April 18, 2015
One day, one stage.
Unique voices sharing their stories
and helping you make the most of yours.
Join us at from 5:30-7pm for our welcome mixer and start getting to know your fellow bloggers. Pick up your attendee packet to save time on Saturday morning, and enjoy some libations and snacks. We’ll email registered attendees details on the welcome mixer on Wednesday, April 15.
Doors will open at 8am, with sessions starting promptly at 9.
Steele Auditorium Sessions
Also: My Blog Made Me Happy
Humor blogger Katherine Fritz will tell the story of how she started a blog in an act of whimsy, went viral four or five times, poured her heart out to millions of strangers, discovered a creative outlet she never knew she was missing, landed a gig as a contributor to MTV Style, and finally told her mother about her blog.
Making the Most of WordPress.com Premium
Grace Park will provide an overview of the upgrades included in the WordPress.com Premium plan that all attendees receive, and answer questions to help you make the most of your blog.
The Big Blue: Updating the WordPress.com Dashboard
Join Lance Willett as he talks about the recent changes to the design of the WordPress.com dashboard. He’ll cover reasons behind the changes, effects of various improvements, and plans for the future. With the introduction of Jetpack Manage, this talk will be relevant to self-hosted wordPress users as well.
How I Found My Voice
Renowned food blogger Russ Crandall will be talking about how he found his niche in the wide world of food blogging and how his focused approach created unexpected opportunities.
Wild About Widgets!
Join Kathryn Presner as she walks through a variety of widgets, shows how to use them, and demonstrates how the widget visibility feature can give you greater control over the pages of your blog.
Blogging on the Go
Karen Arnold will give tips for taking better iPhone photos and demonstrate how to use the WordPress mobile apps to document your own travels, even in your own neighborhood.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Emily Austin didn’t set out to create a wildly popular parenting blog; 3 years later, she was named a 2014 BlogHer Voice of the Year and featured on the Huffington Post and CNN.com. She’ll talk about how she grew a large and loyal following, one relationship at a time.
Getting Discovered on WordPress.com
Cheri Lucas Rowlands will talk about discovering content, getting discovered, getting inspired, and connecting with other bloggers using the editorial tools and communities available on WordPress.com.
The Perfect Theme
Learn how to choose the theme that best suits your site. Lance Willett will discuss different types of themes, what to look for when making a choice, and explain the difference between free and premium themes.
A DIY Success
Kathy Cano-Murillo, the force behind craftychica.com, will share her crafting journey from personal passion to big business.
Getting the Word Out: DIY SEO, SM, & PR
Josepha Haden will share SEO tips & tricks she’s picked up over the last ten years as an SEO and marketing consultant to help you you improve your blog’s performance, and Marjorie Asturias will cover the basics of how to promote your work, both through social media tools and more traditional means such as creating a press kit.
Taking Off with Jetpack
Erick Hitter will highlight WordPress.com features available to self-hosted blogs via Jetpack, including the new Jetpack Manage tool for managing multiple blogs.
Panel Discussion: Profiting From Your Blog
Katherine Fritz, Emily Austin, Russ Crandall, and Kathy Cano-Murillo come back on stage to talk about the different publishing, employment, and business opportunities that have come their way since they started blogging.
$$$: Ads, Affiliates, and Ecommerce
Join Marjorie Asturias as she runs through some of the most popular ways to monetize your blogs.
Josepha Haden will share some tips for formatting your WordPress posts with some of the less obvious built-in options of the post editor.
More Posts, Less Work
Most people know that the more you post to your blog, the more engaged your audience is, and the more Google likes your site. But it can be hard to carve out time or inspiration to write every day! Join Jen Mylo as she walks through some ways to beef up your editorial calendar without stretching yourself too thin. This session will cover adding video to your site with VideoPress, embedding video and other media from third-party sites, scheduling future posts, and a few other tips on how to keep the content cookie jar full of treats for your readers.
Blogging U Sessions
Writing 101: A Daily Practice
In this workshop, we’ll talk about building a writing habit, finding inspiration and post ideas, and doing exercises to unlock your mind and start some new posts. Be sure to bring your laptops or notebooks — and prepare to write! This session will be led by Cheri Lucas Rowlands, a story wrangler for WordPress.com and Longreads.
Design 101: Customize
Learn how to customize the look and feel of your WordPress site using the Customizer, taught by WordPress.com theme expert Erick Hitter.
Design 201: CSS Basics
WordPress.com theme experts Kathryn Presner and Erick Hitter teach a workshop on how to customize your blog’s appearance using the Custom CSS upgrade. After covering how CSS works and how to create some basic (and more popular) design changes with CSS, the last portion of the class will be a CSS Clinic, where you can ask how to do specific things to your site with CSS.
Writing 201: Clinic
In this open and informal discussion session, WordPress.com editor Cheri Lucas Rowlands will talk a bit about what makes a great post. Be sure to bring your laptops, notebooks, or drafts to work with: you can ask specific questions, learn about others’ techniques, and brainstorm story ideas with the group.
