Just home from back to back conferences, I have to say my mind and heart are full. I was in Atlanta two weekends in a row presenting at both Type A Parent and Blogalicious. As a blogging veteran, I’ve attended a lot of conferences in the almost six years I’ve been blogging. Both Blogalicious and Type A remain on my must-attend list year after year after year.
Whether you’re new to blogging or a veteran, here are five reasons to attend blogging conferences and what I gained from attending and speaking at both this year.
1) Connect with community. Conferences provide the ability to connect to members of the blogging community in person. These are the people that become Facebook friends that we keep up with online after we meet in person. They’re the ones whose blogs we read religiously after having put a face with a blog name. They are the bloggers who we’re also connected to via Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest until we can meet again. And once we are able to see each other again, it’s like no time has gone by. We’ve kept up with our friendships online but there’s nothing like face time to really and truly connect and have the deeper conversations that don’t happen via our Facebook updates, tweets, and the photos we may be sharing. If you’ve attended Blogalicious in the past and would like to join the community, you can sign up here or request to join the Blogalicious Social Suite Facebook Group. If you’re looking to join the Type A community, visit the website to get started.
2) Invest in your own professional development. There’s no better way to learn than to learn from those who have been blogging for awhile. Not only know how to best navigate the space but along with general knowledge, each individual possesses specific knowledge that can be helpful to your growth. At Blogalicious, the conference tracks were focused around the themes of Create, Build, and Fund to provide attendees with specific knowledge about moving their business forward. I felt that the structure of Blogalicious allowed me to get the most out of the conference thanks to having many general sessions with fantastic content that was relevant to all attendees regardless if you were new to blogging or experienced. Having three different breakout session times on Friday and one on Saturday allowed me to pick and choose from topics I wanted to learn more from content experts.
3) Serve as a mentor. As a former teacher, I love to share my knowledge with others. These days I usually attend blogging conferences to speak and help learn things to assist others in taking their blogs to the next level. At Type A, I presented a session called Integrating Short Form Video Into Your Content Strategy with Janelle McCoy. We know that anything visual is incredibly hot right now so we compared Vine and Instagram video, shared some favorite ways brands are using short form video, and provided helpful tips on how to integrate video into blog posts and sponsored content. While at Blogalicious, I had the pleasure of moderating the opening session with six amazing women who spoke about The Ripple Effect of Blogger Professionalism: How and Why to Maintain Professionalism in Blogging That Extends Beyond Your Personal Blog. To learn more about what was discussed, search for the hashtags #CommunityJam and #Blogalicous5.
4) Learn about and connect with brands. Conferences wouldn’t happen without the support of brands who sponsor the event. Blogalicious had sponsors like Kia who engaged bloggers through test drives of the Cadenza, Forte, and Sorento, McDonald’s who threw an incredible 80’s dance party, Wells Fargo who sponsored a Perfect Pitch Contest likened to Shark Tank where three small business finalists got 5 minutes to pitch a panel for the chance to win $5000 plus business coaching, Comcast Xfinity’s CelebrateBlackTV.com who held a Scandal viewing party for the community to screen the first episode of the season together, and countless other sponsors who engaged attendees to educate them about their company and products.
5) Give back and support causes. This year I did something new at both Type A and Blogalicious—I used my attendance as a way to give back. As many of you know, I’ve traveled to Haiti twice and each time I’ve been I’ve found a way to help Haitian artists that we’ve visited. With a newly launched Bloggers4Haiti.com website and an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign to support women entrepreneurship in Haiti to raise $5000 to support OFEDA, I sold paper bead bracelets made by Apparent Project artists and split the proceeds between the two groups through Type A’s Mom Market and Blogalicious’ Pop Up Shop. Between the two weekends, 190 bracelets were sold and calculating the donation amount is on my to-do list for the week! Being able to sell items through sanctioned conference events was another way that attendees are helped us reach our fundraising goal for which I am forever grateful.
Beside the paper bead bracelets sales, learning about causes from sponsors in attendance is always helpful. This year American Cancer Society kicked off Friday morning of Blogalicious with a fabulous fun run around Centennial Park to finish the fight against cancer. Waking up and doing a 1.5 mile run was a reminder that exercising for 30 minutes at day reduces my risk for cancer. I also learned about how I could help over 4 million children during my conversation with Save the Children in the Blogalicious expo hall. Also near and dear to my heart, Macy’s Heart of Haiti was there with beautiful Haitian handcrafts to educate attendees about the line’s “trade, not aid” philosophy.
Thanks to Asurion for helping defray my conference travel costs through my partnership with them. Since we’re always reliant on our phones but even more so at blogging conferences, learn more about Asurion’s comprehensive coverage designed to protect your phone against mobile mishaps through their website and Facebook page.