Are you in the blogging business, either full time or as a side hustle to your day-job and looking for ways to get your voice heard, increase your audience and potentially earn money from your blog?
An awesome way to find collaboration opportunities and increase traffic and engagement on your blog is attending a (blogger) conference or trade fair.
Working in marketing for more than two decades, one of the things I’ve learned is that attending a conference or trade fair is one of the most impactful ways to find inspiration, learn new skills, forge new relationships, secure new business and even recharge from your typical work day schedule.
However, just buying a ticket and going to the event will not get you very far. To make the most of your attendance, you need a strategy.
Read on to learn why you should attend a blogger conference, how to find the right conference or trade fair and to how make the most out of your attendance.
7 benefits attending a blogger conference or trade fair
- Learn new skills and best practices
- Network with your peers
- Meet those you are connected with on social media in person
- Forge new partnerships with brands, PR agencies or business associations
- Get a new perspective on your blog / niche
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Return home with tons of new ideas for future content
How to find the best conference or trade fair to attend as a blogger
If you are looking to attend a conference or trade fair to grow your blog, an obvious choice is to attend a blogger conference.
This can be a conference broadly based on blogging or one that is covering blogging in a specific niche like a travel blogger conference.
There are many good reasons a conference made for the blogging business will be a great start if you are looking to boast your blog.
They are particularly focused on the needs of bloggers and will cover a large range of topics you as a blogger will be interested to learn more about. The conference programme will cover topics such as blog monetization, SEO optimization, affiliate marketing, pitching with brands, social media strategy, photography, and many more.
However, I strongly recommend you look out for general industry conferences and trade fairs to attend as well. These can be conferences for travel, hospitality, food and drinks, home decor, fashion, design, and everything else as long as it fits your niche.
These events will not include the typical sessions geared towards blog growth or social media but they are nevertheless awesome opportunities to learn more about your chosen niche and engage with interesting brands and other important players.
So how to decide which one is the right one for you?
There is no secret formula finding the right conference.
Once you start your research, you will quickly realize the number conferences, trade fairs and other interesting industry events taking place all over the world related to your blog niche is nearly endless. However, not every conference or trade fair in your sector will be a great fit for your blog business.
There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself that can help to determine if a conference will be a good match for you:
- What is the specific conference topic? To start with the obvious, make sure the conference or trade fair fits your niche. If you are blogging about luxury travel, attending an outdoor travel conference might not be the best fit (even though there might be a luxury element there somewhere too).
- What new skills do you want to learn? Check out the conference programme. Do the listed sessions match any of the skills you are keen to learn / improve?
- Which brands, speakers or important people in your niche do you want to connect with? Most conferences or trade fairs will post a list of exhibitors, speakers and sponsors on their website ahead of the event. This is a great source to find out if the people and brands which are relevant for your blog will be at the conference.
Another way to learn more about a specific conference or trade fair is to search on Google if other bloggers have actually written about the conference, and what experiences they have made.
Other important considerations whether a conference or trade fair is the right one for you are location, timing and costs.
Many interesting conferences might be located far away from where you live. This means, alongside the cost for attending, you also have to consider significant budget for travelling and accommodation along with the actual time you need for travelling.
The good news is, you do not need to go far or spend a lot of money. There are likely a lot of local events that will fit your niche and these could be a great start into attending conferences, or indeed a great opportunity to attend several different conferences.
Especially if you are blogging about travel or lifestyle, local events can offer you a wealth of new connections and input; and chances are there are not too many other bloggers around. Thus more opportunities for you to cooperate with local brands or associations.
How to best prepare for a conference: What to do before, during and after attending a conference
Before the conference
- Make sure you have enough business cards to hand out at the event. Whatever is said about business cards (I know many think they are a relic of the past), believe me they are still the number one tool when it comes to connecting with people at a conference or trade fair. Your business card should be high quality to make sure they stand out and it should include all your social accounts as well!
- Look up the speaker, exhibitor, sponsor and attendee list to determine who you want to meet at the conference. Speakers, exhibitors and sponsors will be listed on the conference website. However, you should reach out to the organizer to get information on attendees as well. Make sure you put together a list of people and brands you want to meet; and already think about a potential collaboration you want to pitch to them.
- Start networking with conference speakers, sponsors and other attendees. It can be hard to approach people you don’t know at a conference. Especially if you get the impression everybody else is best friends with everybody else. A great way to take some pressure away is to reach out and connect ahead of the conference.For example, you can send an email to an event speaker you wish to meet. Congratulate her on the speaking gig and share your excitement attending the session. Most importantly, let her know you would love the opportunity to have a chat at the conference.
