Featured Speaker: Julie Elsdon-Height

Pitch Perfect

Ever looked at another influencer and wondered how they got that AWESOME gig? Julie will delve into the aspects of PITCHING!! Roll up your sleeves and let’s dive into branding, media kits, offers and finding contacts! Fantastic partnerships don’t just happen, Julie will share some insights to help you develop your own pitch perfect approach.

Julie Elsdon-Height is co-founder of SJ Consulting, a digital marketing firm and founder of Life Straight Up! SoberJulie.com is a popular Canadian lifestyle blog established in 2010. Known as @SoberJulie online, Julie has been studying the online marketscape for a decade and is a wealth of knowledge for influencer/Brand relationships.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SoberJulie

Twitter: @SoberJulie

Instagram: @soberjulie

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/soberjulie

Featured Speaker: Ali Breen

How to not Start a Blog for a Whole Year – A Cautionary Tale

As a blogger, Millennials Career Coach Ali Breen is just beginning. And she’s been “just beginning” for well…um…a whole year now. Are you stuck at the start? Ali flips the how-to model upside down in this cautionary-tale session, offering an in-the-trenches outlook and tangible “try this instead” tips, worksheets and activities. Her funny, frustrating and real-life journey can help you avoid pitfalls, pitstops and procrastination on the road to starting your own beauty of a blog. Oh, and she’s all kinds of funny. Bring your laughing/crying emojis people! Also bring cake. Seriously, a cake offering is required to attend the session. JK…sort of. (We made her write “JK'” but she really wants cake & advises you to “make good choices people, just sayin”).

As a blogger, Ali is just beginning. As an award-winning writer, who has loved writing since she was a wee one, it’s bonkers that she hasn’t had a blog before now. Feel the same way? From “get lost in the tech weeds” to “be super jealous when all your blogger friends get invited to a flashy foodie event” she offers real-life tips on how to avoid ever starting your blog in this funny, refreshing beginner’s story.

Ali Breen is a Millennials Career Coach, avid #SupportLocal champion, Kinda/Sorta/Almost Blogger and all-around good time gal, bringing her bare-naked heart to BlogJam this year to share her strategies for first timers. Offering an in-the-trenches outlook and tangible “try this instead” tips, worksheets and activities, her journey can help you avoid pitfalls, pitstops and procrastination on the road to starting your own beauty of a blog.

Ali believes that your career can and should be a reflection of who you are and how you want to be in the world. She uses story-based, narrative coaching to help clients get clear about what they want and how & when they can actually get it. As a past corporate recruiter and bilingual career practitioner in non-profit employment centres, Ali has experience from both sides of the Career Management table. She offers a refreshing break and realistic divergence from the cookie-cutter career advice and tools that are outdated and (mostly) broken.

Her blog is a blend of career advice for young professionals, #howtodeal tips for parents of Millennials and epic wins from & for this often maligned generation. She has brought her energy and expertise as a presenter to Fusion Halifax, Clean NS, NS Career Development Association and countless workshop rooms. She co-founded the first bilingual career centre in Halifax, boosts up those around her, organizes and volunteers at epic events and is well…kind of a big deal.     


Twitter: @reachalibreen

Instagram: @alibreeninsta


Featured Speaker: Anita Kirkbride

Cooking with Gas: How to Use Social Media to Promote your Blog

Social media and blogging go together like peanut butter and jam (oh yeah, I used a jam pun). What good is all the work you’re doing to put your amazeballs content together if nobody is coming to read it? Social media gas to the rescue (I’ll leave the other kind of gas to Alison Knott)! Join me to learn how to use the most common social networks to get more eyeballs on your blog.

When the first generation of bloggers emerged in the late 90s, Twirp Communications founder Anita Kirkbride carved out her own digital space and promptly decorated it with cardstock and rubber stamps. Her blogging career expanded from there, and now she shares everything she knows about social media at twirp.ca.

Twitter: @AnitaKirkbride

Facebook: Facebook.com/TwirpCommunications

Instagram: @TwirpCommunications

Featured Speaker: Crystal Richard

Get Covered! How to Get Your Byline and Name in Top Digital Publications

If you’ve ever dreamed of getting your byline in Forbes or Huffington Post, this is the session for you. A publicist by day, blogger by night, Crystal will share her best tips, tricks, and secret sauces to getting your content and name into the hands of editors at some of internet’s top digital publications. Time to get covered!

Crystal Richard is known around these waters as the East Coast Mermaid (after her lifestyle + travel blog of the same name) but she’s also the Owner + President of Crystal Richard & Co., a digital marketing & PR consulting biz helping startups, entrepreneurs, and brands create and tell stories that will attract a tribe of raving fans. A global storyteller, Crystal helps passionate entrepreneurs from Cape Town to San Francisco get media coverage and bylines in leading online publications such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, the New York Times, Inc. and more. Over her career as a publicist, she has brokered HGTV pilots and landed her client on the Steve Harvey Show. This past summer, she founded her own side hustle the Sandy Toes Shop and her first book, Get Covered! hits the shelves in January 2018. She will be the first to admit that her cat with thumbs was Instagram famous first. Ask her about it at BlogJam!

Twitter: @crystalcrichard

Facebook: Facebook.com/ECMermaid

Instagram: @crystal_catherine

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/crystalrichard/ 

Website: www.eastcoastmermaid.com 

Featured Speaker: Chantal Routhier

How Storytelling Will Transform Your Business

Creating amazing content and knowing how to deliver can be a challenge. Chantal will walk you through how to create content that resonates. By sharing questions you need to ask yourself before every post. Tips on best ways to stay authentic and how to attract your ideal audience, and why your story matters.

