Now that it's been a few weeks, I am ready to bequeath my Alt Summit knowledge on you all! For those of you who aren't bloggers, you might not find this post super interesting, but if you're interested in a glimpse into what a blogger conference is, read on!
My first Alt Summit was last year, so for round two, I felt like a pro. I knew what to expect, what to pack, and how to prepare. While every summit is different, there's something comforting about not being a newbie. Instead of going through my takeaways again, I thought I would set-up a little compare/contrast post. If you recall, I attended two conferences within the same week, so stay tuned for next week's review of Southern C!
This might be my biggest beef with Alt, so I am getting it out of the way from the get-go. While the summit was held is beautiful, retro, picturesque Palm Springs, Palm Springs is not easy to get to from the east coast. Like at all. I spent nearly 8 hours on a plan + time at 3 airports to get to Palm Springs (and the same amount of time on the way home). Needless to say, I'm not totally sure it was worth the time commitment to get from Atlanta to Palm Springs. I think if this conference is a national conference, they might want to consider a more central location, or a location that is a direct flight away. It was in Salt Lake last year, and while that's not exactly close to Atlanta, it's only a four-hour-ish flight. Much better!
And now, back to the positive! Guys, if you can stomach the flight and spend several days in the Palm Springs area, it's worth the trip. It's so beautiful that I actually said out loud (more than once I might add), "Is this real life?" The mountains are gorgeous, the weather pretty much perfect, and the skies clear. The conference was held at the Saguaro, and I must say while really cool in photos, the accommodations were a little lackluster, especially after staying at The Grand America in Salt Lake. Because the hotel is kind of small, some of the speakers were held in the restaurants or even outside. there also weren't tables which made taking copious notes difficult. If I were to go back to Palm Springs, I would opt to stay at one of the other area hotels like The Parker.
The speakers at Alt never disappoint, and this year was no different. Actually, I felt as though this year's speakers were even better than last year's ones. I adored hearing from the founder of Freshly Picked, Susan Peterson...you know Susan, her company makes those adorable leather baby moccasins that are everywhere. She was raw, humble, and incredibly transparent. In fact, instead of following her presentation, she got on stage, completely scrapped her PowerPoint, and allowed everyone in the room to ask her brutally honest questions. It was inspiring and fascinating. I also loved hearing Alison Faulkner from the Alison Show. I was introduced to Alison's brand a few years ago, met her at Alt last year (for approximately 2 seconds), and adored her presentation. If you don't follow her on IG, you totally should. She's hilarious. She was also on my connecting flight to Salt Lake, and I had to try really really hard not to fangirl.
Alt always has the latest on innovative content, or how to really optimize the tools that are already available. This year, many of the speakers focused on the value of Pinterest. I learned a ton about Pinterest, and I am hoping to really encourage my clients to loop Pinterest back into their social media arsenals. There was also a lot of info about monetizing your blog (obviously), and one of my favorite sessions was how to reuse old content. It's pretty crazy to think about writing content once, sending it out on FB and IG, and never ever putting it in front of someone's eyes again.
The Alt parties rarely disappoint, too. I will say, I preferred last year's party set-up better. In previous years, the first night was dedicated to sponsored dinners - a sponsor, like Minted, rented a bus and took a small group of bloggers to an intimate dinner. I loved the ability to connect with friends the first night and see them again throughout the rest of the conference. This year was a HUGE welcome party at the pool which made it hard to meet people and really have conversation.
Networking (aka. friends):
One of the best things about Alt is the sense of community. There is literally ZERO competition going on at Alt which is crazy because there are always incredible sponsors (this year included Home Depot and Vitamix). Everyone is way more interested in making friends and meeting new people than they are worried about who has more followers or the best outfit. It's so refreshing in a world that can be quite materialistic. I met some sweet women this time and caught up with old friends, too.
If you've ever wondered if you should go to Alt, the answer is, you definitely should. It is a great experience for a first time conference go-er, and is basically the epitome of blogging. I remember walking around and recognizing some of my favorite bloggers...basically, blogger celebs are crawling at Alt. If you want to go, be on the lookout for tickets which go on sale in the fall. This year, the conference sold out in 24 hours which was a record!
Special thanks to Annette Joseph for letting me tag along on her trip. It was a great time!