Why You Need To Invest In Blog Conferences

by Gigi Ross on April 14, 2013

I’ve attended about 8 blog conferences in the last 3 years.

People ask me why I keep attending conferences, because they are a huge investment of time, money and require you to be away from your family and job.

blog conference

And the reason I do is this:

You don’t know what you don’t know.

You can think you know a lot about blogging, or social media, or working with brands, or even how to network. I feel like I do.

But a conference can turn a bright light on an area of your life, your blog, or your career that you might not have even considered or thought about.

It can help you realize that instead of trying to push through the wall, you need to find a way around it. Go over it or under it or around the end.

It can uncover questions you never thought to ask, and solutions you didn’t think were possible.

It can give you a phrase, a buzzword, a quote, that helps you redefine your direction.

It can give you one strategy that makes you work smarter, not harder.

It can show you how to take your passion and make it your career.

It can show you how to tap into your creativity, how to be easy on yourself, how to regain the power within you.

It can provide you with a personal connection you never imagined and a professional connection that leads to new opportunity.

It can take you from being an amateur to a pro.

It can give you an a-ha moment when you didn’t even realize you needed one.

And that’s kind of what happened to me this weekend at Bloggy Boot Camp Phoenix: Business Edition.

blog conference

I was there to speak.

When I’m speaking at a conference, my mindset is generally this: I am there to give of myself: to share knowledge, make myself available to other bloggers, and to help them be more successful.

I am not there to take.

But there were several presenters that gave me a-ha moments that I didn’t even realize I needed. People whose words helped me gain so much more clarity on what I should be doing, how I should be doing it, and most importantly, what I SHOULDN’T be doing: thanks to Meagan Francis, Danielle Smith, and the incomparable Tiffany Romero who were those people this time.

So that’s why I keep going to blog conferences: because there’s always something more to learn, always another way to grow. And even if you only take one thing away from a conference, it can be worth far more than the cost of attending.

If you’re interested, I’ve shared my presentation from this past weekend on Slideshare. Some of the slides won’t make a lot of sense if you weren’t at the conference, but here they are nonetheless.

I highly recommend attending Bloggy Boot Camp: Business Edition for those of you looking to monetize your blog, or kickstart a career or business. The education truly is unparalleled.

And for all of you who attended Bloggy Boot Camp and listened to my presentation, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time and attention!


Ann April 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Avid curiosity is one of the traits I most admire in others. Great post!

Kristen Daukas April 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I agree. One of the biggest things that I get is meeting my peers face to face. Owning an agency, I spend a lot of time behind a computer and don’t get too many opportunities to do that. It pays off in so many ways! I get great ideas for my own presentations and it gives me a chance to scout for speakers for a tech and social conference that I chair. I wish we had more that were closer to me but I have 3 new ones on the books for this year, which will give me 6 total!

Kerry April 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Going to my first blog conference in a few weeks, and I feel like the timing is perfect. I need a charge, an a-ha moment, a something … I fear that if I don’t feed myself soon, I may give up. Every time I see my twitter feed light up with conference chatter, I see people energized, so fingers crossed I connect with some great people and listen to a few good speakers. Glad you had a nice time in Phoenix. :)

Sarah @ Powers of Mine April 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I loved reading this, Gigi. Since I’m on the complete other end – a newbie at her first conference – it’s exciting to see that the learning and the community and opportunities for connection and aha moments all continue to happen. I loved meeting you, and appreciate your presentation and your humor. And sorry about the messy minivan (does the cute baby make up for it??). :)

Karen - Desert Chica Ramblings April 15, 2013 at 12:02 am

I loved your presentation at BBCPHX – Definitely my favorite from this weekend. All the presentations were very informative and I would definitely recommend Bloggy Bootcamp -Business Edition too. I love hearing that an “expert” also found it worth recommending too. :-)

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Natalia April 15, 2013 at 4:35 am

Great post, Gigi! Definitely something probably everyone needs to read. Wish I was at BBC this past weekend!

Erin | The Law Student's Wife April 15, 2013 at 4:53 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips! I’ve been contemplating investing in a conference, but haven’t found one that fits my schedule–however, I’ve also looked at very few conferences! How do you go about finding and evaluating conference opportunities? Do you have any favorites? Any tips you have to share would be so helpful!

Renee Schuls-Jacobson April 15, 2013 at 5:41 am

Great post. And I would like to say, you are the MOST generous person in the world. WHen you say you are there to network and help other bloggers? Um, yeah. That. Because you are so approachable. This is why we love you and squeal when we see another post from you in our in-boxes. Thank you for helping me in the past *wink wink* I’m still trying to figure out how much is too much in terms of “hounding” a company. At BlissDom, a brand rep expressed tremendous interest in me, sent me an email, I responded, and now it’s been crickets. I’ve tried to call her, and the number doesn’t work! What does this mean? Could she have been fired? Should I try to reach the brand via Twitter? Or should I just assume they have all the people they need to promote their product. Hmmm. It’s a puzzler.

I would have liked to have seen you present. If I am going to do this, clearly, I need to shift my blog over to a monetized blog — but I have a lot of questions that were not covered at BlissDom. And I don’t want to lose subscribers, if possible. As you know, I’m a writer, first and foremost, so this is more of an experiment than anything else. I’d hate to switch over to something so much more complicated if it isn’t necessary.

Alison April 15, 2013 at 6:21 am

This is why I need to haul myself across the oceans to attend a conference. Some day.

