Do Blog Conferences Matter?


So many of us are descending upon New York City to attend Blogher and all the surrounding brand events.

Are we crazy? Does any of this matter? Have we spent our money in vain?

Conferences do matter and I’ll tell you why.

I have attended several different blog conferences over the past few years and they all hold immense value particularly in the area of face time with the people we know virtually. As we forge relationships online it is always nice to meet those same people in person. These are the experiences that really matter and are worth every penny of the costs of attending blogging conferences.

And, the amount of information you learn makes conferences matter even more. I’ve learned over time that it’s not always the information you learn during sessions that resonates the most. It’s what you learn when you sit down and talk to others that usually makes the biggest impact. It’s when you put your head together with someone and figure out answers to problems you share about blogging or ask those who have solved those problems how they did it. This is where blogging conferences really shine!

And above all else, blogging conferences matter because they infuse all of us with energy and enthusiasm and the drive to come up with imaginative ways to reach others online. Every conference I’ve ever attended has made me a better person after I’ve left. I’m grateful to have these types of experiences and want to share these experiences with as many people I can.

I am writing this post from my New York City hotel room and in the next few hours I will be meeting other women bloggers. Some of them I’ve known for years and others I will be meeting for the first time. I’m excited.

This is why blog conferences matter!

What do you think?

By the way: After Blogher this week I will also be attending Bloggy BootCamp in San Fransisco, Type-A Mom, and Blogalicious. Yes! I really believe blog conferences matter. Every blogger should attend at least one each year.

38 comments

  1. I reside just outside NYC. I’m roughly 45 minutes away from where most of the BlogHer events will be taking place and I won’t be attending for the simple reason that I couldn’t afford the ticket.

    I hear about the good, the bad and the ugly about blogging conferences. Even though I have never gone to one I think you are 100% correct in saying that just the networking alone, and meeting the virutal world you have come to know face-to-face, is what makes it all worthwhile.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who dream of attending one of the big blogging conferences, but can’t because of situations beyond our control ($$$). I personally feel left out and like I am missing all the fun. I can’t even bring myself to read any blog posts or tweets about any of the conferences because its just a constant reminder of the fact that I wish I could have been there.

    Have fun at BlogHer. Please tell the blogging community that I said “hello”. Maybe some day I can meet them in person too.

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    • Kimberly,

      Please don’t get mad at me saying this, but I think not having the money is not a very strong reason to miss out on attending a conference. I don’t have lots of money either, but I managed to get a really nice sponsorship that will allow me to attend a conference this year. Sometimes we need to be creative and think outside the box to achieve the things we want.

      Just sharing an idea of what has worked for me and I hope it motivates you to think of alternative ways to achieve the things you want too. :)

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  2. I agree that they matter but this year I’ve seen more bloggers through themselves into tears because they can’t get to the conferences that they wanted to. After being to BlogHer last year and Blissdom this year, I can definitely see the value but I don’t think bloggers should put themselves in debt to get to one and I also agree that much of the information garnered doesn’t necessarily come from the sessions. I attended Blissom in February and I learned 2 things: 1 – that I was on the right track with my blog as I am already doing much of what was taught in the sessions (I attended the business track) and 2, that just the intimate conversations between blog friends at lunch, dinner, or in between sessions taught me more.

    Having said all of that, I think it’s a shame that more bloggers didn’t write about what they can learn without a conference pass (for free or deeply discounted) and I mean that since mombloggersclub.com is a fountain of information for bloggers of all skill levels. To help those staying at home this year, I did this post: I’m not going to blogher and I’m fine, really

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  3. Yes, I think they matter – and if I had the budget, I’d be joining you at all those other conferences too! In the meantime, I hope to run into you here at BlogHer.

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  4. I definitely think they matter, but finances can put the kabosh on attending one. It seems that the economy has affected everyone, and there’s not money left after you’ve paid the bills and fed the family. If there were something more local to MN then I’d probably be there, So, unless you’re sponsored, have the extra cash, or take out a loan, I don’t see how anyone can afford to go. Have fun and can’t wait to live vicariously through all the bloggers I know.

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  5. I can’t wait to meet you this week!! I hope to meet you!!–Again sorta cause I met you last year briefly!

    I really enjoy blog conferences I just wish they weren’t so expensive. I’ve been blessed with amazing sponsors for both conferences I attended but I’d love to go to more! If I wasn’t so strapped financially (and short on vacation time since I work weekends) I’d go to many more!!

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  6. I really hope to get to a conference sometime later in the year, are there any great conferences in the fall or winter? My little one is still pretty young and isn’t taking the bottle yet.

