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With so many ways to learn about blogging: from webinars to courses, podcasts to YouTube, what’s the point of attending a live event? Here are 11 benefits of attending a blogging conference…
These days it is possible to learn about every aspect of blogging from the tech side to photography, social media to SEO from the comfort of your own home. So, is there really any point in attending a blogging conference?
After attending plenty of blogging conferences and live events I can say with absolute certainty YES! There is something quite magical that happens at a live event, full of like-minded bloggers that is pretty much impossible to recreate in any other way.
Here are, for me, the 11 biggest benefits of attending a blogging conference…
1. Meeting blogging friends in real life
First and foremost, one of the biggest advantages of attending a blogging conference is the opportunity to meet up with blogging friends in real life. You can banter back and forth on social media all you like, but nothing beats real life interaction with your blogging pals.
Meeting in real life helps you deepen the friendship, gives you a much stronger bond and makes all of your subsequent interactions a hundred times better. Meeting in real life can turn a casual internet acquaintance into a proper, bona fide, real life friend. Plus, it can also lead to mutually beneficial collaborations with other bloggers (more on that later).
2. Meeting new friends
Of course, it’s not just about meeting up with bloggers you already know. One of the huge benefits of attending a blogging conference is the opportunity to make new friendships and expand your blogging circle.
It can be a little daunting at first to chat to new people – but I find the more I do it, the easier it gets. And often the ‘new’ people you meet are actually friends of friends who are also at the conference, making it much easier to get to know them. And anyway, since you are both bloggers you ALWAYS have masses in common with each other already!
3. Networking with brands
And the benefits of ‘in person’ interactions is not just blogger-to-blogger. Attending a blogging conference is also a great opportunity to meet PRs and representatives from brands you might like to work with.
Brands and PRs often prefer to work with people who they have met face to face (as they can see exactly what you are really like and are more likely to trust you). You never know what new opportunities might come from networking with brands and PRs at a conference… There is the potential for social media reviews, sponsored posts, freelance work and even brand ambassadorships. Plus remember PRs move around a lot – so even if the brand they are representing right now isn’t quite right – who knows – they might just be representing your dream brand in 3 months’ time!
4. Getting out of your comfort zone
It’s very easy as a blogger, especially if you’ve been blogging a long time, to get stuck in a rut doing the same old thing week in, week out. Attending a blogging conference really ‘interrupts’ that way of thinking and forces you to think about things from a different perspective.
For example, at one particular blogging conference I attended I was challenged by one of the speakers, Claire Gamble, to think more about my blogs’ PR – being more visible and creating more opportunities. In fact, I was so inspired by her session that I asked her to write a guest post on the topic >>> PR for bloggers
Attending a blogging conference can give you new ideas, new ways of thinking and help you look at blogging from a different perspective.
5. Learning new tips and strategies
Of course, attending different seminars can also mean you learn new tips and strategies which you can apply to your blogging. From attending live blogging events I’ve learnt so much – from photography tips to Pinterest tips, ideas for growing a community to new cooking techniques (for my recipe blog!).
And whilst of course it is true that you can learn about blogging from webinars, podcasts, YouTube etc., nothing quite beats learning in a real-life environment, with the opportunity to ask questions of the speaker and discuss your thoughts over coffee with fellow attendees.
6. Getting ahead of the game
Attending a blogging conference also gives you a great opportunity to get ahead of the game… You hear about new trends, new ideas, new ways of doing things, new apps and big changes in the blogging world that are coming down the line. These are things you might not necessarily hear about stuck in your usual cosy blogging bubble at home. And hearing about these things gives you a chance to stay ahead of the curve, and avoid missing out or being left behind.
For example, I once attended a conference very shortly after Pinterest had made some really big changes. Once of the speakers was a Pinterest expert and was able to summarise those changes and explain really well what we as bloggers should be doing about them. As a result I was able to get ahead of the game and implement those changes before most other bloggers had even heard about them – meaning I was able to gain more traffic from Pinterest at a time when other bloggers were seeing their Pinterest traffic fall.
