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ProBlogger in Chicago – Would you Come?

One of the strange things about blogging is that it leads you into an amazing variety of relationships that you would never have dreamed of finding yourself in before. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about the people that I’ve ‘met’ and have daily contact with as a result of my blogs. My friends are staggered (as am I) that I’m actually in a business partnership with 3 other people that I’ve never physically met before in b5media and that I have similar relationships with numerous other people. Add to this the 40,000+ other people that read my blogs each day and it all makes my head hurt a little to think about.

On the flip side of all of the plus sides of this is the fact that I live on the opposite side of the world to the vast majority of you reading this right now. While I love Australia and the lifestyle of Melbourne it can be very frustrating not to be able to have a coffee and get to know people on a face to face level.

As a result I’ve been wanting to get across to the US (where the majority of ProBlogger readers live) for some time now to put some faces to names and now it looks like there is an opportunity for a short visit opening up later in the year.

While part of the trip I’ll be on a conference I’m hoping to have a week available either before or after it to dedicate to spending time with readers and partners.

I’d like to float an idea by those of you in the US to see if it has any traction for anyone.

Andy Wibbels and I have been dreaming of doing a live face to face course similar in style to SixFigureBlogging for a while now and we’re thinking that this might be an opportunity to do so.

We’ve started brainstorming on what it’d look like and here’s what we’re thinking so far:

  • The course would either be 1 or 2 days (fairly intensive days)
  • It would probably be in very early October
  • It would probably take place in Chicago (although we’d be willing to take it on the road if we thought there was sufficient interest to make it worth while)
  • One option in terms of topic would be to make day 1 a fairly broad intro to blogging with some basics like blog tools, SEO, finding readers etc and to have day two a day focused upon Monetizing Blogs. Each day would be a stand alone day so you could either do one or both of them.
  • The time would have loads of opportunity for questions
  • Cost – this one is always tricky and would depend upon many aspects including venue costs etc. We haven’t got a fixed price in mind at this point except that it’s not a freebie event and it would be a couple of full days of content. I’d be interested to hear what people would think it’s worth.

Obviously it’s early days now in terms of content and we’d develop it and fill up the time with the type of information that we heard participants wanted. There would be no danger in us not filling it up with too much information (the feedback from participants of Six Figure Blogging was that we had too much content to digest rather than not enough).

So the question is – would anyone come? We could put together a great couple of days but it wouldn’t be worth it if we presented to ourselves. If you’d be interested what would you think it’s worth and what would you like to be included in the time?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Michele says:

    If it was in Europe I would :)

  2. How ’bout one in Boston?

  3. brem says:

    Yeah… Boston would be sweet ;-)

  4. Joe Zekas says:

    Chicago works me and my crew. It’s a great town up until a certain time of year – early October starts to get a bit iffy, but generally works.

  5. Andy Merrett says:

    You need to do another Euro tour but this time with blogging on the agenda :)

  6. Brandon says:

    I’d like to go…but i’m in Florida so it would be quite hard for me to leave. Not to mention the cost, i’m not making any big money yet, so the added cost of travel would deter me aswell.

    Brandon

    P.S. – have you thought of accepting advertisers to lower the overall cost? Like they get a banner in the background for x amount of dollars?

    Also, possibly you could webcast the conference over the web for $20 a person or something like that….

  7. Power Play says:

    I’m in Chicago and would consider it if it was a weekend/evening type arrangement. Most of us still keep real jobs.

  8. Liz Strauss says:

    Hi Darren,
    Chicago in October is usually still warm early in the month and it would be great to see you here. If you do decide to come, let me know if I can co anything to help, and of course, the offer’s open for that champagne at the top of the Hancock–if you guys have the time.
    Liz

  9. Mike says:

    I’m surprised Andy doesn’t want to make it old home week and do it in Metro Louisville.

    I’d consider a quick jaunt up to the Windy City for the Day 2 part.

  10. Jacob says:

    Sounds like an interesting idea. However, I think you might have a difficult time getting many people there due to the fact that it seems to be geared towards blogging beginners. Not sure how many people not already making good money by blogging would be willing to invest that much travel money and conference money. However, I could be wrong :)

  11. Nick says:

    If you had a conference in Chicago, I would definitely go. I’m originally from the area, and that’ be awesome to meet you and other influential blogging figures in person.

  12. Ed Kohler says:

    Sounds like fun!

