At the Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, the two-day virtual conference running twice from August 11-13, you’ll have access to about 50 speakers and presenters across 90+ breakout sessions and keynote conversations. The varied lineup will appeal to new and established bloggers; professionals in tech, media, and marketing; and anyone ready to build or expand their presence on the web.
Event highlights include a talk from Smitten Kitchen creator and cookbook author Deb Perelman; panels with Newspack founder Kinsey Wilson on the state of independent and local journalism amid a struggling media landscape and in the age of COVID-19; and sessions with founders and representatives from companies and organizations like Xbox, Google, Sandwich, African Queer Youth Initiative, Out in Tech, Looka, and more.
Wondering what to expect? Here are 10 entrepreneurs, founders, bloggers, and developers scheduled to speak at the summit.
Jason is the founder and editor-in-chief of Six Colors, a site that covers Apple, technology, and the intersection of tech and culture. Previously, as the lead editor for Macworld, he covered every major Apple product release for more than a decade.
In a breakout session on content and community with web designer and A List Apart founder Jeffrey Zeldman, they’ll share blogging and podcasting tips, advice on growing your audience, and making money with paywalls, stores, advertising, and more. “Membership programs can build loyalty and provide the most enthusiastic portions of your audience with more of what they love,” says Jason. “I switched to WordPress in order to build a richer — and more marketable — membership program, and the results have been excellent.”
“The 4Ps of marketing — product, place, promotion, and price — have changed dramatically,” says Tina Wells, the founder of Elevation Tribe, a community and lifestyle publication focused on helping women of color launch, grow, and lead their businesses. In her breakout session, Tina will talk about creating a marketing plan for beginners and small businesses. “We’ll go back to basics and discover how we can make the right changes to help your business not only survive, but thrive.”
A business strategist and passionate entrepreneur, Tina believes in the power of an effective online presence. “Your website is your first storefront, and it tells the story of your brand,” she says, noting that a strong visual identity and fresh design are critical. You can see both in action at Elevation Tribe and on Tina’s website.
“My authenticity is what allows me to share my brand with others. Being yourself — and transparent — is what people see and keeps them coming back. There’s only one of you, and that alone is enough,” says Kristin Smith, food blogger at Krisp X Kristin and podcast co-host of At the Bar.
In Kristin’s breakout session, you’ll find out how she turned her passion for cooking into a popular blog and podcast. She’ll share what she’s learned, giving you a set of actionable steps to inspire you to overcome your fears and get started on your website.
“Sometimes in the beginning it’s hard to see a finish line. But, keep your head down and keep working. Throw yourself into it, network with other likeminded people, and continue to learn,” says Kristin. “It all will pay off in the end.”
“The web used to be the best platform for content creation, distribution, and consumption,” says Paul Bakaus, a senior staff development advocate at Google. “But today the walled garden — closed social apps and platforms — are drinking our milkshake. I say it’s time we stop letting them! We need to, as a community, work on making the web more visual, frictionless, and bite-sized. Web Stories are our approach to help with that, and we can’t wait for you to join us.”
In his breakout session, Telling Web Stories with WordPress, Paul will introduce you to Web Stories — a mobile-first tool that allows storytellers to create visual narratives with engaging animations and tappable interactions — and show how you can use them on your website with the Web Stories for WordPress plugin.
“We want to contribute to an awesome post-COVID-19 world,” says Anton Diaz, traveler, founder, and creator of Our Awesome Planet. “We’re helping food businesses to connect with foodies and travel destinations to engage with travelers.”
In his breakout session, Anton will share the principles that have guided his food and travel blog for 15 years. “There are core beliefs that have helped Our Awesome Planet stand out,” says Paul. “We make sure that all the food and travel experiences we feature are based on first-hand experience, grounded on our original vision: documenting the food and travel adventures of our family as our four sons — Aidan, Joshua, Raphael, and Yugi — have grown.”
Deb Perelman, the longtime food blogger at Smitten Kitchen, is a WordPress.com community favorite. What started as a food blog and side project in her tiny New York City kitchen has grown into one of the most popular food blogs on the internet, as well as a series of best-selling cookbooks.
“I just really, really enjoy blogging,” Deb said in an interview with WordPress.com several years ago. “I love having a place where I can share what I’m working on in an immediate way and have a conversation with people who are equally excited about it, and who encourage me to try more stuff that scares me in the kitchen.” At the conference, Deb will share her story and the journey of Smitten Kitchen, from start to present.
Kim Newton, a global marketing executive with over 20 years of experience working with corporations and brands, is the creator of The Intentional Pause, a project that empowers women to follow their dreams using the power of pause. “I give every woman permission — yes permission — to just stop and think,” she writes on her website. “I want to help women to embrace pausing as a powerful way forward, with intention, to achieve their dreams.”
Kim has had many successes in consumer marketing, corporate strategy, and business development, and will share her insights on marketing and PR at the summit.
Chris Coyier, the co-founder of CodePen, is a front-end developer and designer. He’s also the creator of CSS-Tricks, a resource that’s all about building websites, mostly from a front-end perspective, and was built on WordPress since day one. “I’m a solo developer for the most part on CSS-Tricks. Just me over here. I don’t have the budget for a fancy development team. But I still want to feel powerful and productive. That’s one of the things that WordPress has given to me. I feel like I can build just about anything on WordPress, and do it in a way that doesn’t feel like a mountain of technical debt that I would struggle to maintain.”
In his breakout session — Putting WordPress to Work — Chris will take us behind the scenes at CSS-Tricks, sharing “just how powerful WordPress can be as a platform to run a publishing business on.”
For Amy Chan, blogging provided the path to a publishing career. Amy is the founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, the world’s first breakup bootcamp, and the author of Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart. “Heartbreak is something that affects everyone, so people were able to connect quickly with the company’s offering,” says Amy.
In Amy’s breakout session — How I Accidentally Became a Thought Leader By Blogging — she shares her own story, and how you can transform your side gig into something bigger. To start, Amy says to just do it: “Stop hiding. Stop waiting. Stop perfecting. Perfection is procrastination in disguise,” she says. “Start the blog, launch the event, put your creation out in the world. Whatever it is, just get in a mindset of taking action. Create as a way of being. Launch it now and develop it later.”
Danica Kombol founded Everywhere Agency to help brands tell better stories through social media and influencer marketing. As CEO, she leads a team that works with brands to launch content-driven campaigns and to create meaningful conversations with followers in powerful, measurable ways.
Danica also launched Everywhere Society, a network of about 5,000 established influencers and bloggers, which powers the agency’s influencer campaigns and brand ambassadorships. Her session will cover blogging for purpose and profit.
Browse the agenda for all sessions, demos, and talks. Buy your ticket now for early bird pricing of $79, which expires after July 31!
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