WordCamp Retreat Soltau [Recap]

by: Milou de Kleijn

Last weekend, we took part in the very first WordCamp Retreat. As a sponsor, the Savvii delegation naturally had to be there and we attended with no fewer than seven colleagues. The first WordCamp Retreat generated a great deal of interest from the (primarily German-language) WordPress community! It was a weekend with a wide range of talks, workshops and activities, as well as an opportunity to network.  

Bas Brader, one of our support staff, is highly enthusiastic about WordCamps following the Cologne WordCamp in November 2017. So enthusiastic in fact, that he immediately offered to assist with organising the Soltau WordCamp Retreat, because “that would be a very exciting WordCamp!” No sooner said than done!

 

What is a WordCamp Retreat?

A WordCamp Retreat is a WordCamp, but with something extra. You eat, drink, sleep and attend the WordCamp at the same venue! This means there is far more time to network and to get to know one another than at normal WordCamps. Besides, in addition to informative talks and workshops, there are also other activities such as a bootcamp, geocaching and a WordPress quiz!

Here is an impression of the activities in which I participated to give you an idea of the experience.

Friday 11:00 am – Branding
Speaker: Raffaella Isidori

Rafella Isidori has considerable expertise in branding and communications. She shared her knowledge of branding in a detailed talk. The following tips are sure to come in handy:

  • A logo is a representation of your company.
  • So do not change it unless essential. That way, you avoid confusion amongst your target group.
  • See your brand as a promise to your client

Friday 3:00 pm -Time management and time tracking
Speaker: Zeth Odderskov

Efficient time management is no easy task. If you are self-employed, or you work for a small company, you might notice that you spend more time on work than you think. Zeth shared a method for gaining an oversight of all your activities. This shows you whether it is worth spending 12% of your month travelling, for example.

Saturday 3:00 am – BarCamp

What exactly is a BarCamp? With a BarCamp, it is not yet known what talks are going to take place. Everyone is free to suggest topics and the audience ultimately decides whether there is enough interest for the talk to go ahead. This way, all talks are well attended and speakers can respond to the audience’s preferences.

It was Christina Arntz’s first time at a WordCamp and she was bold enough to present her talk about the use of social media during the BarCamp session. With success! Less than 2 hours later, 20 participants were asking her questions about social media. I will share a few of her tips that will help you immediately:

When organising and planning your social media messages, consider the following:

  • Why should your followers follow you?
  • What makes you better and more fun than your competitors?
  • What do you want your followers to do after reading your messages?

Saturday morning 8:00 am – Bootcamp
Speaker: Milou de Kleijn

A lie in was not on the cards for everyone! On Saturday morning at 8.00 hours, it was time for Bootcamping! I made sure the participants woke up on time. Despite his busy schedule, organiser Bas was on top of things and also turned up on time. Jogging, relays, sit-ups, planks, were all employed to ensure everyone started Contributor Day fresh as a daisy.

Sunday 10:00 am – Workshop: the Power of SEO
Speaker: Taco Verdonschot

On Sunday, it was time for workshops. The hall was packed despite the lovely weather. Taco gave us food for thought in relation to the use of keywords. This time, those sitting with warm laptops on their laps had an advantage! They could get started with keyword mapping straight away, which soon generated ideas for interesting blog articles.

Time to take a breather

There was ample time for a break from all the talks and activities in the evening. A WordPress quiz, swimming, karaoke in the bar: plenty of entertainment!

A very successful WordCamp Retreat

All in all, the first WordCamp Retreat was a great success! As far as i am concerned, it is the ideal WordCamp event for networking, expanding your knowledge and really strengthening your ties with the WordPress community. Ten out of ten for organisation, bring on the next WordCamp Retreat!

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