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I remember booking the ticket to my first blogging conference clearly. I hovered over the “buy now” button for more than a few minutes, checked my bank balance at least five times and, in the end, hastily hit the big green button with my eyes closed.
Little did I know that that hasty decision was going to be one of the best I ever made.
In the past few years, I’ve been to no fewer than eight blogging conferences. (This is the first time I’ve actually counted and I can’t believe it’s already been that many!) As I write this, I’m still recovering from the latest one, a week-long event in Trento, Italy, with Traverse Events. Along with conferences in London, Rotterdam, Antigua and Menorca, it’s the fifth Traverse conference I’ve been to – and possibly the best one yet.
It wasn’t just the sessions that made this one so special (as amazing as they always are). It wasn’t the fact that it was the first Traverse conference I’ve been a speaker at, either. No, it was the same things that always make these conferences special: the energy, the memeories and the way the internet brings so many like-minded souls together IRL.
And that sums it all up, really.
Blogging conferences aren’t just about the conference part – they’re so much more than sitting in a room learning (although there’s plenty of that, too!).
They aren’t just about blogging, either. Blogging is what brings us there but the connections you leave with are much more than colleagues.
It’s almost impossible to sum up the energy in one sentence, so here are 7 reasons why I attend blogging conferences – and think everybody should, too!
#1 Network with new people
Well… it had to be in here somewhere. Before you roll your eyes and scroll to the next point, stick with me for a moment.
We all know that conferences = networking opportunities. That doesn’t mean any of us want – or think we need – to network. It might even be the reason why you haven’t been to a blogging conference yet!
If that’s the case, let’s take a moment to redefine the word itself.
Networking doesn’t have to feel dull, dirty or difficult. In fact, it shouldn’t feel any of those things!
When you network with the right people, it becomes fun, effortless and so, so easy. And that’s because when you’re networking with the right people, you probably won’t even think of it as networking.
Even though they’re packed with professional talks and useful information, blogging conferences are super laid back. Everybody wants to learn, but nobody wants to just talk about work – they want to meet new friends and have fun. So banish any stuffy conference room images from your mind and forget about the kind of networking events you’ve been to before.
#2 Catch up with old friends
The more conferences I go to, the more familiar faces I see. That doesn’t mean I don’t make an effort to get to know the not-so-familiar ones, of course. It just means I get to spend more time catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a while.
Catching up with friends – and having them all in one place! – is one of the main reasons why I go to blogging conferences. There’s nothing like hearing everyone’s stories and enjoying a relatively normal (albeit temporary) social life for a few days.
The travel blogging industry is a funny one. Us travel bloggers are spread out all over the world… yet we often congregate together in random places. I have plenty of British travel blogger friends that I’ve hung out with in multiple countries and cities, but never once in the UK.
Since most conferences take place in a different city or country every time, getting to experience those new places together is also a great benefit of going to blogger conferences.
#3 Get new ideas flowing
Blogger conferences always have such amazing talks. No matter what talk I find myself listening to, I always take something away. Usually, it’s because the talk triggered an idea or thought that hadn’t occurred to me before – and sometimes it’s not even related to the talk itself.
More often than not, it’s simply the conversations I have at the post-talk drinks and nibbles that get my creative juices flowing the most. It’s just the energy and inspiration that surrounds you while you’re there. It’s magical.
#4 Solve your blogging problems
So, we’ve already established I don’t go to blogging conferences just for the sessions themselves, but they’re certainly one of the (many) reasons!
I’m always amazed at just how insightful the talks, panels and workshops are and it’s always a reminder of just how many creative individuals we have in this industry.
The best part, though, is that I always seem to walk away with a solution to whatever’s been on my mind. Whether it’s affiliate marketing or getting my branding spot on, I can be sure there will be a talk to help. At the very least, I’ll have some ideas and motivation I need to tackle it head on.
#5 It’s an incredible experience
Going to a blogger conference is a bit like going on holiday: it’s something I look forward to for weeks beforehand and I don’t want to leave once I arrive. It’s better than a holiday, though, because it counts as work too!
Every blogging conference is a little bit different. Some of them are straight-up conferences over a couple of days, while others include pre-conference events or post-conferences press trips.
Whatever the format, it’s always a load of fun and a truly valuable experience that leaves me with the best of memories.
#6 Keep your confidence up
Don’t underestimate how good it can feel to get validation that what you’re doing is an actual thing and you aren’t a crazy person who lives in their own little internet world. I might turn up to a blogging conference feeling a bit “meh” with my blog and feeling lost about where it’s go, but I know I’ll leave full of confidence.
There’s just something about being around other creators and seeing their passion. It’s inspiring, it’s contagious and it always leaves me bursting with motivation to make my blog the best it can be.
#7 Be part of an awesome community
All of the above points come back to one thing: community.
Blogging full time might sound like a dream, but it’s one of the loneliest jobs you could choose. Luckily, there’s a huge and incredible blogging community that provides that much-needed support network (and some kind of social life!).
Whatever you do, finding your “tribe” is often the fastest route to success, happiness and staying sane. And there’s nowhere better to find that tribe than at a blogging conference.
However long you’ve been blogging – and however much you think you hate “networking”! – don’t overlook the power of blogging conferences. They might seem like a considerable investment, but you’ll more than get your money’s worth from them. Promise!
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