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I’m a shy introvert and I don’t really like hanging out with or talking to people I don’t know. I went to a big blogging conference once (BlissDom, back when that was a thing) and one giant knitting/fiber arts convention (yes, there are such things) and both just about did me in. I totally get the purpose of seeing people in person and making connections, but it’s not for me. I left both conferences feeling like I’d wasted money and precious time away from my family for no real reason.
But. There’s still something to be said for getting together with like-minded people. Just knowing there are that many people interested enough in knitting (crochet, cross stitch and other crafts were represented, too) to travel all that way and spend all that time was inspiring, even as it was terrifying.
Here are a few reasons it’s worth it to go to conferences, and a little about a great one that’s coming up soon!
- Meeting people in person. It’s great to put a real face to people you’ve only seen in gravatar form but who feel like friends because you read each other’s blogs and posts on social media. I work from home so, now that school is in again, I’m alone a lot, and I love it, but it is nice to see your “coworkers” from time to time, people who understand what you do a little more than the people you see every day. People with common interests, who love to write, who are creative and maybe a little silly when you get them together.
- Learning new tricks. Most people don’t take the time to learn about every new app that comes along, so a conference is a great way to learn what other bloggers are using that you might want to try, too. From video to writing tips, photography to organizing your life, lots of things are covered at a conference that will save you time and make you better at what you do.
- Immersing yourself in your blog. Even though my blog is part of my business and my income as a freelancer, it usually falls to the bottom of the to-do list because I don’t make that much money from it. It’s really great once a year or so to take a couple of days and just think about your blog, what you really want to get out of it and how to get there. It’s not unusual to get back from a conference bursting with ideas and excitement about your site that might have been missing before. (We’ll talk about how to hold on to that enthusiasm soon.)
- Sharing your knowledge. Whether you speak at a conference or just talk with others around the breakfast table about what you do with your site, conferences give you a great chance to talk to other bloggers, share your favorite tools and learn what other people are doing. We’re all pretty isolated in our own little spaces, so this time to bounce things off each other is invaluable.
If you live in or near Arkansas, I wanted to let you know about my favorite blogging/influencer conference, Megaphone. It’s taking place this year in Fayetteville (my hometown!) Sept. 9-11. The schedule has everything from blogging for brands to storytelling as a blogger, using Slack, AP Style, rocking Instagram, live video, legal issues and more.
I’m speaking twice during the weekend, on a Foodie Friday writing panel (don’t tell them I hardly ever write recipes!) and about editorial calendars and idea generation.
More importantly, the keynote is Peg Fitzgerald (who wrote The Art of Social Media with Guy Kawasaki, among other awesome things) and the Foodie Friday keynote is Sister Schubert (the roll lady!).
This is a really comfortably sized conference with lots of content and also time for just talking, strolling the downtown Square, eating local and taking tons of pictures of the beautiful surroundings. If you’re nearby and interested in learning more about blogging as a business and writing as a passion, I hope you’ll check it out and consider registering.
Have you ever been to a blog conference? What did you like/not like about it? Bonus: what do you want to know about setting up an editorial calendar? I’m sure I’ll share some tips here as well as at the conference.