New to the blogging world and wondering which blog conference to attend? I’ve had the opportunity to attend three different blogging conferences over the past few months, so I’d be glad to share some perspectives with you. I was fortunate to experience a range from the biggest to the newest in events for bloggers. Here’s a summary for you.
I attended these three:
Type-A Parent Conference
Build Your Blog Conference
All three conferences seek to foster a sense of real-life community that augments their related online communities. All three are about building relationships among bloggers as well as between bloggers and brands. All three have educational and social components. All three are evidence that new media is here to stay and that bloggers are valued as influencers.
Here’s what stood out about these three conferences:
BlogHer Conference: This is the mother of all blogging conferences, established by experienced, media savvy journalists and business leaders. From the attractive stage to the internationally known speakers to the beautiful lunches they serve, BlogHer organizers think of everything. Their expo attracts top global businesses that want to connect with bloggers. Their educational workshops are varied. Yet, there is so much happening at BlogHer that the classes often pale in comparison with the popularity of the other festivities. BlogHer is perhaps the most diverse blogging community you’ll find, so the conference offerings reflect that diversity. Everything might not fit your tastes, but there is certainly something for everyone. BlogHer is celebrating its tenth anniversary and the conference will be in San Jose, California.
Type-A Parent Conference: This established conference attracts a small fraction of the attendance at BlogHer, yet it is known for the high quality of its classes. Type-A includes fairly technical classes such as details of working on the back end of your website. There is also a fair amount of brand to blogger connection that happens, although not on the massive expo scale of BlogHer. The meal offerings could use improvement. The speakers, while not necessarily global stars, are thoughtfully chosen and engaging. The Type-A Parent Conference community includes a number of seasoned, hard-working bloggers. While Type-A began as a blogging community for parents, it provides value for any type of blogger. This conference takes place each year in Atlanta.
Build Your Blog Conference: This fledgling conference is quickly building its numbers, although a majority of attendees seem to be from the immediate Salt Lake City base area of the conference founders. The class content is moderately challenging, although it could use more technical offerings. It seems to cater heavily to food bloggers and to the most conservative of lifestyle bloggers. Build Your Blog Conference offers one of the most affordable registration fees, and what it provides is in a very condensed conference format. It included an excellent, inspirational keynote speaker.
Because it was so new, the Build Your Blog Conference was receptive to a very flexible sponsored blogger situation when I informed them that I’d be attending as a sponsored blogger for Stonyfield. That’s why I was able to freely distribute coupons for free product at the conference. It’s possible they’ll be revising those policies as the conference grows.
Both Type-A and BlogHer Conferences have strict policies against mass distribution of materials by sponsored bloggers, reserving that type of access to direct sponsorships with businesses. This is important to understand as a blogger who might be looking for brand sponsorships. You’ll want to check the policies of each conference and doublecheck sponsorship contracts to ensure you can meet expectations within those policy guidelines.
Conference from home:
You may be feeling, as I have in the past, that you don’t necessarily want to invest in conference expenses. Sponsorships and networking opportunities aside, the most useful thing these conferences offer year-around is online education. When you search the websites of all the conferences, you’ll often find full-length audio or video of past class sessions, as well as related articles. Setting aside a day or two to attend these virtual conference sessions might give you the head start you need on better blogging. Plus, they’ll give you a sampling of what to expect should you decide to register for a conference after all.