The Savvy Blogging Summit, Part 1: Debrief

cheyenne mountains The Savvy Blogging Summit, Part 1: Debrief

Photo Credit: Short & Hat

If you are not a blogger nor have zero interest in the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes Kosher on a Budget run, then this post (and part 2 tomorrow) will probably be extremely boring to you. Feel free to skip right on over to the deal posts. icon wink The Savvy Blogging Summit, Part 1: Debrief

As many of you probably know by now, last weekend, I attended my first-ever blogging conference: The Savvy Blogging Summit in Colorado Springs, CO.

Believe it or not, there are dozens of different blogging conferences each year. (I know! Crazy, right?!) I chose the Savvy Blogging Summit as my first conference because among all of these offerings, the Summit has the reputation for being the one that is most focused on hands-on learning.

And I figured if I was going to make this big of an investment in my blog, I wanted it to be something that could directly benefit me – as a blogger – and you – as my readers.

From that perspective, I can’t say enough good things about the Summit. I got to attend sessions on everything from blog law (did you know that this is a burgeoning new field?) to blog accounting (ditto) to PR & brand relations for bloggers. I also learned all sorts of cool things about SEO (search engine optimization) and list building. (More on all that tomorrow.)

Today, however, I want to debrief a bit on the social aspect of the conference.

First, it was so cool to be surrounded by more than 100 bloggers. People who do this part-time, full-time, all-the-time. People who get what it’s like to have their kids ask them, every time they get out their camera, “Are you going to blog that picture, Mommy?” People who get why I obsessively check stats and grin from ear-to-ear when a new comment comes in. People who get what I do – and why I’m so passionate about it – because they’re that passionate, too.

It was also incredibly validating to share that kind of brain space with some of the top bloggers in the field. People (mostly women, but not exclusively) who are juggling kids, marriage, outside jobs – and still managing to put out amazing content day in and day out. And, by the way, earn a very admirable salary for their efforts. There were bloggers there making six figures from their blogs! SIX FIGURES.

I say that it was validating because I have often struggled with the fact that I earn money from my blog. {I’m far from six figures, though, if anyone was wondering!} Back when I decided to start “monetizing” my blog, I worried that I’d lose readers. Or alienate them. Or come off as spammy when I shared a link to an amazing deal – for which I also happened to earn a few pennies if you purchased.

But then I realized – and had validated by this Savvy Blogging conference – that there is value to what I do. And in providing you all with (hopefully) valuable information, it’s also okay for me to be able to provide some value to my family.

More and more, I am moving toward making KOAB my full-time (part-time) gig. A lot of that depends on my ability to implement the things I learned at this conference. But more of it depends on my ability to continue connecting with you, my readers, in a real and genuine way. Which more than the paycheck, is truly the most valuable part of this whole blogging journey.

Not only did we get to interact with other blogging “colleagues”, but we got to learn from them. Bloggers whom I’ve looked up to were suddenly teaching me how to install code for a new ad on my blog (thanks, Andrea!). Bloggers whom I’ve admired from afar were brainstorming ways for me to reach Jewish readers in new markets (thanks, Rachel!).

Along those lines, the conference also put together an impressive array of “partners” (which is conference-speak for sponsors). Companies I love working with anyway, and was so tickled to get to meet in person.

Businesses like Swagbucks, Ebates, ShopAtHome.com, Eversave, All You, Kontera (an Israeli company!!!), and many more. Experts like SEO genius Troy Lerner from Booyah Advertising (seriously, the best speaker evah), list building star Phil Hollows from FeedBlitz.com (amazing!), and Marketing & PR guru Kevin Dugan from Empower MediaMarketing (inspiring! generous!).

Getting to share KOAB with them and hear their suggestions about my unique piece of the frugal real estate was a definite high point.

Having said all that really good stuff, there was also some parts of the Savvy Blogging Summit that were challenging for me. First of all, I’ve got some serious social anxieties. (Hey, there’s a reason I write for a living!) Meeting all those new people with a huge smile and an outstretched hand was t-i-r-i-n-g. At the end of the day, I was more than happy to retire early and sleep a very deep slumber (on a feather-topped mattress, no less!).

Also, there was the whole being-the-only-frum-Jew thing. Those of you who have been reading the frugal blogs for a while (and no, not all the bloggers at the conference were frugalistas) probably know that this niche is pretty heavily predominated by Christian women. Women for whom their faith is as big a part of why they blog as anything else.

