By Donna L. Johnson
One of the great things Holly does here at The Work at Home Woman is provide us with upcoming events for women bloggers and entrepreneurs. Had she not, I probably wouldn’t have known Bloggy Boot Camp was coming to Texas. And as a result, this past weekend I attended my first blogging conference.
There are tons of conferences catering to all genres of blogging. Choosing which one to attend wasn’t easy, but a few factors heavily influenced my decision.
Investing in professional development can be costly, but well worth it in my opinion. I couldn’t believe the rock-bottom $99 ticket price for Bloggy Boot Camp. You won’t find an all-day conference including lunch and parties in that price range.
Since the conference was held in my home state, I didn’t have to worry about flying. That’s another plus. When you tack on airfare, it can sometimes exceed the price of the event you’re attending.
The conference hotel rate is always cheaper than the standard room rate. If it isn’t – beware. That’s a huge red flag. Being the deal seeker that I am, I wanted to see if it was possible to book a room for less than the promotional conference price. Guess what? I did! And doing so helped me save even more money.
As a speaker, I know the importance of writing compelling breakout session descriptions. As an attendee, I know the disappointment of being let down by a presenter who fails to deliver an equally compelling message. Saving hundreds of dollars to get to an event doesn’t matter if you walk away without having learned anything.
Bloggy Boot Camp gave bloggers the opportunity to experience all of the speakers. You didn’t feel like you were missing out on one thing or another. You had to select between the business of blogging or a writing session. These two were longer presentations, what I would call the meat and potatoes of the event, which allowed you to focus on the area best suited to your blogging goals and objectives.
There are conferences geared more toward a social experience and those that offer valuable learning experiences. Decide what you want, find an event that’s a good fit for you, and then show up and do your part to get the most out of it.
One of the awesome benefits of Twitter is being able to attend an event without actually being there. I know … sounds confusing, but if you tweet you know exactly what I’m talking about. That beautiful thing affectionately known as a hashtag allows you to keep up with everything going on from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone.
This also makes it possible to get first-hand reviews of the event in real time.
Listen to what others in your industry have to say and make an informed decision to attend or not attend based on their feedback. Connect with other conference goers before you get there. It was such an awesome feeling to be sitting right next to someone whom I had only had the privilege of exchanging tweets with just a couple of weeks before.
Networking and building relationships is powerful. Ongoing professional development is critical to your success as an entrepreneur. What strategies do you use when combining these practices?
Donna L. Johnson is The Unemployed Entrepreneur® and has been blogging for The Work at Home Woman since January 2010. Summary of professional experience: 15 jobs by the age of 22. Her written word hustle is a mix of business street smarts, lifestyle, and controversy. She takes a stand on things she’s passionate about without being afraid of backlash. When Donna isn’t writing, speaking, and reading, she visualizes being on the set of her dream job as a TV talk show host. She blogs about her latest steals and deals at DiscountThief.com