    Have fun ladies and thanks for the info Jennifer!

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  7. I’m split down the middle on the topic, to be totally honest. I’ve attended several conferences and just like you said, the wealth of information and the one on one connections is unparalled.

    But, they come at a cost (for me anyway)…

    Most literally, they are expensive! Unless you are lucky enough to live in the town the conference is held, you can spend $1000 on the conference pass, hotel, and air fair. And with so many conferences popping up, its just not possible for most mom bloggers.

    The cost placed on the family left behind is a huge consideration for me. Taking dad through the lunch making, homework checking, permission slip signing, soccer practice driving, etc. and so on, is a lot of work (and has always required my hubs to take time off). Blogging is PART of my world, so putting the rest of my world on hold is no small task!

    And sometimes, the emotional cost for some bloggers is pretty high. Its hard to walk into a room full of people you’ve never met, especially if you’re new or go alone.

    These days, I’m leaning more towards local, smaller, shorter events like the Cupcake and BloggyBoot Camp mini-conferences. For me, they are much more feasible and pack the same punch!

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  8. Great post! I’m excited to go to the BlogHer sessions but I’m really looking forward to meeting other bloggers and learning from them too.

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  9. I agree with those who said that they wish they could attend for the networking purposes alone, getting to meet the bloggers behind the monitors, as well as the PR they have worked with. But like many others, if it’s coming out of the wallet that pays for our bills and groceries, it’s an expense that cannot be justified for my blog.

    Unless one has a very well monetized blog (meaning making $1000 or more a month), or is sponsored, conferences are very difficult for a lot of bloggers to attend, especially those of us that are in the middle of nowhere. These conferences don’t seem to come to driving distances of our homes, and so the only option is to fly.

    Since tickets sell out long in advance, and hotel rooms also. One literally needs to decide a year in advance to attend. As a mom first, that’s not a decision to make that far in the future while dropping hundreds if not thousands of dollars to do it.

    So like Mimi, unless something pops up more local, MN, NE, IA etc, (I’m in SD), or a sponsor foots the bill, it’s not likely I’ll ever be at one.

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  10. Great post Jennifer, as always… but I have one question: Do you think it matters “which” conferences bloggers attend? I think some are better than others, and some are more suited to specific groups of bloggers as well. But I am not attending BlogHer this year, but I will be attending Blog World Expo this year. I think for various reasons we need to pick and choose which conferences we attend… any thoughts??

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  11. I agree with you 100% !

    I attended Bloggy Bootcamp in March of this year and I’m not able to attend BlogHer but, I’ll be attending Blogalicious in October and I can’t wait! I enjoy meeting people that I converse with online and when we meet face to face it’s like we already have a friendship established! I’ve made AWESOME connections for business purposes and the networking is phenomenal. I hope to attend BlogHer 2011. Have a GREAT time!

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  12. As a journalist, I have attended many blog conferences due to work; however, as a community member and fellow blogger I refuse to allow a “blog conference” define who I am as a young woman/as a blogger/and as a business professional. I personally believe that blog conferences hold important that are diverse in meaning as to their importance, each woman will define the importance of attending differently and akin will define what she obtained from such differently. Likewise, I think that many are putting too much emphasis on BlogHer and other summer to be conferences, losing who they are by letting a mere event define who they are.

    I have written my feelings into a much longer blog that I hope makes more sense in a larger perspective, if you would like to view that blog you can at

    Just my two cents, I would like to say that I am sorry if the above attempt at using HTML tags and attributes didn’t go through as intended; first time for everything… The direct link to the attempted post http://hollywoodglamorous.blogspot.com/2010/08/event-my-two-cents-in-regards-to.html if in fact I did something wrong in the coding. Thanks :)

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  13. I attended Camp Blogaway in May and it is the BEST thing I ever did for my blog! I do think that attending blog conferences are very important. You have to think outside of the box when it comes to attending. I won my registration fee (thanks to Mom Bloggers Club) and I obtained 2 sponsorships so my entire trip was paid for. I am not attending BlogHer 2010 however I am considering upcoming conferences for sure! Enjoy and come home ready to implement what you learn. It has been a very positive experience for me.

    Melissa
    Stockpiling Moms

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  14. Great post! I definitely think Blog conferences matter. I have yet to attend one, and I find that the things I struggle with when it comes to blogging are the things that are covered in most of these conferences. I have already learned so much from the women who attend these conferences online, so I am sure that meeting them in person would help me tremendously. I can’t wait to attend my first conference!

