#IABFlyIn IAB Small Publisher Fly-in: Why Every Blogger Should Attend

Last week I had the pleasure of attending my first IAB Small Publisher Fly-in conference held in Washington, DC. It’s a free two-day event, sponsored by Google and AOL that allows for great educational sessions, networking opportunities and a fun (yes fun) chance to explore Capitol Hill and meet with our local Congresspersons. Not only was there so much value in attending, but the organizers and everyone involved with IAB took really great care of us.

Not sure what IAB is and why you should care? No worries, I got you covered.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy.

It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States.

86 percent! That was not a typo. That is huge and if you’re a blogger/small publisher, you need to be hip to this info. This is why you need to surround yourself with people that know their stuff. Thanks to my blogger boo MimiCuteLips for first bringing this powerful conference to my attention. Before I even read all the details they had me at free. Then as I started to understand what this event was, I knew there was no way I could miss it.

Group photo before dividing into smaller groups for Hill visits. Photo Credit: IAB

Group photo before dividing into smaller groups for Hill visits. Photo Credit: IAB

The first day of the conference started with a luncheon and back to back presentations (with dessert and coffee breaks in between) from experts such as Reiva Lesonsky (Grow Biz Media and Small Biz Daily) who spoke about the future of digital publishing. One biggest takeaway is understanding the need to deliver content in the way that our consumers want to receive it (blogs, video, social media, podcasts, etc.).

My girl MimiCuteLips and I taking the opportunity to snap a photo with the good natural sunlight. LOL

My girl MimiCuteLips and I taking the opportunity to snap a photo with the good natural sunlight. LOL

Shashi Bellamkonda (CMO Sure Fire Social & Georgetown Professor) talked about using digital tools to grow your business and keep existing customers. I enjoyed Shashi’s presentation. One key takeaway: his ONE acronym for letting customers find you:

Options: Content on consumer’s choice
Nurture: Attract and engage
Educate: Connect your product to customer’s pain point

Aaron Lichtig (Google) talked about paid and organic traffic. This was a great way for me to gage that I was on the right track when it comes to SEO. One of the takeaways I got from this presentation was that the structure to your Google ads matters. He broke down the campaign, ad group and keywords and how they all tie in together.

We then heard from Susan Getgood (SVP Influencer Marketing, SheKnows Media). She talked about the importance and significance of native advertising. One key takeaway were factors to keep in mind when considering sponsored content. For example, you should ask yourself how much time it will take you to do the work, what is your social reach including blog traffic and what results can you guarantee (work + reach + results = your fee)?

You can check out and download the presentations for all of the speakers above by clicking here.

I can't remember what question I was asking but it had something to do with live streaming & digital advertising. Photo Credit: IAB

I can’t remember what question I was asking but it had something to do with live streaming & digital advertising. Photo Credit: IAB

This conference was truly unique in the fact that not only did we network with people in a variety of industries, but we spent the entire second day of the fly-in meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. As a blogger/small publisher, our livelihood depends on digital advertising. So this opportunity to attend this event allowed me to get a better understanding of the policies that directly impact us, and to share with members of congress what I do so they can keep us in mind when it comes to these policies. We broke up into small groups and hit the ground running. We had an awesome chaperone, Rob Hartwell who made sure we hydrated, nourished and shared our stories with everyone we met with on the Hill.


Photo Credit: IAB


Photo Credit: IAB


Photo Credit: IAB

We got to meet with people like Carson Middleton, Legislative Director (Congressman Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania), Brandt Anderson, Military Legislative Assistant (Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Indiana), Samuel Negatu, Legislative Assistant (Hon. Matt Cartwright, Pennsylvania), James Locke, Legislative Aide (Congressman Scott Desjarlais, MD, Tennessee), and Tim Carlton, Legislative Assistant (Duncan Hunter, California).


Photo Credit: IAB


Photo Credit: IAB

All in all, it was a really great event. I almost didn’t attend the second day because…well, busy and kids and projects. But I’m so happy I made time to go and encourage all bloggers, content creators, small publishers to put this on your calendar for next year.

I totally forgot to save some of my snaps from the event on Snapchat. But be sure to follow me there for the latest: @christinestvil.

Posing for a quick “usie” with our new friend Shashi who was also one of the presenters. He called us local DC blog stars. If didn’t know, now you do 🙂

#iabflyin with @mimicutelips and @christineStVil local DC blog stars

A photo posted by Shashi Bellamkonda (@shashib) on

Oh and my girl Mimi of MimiCuteLips.com is giving you some more dish on what we learned. You definitely want to catch her recap here because she goes in on discussing even more behind-the-scenes on how important our voice is and why we need to have a seat at the table (including the Google Dinner which I had to miss due to a book signing/speaking event my sister and I had).

#IABFLYIN mimicutelips momsncharge

We’ll be back next year IAB! Thanks for having us! (with MimiCuteLips)

Have you heard of the IAB Small Publisher Fly-In before? Would you consider going?

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  • #IABFLYIN: Small Publisher Conference & Fly-In Recap - MimiCuteLips
    June 1, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    […] My Boo Moms ‘N Charge and I had a blast all day. Peep her recap HERE. […]

  • Violette Willis
    June 2, 2016 at 12:51 AM

    I just have to say YES for representing the sistas! Lol. For real though, when these lawmakers are doing their thing they need to have the black solopreneurs in mind too. So I strongly advise those in the DMV to attend. Let them know we out here and put a face to the statistic that says African-American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. IJS, lol.

    • Christine St.Vil
      June 2, 2016 at 11:29 PM

      LOL Yes indeed! It’s crazy because no one is talking about this in the blogging community as a whole, but we definitely need to. And all of this is FREE! Definitely the best investment of time you can have 🙂

  • Guna
    August 3, 2016 at 7:15 AM

    Loved your recap. Will definitely put on my radar.

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