Blogging

What I Look for in a Blogging Conference

I recently canceled plans to attend a blogging conference I was looking forward to attending after getting a look at the schedule of speakers and workshops planned.

Attending a blogging conference is often about more than the individual sessions offered: sometimes it’s nice to be able to connect with fellow bloggers.

But sometimes, you have to look at the schedule of events that are planned to determine how many sessions would actually apply to you.

I’ve attended a few blogging meetups and conferences over the years, and I even spoke at the one and only WordCamp Charleston my home-base city has hosted. (I’d like to think that my talk wasn’t what made the inaugural WordCamp Charleston the sole WordCamp Charleston.

In any case, I recently made the mistake of purchasing tickets for an upcoming blogging conference before the schedule was released. A week or so later, when the schedule was published, I realized my mistake.

The schedule included sessions classified as either “Beginner” or “Developer.” 

The developer courses featured content for both website developers and designers. That’s definitely not my area of interest. Keeping a blog going with daily content keeps me busy enough. I certainly don’t have time to start developing websites or plugins on top of that.

In some conferences, there’s a beginner session and an intermediate session. The beginner sessions focus on things like how to set up a blog, how to select a theme, how to choose hosts and similar topics. The intermediate sessions focus on more “advanced” functions like SEO and content marketing.

When I checked the schedule, I was disappointed to see that the beginner options were mostly focused on business blogging and eCommerce. That’s fine, but I don’t do eCommerce. And with only two or three sessions that would have been of remote interest to me, I just couldn’t justify a drive of more than three hours plus playing for an overnight stay out of town.

What I look for in a blogging conference

A lot of conferences these days seem to be focused on attracting “big names.” Often, these speakers are known by the ridiculous titles of “thought leaders” or “influencers.” They have achieved a certain reputation as being experts in their own ways.

That’s great.

But sometimes, I’d like to hear from fellow bloggers: people who are in the proverbial trenches doing what I do and finding new and unique ways to do it. Maybe, when I gave that talk in Charleston, I was able to inspire ideas for some of the bloggers who attended.

I know that my fellow bloggers have given me various ideas over the years or forced me to rethink things that I was pretty sure of before they raised their points.

In short, I’m not always impressed with what some might call a blogging guru.

I always check the schedules — and from now on, I’ll be sure to check before I pay for admission: I want to make sure the topics available are topics I think will help me.

If there’s nothing of interest to me and the kind of blogging I do, there’s probably a good chance that there’ll be few networking opportunities for people who produce the kind of blog I produce. That means there’s even less value to me in attending the conference.

So a schedule that seems to address the things I’m interested in hearing more about is more likely, I’ve found, to unite peope with similar issues so that the networking can be of that much more benefit.

If the schedule doesn’t address what I’m interested in, there’s a great chance I won’t bother showing up.

When is the last blogging conference you attended? Did you feel you got a lot out of it?

2 Comments

  1. I have never gone to a blogging convention, but then, I doubt I would get much out of it. I march to my own drumbeat, and do so in every aspect of my life. I don’t work at, try to be, or think about, being unusual or unique in my views, I just am. After hearing others remark on it all the time, mostly because I don’t consider any topic of conversation taboo, I have come to the conclusion that this is how I am. To wit, what would I gain from a conference which would have me be someone else, such as brief, serious, only blogging on one topic, e-commerce (there is so much more to life than money), etc..

    No, I’d much rather be me.

    1. The right one can be a great experience because you get to see how other people do the same thing you’re doing and you can take from that whatever you think might be worth trying and ignore the rest. But if they’re not talking about what’s relevant to you to begin with, it’s definitely not worth the time!

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Patrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.