If you’re a new or small blogger, the idea of attending a blogging event or blogging conference can feel pretty terrifying. You’re probably thinking you won’t know anyone; that you’ll be the only newbie in a room full of super successful bloggers with zillions of followers, who will look down on you with your tiny little blog like you’re some kind of pathetic wannabe imposter who should know their place.
What’s more, some of these events can be quite expensive, so how can you justify spending the money when you don’t earn much – or anything – from your blog (yet)?
But here’s the thing: everyone was new once. I still consider myself both new and small, since I have a full-time job and this site gets only a tiny fraction of the views that the larger blogs get. But in spite of that, earlier this year I plucked up the courage and went to my first ever big blogging event, the Traverse Events Travel Blogger conference in Trento, Italy. And while I’m still a loooooong way from quitting the day job, I can honestly say it was the best thing I could have done to give me and my little blog a much-needed boost.
Why? Well, I’ll tell you. Here are my top 10 reasons why I think blogging events are so great, and why I will definitely be going to more.
1/ You’ll Learn Loads Of New Things
Whether you’re a brand new blogger whose entire readership consists of your mum and your dog, or you’re a full-time professional with millions of readers, there’s always something new to learn at a blogging event.
Most conferences will have a panel of speakers, giving talks about everything from SEO, to writing skills, to photography and vlogging tips, to how to pitch to brands, how to make money from your blog, and SO much more. Whatever it is you want to learn about blogging, there will be someone there who can help. And yes, you could probably save yourself the cash and learn this stuff at home online, but honestly, how often do you ever get round to actually doing that sort of thing? Come to a conference and all this information is handed to you on a plate, and you’ll even be able to chat to the speakers after the talks or in the bar later, and ask all the burning questions you may have. You don’t get to do that with an online course.
And all the things you learn will help drive your blog forward to the point where you WILL start earning money (if that’s what you want). A little investment in your blog now to reap the rewards in the future.
2/ You’ll Be Inspired
Sitting at home writing a blog can be a lonely business, and sometimes it can be hard to know what to do or where to turn next. Maybe you’re stuck for blog post ideas. Maybe you’re struggling to find your unique voice. Maybe you need help or advice, and don’t know where to start.
But great blogging ideas rarely happen in a vacuum. Talking to other people and learning about what they’re doing with their sites is a great way to find inspiration and figure out what your next step should be. At a blog event you’ll meet dozens of bloggers of all ages and backgrounds who are all doing different things, and chatting to them will almost certainly fill you with inspiration. Whether it’s coming up with new blog post topics, or finding a new niche, or discovering what works and what doesn’t work, it’s guaranteed that you’ll come away with dozens of new ideas for how to take your blog forward. Just make sure you bring a notebook to write them all down before you forget them!
3/ Blogging Events will Motivate You
Especially if you’re a newbie blogger, working full time and trying to write during your evenings and weekends, it can be hard to motivate yourself. After a long day’s work sometimes all you want to do is slouch in front of the TV. I know, because it happens to me. I love writing and photography, but I can sometimes get quite dispirited, feeling as though my blog is so small, and I’ll never be able to compete with all the bigger bloggers out there, or get my posts to rank on Google. And often I feel overwhelmed by all the different tasks there are to do, and don’t know what to prioritise. So I wonder what the point of it all is, and whether I should just give up.
If you’ve found yourself nodding along to any of this, you should definitely go to a blog event. Meeting loads of other bloggers, of all sizes, all enthusiastic and hardworking, and learning loads of new things, will definitely give you the metaphorical kick in the pants you’ve been needing. At Traverse19 I came away with so many ideas for goals I wanted to achieve for my blog and so much advice about what to prioritise and what to set aside. It really helped to clear my head of all the self-doubt and gave me a new surge of love for my blog and the drive to push it forward to the next level.
4/ You Might Win An Award!
This doesn’t happen at every blogging conference, but some events have their own awards or are run in conjunction with blogging awards. At Traverse19 they ran their own Creators Awards, and even though my blog is tiny, I thought I’d have a go. Gotta be in it to win it, right?!
I’m really proud of this blog and the quality of my writing and photography, so I did hope I might at least get shortlisted. But there are so many other talented and creative bloggers out there that I never for a second thought I’d get shortlisted in THREE categories, which is more than anyone else who entered!
And I was even less confident that I’d actually win one of them… but I did!
I was also shortlisted for (but sadly didn’t win):
The Traverse Creators Awards were specifically designed to reward talent, rather than just size or popularity, which means that even if you’re a small blogger with hardly any followers you can still get recognition for your work. If you’re passionate about creating great content, and you work hard, then that’s all that matters.
And winning an award has given me a much-needed confidence boost at a time when I’ve been wondering if I’ll ever be able to achieve any of the things I want to achieve with Passport & Pixels. Even if my impromptu speech was pretty diabolical!
5/ Network with Brands
One of the most important reasons to go to a blogging event is all for the networking opportunities. Any good blogging conference will be attended by dozens of brands, who are specifically there because they’re looking to work with bloggers on their next marketing campaign. It’s a golden opportunity to meet them, find out what they’re looking for, work out if they’re right for you and vice versa, and maybe even set up your next collaboration.
I’ve been to a couple of specifically travel-related blog events, where I’ve been able to meet travel brands and representatives from tourism boards. At Traverse I met the team from Visit Sri Lanka, which resulted in me being offered a 10-day press trip to Sri Lanka!
