When I first started working at Lijit, Stan James sent along a few sites that he thought would help me get started in "the space". The space being, of course, blogging and marketing a tech company. One of the blogs he sent me was that of the lovely Liz Strauss, creator of the highly-resourceful Successful Blog. With a name like that, how can you not learn something from her?
Over the years, I've kept Liz in my RSS reader, looking to her posts for writing inspiration and tips on how to be a better blogger. I finally had the chance to meet Liz at the Blissdom conference in early February, where I had the honor of speaking. Liz and I fell into an easy conversation and it was quite apparent that this woman simply drips knowledge. She likes to joke about her age, but all I could do was listen and soak up her wisdom.
Imagine my surprise when, a week after the conference, I was included in Liz's post about how to be a successful sponsor at a small conference. While I was taking part in sessions, talking to Lijit publishers, and meeting many new people, Liz was watching. She could tell, by my engagement with other conference attendees, that I was there not just to promote Lijit, but to learn. Along with John Andrews (he of Walmart fame), I was used as an example of sponsors that understand how to make a lasting impression. Here's the line that resonated most with me...
John and Tara were about building relationships with their customers — current and future.
I don't mean for this post to simply be a way to toot my own horn, although you can tell by the title that I am still in awe of the praise. It's just that when I go to conferences, it's not about being at the right party or name-dropping. For me, conferences provide an opportunity to have meaningful conversations, to learn from the people using Lijit on their blogs, to make new friends, and of course, to give away as many Lijit t-shirts as possible. :)
I've seen it all when it comes to sponsors. There are the people who act "too cool" to actually hang out with conference attendees and those who are so interested in promoting themselves, you almost forget what company they're representing. I like to think that the work I do at conferences is some of the most important that I can be doing for Lijit because, in this day and age, relationships do still matter.
Thanks again for the shout-out Liz. And for using Lijit on your blog.