In my first conference of 2016, I was invited to attend WOW Summit 2016 as a guest of Moms Meet. What is Moms Meet? It’s a community where moms can sign up to become ambassadors to review brands that are mostly in the natural and organic space, such as like Solgar and Mary’s Gone Crackers. You don’t even need a blog. Mom ambassadors get to try out products with their groups, also known as your friends.
It was a great conference. Let me share exactly why this is called the WOW Summit.
1. WOW! The Welcome…
Now, I’ve been to a number of conferences – about 5 or so different ones – and WOW Summit really impressed me. Everyone was in a really good, friendly mood. You could just feel it. Moms showed up with babies in tow or surrounded by friends. The overwhelming joy of the arrival was contagious.
Once inside, we were welcomed by Karissa Barber, the Acting Mom, who was hilarious the whole weekend. Next up was Chief Mom Ambassador, Annie Douglass of Green Moms who runs the summit made us feel all warm and fuzzy for being there. The emphasis was on being positive and having fun, and it continued all weekend.
2. WOW! The Workshops…
Upon arrival, you need to to sign up for your selected workshops. (I advise you get there early, some of the good ones filled up quickly. That was no worry though since there were still so many fabulous sessions left!) Here are the workshops I attended:
- My friend Anne Parris of Midlife Boulevard gave a great session on called How to Build a Community with Facebook Groups.
- Laura Harders of Beltway Bargain Mom ran a session entitled Blogging Authority: How to Master the Media and Gain Credibility about how to get into TV, print and other media outlets.
- How to Transition from Amateur to Pro Blogger by the dynamic duo of Dan R. Morris & Rachel Martin, Blogging Concentrated, which was all about making a career and less about making a blog. Everything these two do is awesome.
I can’t even tell you how unbelievably valuable these were! Each was a concise sessions with time for Q&A that was just right. After that, it was time to meet friends for dinner. There’s a few restaurants in the Gaylord and a ton outside, so we stayed indoors. (I know I was in Maryland but I didn’t eat crab because I don’t like seafood. Sorry! Heard it was good though.)
On Saturday, we were treated to more workshops presented by some of the brands. These focused on clean living and empowering kids and were directed towards moms.
3. WOW! The Networking…
On Friday night, it was dinner with friends I never get to see! For that alone it would have been worth it, but afterward we headed to the WOW Summit Blogger/Brand Speed Networking event. This was CRAZY! You spend just enough time with a brand (3.5 minutes) to see whether or not you want to visit their booth at the expo and meet further about reviewing items or doing giveaways with them. After that, it was cocktails and comedy, featuring a comedian from “American’s Got Talent,” an ice bar and treats from the brands. A bunch of us got together and had a great time and even visited the upper floors for a stunning view of National Harbor at night as well!
At 10:30 in the evening, we all came back down for a mastermind session hosted by Dan and Rachel, which was really a continuation of their workshop that I had attended earlier. And it was there that I had my “Aha!” moment about taking my business (separate from my blog) where I want it to be. Dan said a very profound thing about what selling is that made me rethink my whole business model. My friends and I were neither the first nor the last to leave the mastermind but by midnight, I was done for!
4. WOW! The Guest Speakers…
After a sleepless night and a double wakeup call (the first being WAAAAAAY before the time I programmed, I hurried back down, picked up some breakfast and entered for another welcome session and to drop my raffle tickets into baskets! It was also time to sign up for Saturday’s workshops, which were hosted by the brands. Meanwhile, the vendors were setting up their wares at the expo portion.
Today’s first speaker was the funny and brilliant Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids. I highly recommend her blog. I was lucky enough to talk to her afterward to discuss letting go as a special needs parents and she gave me some places to look AND was kind enough to email relevant some blog posts first thing on Sunday morning.
Next up was keynote speaker Dr. Drew Ramsey, M.D., author of “Fifty Shades of Kale: 50 Fresh and Satisfying Recipes That Are Bound to Please.” Dr. Ramsey is, surprisingly, a psychiatrist and while he does prescribe medications to some of his patients, he is passionate about the positive impact eating properly can have on mental health! I was very impressed by his speech and learned a lot. For example, did you know that omega-3 can possibly reduce postpartum depression?
Unfortunately, during lunch I missed Rachel Martin’s parenting talk, BUT the food was amazing! We ate at Nando’s, which features peri peri seasoned chicken. Yummy! Plus, I don’t get to see Noelle that often and it was so nice to meet a new friend too. Finally, we got back for a little more expo time to hear Gloria Pan of Momsrising deliver the final speech.
5. WOW! The Expo…
On Saturday, we also had time to engage with the vendors we met networking and try their products. Lots of them had food samples out, but a few of us bloggers took half of that time to get lunch. Still, there were some delicious goodies, from Mary’s Crackers to Sunridge Farms, whose Dark Chocolate Coconut Chews are my favorite thing on the planet. Sadly, the bag went *mysteriously* missing after we drove home with the kids. They are slick!
Not only that, but Dr. Ramsey was also there signing and selling his new book, “Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health.” In the same area, you could find my friend, Paige Wolf, signing copies of her book “Spit that Out!: The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt.”
6. WOW! The Goodies…
Then, it was prize package time…in fact, there were a LOT of giveaways at this conference. I won an Amazon gift certificate (but then lost it since I wasn’t around), a prize pack a great probiotic prize package from UP4 Probiotics and, once home, I won another prize pack of treats from Go Organically Fruit Snacks. There were also goodies to be had at the end, as expo vendors gave away extra products, products given at the brand workshops and, for those that stayed to the end, a HUGE bag of swag with samples and full sized products from most of the sponsors! I literally had a shoulder ache carrying it all back to the car.
7. WOW! The Venue…
This awesome conference was held at the beautiful Gaylord Resort in National Harbor, Maryland. It’s so cool that it is close to all lots of great activities in D.C. and to the amazing ferris wheel right on the harbor. The hotel is beautiful, the front desk was extremely polite and helpful too. (We had an, ahem, “incident” in the lobby and they asked if we wanted “taken care of.” Let’s just say that special needs children are not immune from the ugliness of this year’s politics.) The kids loved the pool, the shops, the atrium, the ferris wheel, and the super cool light show in the fountain. In case you’re wondering, we are going back
My husband and kids loved it so much that we are going back in November for the ICE! 2016 show. Can’t wait!
8. WOW! The Learning…
So this was a business conference and I did learn a lot, which made it worth it of course! As a result of this event, I’m changing some things about my business and eagerly confirming where I’m headed with others Here are:
Top 10 Useful Things I Learned At WOW Summit:
- 76% of Facebook users are women.
- Rules and structure are not only necessary to run a Facebook group, your members crave them.
- Don’t grow your Facebook group too fast or members will lose connection.
- When reaching out to media outlets be persistent – they are busy!
- Editors are usually not the correct contact for pitching magazines.
- Act quickly on pitches sent to you or you may lose out.
- You can’t earn retirement from your blog.
- Risk is always associated with any income that pays your bills.
- Examining and addressing risk in detail is necessary for your business.
- Everything you do in business, even the small stuff, should contribute to your long term business goals.
I recommend this summit to moms who want to involved with brands. Like I said, you don’t need a blog to participate in Green Moms review programs, just a group of like-minded friends who like to try natural and clean new products. It was a lot of fun and a great way to prepare for your future.