Utah bloggers and businesswomen Rachael Herrscher and Jyl Johnson Pattee have been to a lot of conferences about social media, but they never felt fulfilled by any of them.
So one day, they got together and started talking about how to bring some of the country's best and brightest in social networking to Utah to share what they know.
"We wanted to build a conference that we wanted to attend," said Herrscher, CEO of TodaysMama.com, a network of regional websites for moms. "Utah has a huge number of bloggers and influencers in social media. We really wanted to create a flagship event for not only Utah but for the West."
The result is evo'11, a three-day conference of sessions and networking opportunities that teaches up-and-coming bloggers and businesswomen how to reach out with today's Internet tools.
The second annual conference, set for July 7-9 at Canyons Resort in Park City, is sold out, which Herrscher says proves the need for Utahns in social media to gather and share their expertise.
"Social media has made our world so much smaller," Herrscher said. "For women in business, that's access to information and access to real people. With blogs, it's also given women a huge platform for expression."
This year's event will feature four keynotes, including one with executives from the Oprah Winfrey Network, and sessions ranging from better photography for blogs to lessons in using analytics to track statistics on who is visiting your site. Those invited to speak include experts from Southwest, eBay, Sesame Street and Aveda.
The conference also features hands-on sessions where participants work with the latest social networking software and even get cooking lessons from professional chefs (for foodies who have blogs).
"They actually get that hands-on, real-time learning with people there to answer their questions," Pattee said about the unique approach to their conference.
Herrscher said there are an inordinate number of Utah women bloggers who have gone on to cultivate a national audience, including sites like local lifestyle blog PetitElefant.com, craft blog MakeandTakes.com and the design blogger at StephModo.com.
That started with the first real success of Utah blogger Heather Armstrong, whose dooce.com started in 2001 as a personal blog about pop culture and her life that has since become a national sensation.
As for why that has led to a flood of popular Utah women bloggers, Herrscher said: "We are a pretty educated state. That's maybe an element. We have more stay-at home moms who may have chosen this as first a hobby and then turned it into something bigger."
"Bloggers in Utah tend to be networkers. We've got a great social media community here. We help each other get noticed," she said. "You have people who are used to working hard. They are working in corporate America or are moms, and you've got some really talented people here."
O More information about the conference.