Chantal is a Halifax based photographer. A self-proclaimed wild child of the East Coast, she loves adventures and laughter. She has been named Most Inspiring Wedding Photographers in Canada for 2015 & 2016,  and featured in People, Women’s Health, 100 Layercake, Phoblographer and numerous other international publications. What she loves is connecting most with inspiring people, a camera is how she shares their story with the world.

Instagram: @chantalrouthier

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chantalrouthierphotography

Featured Speaker: Erin Trafford

Blog with Passion: What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started my Blog

Participants can expect to be taken on a journey through all the “mistakes” Erin made while building her blog to what it is today. The hope is that being open and honest about stumbles will help you avoid them along your path to blogging goodness. From understanding when to take a technical leap, to knowing her true value when negotiating with sponsors, to blog design, content planning and more – Erin will highlight the five key things she wishes she’d known before becoming a blogger.

Erin Trafford is the creative force behind DIY Passion; a home and lifestyle blog established in 2012 and based in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. Over the years, DIY Passion has developed a solid readership of tens of thousands each month. Erin tackles projects from major renovations, small home updates, simple decorating and more. With a strong social media presence and a weekly videos and Facebook Live updates, DIY Passion is a go-to resource for all things “home.”

DIY Passion has been featured around the Internet in dozens of online publications, including About.com, HGTV.com, Apartment Therapy, Hometalk, Better Homes and Gardens and more. As a blogger and influencer, Erin has worked with large Canadian and American brands such as The Home Depot, Minwax, Ryobi Power Tools, DAP, Wicker Emporium, and Atlantic Credit Unions to name a few. Most recently, DIY Passion was nominated for The Coast’s Best of Halifax Awards. Erin also recently launched a podcast called In The Storyhouse that digs into the complex relationships between bloggers, readers, brands, marketing agencies and more.

Facebook: facebook.com/diypassion

Twitter: @DIY_Passion

Instagram: @diypassionblog

Featured Speaker: Tiffany Thornton

Travel Writing Tips

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a Travel Writer? Seeing your word in print from glossy magazines to newspapers. Learn the basic steps to getting your foot in the door of Travel Writing, and how to get noticed in a highly competitive market.

Tiffany Thornton is a travel seeker and word wanderer, who loves capturing memories through her journeys, writing about them and watching the written word unfold into stories. Her travel stories have been published in USA Today, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, West Jet magazine, Canadian Traveller and many more. Tiffany is a contributing writer on National Geographic’s book ‘Journeys home’ available in book stores and online throughout North America.

Instagram: @spinthemap

Instagram: @northamericantraveller

Twitter: @NA_Traveller

Featured Speaker: Mel Hattie

How To Create a Business Plan for Your Blog

Here you’ll learn what a business plan is and how to put one together to help turn your blog into a business, or if your blog is already a business, help you focus your efforts. That includes brainstorming your executive summary, coming up with an elevator pitch, putting together income streams, looking at your costs, and figuring out your market. Designed as a workshop — bring your paper and pens! Slides will be available for download afterwards.

Mel Hattie is an award-winning photographer, tea sommelier, and travel journalist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has been published by the CBC, Photographers Without Borders, the Globe & Mail, the Guardian, Post and Courier, The Coast, and Anthony Bourdain’s Roads & Kingdoms. On her blog, Mel Had Tea, she travels the world in search of the best cups of tea.

She holds a Master in Journalism New Ventures from the University of King’s College and works as a digital Content Marketing Manager for VERB Interactive in Halifax, Nova Scotia, working with travel clients and destinations around the world, leveraging the power of the internet to drive measurable business results.

Twitter/Instagram: @melhadtea

Facebook: MelHadTea

Featured Speakers: Elisha & Elyssa Fernandez

Be Authentic in your Content in 3 Simple Steps

In this empowering, high energy session, BlogJam attendees will learn:

– The 3 Ways to Being Authentic On and Off-line

– How to tell your WHY Story to Connect to the Audience

– How to Deal with Critics Easily and Effectively

– 3 Powerful Attitudes that Help you Relate to the Audience

– Practical Ways to Deeply Connect with your Target Audience

BlogJam attendees will leave with a clear understanding of why and how they can write authentic content so they can start helping those around them and make a BIG difference in the world!


Elisha is a homeschooled 15 year-old, and a passionate best-selling author, artist, entrepreneur, and speaker. Elisha lives in Fort Worth, TX with her family and she loves spending time with them. She wrote I Love ME! at age ten, because she loves helping other kids become bullyproof, love themselves, and be the best they can be.


Elyssa is 14 years old. She enjoys being an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, artist, and coach. She is homeschooled, and her greatest coach and mentor is her mom, Elayna Fernandez. Elyssa became a vegan at age 7. Elyssa teaches children to love themselves and have self-confidence through her books, blog posts, and artistic expressions.

Social handles: @WhollyART on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube

Featured Speaker: Crystal Picard

Kick-Starting Your Content Strategy Workshop

In this 30-minute workshop style presentation, you’ll receive a quick-start worksheet that will help simplify the process of niching down so you can cut through the planning paralysis of starting a blog and spend your time writing content instead. 

After this workshop, you will walk away with an understanding of how to develop a buyer persona, quickly generate post ideas, develop a sales funnel around your blog and plan your content distribution to get the most out of every post.

Crystal Picard is a graphic designer & digital marketer based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She works one-on-one with small business owners who are looking to take their digital presence to the next level. Whether it’s developing a sales funnel or just the graphics to make their campaigns pop – Crystal’s hands-on experience brings creativity to the forefront of content marketing.

Twitter: @crystalpicard

LinkedIn: @crystalpicard

BlogJam Official Sponsors

Thank you to all of our sponsors who help make this event possible.