Why You Need to Attend a Blogging Conference
The 411: Prior to going to my first conference, I loved meeting other bloggers. I made it a goal that for every new city I would visit, I’d have coffee with a blogger who lived there. It all started when I met my blog wife, Rachel, (that’s what we call each other because we are virtually inseparable) in Boston last summer. After that, I went on to set up more coffee dates. I’ve chatted it up with Emma right here in Fayetteville and had a 3-hour breakfast (oops) with Hannah in Houston. In Dallas, I love stopping to see my blog gal pal, Tiffani. She’s actually the one who told me about Thrive and ended up being my roomie at the hotel that weekend.
Wait a sec, is it ok to go to a conference solo? Heck yes!! Don’t worry, you will meet tons of friends in just one weekend. Our conference even had us sit as assigned tables during the sessions, so that we got to mix and mingle with new faces.
So anyways, if you didn’t know, Houston is my home. (Well, the northwest Houston suburbs are to be exact.) I really wanted to get to know bloggers in my area as well as learn more about the industry and what steps I could take to growing my brand.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you’ve come to the right place, lady! You should attend a blogging conference because….
You get to meet like-minded individuals
Blogging is a lonely job. I spend many (many) hours at my computer where the only human interaction I get is virtual: an email here or an Instagram comment there. It’s great, but it’s nice to be in a room with 150+ ladies who share a common love.
Thrive Blog Con started off with a welcome party Friday night, so that all of the attendees and sponsors could get to know each other over drinks and sweets. Above is a picture of Tiffani and I chatting with Marla of The Blonde Pantry! Francesca’s (yes…Francesca’s!) was there to put on a fashion show, Whole Foods taught us how to make DIY sugar scrub, and there were plenty of sweet treats!
I gave out TONS of business cards, got TONS in return, and made some sweet new friends.
You get to meet with brands (!!!)
Working with brands is one of my personal favorite parts about blogging. I like getting to know a company and getting to promote beneficial products to my readers. I want to be your fairy-blog-mother and working with brands helps me to do that.
Like I said, Francesca’s was there (still not over it) and I got to talk with their sweet team. Did you know they started in Houston?! Now there’s another cool thing about my town besides Beyonce. Haha!
They even took a picture of me wearing their skirt and put it on their snapchat story Friday night! I died. I floated away on a cloud. Blog conferences are gold ya’ll.
You learn about what really works
There is no University of Blogging. Anything I’ve learned, I’ve picked up straight off of the Internet and it’s up to me to apply it and see if it even works for me and my blog.
This works, but it is SO much more beneficial (and enjoyable) to attend a conference and hear first hand from successful bloggers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs who have a lot of knowledge about blogging.
Someone finally explained Google Analytics to me, another speaker shared her secrets for a successful Pinterest, and one even taught us how to shoot in manual. I learned a lot that you can’t find on the internet or on e-courses. There’s something special about getting to sit in a conference room, sip on lemonade, and hear from inspiring women.
You get a TON of inspiration
I walked out of the conference with a full heart and a long to-do list of things I wanted to do for my blog. Every speaker I heard from and every person I met had taught me to believe in myself and my work.
I learned how important it was to know your purpose for the hard work you do, and to let it motivate you further.
I shared the photos above on Twitter and Instagram, but you’re going to hear it again because I totally almost ruined my mascara during this moment. (#crybaby)
Alissa asked us to write down the lies we tell ourselves; the lies holding us back. After we took a moment to do so, she asked us to tear them up. So naturally I choked back tears because THIS WAS SO INCREDIBLY FREEING.
Motivated? Yes. Inspired? Yes. Thankful for Thrive Blog Conference. Hell yes!
You have fun
The week before Thrive I had two tests, a speech, and a paper due. My semester has been crazy and with me also trying to further my blog career, it’s been a doozy. I was excited to go to Thrive, but I was nervous that I would end up feeling discouraged that I still had so much to learn.
Boy, was I wrong.
First off, I had a FREAKING BLAST. Tiffani and I shared a huge hotel suite and got to chat about school, boyfriends, and shopping for a full 24 hours. #Blessed. Then, every blogger I met was quite possibly the sweetest, chicest thing ever. I guess there was just something about getting a bunch of bloggers together mixed with an endless supply of macarons that had everybody feeling…happy. Rejuvenated. Excited. I fed off that energy all weekend and it left me so full.
Plus, I came away knowing that I was investing my time in the right places and the right people. I’m on track to accomplishing the goals I’ve set for myself (big and small) and I have a ton of new friends to support me as I cheer them on as well.
You build a community
Next time I’m in Houston (or Shreveport, or New Orleans, or Dallas, or any of the areas some of those lovely ladies came from) I have someone to have coffee with. Someone to talk about blogging with. Someone to ask what Wordpress plugin they prefer for email lists.
This is huge, ya’ll. If you’re a blogger or any human with a pulse, community is so beneficial in your life.
You remember why you started
Before Thrive, I had definitely forgotten my “why”. I wasn’t that I wasn’t happy with blogging because I was totally head-over-heels in love with it, but I had been spending so much time working hard to try to grow that I forgot why I even started. I forgot what I wanted for this blog back before anyone even read it.
Going to that blog conference made me remember. I remembered the 18-year-old girl who pulled out her laptop one night and made a blog. It had awful yellow polka dots as a background and the fonts were all wonky, but she made a blog to leave her mark. To inspire. To create. And to hopefully meet some friends along the way.
Long gone are the yellow polka dots, but I still have the same dreams and the same love for writing and telling stories. I just needed to remember why I started to be motivated for where I’m going.
Pull out your phone right now and Google blog conferences. I swear to you, it was worth every penny and more. The next Thrive Blog Conferences won’t be for another year, but you can follow @thriveblogcon on Instagram to be ready.
There are also two blog conferences that I heard of while at Thrive if you want to check those out!
Blog Elevated Conference is in Houston, TX on October 21-23, 2016. Follow @blogelevated on Instagram.
The Blog Connect is in City Center, Philadelphia on April 16.
If you’re still curious, (you little curious cat, you!) here are some re-cap posts about Thrive from some of my fellow Thrive ladies.
One last thing, all photos in this post and at the conference were taken by the amazing Meg Cady! She’s the cutest thing and I’m glad she captured these moments so beautifully.
Ok ya’ll, sorry for talking your ear off! I just had the most amazing time at Thrive and I wanted to let ya’ll know that you a blog conference needs to be on your to-do list!