Design 102: Menus & Widgets
Dig deeper into customizing your site. In this session, longtime WordPress workshop teacher Kathryn Presner will teach you how to use the WP Admin screens to set up custom menus for your site navigation, and widgets to bring more shazam to your sidebars. And yes, you’ll even try out the custom menu widget. Worlds collide!
In addition to the presentations in the Steele Auditorium, we’ll also be running some hands-on sessions in the Encanto Room (schedule to be posted soon). If you need a break from sessions, our Happiness Lounge in the Steele Foyer is perfect for a little relaxation or getting some one-on-one help with your blog from our WordPress.com Happiness Engineers. Lunch will be served in the Plaza, with opportunities to discover common interests with like-minded bloggers over a relaxed meal.
Sessions will wrap up around 5pm, with open social/networking time until 6pm.
Rest, relax, and blog about your experience. :)
We couldn’t be more excited to get these amazing, funny, and interesting bloggers on stage!
Emily Austin is a blogger, social media manager, and Oxford comma fangirl in Memphis, Tennessee. Her blog, The Waiting (NotTheHardestPart.com), chronicles her adventures in parenting her daughter Cee and is recognized as a WordPress Recommended Family Blog. The odd story about her mom packing a beer in her lunch bag when she was 12 makes its way in there too. She has been Freshly Pressed four times, recognized as a BlogHer Voice of the Year (2014), and featured on The Huffington Post and CNN.com. Connect with Emily on Facebook at facebook.com/thewaitingblog and Twitter at @thewaitingblog.
Katherine Fritz is the creator of I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog and Ladypockets. Since starting her blog in 2013, her words have been published in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Thought Catalog, and shared via sites such as Upworthy, Hello Giggles, Yahoo!, Refinery 29, Bustle, and of course, WordPress’ own “Freshly Pressed.” (Five times!) She is a regular contributor to MTV Style, where she writes about the intersection between feminism and pop culture, and recently appeared on National Public Radio to discuss her viral blog post, “Race Ya.” In her secret double life, she is a Philadelphia-based costume designer and teaching artist. Her blog has connected her to some extraordinary people through the power of the internet, including her extremely patient literary agent. She is currently at work on her first book. She has no idea if her mom reads her blog.
Kathy Cano-Murillo is a writer/novelist, artist/illustrator and founder of the award-winning site, CraftyChica.com. Known for her glittery “Mexi-boho” style, she is a national spokesperson for iLoveToCreate and a creative influencer for Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores. She has a product line that is carried in Michaels stores and is a former columnist for The Arizona Republic, and has authored nine books, two of them novels. She have been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, HGTV, DIY Network, Lifetime TV and more. When Kathy isn’t designing, crafting, or writing books, she tours the country teaching classes and giving motivation and business presentations. She is a third-generation Mexican-American, a native Phoenician, mom, wifey, with four Chihuahuas.
Russ Crandall is the talented home chef behind The Domestic Man, a Paleo-friendly food blog focused on traditional, international, and classic dishes. In his 20s he suffered a number of life-threatening illnesses, was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition–and sent home with a lifetime’s worth of medications. Disenchanted with modern medicine, Russ started searching for his own answers and quickly discovered that eating a gluten-free, nutrient-rich diet alleviated most of the medical issues that had plagued him for years. He started blogging about his lifestyle in 2010, and has been featured in People Magazine, Food & Wine, and was nominated by Saveur Magazine as one of the Top Food Blogs of 2013. He released his debut cookbook, The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle, through Victory Belt Publishing in February 2014.
Teachers and Helpers
These fine people work for Automattic and help make WordPress.com.
Andrea started blogging at Wine Scamp in 2007 and will happily talk your ear off about wine, food, scifi/fantasy, and parenting. She’s lived all over North America, including 5 years in the Caribbean, and has worked as an English teacher, wine rep, construction proposal manager, and most recently, community organizer for the WordPress open source project. She’s the mom of two young kids now and is thrilled to be raising them back in her beloved hometown of Portland, Oregon. Andrea is a co-founder of Press Publish and has worked at Automattic since 2011.
Ash Rhodes is a Phoenix area native who has been cursed (blessed?) with a strong case of wanderlust. He has moved away and back home no fewer than 4 times and counting! He’s worked in tech for over 10 years after getting degrees in History and English (proving it’s not what you know, it’s getting education debt). Currently, Ash works in Automattic’s user Forum as a Happiness Engineer, helping users all over the world and at all levels of skill get the most out of their WordPress.com site.
As a lifelong writer Cami has always been inquisitive and curious. It’s a quality that has left her enamored with the ever-changing world of technology and the people who build it. That’s how she found herself smack in the middle of the Portland tech scene 10 years ago, first with blogs and then events and podcasting. While back in the day she focused on innovative podcasts such Strange Love Live and memePDX and events like 30 Hour Day, she now spends more time making order out of chaos in her life, parenting, work and from time to time camikaos.com. Having lived in Portland, Oregon for nearly 20 years, she can’t imagine making another city her home, or finding a place better suited for raising her daughter. Cami works at Automattic as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project, overseeing the WordCamp community conference program. She can be found, quite often, on Twitter as @camikaos.
