Even though I have been blogging since 2011, I have never attended a blog conference. I read other bloggers who have been invited or attended the event. I admit, I was envious. But I am also a very introverted person, and the thought of interacting with other people scared me. So this year, I decided that I wanted to be serious about my blog business and was going to attend my first blog conference.
You know what?
It was the best decision I made so far for my blogging business. And I can’t wait to go again!
But seriously, if you are on the fence, start small. Find a local one like I did.
The best part of this conference is that I knew the conference hosts from another project that I am working on. So it helped that I knew a few in-real-life attendees. Others I knew from a FB group I was in.
It still didn’t mean I wasn’t nervous. In fact, 3 times on the drive to The Hershey Lodge, I considered turning around and going home. I even thought that my GPS falling off my window was a sign that I should go home. Since I already knew how to get there, the naughty GPS didn’t matter.
So back on subject. What did I learn from my first blog conference? More than I really expected. And that is why I will be attending this conference again next year, and maybe even try to find another one to go to. If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment below.
What I Learned From My First Blog Conference:
- To Enjoy The Experience!! Above anything else, take time to enjoy the experience of learning, and meeting new people. You truly won’t regret it! Have fun getting to know the other attendees, but especially the speakers.
They have worked hard on their presentations, and show them how much you appreciate their hard work. After all, they have lives, their own families, and their own blogs to attend to. Tell them how their sharing of knowledge helped to inspire you in building your own business.
- To not go into the conference with pre-conceived notions. Before the conference, I took the time to look around at the speakers blogs and social media accounts. It is definitely intimidating when you attend your first blog conference to see all those bloggers with HUGE numbers.Don’t think that just because they are successful, doesn’t mean they won’t talk to you.
I was intimidated about meeting Audrey & Vera of Audrey & Vera and PermissiontoHustle365 . Needless worrying, because they were both very sweet. I even got up the nerve to ask them a question at the end of their presentation.
- To be ready to learn. I was so nervous about interacting with people, that I almost forgot to get my notebook out and start taking notes. Once I worked the knot out of my stomach, I was able to do just that. It was fun to write ideas I could use in my sparkly pink notebook.
- Get ready to network, network, network. Once I got myself settled in a seat
I took a deep breath and walked over and started talking to Shari and Lori and Deborah, even had a few minutes to chat with Naomi. Took a few more deep breaths and I handed out some of my business cards that I ordered. I also talked to Tim Sohn from Sohn Social Media Solutions. I had been in contact with him prior to the conference. He even featured one of my LinkedIn articles in his presentation.
- To get a better phone. In case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t any real life pictures in the post. Why? Because my phone’s camera was HORRIBLE. So once I start having more income from my blog business, I am going to invest in a better phone that takes great pictures. That way, I can post more pictures on my social media accounts.
- To not be afraid of being a 5th wheel. I ended up following a bunch of ladies to lunch, and it really was a good time. Besides having a good meal, I’d like to think I made a few friends, as well. Or at least people I can form partnerships with.
I liked that my first blog conference was well organized. The available agenda was really helpful in knowing what was next so I could switch gears. I have always been a lover of schedules, so this was perfect for me.
All in all, the experience associated with my first blog conference was worth the stress of driving by myself. It was worth the hours I spent worrying about not being ready. But most importantly, it was worth it from the knowledge that I gained in order to boost my blog business in the future.
The speakers at my first blog conference:
*Author Cecelia Mecca: As a bookseller, it was fascinating to hear about indie book publishing. And even inspiring that, maybe, someday I could be on a bookshelf. But most importantly, I enjoyed talking to her as a person. My connection? Getting the chance to write a book review for her on my blog.
*Tim Sohn: Tim talked about using LinkedIn to build your blog presence. While I was on LinkedIn, I didn’t use it as a tool for building my blog. Big mistake, and one I plan to remedy.
*Sara Mock is my new inspiration. Thanks to her, I now know the powers of Canva, and how I can create graphics that are pin-worthy. Sara, if you read this, my pin and featured image are inspired by your presentation. Still have a lot to learn, but it’s a start.
*Travel Blogger Fadra Nally: She has been on trips I have only dreamed about. But through her presentation, I learned ideas to help me pitch to companies as to how I can help get the word out about their destination. She made me realize how to customize my ideas for pitching companies, and put them into an actionable plan.
*And Kaylee Dugan from Hershey Entertainment: I really don’t have to explain this. It’s all about the chocolate! Just kidding, Kaylee. Hershey Entertainment has a lot to offer people and families of all ages.
*Larisha & Andrew: I can’t say enough about their presentation. It was so helpful to see into the minds(and eyes) of food bloggers. And chatting with Andrew about photo settings(thanks for helping me with Live View) and software helped me relax a bit more. Make sure you check out their recipe posts. I also need to take a trip to Lowe’s soon to get supplies!
*Shari Medini: Okay, I will be the first to admit that I never gave podcasting a second thought. I keep telling myself I have nothing to say. Until I remembered that 3 times a week, I spend 30 minutes talking, talking, talking. Yeah, it’s to 4 and 5 year-olds for storytime, but I am still talking. So maybe it is not as far out of my comfort zone as I was originally thinking!
*Audrey & Vera: I don’t even know where to start with what I learned from them. Biggest thing? “It’s not a campaign, it’s a conversation”. That gave me a new perspective on my writing. They also took the time to my question when their presentation was over. In any case, if I have one thing to add, it is this: go join their FB group Permission To Hustle. You will learn a lot!
So there is my recap of my first blog conference. Thanks to Megan and Jenna, and everyone else that I met, it was everything I hoped for and more! So now that I have this knowledge, I need to start working on a business plan for 2018. I am ready to hustle my way to the life I want! So if you have attended conferences before, what tips would you share? Embarrassing moments? Most enlightening quote? Leave a comment below.