Sometimes blogging conferences are portrayed in the media as an excuse for women who are just wanting to get away for the weekend. In reality, the benefits of attending a blogging conference are similar to the benefits obtained at a wide variety of other industry conferences. If your blog is a way to vent your daily struggles or a way to keep family updated on your life then, sure, maybe attending a blogging conference is not for you. If you take your blog seriously, consider it a business or hop that one day it will become a paying business then, YES, you need to attend a conference. So, what can you hope to gain from attending a blogging conference??
This is the the obvious first reason to attend a blogging conference. The people speaking at the conference were chosen for a reason, they have experience and a lot of expertise that you can learn from. Take notes, absorb as much as you can and look back over your materials when you get home to absorb some more. Choose breakout sessions to attend that are in line with your goals for your blog. If you need help with your writing then attend sessions focused on that. If you are a great writer but are lost when it comes to the business side of blogging then sign up to attend those types of sessions.
Some people hear this word networking and think you mean hanging out with your friends and having a good time. Networking really is a skill that you will develop by attending these conferences. Go outside your comfort zone if necessary but introduce yourself and hand out your card to as many people as possible. Donèt let the conversation end there. When you meet someone new, ask questions, think about what you have in common or sometimes more importantly, how you complement each other. What are ways you could work together to help each other? What can you learn from them?
Connect With Brands
Connecting with brands is one of the biggest benefits of attending a conference in my opinion. Sure, all those cards you hand out to those bloggers will get you some follows on Twitter and on your blog but getting your card in the hands of a brand might get you some business. Some bloggers seem to make their way around the brands gathering their freebies and do not even bother to hand out a card, if you are new to conferences maybe you are assuming that you are not important and they do not want your card. They do, they want your card. They paid for space at a blogging conference to meet bloggers. Stop, talk to them, ask them questions, ask how they are working with bloggers already, ask how you could work together in the future, tell them about yourself! I could not believe how many companies followed up with emails after a blogging conference. This told me right away these brands really are there to network with bloggers. You might not get business from them right away but the next time they launch a campaign to work with bloggers, now they have your contact info.