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  15. One of these years I do hope to attend at least one blogging conference, not for the sessions, but to meet the bloggers I’ve grown to know and love. Unfortunately, conference tickets and travel expenses are the only thing holding me back from getting there. While I appreciate Kimberly’s suggestion of seeking a sponsor, that’s a lot easier said than done.

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  16. I have never been to one, but think they must be fun. I don’t have the $$$ to attend and if I did, I don’t know if I would go. So far from all the post I have seen about it from those that go, I think I could get all the same info virtually. Yes it would be nice to meet some of the people I blog with, but my family and our grocery bill comes before all the expenses to get myself to NY! Personally I don’t know why no one bothers to do it virtually so everyone could attend. Isn’t it for us to better our blogs or just for the bloggers who have the $$$ or can sweet talk a sponsor to dish it out? I don’t have sponsors because my blog is small and family and Christian oriented. I don’t make any money doing my blog. I don’t understand why all of the bloggers who don’t have the cash are left out. Don’t we matter too?

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  17. Do I think blog conferences matter? Yes and no. I think there’s lots of great information out there and it’s often easiest to share person to person rather via email. There are certainly lots of ladies out there I’ve never met in person that have been extremely helpful to me in developing my blog and I’ve made some great contacts online. There are also other things to take into consideration. Cost is a big one. While it’s certainly possible I could get part of the $1000 via sponsorship for travel & lodging expenses, I’d still have quite a bit out of pocket. My blog isn’t bringing in the kind of money that will justify the expense at this point. Plus not only would I need to spend money to get there, I’d miss the income from my job since I’m an independent contractor and I don’t get paid vacation time. There are also personal considerations. My husband is disabled and leaving him alone for that amount of time would be stressful. If I lived close enough & could spend the day there & then return home at night, I might consider it but Vermont isn’t host to any blog conferences that I’m aware of and I doubt it will be soon so for now, I won’t be attending them. Part of me wishes I could and part of me is thankful I don’t have to deal with any more on my plate than I do right now.

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  18. Jennifer,
    Your post is so right — meeting brands is only the tip of the iceberg. Having the opportunity to chat face-to-face with fellow women bloggers (in my case, mommy bloggers in particular) are what I enjoy most about conferences. I’m not at Blogher this year, as August is our family’s traditional U.S. roadtrip. This year we are traveling by car around the U.S. for 4 weeks and writing about it on my blog. I look forward to attending some of the upcoming events in the fall and hope to have the chance to meet you and some of the others who’ve commented on this post. Hope everyone at Blogher has a productive weekend!

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  19. I too would love to attend a conference and escape the responsibilities of parenting for a weekend but its simply not possible.

    What I wonder is how so many mom’s make many conferences’ month after month and leave their children behind. I can barely go 9 hours without my children let alone a whole weekend. With the work my husband does it’s just not a option and we don’t have resources to bring them with and/or have someone sit with them.

    What type of harm does it do if one never attends a conference. DO they miss out on the good ops. I don’t think so. I think PR is fair enough for who they contact and sure some favor but I think a good part of it is how visible you are on line as well.

    If Blogher 11 is in Chicago next yr I’ll be there just for the experience and still make it home in time to tuck my children in with a kiss, hug and a bed time story, too.

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  20. Jennifer, bummed we didn’t get to meet in person I was looking out for you there but couldn’t find you, and since my portable device did not want to play with the wifi I couldn’t send out tweets! :-(

    Will you be attending Blogalicious?

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  21. I think you can’t answer this question unless you first can answer WHY you blog. If you blog for personal reasons and you can afford to go – you will probably learn some things – but check the speaker list and workshops to make sure you will gain the value of your investment.

    I have been to blogher.didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know that was learned from my 8+ plus years working for Internet companies, reading online, and teaching myself.

    The money could have been spent on my actual blog – creating a custom industry standard template, branding, and promotion to bring the right visitors to my blog to make my advertising ‘perform’ so advertisers would continue to invest in my blog.

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  22. I’ve never been to a blogging conference, since I live in Guatemala and it’s a long way to go to get to most places. However, next year’s BlogHer is in San Diego, so I’m seriously considering it. As a teen, I attended a lot of 3D animation conferences with my father and got a lot out of it. We would split the sessions, take notes and covered a lot of ground that way, sharing what we learned in each session. So, I wholeheartedly agree, it can be a great learning experience and the networking alone is worth the price in many cases . . . now to actually make that much from my blogs! :)

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  23. I attend writers conferences but so far, not bloggers conferences. I started giving presentations to writers about blogging and would like you to tell me how the Blogher,or other conference on blogging, would help me with my presentations. I’m here to learn, so please go ahead. Thanks for your help.

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