Attending a conference can cost you over a thousand dollars once you pay for the cost of conference ticket, flight and hotel. Is it worth attending? How do you get the most out of attending one?
As with any profession, I believe in ongoing education. Times, trends, technology continues to advance, and so should your education – to get the most up to date information about your profession.
These are the workshops online and in person I have attended as a blogger –
- Alt Summit Online
- Blogging Your Way
- CreativeLive: Build a Successful Blog
- Collective Bias SoFab on the Road
- Mom 2.0 Summit – Scottsdale
- Mom 2.0 Summit – Laguna Niguel
- Wayfair Heart Home Conference – Boston
- The Creative Residency by Justina Blakeney
Every year I make an investment to attend a conference – at least one.
I wouldn’t say every conference I’ve attended has paid off in the way I thought, or the way you and I think it would. Sometimes, it just takes one introduction to a brand that makes it worth it, a contact, a new friend, a tip you can use, or even the gumption to increase pricing that is the payoff.
I look for that one golden takeaway tip with every conference.
I try to visit a friend, or I invite a friend with every conference that requires travel. I pick up the hotel because I’m going anyway, and ask a friend to come along and hang out when the workshop is over or even before. In addition to the education I’m receiving, the trip itself with a friend to explore is absolutely worth every penny – no matter what happens, no regrets!
Ask yourself before deciding to attend a blogging conference –
- What do I hope to get out of this conference – will I get the information I think I need?
- What brands will be in attendance/sponsoring? Will I have time to connect with them?
- How much will this cost? Can I turn this business trip into a personal trip?
- Do I love the location – is it a place where I can explore as well and want to go? Or…
- Is the material significant enough that I don’t care where it is?
- Is there anyone who has attended that I can ask if they enjoyed it?
This is why if I attach a personal trip to it, I can see my immediate return on investment – memories and a blog post with beautiful photos.
Once you find a blog conference you want to attend, it’s always wise to make sure you ask friends who have already attended. There might be some where you are more advanced and you will already know the material that will be covered – this can be disappointing, and it has happened to me.
But when you find one with great reviews and seems to be a the level you need, here are some tips.
How to get the most out of a blogging conference
- Bring business cards – consider your photo on it since there are so many bloggers.
- Go to as many classes as you can – get in there early.
- Join the Facebook groups before the conference to connect if you are going solo, you can find a roommate or have a buddy.
- Make contacts – put on your outgoing personality even if you are an introvert.
- Comment on other bloggers posts (especially sponsored.) I’m about to give you a golden tip/secret that no one told me and I figured out myself. PR of the company review the sponsored posts – on Instagram and blog posts, and sometimes your comment can trigger them to reach out to you to work on a campaign – it’s happened to me.
- Look for that one golden takeaway tip that can change the way you blog. It’s your one takeaway that’s worth your ticket.
- Introduce yourself to brands, get their business card and follow up.
- Know your elevator pitch – what do you blog about?
- Go to the breakfasts, lunches and SIT NEXT TO PEOPLE. Don’t gravitate toward an empty table. You should use the time to connect and you might find yourself sitting with brand representatives!
- Every night check out other blogger’s website, follow them, or comment – connect before you forget who you just connected with. Conferences that last several days can make other contacts hazy after a day or so.
- Connect with new friends on Facebook, groups, etc.
- Consider collaborating with other bloggers – guest posts and such on your blogs to SHARE and cross promote for increased readership.
If you are tight on budget, consider online workshops.
Online classes require the least amount of investment but also requires the most discipline. You will only get what you put into it.
I can say that as an online educator, teaching photography to several hundred students around the country, some even around the world! The best students who are now professional photographers were the ones who attended every class and submitted their homework!
How to get the most out of an online blogging workshop
- Attend all online classes
- Be intentional about doing homework
- Interact with any chat rooms with your peers so you don’t feel alone
- Consider having a friend take the online course with you so you feel more accountable
- Have a separate binder/notebook for your online class
- Ask questions in the chat room! Now’s your time!
I hope those tips help! My husband and I, as well as my parents are always fans of continuing education – and I hope if you haven’t attended a blogging conference (or one for your profession) that you do!
What blogging conferences have you been to that you would recommend? What one golden takeaway tip did you learn from attending a blogging conference? Let’s share in the comments so we can help each other out!
Photos by Jennifer Young Studio from the Creative Residency Workshop in Los Angeles.