I feel like all non-bloggers should attend at least one blog conference ever. I’d love for you to attend more than one but with at least one, you’ll get an understanding why I love them so much!
I’ve been relatively quiet when it comes to my blog conference travel because we’ve had a busy year personally off the blog but I’m going to the biggest one of the year, #BlogHer16 in a few weeks! I’m so excited because while it is professional development for bloggers, I come back with even more from attending. I really and truly wish that all my friends could come along with me, not just the bloggers. Here are the reasons why I feel like you should come along and what you’ll gain once you do.
1) You’re welcome with or without a blog.
BlogHer, Blogalicious, Mom 2.0, We All Grow, you’re welcome to come and be part of the conversation with or without a blog. You can be thinking about starting a blog or just interested to come and learn more about the world of blogging/social media influencers. We really don’t mind and most people will not look at you funny for being there without a social media presence. You will meet people who have tons of traffic and are making a good full-time income with their blog. When you meet those people, know they’ve been blogging a while and it takes work beyond just blogging. Looking back on the picture below from two years ago, everyone wasn’t a blogger while some were full-time bloggers.
When I attended my first conference, Type-A Parent, I think I had maybe 10 posts on my blog. Here’s the first conference blog I ever added. What’s Your Type? I’m TypeA. Can you see how much I’ve grown in my blogging over time? I have no idea what I’m going to learn at #BlogHer16 but it’s going to improve my posts even more.
And even for those technical sessions, you will want to attend the sessions on how to create beautiful pictures, how to brand yourself and how to use Pinterest. Blogger or not, those are all skills that are applicable in any industry.
BIG NOTE: There are a few conferences that I wouldn’t recommend that you attend without being an established blogger. It wouldn’t make sense because they are highly technical and you’ll be jumping into a space that is specialized and industry specific. Just like I wouldn’t attend a coding conference but I can attend an MBA conference.
2) There are presentations from leading voices.
Generally speaking, blog conferences have a keynote speaker who brings some amazing commentary and insight into the world. BlogHer2015 had Ava Duvernay, Blogalicious2015 had a presentation by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Mom2.0 2016 opened with Soledad O’Brian. All of these ladies are newsmakers and they’re bringing a conversation to the content creators with room for questions!
Being in the room for conversations with these women is incredibly inspiring and allows me to learn more beyond the headlines of their perspectives on different topics. The conference organizers do an amazing job of bringing people into the room that you’ll want to hear from for timely conversations.
I can’t wait for this year’s BlogHer schedule. For the keynotes, Mayim Bialik is bringing her perspective on getting kids interested in STEM earlier and Sheryl Crow is talking about her work and her health. I’ll be there early to hear both of these women talk.
3) Few places have the same room for the exchange of ideas.
There is such a diversity of the attendees at blogging conferences and we’re all there to really learn from one another. Sometimes it’s technical content but there are always discussions about what we blog about and conversations of how we got there. 95% of the bloggers I know are storytellers and we learn more about the world when we know someone else’s story. I met Tara in 2014 and now she’s one of my friends. We’ve seen each other more than a few times since then and I love hanging out with her!
Then there are the moments when you have an awe-inspiring moment that you didn’t even know you were looking for by overhearing another conversation. I remember sitting with two women last year, one I knew Laura, and the other I just met, Joy. Joy complimented Laura on a personal item and it led to a whole conversation of how Laura manages her life that was really cool to know. I knew Laura and she would have gladly shared but I never thought to even ask about it. BIG NOTE: This is true even at perceived niche conferences such as Blogalicious (assumed to be mostly women of color) or Mom 2.0 (assumed to be all moms). These conferences are so diverse in the women who attend that I’ve had conversations about race/culture, sexuality, relationships and religion without trying hard. It just organically happened.
4) You will walk away with content that inspires you and makes you think.
College was awesome for me because there was an exchange of ideas and it was such a time of growth. Being honest, I don’t have those conversations quite as much (shout out to my special FaceBook groups though!). Blog conferences are a time to think critically again. You have these leading voices in the room and then these other women who you can talk about it real-time and process over meals/breaks/parties.
There is no way that you won’t leave thinking about something! It might be thinking about how to improve your blog or start one. More often, you’ll leave thinking about the big ideas that were put out there and how to make them personal to you.
A photo posted by Kendra Pierson | Blogger (@headbandfortoday) on
One of the things that I’ve taken from a conference a few years ago was “Date an Idea. Don’t Marry It.” I’ve kept this in the back of my mind as a guiding principle for the last few years. There are other tidbits that I’ve picked up that have changed the way I focus my activities in life. I have some new things coming up that I can’t wait to share with you about it.
Are you ready to register yet?
I’ve shared my perspective but honestly, you have to come and see for yourself. There are blog conferences happening all the time, all over the nation. I’ll be sure to share on my social media channels the upcoming conferences but here’s a list from iBlog Magazine.
If you decide to come over and check out the world of blogging conferences, be sure to let me know and I’ll introduce you to a friend of mine if I’m not going to be there myself!