Cheri Lucas Rowlands
Cheri Lucas Rowlands is a story wrangler at Automattic and works on editorial projects like The Daily Post and Longreads. She developed Blogging U.’s first workshopping and photoblogging courses, Writing 201: Finding Your Story and Photography 101: A Photo a Day. Currently, she’s working on a brand-new destination site, Discover, which will feature editors’ picks, blogger and author interviews, and the best of WordPress.com. Cheri has a background in creative nonfiction, film, and journalism. See what she’s up to on her blog.
A fan of helping others and a huge fan of WordPress, Chris has been involved with tech ventures for over 10 years. He loves music, movies, and anything nerdy. Chris has been a Happiness Engineer at Automattic for 2 years now, lives in Los Angeles, and blogs at squirex2.com.
It took Erick a while to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up, which led him through a few different careers. After experiments in audio engineering and accounting, he now works for Automattic leading a team focused on growing WordPress’s market share to at least 51%. Erick lives in Los Angeles, loves great beer, and longs for enough free time to go hiking in the mountains that surround LA. He blogs at ethitter.com and i.ethitter.com.
Grace joined Automattic/WordPress.com in 2013 as a Happiness Engineer. She’s been blogging off and on for about 8-9 years and her current blog can be found at gracejiyoung.com. She loves teaching and helping users create the sites they envision. You can find her in the public WordPress.com Staff Answers forum and the Blogging U Blogging 101 courses when you need WordPress.com support.
Jen started blogging in the last millenium, and has been with Automattic since 2008, where she served as a user experience lead and community organizer for the WordPress open source project prior to co-founding the Press Publish event series. She’s lived all over the country, and has traveled the world meeting WordPress users at WordCamps and other conferences. Other areas of interest and inquiry include cooking and baking, acupuncture and other healing modalities, books of all sorts, friendly cats, and native plants. Now making her home in Portland, OR, Jen can be found online at jenmylo.com.
Josepha comes from a long line of writers and was raised to be a life-long learner. She has a passion for language and strorycrafting, a skill she has honed on chanthaboune.wordpress.com. Josepha has over a decade of experience using SEO, data analysis, and content marketing to bring success and visibility to clients all over the world. Since 2010 she’s been working in her hometown of Kansas City to increase digital literacy and get more women in tech. Josepha works at Automattic as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project and can be found on Twitter as @josephahaden.
Karen Arnold (pronounced Car-en) and her husband, 4 children, 4 cats, and approximately 10 chickens, live in sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico. When she isn’t engineering happiness at WordPress.com, she helps her husband homeschool their energetic kiddos, tries to blog regularly, and brainstorms ways to meet every WordPress user in New Mexico.
Kathryn Presner thrives on helping people get the most out of WordPress. After a career designing and building websites for clients, she joined Automattic as a Happiness Engineer in 2012 and is a member of the Theme Team, where she helps folks with WordPress theme customization, configuration, and troubleshooting. She enjoys spreading her passion for WordPress at WordCamps, Girl Geeks, Ladies Learning Code, and other grassroots events. Non-WordPress hours are spent collecting vintage Pyrex mixing bowls, growing organic garlic, and cavorting with her three felines.
Lance Willett is a web craftsman specializing in front-end web development. By day he develops themes and customization projects for Automattic, and by night he is Launcelot du Lac, Knight of the Round Table. Lance started a travel and outdoor adventures blog in 2004 at fautrever.com with long-form stories and photos; in 2005 he began blogging at simpledream.net, focused on web design and programming, WordPress development, and other tech-related topics; and in 2014 he kicked off a third—this time a moblog with photos “on the go” at lance.wordpress.com.
Marjorie R. Asturias is a Happiness Engineer on the Store Team at WordPress.com. In short, she’s devoted to helping business users build and grow their online presence and find their audiences. Prior to joining Automattic, she served as chief creative officer of Blue Volcano Media, a social media and content marketing agency she founded in 2009. She and/or her company have been mentioned in the New York Times, Fox Business News, Mashable, American Express OPEN Forum, Reuters, Intuit.com’s Small Business blog, and numerous other online and offline publications. She can be found online at her blog, myinnerfrenchgirl.com and on Twitter as @marj_asturias, or just as likely rescuing and rehoming stray dogs.
Press Publish will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at the Heard Museum (2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004).
A true Arizona landmark, the Heard offers a unique blend of modern amenities and traditional heritage of the Southwest. Learn new skills and connect with fellow bloggers while enjoying the Heard’s graceful Spanish Colonial architecture, shaded courtyard, and tranquil fountains.
If you’re coming from out of town, we’ve arranged a group rate at the Clarendon Hotel and Spa! Take advantage of the group rate by mentioning the group code “AUTMTC” when calling 602-252-7363 to make a reservation.
At Press Publish you’ll get inspiring stories, helpful tutorials, personal help with your blog, and a tasty lunch with like-minded bloggers. Tickets are available now!