  13. Cicely says:

    I’d definitely think about it.

  14. Nischal says:

    Darren,
    I would come since I love Chicago also.
    Its about 5 hrs of drive from where I live (birtplace of aviation).

    May be we could take you for a Nepali meal at a Nepali Restaurant, coz’ everytime we go there we miss to eat. So may be this time will not.

    Anyways keep us all informed.

    Thanks,
    Nischal.
    Internetsalsa.com

  15. Darren Rowse says:

    thanks for the responses – any comments on pricing anyone?

  16. FMF says:

    As long as I know about it far enough in advance, I could/would make it. Also, you know the Florida blogging cruise is that time right?

  17. Paul -V- says:

    I would go.

    I have no idea how much you should charge ‘tho.

  18. Martin says:

    I’d go but I’d have to hitch a ride with Darren – has Chicago changed much since 1978 (the last and only time I was there. I was 8 years old) ? :-)

    Pricing: for 2 full days at a proper venue I’d say $295-$495

    Really all depends on the size you want. The bigger audience = lesser price whereas a smaller crowd the price would go up.

    I’ve attended one-day conferences (30-80 people) that cost anywhere between $195 – $495

    I’d also look at a sponsorship to keep pricing down.

  19. Darren Rowse says:

    FMF – yep aware of that and am trying to get to it (hense the timing).

    Martin – yeah sponsorship might work if we can pull some.

  20. Martin says:

    Darren… re: sponsorship – I have a sponsorship background so if you’d like I’ll email you later tonight with some of my thoughts and ideas.

  21. GizmoDoc says:

    I am a Chicago native and my website and staff are based there so I would definitely attend. Wouln’t want to schedule much before May as the weather can be challenging. I’m in Maui now as I escape the winters here for 2-3 months.

  22. HostingDiary says:

    Any plans for an Aussie blogfest?

    Andrew

  23. Paul Short says:

    Toronto’s probably cheaper for everything involved ;-)

    But it’s only a short flight to Chicago from here.

  24. mark says:

    I’m with Paul. Bring it to TO :)

  25. Marti says:

    Kansas City is dead center of the United States geographically, has lovely mild weather in October, and would bend over backwards to give you a good deal on hotel and conference space, as it is often overlooked by event organizers. And I’ll throw in a free pumpkin – (I mean donate [picturing Darren ducking an airborne jack-o-lantern] – LOL)

  26. Count me in for Chicago!

  27. pcunix says:

    Another vote for Boston – or Providence

    Cost – $200.00 would be OK, I think.

  28. Eric Scalf says:

    Due to my current monetary and health situations, I would be unable to attend anything outside of Houston (and likely couldn’t afford to attend it if it was in Houston). However, if you stop through Houston with a conference, in exchange for all access, I’d be more than willing to help you find a location, lodging, anything I can do. Not to mention, of course, local advertising.

  29. Chicago in early October any other year would mean I would be there, but I probably can’t this year due to lack of funds and vacation time from the normal job (as I’d rather use my vacation for a honeymoon than a blogging conference…no offense…) If you do it in the future, try to time it around the Chicago Marathon so that I can kill two birds with one stone.

    As for Boston, I would just need enough notice. I can jet down that way fairly easily for a day or two as necessary.

    Good luck; I hope you have a successful conference.

  30. Victor says:

    Darren,

    What audience skill level do you want to focus at for this possible event? The novices, the somewhat experienced people, or advanced users? This would be the ultimate decision maker for me. If I can walk out of there a more knowledgable man, then I’d pay around $300-$500.

    Thanks,

    Vic

  31. Fly Girl says:

    I’d certainly try to plan to be there — but since I fly for a living, travel costs aren’t an issue.

    I have some rather extensive experience is conference planning from a prior life (venue selection, accommodations, meals/catering, curriculum and tuition, sponsorships, etc.), so feel free to contact me via email if you’d like to discuss specifics.

  32. Ken says:

    Although not the cheapest option, NOTHING beats New York City. You could always hold it in New Jersey near mass transit like the PATH.

    Either way, that’d be awesome to have your six figure blogging course in the media capital of the world.

  33. No. City.

  34. Justin says:

    I agree with that a conference geared specifically towards beginners is going to be hard sell. I’m in Chicago, and I would be there regardless, but you know what I mean…

    Also, please look into sponsorship…some of us bloggers don’t have a lot of money to kick around yet…

    =]