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24 Jun

Everything You Need To Know About Blogger Conferences

Okay, maybe not everything, but I believe that every blogger should attend at least one blogger conference.  If you're thinking about attending one, have already purchased a pass for an upcoming conference, or even if you've decided that conferences are not for you, here are a few things to consider.

  1. Research blogger conferences and figure out which conference is right for you.  Do you just want sessions and information, but can do without all the frills?  Do you treat it as a mini-vacation and plan to spend more time in the city beyond the conference?  Do you want to network with brands and attend events and parties?  Every conference might not be for you.  Going to blogger conferences can be a huge investment (yes, investment in yourself and your blog), so you need to figure out what you want out of a conference.  For me, I like a little bit of everything – make new blogger friends, catch up with old blogger friends, attend sessions, go to parties, and network with brands.  If it's in a cool city, that's an added bonus.  There are so many blogger conferences now, that you're sure to find something that meets your needs.
  2. Plan in advance.  As I stated above, attending a blogger conference can be a big investment.  You've got to pay for the conference itself, plus if it isn't held in your city, then you've got hotel, flight, food, and taxi/rental car/public transportation costs as well.  Not to mention the cost of any extras that you want to do before the conference, like updating your blog, printing new business cards, getting blogger swag and handouts made, and if you're like me, shopping for new clothes to take with you (although really, what's wrong with my old clothes that most of these people have never seen…ok, maybe they've seen it on the blog, but probably not in real life).  And what if you want to attend more than one conference in a year?  I start thinking about which conferences I want to attend about a year in advance.  If your blog/brand is a priority to you, then saving money for a conference should be a priority as well.
  3. Don't be afraid to go alone.  I've heard many times that bloggers are afraid to go alone or that they are afraid that they won't fit in or that this won't be their type of crowd.  There will be a lot of bloggers there, so trust me that you won't be the only one who came without a blogger posse and that you will meet at least one blogger you can connect with.  If you are afraid to go alone, then a smaller conference might be the best first step for you.  I attended my very first blogger conference alone.  I didn't know anyone before going, but left with a lot of new blogger friends and mentors and had a great time.  You feel a sense of community at blogger conferences and come away with invaluable information.  Think of blogger conferences as Continuing Blogger Education.  Because the social media world is ever-changing, I learn new, useful information every conference that I attend and feel reenergized and ready to take my blog to the next level every time I leave.
  4. Follow the official conference hashtag and Twitter account before the conference.  Get involved in the conference conversation months in advance.  You might find that someone wants to sell their conference pass at a discounted price.  You will "meet" other bloggers who are going and can get to know them better before the conference.  You can find other bloggers going alone who might want a roommate.  You can figure out if anyone wants to share a ride from the airport to the hotel.  You can find out speakers' Twitter handles in advance and begin a conversation before the conference.  Also, you can score invitations to official and unofficial blogger conference events.
  5. Map out your conference schedule.  Conferences usually post the agenda in advance and you will see that there is way more going on than you will have time for.  Figure out which sessions, events, and parties are a must-attend for you.  If two sessions that you want to attend are occurring at the same time, ask someone going to one session if they won't mind sharing their notes with you and offer to do the same.  There might be a lot of running walking from one session to the next, so keep that in mind when you consider what shoes you're going to pack and wear.

BONUS TIPS FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT ATTEND A BLOGGER CONFERENCE!

Ok, I get it.  Blogger conferences are a big financial investment and time commitment and with everything else going on in your life, trying to find extra money for a blogger conference just isn't practical.  Maybe you've put all of your extra money into your upcoming wedding or family vacation.  Maybe you're a new Mom who can't imagine spending a few days away from your new baby right now.  Or maybe the thought of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch for the next 2 months to save money doesn't sound appealing.  I completely understand, so don't worry.  I've got a few bonus tips just for you.

  1. Follow the official conference hashtag during the conference.  Save the hashtag as a search on Twitter so you can see the information being tweeted during conference sessions.  You will find that there are some conference attendees who live tweet a lot of good information from sessions that they attend.  You might want to follow those bloggers or create a Twitter List of those bloggers so you don't miss a thing.  I always live tweet the sessions that I attend and even try to compile all of my tweets at the end of the conference for bloggers who could not attend (See In the BAG).  Also, most speakers will tweet a link to their conference presentation.
  2. Check the conference website to see if they will live stream and/or upload podcasts of the sessions.  Some blogger conferences will live stream and/or offer podcasts for free!  If they live stream, then perhaps you can take a morning, afternoon or whole day off from work to watch the live stream.  If they upload podcasts of all the sessions after the conference, you can download them to your mp3 player or listen to them online.  You can even get together with other local blogger friends to watch and/or listen together.  I've watched blogger conferences via live stream that I could not attend and downloaded podcasts of sessions for conferences I did and did not attend.  I keep some old blogger conference podcasts on my iPod so I can listen to them again from time to time.  I often find that some information may not have been relevant when I attended the conference or listened to the podcast the first time, but that the information is relevant now.
  3. Get involved in your local blogger community.  Outside of conferences, there are many ways to increase your blogger knowledge and to network with other bloggers.  There are so many bloggers now that you should never feel alone.  No matter how small your town, there is bound to be at least one other blogger in your city or surrounding area.  If there isn't a local blogger group or society that you can join, start one.  If you want something a little less formal find out who the other local bloggers are and meet up for lunch to talk blogging and social media.  I occassionally get together with local blogger friends for brunch and although the conversation isn't always 100% about blogging, we do get some blog talk in and someone comes away with some helpful information.