7. New opportunities
Blogging conferences can often lead to opportunities you might not have had otherwise – for example collaborations with brands you meet there, collaborations with other bloggers you meet or connect more deeply with there, opportunities for speaking engagements, guest posts and more!
One such opportunity that came out of a blogging conference I attended was that of launching my own live blogging event. It was something I’d vaguely considered ever since I started Productive Blogging, but I’d never really given it much serious thought. But a talk at a blogging conference really challenged me to think more seriously about it – which lead to Mandy Mazliah of Sneaky Veg (who was at the same conference) to suggest we collaborate on it and she also had an idea for the perfect venue for it… and so the idea of Productive Blogging LIVE was born!
8. Greater accountability
I know this might not sound like an obvious one, but it really is one of the best parts of attending a live blogging event. Going to a blogging conference and getting all inspired with new things to try and talking about them with fellow bloggers makes you much more likely to actually get on and do them…. precisely because you have voiced them out loud with your fellow bloggers. There’s that added sense of accountability because other people know you plan to do something that is a great motivational tool to get on and do it!
9. 100% focus
One of the things I love about live blogging events is that it ensures I am 100% focused. How many times have you downloaded a free ebook or even bought a blogging course with every intention of working through it, but only got halfway through before giving up… or else it becomes that one task that falls off the to do list every day?
With a live blogging event it’s different. You’ve made a commitment to come, you’ve bought the tickets, and paid the train ticket, and booked a hotel room. It can’t be shoved down the to do list or shelved for some time in the future when you ‘have more time’ because it won’t be there then.
As a result, you are 100% focused on blogging for the duration of the event, in a way that you just can’t be with an ebook or an online course.
This is even more of a benefit if, like me, you have young children. Whilst blogging is a great career for parents of small children and offers huge benefits around being able to work flexibly, if you go down this route, it also does mean you are constantly flitting from blogging to family and back again.
Going to a blogging event sans children means you can be 100% focused on blogging for the entire conference, which is pure bliss!
10. It’s an opportunity to invest in yourself
In a traditional job, there are usually numerous opportunities to invest in yourself and your professional development. But as self-employed bloggers, we need to seek out for ourselves those opportunities for investing in ourselves, developing our craft, honing our skills and learning about new developments.
Of course, some of that can be done from the comfort of our home offices, but every once in a while it really is worth taking personal and professional development to the next level and attending an in-person event.
11. It’s fun
And finally, perhaps the best reason of all – it’s fun. I have never been to a blogging event that wasn’t also a lot of fun. There is something completely wonderful about spending time with like-minded people. Not to mention the parties, dinners, chats over coffee… and even once, a Star Wars fancy dress themed parade (I didn’t take part, I hasten to add, but it was hilarious to watch!)
We bloggers are, at times, an odd bunch. We like to get all nerdy about the tech side of blogging. We like to debate the various merits of different themes/hosting companies/apps. We like to have a good old moan about weird blog comments, the latest social media algorithm change, PRs who want us to work for ‘exposure’, or the latest annoying update to a plugin. And we like to celebrate slightly obscure things, like a viral pin, a big spike in search engine traffic or having a photo accepted on a photo sharing website.
These are all things that our nearest and dearest struggle to understand, but our fellow bloggers totally ‘get’ – even random strangers who we’ve only just met at a blogging conference!
I find when I am at a blogging conference the conversation always flows and it’s always so much fun being with such like-minded people… that and watching Princess Leah trip on Jabba the Hutt’s tail!
- How to get the most out of a blogging conference
- How to be your own best publicist: PR tips from Honest Mum
- PR for bloggers: Be more visible, create more opportunities
- How to treat your blog like a business (and start actually making money!)
- How bloggers can best work with brands: What the PRs say