on life, ambitions, and dreams


What Happens After You Speak at a Conference (plus WordCamp slides)

Laura Kimball (aka lamiki) is officially a speaker at WordCamp Seattle

There comes a time in every bloggers life when then come out from behind the computer and take the stage and become a speaker. That time came for me last weekend when I presented at WordCamp Seattle. I’ve been on panels before, but this was the first time that I actually took the stage and shared my own ideas solo.

WordCamp is a locally organized conference that covers everything related to WordPress with sessions ranging from basic WordPress tips to very advanced development tricks. This was my first time attending and speaking at WordCamp, so I had no idea what to expect. But what I discovered was 300 people who were all very passionate about using the WordPress publishing platform to get their ideas out there, which makes for a very friendly community.

Slides: How to Promote Your Blog Without Losing Your Soul

Laura Kimball's Audience at WordCamp Seattle

My talk was in the afternoon and in one of the smallest rooms. But even so, I counted somewhere between 60 and 70 people while I cleared my throat and anxiously waited for when I was supposed to start.

My talk was called, “How to Promote Your Blog Without Losing Your Soul.” It offered an overview of why you should build a community for your blog before you need to promote your blog and a checklist for how to get the word out about a post after you publish.

I came up with the idea for this topic after knowing a bunch of bloggers who write really amazing posts but are horrible at marketing themselves. Usually it’s because people who have a blog are writers, not marketers. And while marketing is a skill, a lot of it is a process that you repeat and iterate on as you go. Plus a lot of this methodology comes from what I’ve learned running and promoting my own blog and that of my employers (current and former).

Here are the slides from my talk – and here’s a link to a video of my talk on promoting your blog.

[slideshare id=13069011&doc=howtopromoteyourblog-wordcampsea2012-120524224440-phpapp02]

Highlights from Leading My First Talk

Now, this wouldn’t be an awesome post-giving-my-first-talk without some geeking out, so here’s a random list of highlights from WordCamp:

    1. I found out the day before that my talk was going to be live-streamed. I was simultaneously excited that I would get a video of my talk and also scared shitless that I would be live on the Internet (gasp!).
    2. The morning of the event I practiced my talk for an audience of three: my husband and our two cats. While husbands make a great practice audience, cats do not.
    3. A dim room is not a bad thing for giving a talk – it allows your audience to see your slides and for you not to see them. (Plus takes away the awkwardness of having to picture the audience naked or asking them to take off their clothes…)
    4. Two slides in a hand shot up and asked if my slides would be up anywhere after posting. Mental note for next time: after I introduce myself, tell them the audience when I’ll take questions and where they can find my slides afterwards.
    5. As someone who is really, really good at live-tweeting during events, it was so freakin’ cool to hop on Twitter after my talk and see how people live-tweeted mine! And the best part was after professing my love for, a URL shortening tool, someone’ed my blog halfway through my talk.


Other Amazing Things to Come Out of WordCamp Seattle

The best part about giving this talk was learning from other speakers and quite frankly getting jazzed about investing some time in making my blog a better platform for my content, so stay tuned for some tweaks that you may or may not notice

Here are some resources that came out of WordCamp if you’d like to dive deeper:

And with that, my first solo speaking event and WordCamp Seattle 2012 has come to a close – though I will be posting the video of my talk as soon as it’s available.

If you attended WordCamp Seattle, what was one thing you learned?

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  • I enjoy reading the perspective of first-time WordCampers and first-time speakers – thanks for sharing.

    You did a great job with your talk.

    • Thank you, Aaron, that feedback really means a lot to me. It was so great to meet you at WordCamp!

  • Sweeeeet well-done homegirl, any more speaking gigs you’re lining up? I’d love to do some speaking in the near future – living in China is gonna make that a little difficult, but as soon as I get back to NYC I’m gonna make sure to make it a regular thang!

    • I might be leading a private workshop at the end of the month, but no official speaking gigs as of yet. This has been a goal of mine for awhile and started by being on a few panels over the past few years but leading a talk is definitely different!

      And judging by your writing, you’d make a great speaker.

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  • This is a great intro for newbies, and an excellent refresher for “experienced bloggers.” I love how you laid things out, and the checklist is awesome. Kudos! 

  • hey there – thanks for the mention…..and I’ve added your slides to the list now too. I missed your session but kept hearing that it rocked, so looking forward to checking out the video!

  • Serhatcan Yurdam

    I really benefited your presentation Laura, I m planning to apply these tips on my blog.

    •  Thank you, Serhatcan. Please keep me posted with how things go!

  • Denise Crawford

    I was in the audience and you did a great job.  After quieting the people down, you really lit up presenting the material.  It was simple, easy to understand, and included steps to take.  I really liked the analogy of social media like a dating relationship.  I think that was the biggest takeaway for me.  It has a lot of humor to it, but is a great underlying principal for Social Medial  Thanks!

    •  Thank you for this feedback, Denise, it’s really helpful to hear. I’m glad you enjoyed it and especially that takeaway!

  • Laura, thanks for tweeting that this page was up!  One thing I learned from your session is that #1 I’m not doing the FB posting thing wrong, #2 I learnedall the areas on a FB link post that I could edit myself, #3 that an image in a post makes for better thumbnail options.

    • That’s awesome, glad the impromptu Facebook demonstration was helpful! Thank you for attending my session!

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