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.
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.