That is, in fact, a big part of why I started this blog. Because I knew, personally, from having read those amazing blogs, what it is to have to skip over posts – and pass by deals – because they just don’t fit for the Orthodox Jewish woman.

While there are many Jewish bloggers out there who write great blogs, when I started KOAB last summer, I was the only coupon blogger talking about this stuff from a “Jewish perspective”. Today, I’m thrilled to say that I’ve got some company. You all know my dear friend Susie, from Cheapskate. And there’s another new(ish)bie on the block, Suzannah Raff from Kosher Shop-a-Holic (go say hi – I know she’ll be glad to see you).

But at this particular conference, I was still the one-and-only. And while it was very cool to be able to share with the other bloggers what it means to me to be able to do this from a kosher vantage point, it was also a bit… draining… to be the odd (wo)man out. Like as I took my leave from lunch to go eat a cheese sandwich in my room.. or skipped the Friday night luau to have Shabbat dinner with my family out on our balcony (overlooking the mountains – amazing!).

Stepping outside of my little M.O. bubble definitely reminded me how those of us in that bubble are both the same – and very much other – all at once.

On our drive back to Kansas, as I debriefed my husband, he said to me, “You know what you need to do? Organize a conference for Jewish bloggers.”

I think he might be on to something… JBloggers – are you listening?! How awesome would that be?

Thanks for letting me debrief. And stay tuned tomorrow for a much more accessible  post with my Top 10 Take-Aways from the Savvy Blogging Summit. Hopefully my fellow bloggers will be able to take away something as well.

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Sounds like a really interesting conference! I’m not an extreme couponer in any way, but enjoy getting freebies now and then (I just received my free sample of Honey Nut Cheerios in the mail!), so I’m really enjoying your blog! You work hard to update us on the deals, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t make money doing it. Don’t feel bad about it! Please keep up the good work!

  2. I also want to add that I am happy that you are able to derive some value from the blog while your readers derive value as well. It’s a win-win situation, and the time and energy you put in the blog should definitely be compensated for.

  3. Love the picture of beautiful Colorado! (And thanks again for the shoutout). You are absolutely my blogging mentor.

  4. Great blog. After a couple of years intermittently reading some of the mainstream savings sites – getrichslowly, moneysavingmom etc.. and never actually “doing” it, your site has finally convinced me to take the plunge :)

    Glad you learned some seo stuff – when I google KOAB, the first link is to your “About me” page and the second is the 01/03 post about free cereal. It would be nice if it went to your home page i.e. latest post.

    Hatzlochoh with making some money. If you could somehow get a % of the money you are saving your readers you would do very nicely :)

    • Aw, thanks – I’m flattered! And yes, that would be nice if it came up first. I wish I’d learned how to rig that!

  5. I’ve been talking to my hubby about the need for a jewish blogging conference for a long time. Should we organize one?

  6. Let me know how I can help….

    I’m not a blogger… but I read a ton of them and would love to help!

  7. caroline says:

    I think it’s great that you went to this conference to increase your skill set and even greater that you do KOAB even though you might not fit the typical mold for a frugal blogger. We all benefit from your hard work, and I am pleased to use your affiliate links so that you can benefit from our frugality!

    I certainly enjoy when you post deals, but I am particularly fond of the discussions for how to make Shabbat, holidays, regular meals, and daily life fit within a well-controlled budget. I look forward to the recipe exchanges and the discussions of budgeting theory. You fill a particular niche in the market, and I look forward to continuing to share your wisdom with others.

  8. Keep it up. You are an inspiration. Count me in for the jblogging conference!

  9. Thanks for the shout-out! Thanks even more for sharing your experience with us. I would have loved to have been there! I think its a great idea to organize a Jewish Bloggers conference. I am happy to help you. I’m going to post this to my other J-blogging network of friends.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post!

  10. So a few years back there WAS a jblog conference. It was organized mostly by Nefesh b’Nefesh and took place in Jerusalem. The whole thing was also streamed online, and of course that’s how I followed it.

    I agree with you – it’s amazing to me how many of the mommy-blogs are Christian in orientation. It is also one of the reasons I started my blog! Good for you for going to a conference, it’s a LOT nerve-racking to walk into something like that, even for an extrovert!