Many conferences will also have Facebook groups where you can start interact with other attendees.
This is also a great way to manage your meetings and time spend networking at the event. Because, let’s be honest. There might be a hundred or more people which could be a good fit for your business. You will not get the chance to speak to everybody; and you should also remain realistic about the number of new connections which whom you can follow up after the conference and build a meaningful relationship. My suggestion is to group connections you seek to make at a conference into priority groups and reach out to those with the highest priority for you ahead of the conference.
- Check out the conference programme and plan which presentations or workshops you want to attend. Make sure you have worked out relevant questions to ask during a presentation or workshop.
- Practice your elevator pitch. If you want to start a meaningful relationship with brands or PR agencies to gain business from them, you need to have a compelling reason for them to connect. Tell them what you do in a clear, concise way. But most importantly, think about what you can offer to them when you seek a collaboration or partnership.
During the conference:
- The number one thing to do: network. You have put together your list of people you want to connect with. Now try to speak to as many of them as you can.
- Take notes. Plenty of them. Write down interesting advice like new tools you might want to check out later, all the tips and tricks you are told on improving your website and content and most importantly, write down all the ideas for future content.
- Stay connected – but only as much as you need. Sounds funny? I know. A lot of times, you will actually see the advice to stay away from your phone during a conference to not get distracted. If fact, you should avoid getting distracted, respond to business e-mails instead of listening to a speaker, don’t post on social media while in a session, and so on. But today most conferences offer live apps, or they give you the opportunity to reach out and schedule meetings with other attendees or brands through their website. Make sure you keep an eye on messages from other attendees in case they try to arrange a meeting with you. Check the conference app for potential changes in the programme. But don’t do anything else on your phone.
- Socialize. Go to conference lunches, dinners or after conference parties. Even though you might be tired after a long day attending conference session, workshops and speaking with brands and other conference attendees, socializing events are a great way to connect in a less formal way. Or to follow up with a potential lead you’ve made during the day. Or just to release a bit of steam.
After the conference:
- Follow up with your new connections. Send a personalized note to the people you talked with and who gave you their card a few days after the conference. Where possible, the note should include an invitation to work together. And if you don’t yet do so, start following them on their social media platforms and subscribe to their newsletters.
- Get your notes in order and follow them up. Put together a list of take-always, new ideas, and new skills you have learned, and make something with them. For example, implement some of the tools or new ideas on your blog.
- Write about the conference. You are always searching for interesting content to share on your blog, right? Well, if done right, you will get away from the conference or event with lots of things you have learned. Share this experience in a post. Write about the new skills you have learned or a particular session you liked a lot.
How often should you attend a conference
There is no perfect rule how many conferences you should attend. The total number of conference you might choose to attend will depend on a number of factors like the overall cost of attending and the time you need to spend attending (and travelling).
However, each single conference you attend will make a positive contribution to your business or blog. Thus you should aim to attend at least one major one per year. If you manage to attend more, than that’s great.
What to wear at a conference or trade fair
This really depends on the business sector and specific event. Several business sectors still require a proper business attire. However, many events in particular in the hospitality and leisure sector, or conferences specifically for bloggers, are fairly casual affairs.
This does not mean you should not carefully plan your outfit. After all, you want to make a good impression and ideally gain some new connections and business for your blog.
One important thing to consider is that you are likely walking or standing a lot during a conference or trade fair. Thus make sure to wear comfortable shoes. I normally opt for flats.
What are the best conferences / trade fairs for bloggers
As I said before, each conference or trade fair could be a good or bad fit for you.
However, there are a couple of conferences regarded as leading events for bloggers and content creators.
Below, you find a list of the major conferences taking place around the world you should consider attending as a blogger.
General blogging conferences
Blog Her – https://www.blogher.com/
Pro Blogger – https://problogger.com
ALT summit – https://altitudesummit.com/
Blogalicious – http://beblogalicious.com/events/
Conferences for travel bloggers
Traverse – https://www.traverse-events.com/
TBEX – https://tbexcon.com/
TravelCon – https://travelcon.org/
Adventure Travel Show – https://www.adventureshow.com/ WTM
ITB – https://www.itb-berlin.com/
BIT – https://bit.fieramilano.it/?lang=en
TravMedia – https://travmedia.com/imm/
Conferences for food and wine (drinks) bloggers
Everything food conference – https://www.everythingfoodconference.com/
International food blogger conference – https://foodbloggerconference.org/
Wine Media Conference – https://www.winemediaconference.org/
Have you been to a blogger conference yet or attended any other conferences or trade fairs related to your blogging business? Let me know about your experience