This month I attended my first ever blogging conference: Blog Elevated in Grapevine, Texas. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but it was just too close to home NOT to go! Plus I thought it would be fun to finally meet other bloggers in person.
Though the first night was somewhat terrifying stepping into a room of 200 strangers (bringing back memories of the first day at a new high school), I could not be more glad that I made the trip. By the end of the weekend we were no longer strangers, we were friends.
I cannot emphasize how helpful attending was for both my blogging education, but also my confidence. I found so much support and encouragement from my peers in addition to the helpful tips and ideas that were shared by the talented presenters.
If you have the opportunity to attend a blogging conference or similar event…GO!
Here are my tips for why you should attend a blog conference and how to make the most of it:
- Introduce yourself! You might be nervous about not knowing anyone, but chances are there are a lot of other attendees who came by themselves too. They’ll be grateful and happy to chat with you and all you have to do is approach them and say “Hi, my name is…”
- Participate! Don’t just sit there– be engaged! Raise your hand to answer questions, take part in social media contests (I won a gift basket that way!), and make an effort to get the most out of the weekend. You’ll never regret doing too much (there’s not really such a thing anyways!)
- Attend the after-hours events! Besides being tons of fun, evening cocktail parties sponsored by the conference and/or brands are an excellent way to talk to your peers in a more relaxed setting. You might even have a chance to introduce yourself to speakers and brand representatives that you listened to earlier in the day. Plus there will likely be delicious food and drinks provided. Win-win-win!
- Bring business cards! It doesn’t matter how new you are or how small you think your blog is– bring a business card! Must-have information: your name, blog name, website address, email, and social media handles. Everyone swaps cards and it makes it so easy to get in touch with people you met after you go home.
- Connect online! Speaking of business cards, each night after I returned to my hotel room, I went through all of the cards I had received and followed my peers on social media. Doing it right away instead of waiting days later when I was home ensured that I wouldn’t forget. Plus, you’ll be fresh in their minds so you’ll be more likely to get follows in return.
- Take notes! I’m not a big note-taker, but I made sure to have a notebook handy in case a presenter gave a particularly awesome tip that I did not want to take any chance of forgetting. They might have their slides available on their own website for you to check out on your own time, but they might not. Better to be prepared!
- Try what you learned! I made an action list of things I wanted to get started on immediately — it was a bit lengthy and intimidating, but it really got me excited! One by one, I went down my list and put into practice the tips I had learned. It will really help to create a game plan for keeping the positive momentum going when you’re home and “back to work.”
As a way to connect with some of the amazing bloggers I met at Blog Elevated, I reached out to them to find out what they took away from the conference. I assumed (and was right) that they would have some awesome tips to add!
I asked eight of my fellow Blog Elevated conference attendees, “What was the number one thing you learned?”
“[To treat] your blog as a business – making sure to strategize, communicate, invest, research, and create an image that portrays just that.” — Valerie Carmona (The Val Around Town)
“One of the most valuable things I learned a Blog Elevated was to be authentic. That it doesn’t matter how many Facebook friends you have or Instagram followers you have if your posts and what you are saying resonates with a lot of people. Be authentic, stay true to yourself and your ideal audience and your tribe will follow.” Autumn Leopold (Smart Happy Organized Blog)
“The speakers reinforced why it’s critical for bloggers to have a clear brand presence in their blog and on their social media platforms. Living your brand through consistency in content selection for the blog, tone and style of writing, photography and graphics shows a potential corporate sponsor that you know who you are and that you would be a solid partner for their brand.” — Jane Hare (Everon Media)
“No successful blogger got to where they’re at without significant time investments. For [speakers] Your Modern Family and Beauty through Imperfection, that meant starting work at the kiddos’ bedtime and staying up until the work was finished–often times 3am! My blog will grow if I put in the time, but I can’t get frustrated with a lack of growth if I haven’t invested the time.” — Kate Skero (Nourishing Little Souls)
“The greatest influence for me was listening to the brand public relations representatives. Understanding what they look for in Influencers was very informative. They provided a lot of useful tips and strategies on how to get noticed.” — Nakeya Fincher (Divine Elements of Design)
“Attending Blog Elevated gave me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other bloggers IRL (in real life). There is nothing like learning, meeting and greeting with those who work in the same field. It makes your connection deeper and stronger. We learn so much from each other!” — Certified Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap (www.professional-organizer.com)
“The most valuable thing I learned from the Blog Elevated Conference is that no matter where you are in your blogging career you can be successful and make money. This is something that relates directly to me because I have wanted to monetize my blog, but I felt that I didn’t have enough followers. I also feared that I would get turned down when it came to working with brands. I learned not to cut myself short. There are brands that want to work with the “little guy”. One common factor that I heard during the conference was not to be afraid to reach out to brands. The worst they can say is no.” — Amanda Hewitt (Positively Beautiful Life)
“My biggest takeaway from the conference was encouragement to believe in the potential of the WiseMommies’ blog and the importance of writing every day. I was reminded of what Stephan King said about the secret of being a successful writer and that is simply “to write.” The conference also gifted me with some tips on how to find time and organize my life in order to write more.” — Beth Kirk Schön (Wisemommies)
Maybe you’ve heard about an event happening near your city, maybe you’ve heard other bloggers talking about a convention they attended, maybe you think that it could help you reach the next step in your blogging career. I can’t say enough good things about my experience, and hopefully I (as well as my colleagues) were able to answer your questions about why you should attend a blog conference! So what are you waiting for?? 🙂
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Ellen Rubin Delap says
Thanks for sharing this! I loved the conference and continue to learn from posts like this sharing Blog Elevated!
Autumn Leopold says
Hi Stacey! Thanks for including me! I’m loving checking out your blog!