Sadly I couldn’t get the time off work, (damn that full time job!) but it proves 100% that networking at blog events really does work – even if you’re a relatively small blogger with only a few thousand monthly views like me.
Whatever type of blogging you do, look for events in your niche (there are some suggestions at the bottom of the page), and then get out there and network your socks off!
6/ Network with Bloggers (and Make New Friends)
As well as brands, blog events are full of – obviously – bloggers! They’re the best way to meet likeminded people and find friends who are interested in the same things you are. Do your real-life friends wonder what you do all day? Do you struggle to find a tribe who understands the joys and challenges of blogging? Do your mates just think you’re dossing or scrounging free stuff? Go to a blogging event and all that will be a thing of the past.
Almost to a man (or woman), bloggers are creative, outgoing, sociable people, who will be delighted to chat to you. If you’re new, they’ll understand, because they were new once too. You may even find you know some of them already via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, so meeting in person is a great way to solidify that online friendship.
Get chatting and you’ll soon make new friends and contacts which could lead to new collaborations, new ideas, new opportunities, or just someone awesome to hang out with.
7/ Discover A New Place
Wherever the blogging industry event takes place, it’s likely you won’t have been there before. It may be in a different city, or a different country altogether. And it’s probably somewhere you wouldn’t have gone otherwise, which makes blog conferences a great way to discover somewhere new.
Traverse19 was in Trento, in North Italy. I’d never even heard of Trento before, and certainly wouldn’t have booked to go there otherwise. But thanks to the conference I got to hang out in this gorgeous Italian city and spend three days eating pizza and drinking sparkling wine. Even if the conference had turned out to be rubbish, it would have been worth it just for that!
8/ Booze, Food and Goodie Bags!
Most blog events are supported by sponsors, who generously lay on food and drinks to make sure everyone is well-fed, happy, and having a good time. It’s a chance not only to have a bit of a party, but also to try new things. In Italy we were given restaurant vouchers for different types of Italian meals, and every evening there was a social event with more than enough drinks and canapés for everyone. Even though it’s not technically free – the cost is included in the price of your ticket – supplies are usually generous and would add up to way more than the entire ticket price if you actually had to buy your own meals.
What’s more, at the end of the event you’ll probably be given a goodie bag full of cool stuff. Goodie bags can be a bit hit and miss – often there are things in there I’m not interested in which feels a bit of waste – but you never know your luck. Not necessarily a good reason on its own to go to a blog conference, but a definite bonus!
9/ A Blogging Event Will Boost Your Confidence
When you go to your first bloggers conference you’ll probably be feeling quite nervous and insignificant. I certainly did. I imagined everyone would be so much more successful and important than me. And to be honest, many of them were. But even the big celebrity bloggers were super welcoming and friendly, and more than happy to share their advice. I also met loads of other bloggers at a similar level to me, and discovered that in spite of feeling like I have no clue what I’m doing, I’m actually doing a lot of things right! And the things I’m not doing right… well I learned what I need to do to improve those.
So I came away feeling much more confident in what I’m doing, and ready to keep pushing forward.
Plus, y’know, I won an award!
10/ You’ll have Fun!
Maybe this goes without saying, but bloggers events are fun! If you discount the serious stuff like learning and networking, what you’re left with is just a bunch of outgoing, interesting, sociable people, all in one place, with booze and food on tap. All the ingredients for a fantastic day or weekend.
Even if I learned nothing at a blogging conference, I’d still go just for that. And of course once you’ve been to one, you’ll find out about the next event that everyone is going to, and when you go to that you’ll already know people and it’ll be even more fun!
Some Blogging Events You Might Want To Go To
This list is mostly UK-based and is by no means exhaustive – so google your niche or your area to see what’s going on.
Traverse – arguably the kings and queens of blogging events, the highlight of their calendar is the annual Traverse blogging conference, which takes place each year in a fabulous international destination. Mainly attended by travel bloggers, but there’s loads on offer for other types of bloggers too.
Borderless Live – new from Traverse, this London 2-day event promises expert seminars, networking, fun-packed parties and more.
Blogosphere Festival – a two-day event in London run by Blogosphere Magazine, this conference is aimed more at lifestyle and beauty bloggers and features panel discussions and brand exhibitions.
Sit Up – the social and influencer event from TravMedia. Aimed at bringing travel bloggers and travel industry representatives together, this conference is THE place to network with big travel brands. Also has an awards night. TravMedia also run the International Media Marketplace in various countries around the world, so if you’re not UK based this might be the one for you.
TBEX – the largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, content creators, and travel brands. Like Traverse, this takes place in a great new location each year, giving you chance not only to network and learn, but also to discover somewhere new.
TechMunch – this one is in LA, and is one of the main food blogging conferences.
Show Me The Money Bloggers – the annual conference for UK money bloggers.
BlogOn – this UK conference covers all genres of blogging, with a particular focus on parenting. Workshops cover everything from photography to tech to toys, and there are lots of opportunities to network with brands.
Blogtacular – a weekend conference aimed at bloggers of all types, filled with keynote speakers, workshops and social events. The team also runs smaller-scale blog workshops throughout the year.
Design Influencers Conference – this takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the only conference for bloggers who focus on home and interior design.
International Food Blogger Conference – as the name suggests, this US-based conference is all about food!
Have you been to a blogging event? Which one would you recommend to others? What was your favourite thing about it? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!