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5 Fantastic Reasons You Should Attend a Blogging Conference

This guest post is by Ceri Usmar of Enduracom.

I know what you’re thinking… Who has time for a conference? You do!

You can and should carve out the time for some professional development, and conferences are a great opportunity to combine work and play.

I headed off to the SheCon Expo new media conference in Disneyworld, Orlando, with my business partner, Susan, this past Memorial Day weekend. We went fully prepared to combine business and a break, and from our mindsets to our wardrobes, we were ready for anything!

In its second year, SheCon is still a relatively small conference (compared with, say, the fall BlogHer conference in New York), but regardless of the size of a conference, the reasons for going don’t change.

Here are my five favorite reasons you should put a conference on your blogging calendar.

1. Fun

I start with fun because my credo is, “If it’s not fun I’m not doing it.” Susan is the embodiment of fun. She had some cute, cool, crazy ideas for SheCon that really upped the ante for an enjoyable time.

We matched our nail color to the corporate blue of our “transparent” business cards, which added panache to passing them out (even guys noticed) and worked as a conversation catalyst. We had shirts made that got people talking to us about who-we-are-what-we-do, and we made movies of literally everything. It’s always fun meeting people and even funner making movies with them, and posting them to boost their brands (and ours!)

Aside from our own endeavors, conference sponsors and attendees almost always build fun events into their schedules. We made the most of sponsored events like the party meet up thrown by Wine Sisterhood (who wouldn’t go to something sponsored by a wine company?) and gifting suites with massages and makeovers (what’s not to love about that?).

Exhibitors at conferences also show up with gadgets and gimmicks to go viral: they film you, photograph you, and record you interacting with their brand, and you can post all that online. They create buzz around their booths, and run contests and sweepstakes with cool prizes in exchange for your tweets and blogs—flat-out fun in my book!

2. Free stuff

I have to put in a disclaimer here: not all conferences give great freebies, and not all conferences give any at all. Blogging conferences tend to because brands want to tap into your influence—but it should go without saying that you are not obligated to blog about everything you get (and neither should you.)

Select the items that fit your audience and brand, and keep the rest as gifts or treats. At SheCon, mom bloggers were enamored of the kid stuff: Elmo toys, Cuddleuppets (my daughter’s fave), Justin Bieber Guitar Hero. Swag bags with tech toys and toiletries caught my fancy.

Expo exhibitors threw in their promos too: “green” shopping bags, high end hair care products, food and beverages—yummo! The cool thing about free stuff is that if it’s a fit for your blog or following, it’s also fuel for fresh and effortless content.

3. Finding friends and followers

If you’re looking for a targeted affiliate, a consultant, a strategic partner, or a few like-minded bloggers, you can find them at a conference. Introverted? You might have to dig deep or even fake it till you get comfortable networking (or you could always go to the wine-sponsored event, and courteously taste their wares until you’re loosened up enough to get it done!).

Aside from connecting at the water cooler or conversing over lunch, Twitter parties and other virtual meet-ups are all the rage at conferences now, and you can fortify your following right on the spot.

4. Footsteps to follow

There’s nowhere better than a conference to learn live from the pros. Any session—even those that don’t look useful to you—has merit, so don’t judge a session by its title: nine times out of ten I can take away a tidbit that tweaks what I’m doing for the better even from an apparently dud session.

Following in the footsteps of the experts in your field gives you a leg-up so you can stand on the shoulders of the giants, short-circuit your learning curve, and streamline your path to (greater) success.

5. Financial gain

Let’s be honest, attending a blogging conference is ultimately about making money, and I have never attended a one that does not have at least one session devoted to monetizing your blog.

Be sure to make up your mind beforehand to focus on free stuff, fun, and friends that will bolster your bottom line: keeping this in mind will keep the quality and balance in your conference activities and ensure that you can build your business through the contacts you make and the information you take from the event.

Of course, there are more than five reasons to carve out a few days for a conference. I double-dare you to go on and Google blogging conferences that might be up your alley. And then go to one.

If you’ve been to a conference, share what you got out of it in the comments.

Ceri Usmar is from Enduracom and Maximizeyourvisibility.com. Enduracom maximizes your visibility by maintaining, updating, and optimizing your online presence. Our social media and writing pros generate content, articles, and blogs to take your social engagement to the next level.

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Comments

  1. sadiq says:

    yupp..besides with conference we can build our networking.. =)

  2. My question is not “Who has time for a conference?” but rather, “Who has the money?” There are so many conferences I would love to attend because of all the reasons you’ve listed her. It’s just not a possibility right now. Maybe in a few years. :/

    • Ceri says:

      Hey Brittany – you might want to find a small local conference to start with and grow from there. We first attended the first SheCon last year when it was 15 miles away in Miami. All you had to do to get free tickets was have a blog – which we had just started. This year we went free because we went last year. Another suggestion would be to find the one you want to attend and plan to go next year, giving yourself more than 12 months to save for it. We’re working towards a Fall 2013 conference ourselves. Best of luck to you!

  3. Kenny Fabre says:

    Ceri

    I think attending blogging conferences is definitely great thing, because it helps grow our network much bigger, gain more education in our field of profession, build our business much bigger

  4. Eric Leslie says:

    Dang it, you invoked the double-dog dare!

  5. I totally agree! :)

  6. Marc Ensign says:

    I’m going to my first conference next week (Blogworld NYC) as an attendee and not a speaker. Really looking forward to it! This artile’s got me all juiced up! Thanks!

  7. Chris @ NPI says:

    Hi Ceri, yes, conferences have many pros (and, like sadiq said, we can networking here).
    But there are also cons – you need time and money for attending conferences…
    BR, Chris

    • Ceri says:

      That’s true Chris, which is why I wanted to highlight the positives. Unfortunately that’s the case with most things, but when I am of the opinion that the cloud looks prettier with a silver lining.

  8. Hi Ceri,

    Seems like the energy factor alone makes blogging conferences an awesome idea.

    Meet up with like-minded people. Feel the high energy vibe.

    Leave the conference with a renewed fervor.

    Heck, when I was in sales and disliked my job I still felt an awesome boost after sales conference week.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Ceri says:

      That’s a really good point, Ryan – I’m still pretty revved after SheCon and it’s a small event.

  9. Erryl says:

    This is very apposite as I have just started to dip my toes into the arcane world of digital networking and information dissemination. I am keen to learn more. Thanks for the info

    Erryl

  10. I never knew blogging was this popular. I feel another addiction coming on :D

  11. This article has paved way for attending blog conference,
    It’s really educative and good for monetisation.

    Thanks

  12. Worli says:

    If your budget permits, attend a blogging conference can provide you with vital information and skills for blogging. As well, these conferences equip you to network with affluent people, which can assist you grow your blog.

  13. Charlotte says:

    Instead of conferences I invest as much time as possible into attending blogging meetups. Living in a big city definitely helps, but they are free and only take an evening. They have lots of the advantages listed here, with some great speakers and some very lively discussions!

    I even wrote a post about meetups and their benefits, with a few UK meetups that Problogger readers might enjoy :)

    http://www.cavatica.co.uk/cavatica/online-copywriting-blog/online-copywriting-meetups-uk/

  14. Ceri says:

    Charlotte – definitely going to look into that. Thanks for sharing.