Alli April 15, 2013 at 6:41 am

This is fantastic! Thank you so much! It was a fabulous conference and I really do feel like my mind is going to explode with how much I learned. From you too!!! Thank you!

Lynnee April 15, 2013 at 6:46 am

So true. Your presentation at #BBCPHX was awesome. I particularly liked the Method example on how to really turn a post on its head and bring out the creativity. Thank you!

Yuliya April 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm

That was my favorite part too! Love those case studies!

Jack April 15, 2013 at 7:28 am

There are a lot of pros out there who are amateurs but haven’t figured it out yet. Networking with your peers can sometimes help you identify the people who are well intentioned but ignorant of the process.

There is a very low barrier to entry here and if you aren’t careful it is easy to get abused by the system.

Jamie@SouthMainMuse April 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

Such an inspiring post. “How to regain the power within you.” Wow. That really struck something in me. I look forward to going to my first conference in Charlotte next month.

Arnebya April 15, 2013 at 8:10 am

Conferences are invaluable. Being open to learning, even when we weren’t expecting to learn, when our goal was to give of ourselves, educate others, is a wonderful experience. The sharing of ideas is always a worthwhile investment.

Nellie April 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Fantastic post. I went to 2 conferences last year and learned more than ever expected!! I have 4 scheduled for this year and I simply can’t wait. If you love blogging then it’s a perfect investment for all reasons in this post. The knowledge is just…priceless.

Mary @ A Teachable Mom April 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm

You’ve convinced me! Am hoping to make BlogHer 2013 my first blogging conference! Hope to see you there!

Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) April 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I’m working on it! I hope to be at BlogHer at least for a little while. Great tips, Gigi.

Jill April 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Kudos Gigi and thanks for sharing!

The Pursuit of Normal April 15, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I love this post! Going to a conference can be so scary. I have yet to attend one for a million very practical and real reasons… but I’m beginning to think that’s just an easy way to explain my fear. But you are so right- i have so much to gain and nothing to lose, so why not take the plunge right!? Thanks for the inspiration

Anne Parris April 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Your presentation was wonderful and really inspires me to up my game and to be more creative.

Loved this post also and seeing that there is always something else to learn and new ways to grow.

Chris Carter April 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

Oh how this truly inspires me to get my scared and economically challenged butt to one of these conferences!!! There are none close to Columbus- and that disappoints me. Still thinking about Blogher in Chicago….

Lady Jennie April 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I’d like to know what NOT to do.

My favorite part of the first and only conference I attended last year was making friends. That was golden, and I know it helped my blog too..

Marta April 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I am so on the fence about going to BlogHer. On one hand I want to, I know I would get so much out of it. Every year I read the tweets and posts about it in jealously. On the other hand I’m afraid. I’m afraid of not knowing anyone, etc. And just the expense when blogging is a hobby of mine, not a job.

Which brings me to a question from your slides (which were excellent). I have a linkedin profile professionally. But it’s for my work and I don’t link my blog in anyway. Are you suggesting a separate linkedin profile for my blog?

Gigi Ross April 17, 2013 at 8:55 am

I would not suggest a separate LI Profile for your blog. It just gets too hard to manage. I would add your blog as a personal project to your LI. You never know when or to whom it might be relevant.

I also would suggest, that if you’ve never gone to a blog conference before, BlogHer is probably not your best bet as your first experience, unless you’re unusually confident and gregarious. It’s huge and overwhelming even to the most seasoned blogger. I would suggest trying a smaller conference like Blissdom, BBC, Type A, Mom 2, etc. They’re a bit more intimate and it’s easier to feel like you “fit in.”

Debra April 17, 2013 at 7:28 am

I know I need to go to a conference and I want to, but there are so many different ones I’m not really sure where to start. Are there better ones for 1st timers than others?

Gigi Ross April 17, 2013 at 9:09 am

My perspective is stay away from BlogHer as your first conference unless you’re naturally gregarious. It’s very overwhelming, even if you’ve been to a lot of conferences. I recommend Type A, Bloggy Boot Camp, or Blissdom or Mom 2.0 as great “first” choices.

Stephanie @ Hugs, Kisses and Snot April 17, 2013 at 7:37 am

There are a lot of great reasons here. thanks for the reminder!
I went to BBC Dallas last year and really enjoyed it. I was nervous b/c I didn’t know a soul but I met a few kindred spirits and have kept up the relationship. This year I hope to meet up with them again and hopefully expand my kindred spirit network.

Tabitha Vos April 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I really enjoyed hearing you speak! I can’t wait until my next conference.

Rachael April 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Thanks for posting it Gigi! I’m still bummed I missed it. One quesition….slide 22: what is a “clip list”?

Gigi Ross April 19, 2013 at 9:52 am

A clip list is just a writing sample list. I did a post on how to make one here: http://www.kludgymom.com/how-to-make-a-clip-list-for-freelance-writing/

Stephanie Sheaffer April 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Thanks so much for speaking at BBC Phoenix, Gigi!

I completely agree that blog conferences and events are a worthwhile investment. The sessions are helpful, but the best part is being able to make “in-person” connections with bloggers, business people, and brands.

Gigi Ross April 19, 2013 at 9:52 am

Couldn’t agree more. Face time goes such a long way!

itzybellababy September 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I would agree- the one thing I didn’t know about blogging, is that there is so much more to know than I ever imagined.
I am so happy there are people out there willing to help others succeed! Thanks!

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