder, Rebecca Levey, and I gave a presentation on pitching brands for new business (rather than waiting for them to pitch you), called “From Pitch to Paycheck.” I certainly hope that attendees learned a lot from us about preparation, identifying targets, telling their story, organizing their efforts and more, since I know I learned a ton from the other presentations I saw and from the conference in general.

Here are my top five takeaways:

1. There are a lot more bloggers out there than I realized.
This may sound silly, but when you live in NYC, have been blogging for as long as I have, and go to at least two blogging related events every week, where you see pretty much the same bloggers every time, you get the impression that there are about 37 bloggers in the whole world and you know all of them.

Of course that’s not true, but meeting all these incredible women, women like Sami Cone, Beth Engleman, Still dating My Spouse  and  Sarah Mock– some of whom I only knew virtually, and some not at all – most with huge followings and so much of value to say – well, it just reminded me of what I knew in theory, if not practice: There are a TON of exceptional, professional parent bloggers out there. And they’re no joke. They monetize, they negotiate, they freelance, they ROCK.

2. You Don’t Need a Lot of Page Views to Make Money through Affiliate Links.
At a session on Affiliate Marketing led by Debbie Bookstaber and Missy Ward (another powerhouse woman I’d never heard of or met…how is that even POSSIBLE?) I learned a tremendous amount about how affiliate marketing works, how to implement it, how to set up an affiliate storefront and even your own affiliate network to sell you e-book or whatever other product you may have.

Until I heard Debbie and Missy speak, it never even occurred to me to attach affiliate links to my product posts. I assumed that with as little traffic as I have, it wasn’t worth the trouble.

WRONG.

Debbie explained that with very little traffic on her site – and she emphasized how little many times – she still brings in $500 a month from affiliate links with almost no effort after the initial set up. So why not do it?

I’m going to do it right now. Here’s my first affiliate link: the sweater I wore during my presentation came from StitchFix, an amazing online personal shopping service I recently used. They surveyed me about my life, my style, and my preferences, and sent me a truly well-edited selection of clothing to choose from. First time out, I selected two out of the five things they sent. Pretty great. And I didn’t even have to go to the store!

3. I’m not Charging Enough for Sponsored Posts
In a session given by Kelly Whalen, Roo Ciambrilello, and Titania Jordan I learned something super important: I don’t write a whole lot of sponsored posts – (and now that I know more about affiliate marketing I’ll likely write even fewer). But when I do do a sponsored post – I am not charging enough. Women in the room are charging upwards of $300 for a sponsored post. Granted, they likely have WAY more traffic than I do, but if you’re reading this, and you blog, and you have any kind of traffic at all, chances are, you’re not charging enough for your work. I’m sure not.

4. iBlog Magazine is new, and every blogger should read it.
There are great interviews, concrete advice for business-minded bloggers, and a whole lot of inspiration in the beautifully designed, high quality publication. And maybe this is a back-handed compliment thing to say, but I wasn’t expecting it to be nearly as fabulous as it was. My guess is, it’s going to be a must for bloggers, PR Firms, and marketers.
(And full disclosure, they interviewed Rebecca and I about KidzVuz for a piece that will come out in May).

5. The Blogging Community Really is a Community
When I started blogging, back in the early days of the blogosphere, I felt like I had joined a community. Women shared ideas and stories, being part of the NYC Moms Blog/SV Moms Group introduced me to most of the women I still converse with – both online and in real life every day. I met Rebecca – my business partner, platonic soul mate, and pretty much constant companion – through blogging.
But in recent years – with the number of bloggers growing, and conferences feeling like huge, impersonal swag-fests, it’s been feeling less like a community and more like an industry.

Being at Type A, hearing women openly share what they charge, how they work with brands, what their goals are, and giving away concrete monetization strategies for free – Listening to women be so generous with their advice and compliments and retweets and link backs – well, it made me feel good about the community again. It reminded me why – while Parent Bloggers are serious businesswomen, they’re also my friends, my social-media-soul-mates, my inspiration.

So thanks to Kelby Carr and her team, creators of the conference. Thanks to sponsors Oral B Stages, Food for Sleep, Savings.com, Moms Night Out: The Movie, and of course, Leanne Jakubowski and the folks at Disney Parks for sponsoring the conference at making it happen.

Feeling like you missed out?  Don’t!  You can still attend the Type-A Parent main conference in Atlanta! Click my affiliate link here for more info! (My second affiliate link!  Yay!)

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