[Getting our dance on at Haven 2013, Atlanta, GA. Photo courtesy Ryobi Tools]
Sometimes people give me a perplexed look when I divulge that I’m a blogger. But other times, people toss an amused “you-gotta-be-kidding-me” smile when I tell them I’m a blogger. To tell them I pay money to travel around the country to attend blogging conferences every year, they just don’t get it.
In fact, it happened to me yesterday at the airport.
I was sitting at a bar at BWI Thurgood Marshall airport in Baltimore, Maryland, sipping a beer and waiting to board my flight to Atlanta for the Haven Conference (the conference to attend if you’re a do-it-yourself blogger like me).
There was a guy (super cute, if I might add….) two stools down, waiting for the same flight. He and I, along with the waitress, were bonding over disbelieving looks about a screaming toddler nearby that kept shrieking for literally over half an hour.
Conversation took a turn and we started talking about what business we had in Baltimore, and why we were hopping on a flight to Atlanta. He told me he lives here in Atlanta, and I told him I was attending a DIY blogging conference.
I had hoped he would be impressed (who doesn’t want to impress a handsome stranger??). Instead, he looked at me, amused, as if he’d never heard of such as thing as a blogging conference. I didn’t really know what to say, so instead of trying to convince him why I’m not crazy or weird, I just mumbled over the bar noise, “Yeah, it’s a really good conference.”
Maybe he was secretly intrigued. Who knows.
But it got me thinking about why bloggers take 4-5 days out of our lives, money out of pockets, to hurl ourselves into the midst of conference after conference. Maybe next time I’ll be able to spout off these reasons in between beer sips:
5 Reasons It’s NOT Stupid to Attend a Blogging Conference
1. Because you now fit in.
It’s true. In real life, we don’t know many bloggers. At least, not that we interact with daily. But online, we’ve got “blogging besties” who “get” our commitment, obsession with stats, and constant picture taking “oooh-oooh, I’ve got to instagram this!!” moments. At conferences, you fit in. Other bloggers are just as obsessed as you are. You’re no longer the weird chick.
2. Because you’re stuck.
Blogging is hard work. And a learning process. It requires tons of creativity to come up with new ideas and the ability to execute those ideas. Sometimes, though, we get stuck. Blogging conferences are a gathering of brilliant minds that are willing to share everything they know to help out fellow bloggers. When you leave a conference, you’re more inspired than you ever imagined and are your most productive and creative.
3. Because brands want you.
You know how bloggers make money? Well, there are several ways, but one of them is by working with brands. Sponsored content. Good, honest bloggers only work with companies that they trust and whose products they believe in. But when you work with a brand, you either get paid or get free product for the review. Conferences are the best way to connect with brands. I started working with Ryobi Outdoors as a brand ambassador after conntecting with them at BlogHer 2013. Without that conference, I may never have made the connection.
4. Because you love to party.
Who doesn’t love 4 days 3 nights away from the kids and hubby?? Or an opportunity to dance the night away with your blogging besties? At home, by 9 p.m. most have their jammies on, writing blog posts or DIY’ing a project with paint in our hair. At blogging conferences, you’re sipping wine, prettied up, conjuring your next post, and kicking up your heels. Who doesn’t love the Cha Cha Slide?!
5. Because you’re serious.
Blogging conferences aren’t cheap. Throw in $250 – $300 for a conference ticket. Airfare $200 – $500. Gas if you’re driving. Expensive hotel food. And you’ve now just paid $500 – $1,000. You’ve got to be serious about blogging to justify spending that amount of loot. Yes, the partying is fun. The mini-vacation from monotonous home life is amazing. But you’ve got to be serious about what you’re trying to achieve with your blog to justify spending this much money.
Blogging is a real profession. Just like conferences for doctors and lawyers and such, we’re a profession. This is professional development, just like any other careers. And our reasons for attending are not far off from other professions.
It took me years after graduting from undergrad in 1999 to identify that blogging would be the professional career I would chase after. Although it’s hard for some to see the value in what we do here at a blogging conference, I can guarantee you, each and every blogger will leave inspired, connected, and ready to do it again next year.