    I went to BlogHer the year that it was in Chicago. Much of it wasn’t relevant to me but much of it was very interesting. There has been talk over the years of doing a J-Day after or before the BlogHer conference or other conferences. Count me in for whatever you come up with! :-)

    At almost every Jewish convention I go to (mostly rabbis, but also for example, the URJ Biennial), we end up having informal “meetups” of all the bloggers/tweeters/etc….there are way more of us than you think!

    • Are you in Chicago, Phyllis? A pre- or post-day is a great idea. I know there are a ton of Jbloggers – I read a lot of them and check out the carnivals. :) If there are people you think I should “know” on Twitter, will you make an introduction? Thanks!

  11. From one of those (*other*) Mommy Frugalistas :), I was very glad to meet you at the SB Summit, and you were one of the very kindest people I met. (You made this very socially anxious girl feel comfortable – I absolutely dreaded going to the conferences each day because I was so anxious, but learned TONS while I was there.) I would never have guessed you at all uncomfortable chatting with everyone!

    I think it’s great that you’ve found a niche that very few are in, and are providing an awesome service to your readers. And, if it makes you feel any better, I skipped the Luau too (my hubby and I hadn’t been without children in five years, so we enjoyed a quiet dinner together.)

    So glad I met you!

    • Ditto that about you, Laurie! I was so happy to see your smiling face in those sessions on Friday. And meeting your husband was a treat, too. Glad you brought him to that fair. :)

  12. I’m so glad the conference was such a good experience! I have a bunch of questions I want to ask you (when it’s not 1 a.m. and I can think straighter). There was a Jewish social media event not even a year ago – Metroimma (http://www.metroimma.com/) had a shmooze. I imagine they would love to be involved in a Jewish bloggers conference. As would I!

  13. Mara,
    I’m glad you enjoyed the event! Did you happen to connect with Ron from Swagbucks? He’s Jewish and has a blog (although I can’t remember exactly what it is about- it is Jewish in focus… am I saying that right?!?!) You all might be able to exchange ideas and brainstorm on how to create an event!
    Anyway, I don’t think I got to meet you at the Summit, but I’m happy you attended and found value in the sessions and meeting the partners!
    The Savvy Team strives to put on an event that is welcoming to people from all religious backgrounds and I hope some of that was evident to you. :)
    I look forward to seeing your continued success on KOAB!
    Toni

    • Hi Toni – Thanks so much for comment. I loved hearing you and your husband talk and interact during the husband panel. It seems like you have a wonderful marriage. :)

      I certainly didn’t think the conference excluded me – I hope I didn’t give you that impression! It’s just that as an Orthodox Jew, I have certain obligations that naturally prevented me, to a certain degree, from partaking in all the activities (dietary, Sabbath, etc.). Please don’t think I feel this is a reflection on you guys! I knew that going in, and I made the decision to attend anyway. I got a ton out of it! :)

  14. I loved this post! And now I’m really kicking myself that we never got to meet at Summit. I blame the altitude (I blame the altitude for everything :) ) and my just-smart-enough phone that doesn’t tweet. One of these days we must meet. Until then social media will have to do :)

    • LOL – the altitude definitely gave me a perma-headache! And don’t feel bad about your phone… my is just stupid all around ;-) Until then…

  15. Mara,
    I’ll be speaking at the next MetroImma Schmooze and Esti B. from http://www.primetimeparenting.com is organizing the schmooze. Lets talk to her to see how we can fit you in from KC – it takes place in Manhattan. That’s why I sent the tweet to you and her last night! She’s the best one to discuss a j-blogging conference with.
    Shoshana

  16. I’d love a Jewish Bloggers Conference! Count me IN!

  17. I just want to let you know that I love your blog! I started reading it only a little while ago, but I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate seeing a coupon/saving blog written by someone who is shomer shabbos and shomer kashrut. It is so nice to know that someone who has the same lifestyle as me is able to save a lot of money through these means. THANK YOU!

    • Thank you so much, Miri! That was *such* a nice comment – definitely grinning from ear to ear! Glad you’re a reader and hope KOAB can be of help.

    • Thank you so much, Miri! That was *such* a nice comment – definitely grinning from ear to ear! Glad you’re a reader and hope KOAB can be of help.

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