This weekend I went to my first blogging conference. I went the the SITS Girls Bloggy Boot Camp (BBC). I had a few expectations for this conference and I wanted to share with you how the conference was in terms of my expectations and reality.
Expectation #1 - There would be speakers from successful bloggers sharing their stories.
Reality - Yes, there were some amazing speakers at this conference including: Laurie Turk (Tip Junkie), SITS Founders Tiffany Romero and Francesca Banducci, Trina Finto (Gaming Angels), Stefanie Mullen (Ooph) and Elizabeth Jayne Liu (Flourish in Progress ) to name a few. First, let me say these women are all different, yet similar in that not only have blogs, but have used their blogs to promote, educate, and support their readers. They not only shared their stories, but they showed you real techniques and tools on how to be successful. They talked about defining yourself and how to treat your blog like a business.
Expectation #2 - I might be a little overwhelmed at such a large conference.
Reality - BBC limits the number of tickets they sell so you are not lost in the crowd. By limiting the attendees it is so much easier to meet fellow bloggers. One of the workshops I went to was in a smaller conference room and was very effective in establishing an informal setting. Plus, they keep you moving so you are meeting new bloggers throughout the day.
Expectation #3 - I might feel insecure with so many successful, established bloggers.
Reality - These bloggers were so down to earth. Many of them talked about how their blog changed from when they started and shared things that worked and things that did not work. They were so incredibly approachable and genuine. Instead of making you feel insecure, they made you feel inspired and empowered. Seriously, the support from the speakers and other bloggers is like that of the blogging community, but better because it is in real life.
Expectation #4 - I would learn some things to help me with my blog.
Reality - This was an understatement. My head is still reeling from the incredible tips and suggestions that the speakers shared including blogging, social media, technology, branding, sponsorship, engagement, design, navigation, cross-platforms, advertising, video blogging, etc.... The speakers discussed all of these and more. There is something for every blogger to learn.
Expectation #5 - I would meet other bloggers.
Reality - I not only met other bloggers. We shared stories and experiences, we laughed and even cried. While I did not meet everyone there, I did make a genuine connection with many. It was an amazing experience to connect with women (and a some men) of all ages all brought together with a common goal. The bloggers I met were already connecting after the conference at the airport and on our drive home (no I was not the driver). I also got to meet some of my favorite bloggers I have been following in real life!
So, yes, the conference not only met, but greatly exceeded my explanations. If you are thinking about attending BBC, I would highly recommend it. They really provided much more than the $99 fee that they charge, but don't tell them I said that. You will not be disappointed.
Have you been to a blog conference before? How was your experience?