 

Do you have any questions or additional tips about blogger conferences?  If so, leave a comment below.

Tamara Marbury
32 Comments
  • Bobbie

    I have often thought about attending one of the more popular blogger conference such as: Blogalicious(which is in Atlanta this year) or Blogher etc….but at this point I have to really decide what I want to do with my blog and as you mentioned it is an investment. Another great post and tips!

    June 25, 2013 at 7:34 am
  • Akaleistar

    Great tips! I would love to attend a blogger conference, but it is quite an investment.

    June 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm
  • Bri

    It was so great meeting you last night! I can't wait to get together again soon.

    and thank you for all the awesome blogger conference advice, I'm definitely going to try to make it to blogalicious now!

    June 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm
  • Kristia

    I was supposed to attend the Savvy Blogging Summit last weekend, but my grandfather passed away right before and his services were last Saturday, so I needed to cancel my trip. I was really excited to finally meet some people that I've met online and invest in my blog, but it will have to be another year.

     

    Stopping by from ShareFest.

    June 29, 2013 at 7:57 am
  • Sarah

    Thanks for the advice! I will be attending BlogHer for the first time this summer, so this was helpful – especially your reassurances about going by myself!

    Stopping by from SITS

    June 29, 2013 at 8:15 am
  • Claire Algarme

    Thanks for sharing this. I want to attend blogger conferences, but you're right, it will take some investment to do it. I try to attend those that happen locally and hopefully, I'd be able to join those abroad. :)

    June 29, 2013 at 8:37 am
  • Julie

    This is great info. With BlogHer '13 coming up, I've seen a lot of chatter about it on Twitter, and I'm very curious. Would love to attend someday.

    I'll definitely be following along via hashtag, and I'll follow your advice and see if there are any bloggers in my neck of the woods!

    visiting from Sharefest!

    June 29, 2013 at 8:40 am
  • Nicki Traikos

    Great tips!! I just came back from Alt NYC and think blogger conferences are a must at least once a year if not twice! 

    New fan from SITS!

    Nicki

    x

    June 29, 2013 at 9:50 am
  • Kesha of We Got Kidz

    I've been contemplating attending a conference for a while now. Everyone who's attended one says that it's a must do. These tips have definitley helped :)

    New friend visiting from SITS :)

    June 29, 2013 at 10:30 am
  • Candace-NYStateofMoM

    I'll admit I originally didn't go to any because I didn't want to go alone but I attended one of the mixers when BlogHer was in NYC and loved it. I'll be at Blogalicious this year!

    June 29, 2013 at 11:51 am
  • Mariann

    I am looking forward to attending a blogger conference. I'm hoping to get to the one in Dallas, this coming November. They are quite pricey, after adding everything up, but well worth it. These are such awesome tips!

    SITSShareFest

    June 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm
  • Michelle

    This is great info! I totally agree with you…don't worry about going alone…you will meet people!! I've been to two so far and I am going to another one later this year! I wish I was going to BlogHer13 but it's not in the cards this year. 

    June 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm
  • heather

    I loved this post. I’ve been to a bloggy boot camp which was an amazing experience but talky stumbled into it because a friend brought me. One thing I’d love to know is how to FIND a blog conference. Is there a list somewhere of all of them so that I can choose one and plan?
    Time is such a factor (I actually wrote about it in my blog this week ironically enough: http://exaltedpeacock.com/time-flies/ ) that using time efficiently seems to be the biggest/most difficult part of attending.
    Again thanks. Stopping by from SITS. happy sharefest.

    June 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm
  • Kesha of We Got Kidz

    I'll definitely look into it! Thanks! :)

    June 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm
  • Involuntary Housewife

    Great tips, I am attending my first conference in Sept and it is a local one so I don't have to worry about travelling or hotel costs so that made it a great way to "test" if it was something I can do regularly.  I am looking forward to the experience and am so grateful for all if the great advice about how to  survive it!

    June 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm
  • Mo at Mocadeaux

    I love that you included the bonus tips for those of us who can't make it to a blogger conference. I had no idea that podcasts might be available! This will help get my feet wet as I plan ahead for the next time!  Visiting from SITS Sharefest! 

    June 30, 2013 at 1:31 pm
  • Bobbie

    Aww man….you will be here(Atlanta) and I won't be in attendance to meet you. *sad face*

    July 8, 2013 at 8:01 am

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