What’s up with all this buzz about blogging conferences?

mollyThis past week BDN blogger Molly Stevens attended the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, which is held once every two years. Although there are several hundred writing conferences offered around the country throughout the calendar year, Erma (as it is affectionately known) is one of the most prestigious and also infamously difficult to get into — tickets sell out in under an hour. This week on Maine on the Blogs we wanted to know more about Molly’s experience at Erma and to also learn more about all this buzz surrounding blogging conferences.

What is a blogging conference?

A blog conference is an organized event that brings together professional and novice bloggers to talk about issues ranging from writing techniques to marketing. They typically include high profile speakers, workshops, and opportunities to promote your own blog. Some of the larger conferences, like BlogHer, attract thousands of attendees and take place over two or three days. Smaller conferences can be local events run through an adult education course or library or even online, like Online Blog Con.

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Blog conferences can bring together publicists, literary agents, sponsors and bloggers in the same space. If you want to shop around a book based on your blog then a blog conference is one of the best places to do that. Any conference worth its salt will also include workshops to help bloggers improve their writing and editing skills, SEO, social media marketing and other topics.

How can a blog conference help my BDN blog?

One of the great aspects of being a blogger in the BDN Maine blog network is that the platform is incredibly easy to use and has a built-in support system to help bloggers focus on telling their stories instead of trying to figure out the mystery of SEO. That said, any BDN blogger can gain significant skills by attending and participating in a blog conference that highlights workshops geared toward improving writing skills or social media reach.

The best way to grow your audience is to create excellent content. Remember that famous baseball movie quote, “if you build it they will come?” This rings true with blogging as well. A well-organized conference can teach you how to create an effective editorial calendar, how to write to your strengths, and how to attract your ideal readership.

There are so many conferences to choose from, what should I look for?

Before you choose a blog conference it is important to ask yourself a few questions.

  • Am I looking to network with other bloggers in my genre?
  • Am I looking to improve a specific skill set?
  • Am I looking to make contact with industry leaders in my field of interest?
  • Am I looking to broadcast my blog and grow my audience?
  • Am I lacking in social media skills?

You can learn a lot of practical information at a blog conference, but it can also be a skill-building item for your resume. Seek out a conference that will help you meet your blogging goals and also help improve your professional qualifications as well.

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Blogging conferences are so expensive, are there cheaper options right here in Maine?

There are no known well-organized blog conferences in Maine right now, but local libraries and adult education courses do offer occasional workshops on blogging basics.

Blog conferences are a fantastic experience for folks to meet in person, swap tips and contacts, and to learn in-depth blogging skills that will serve you well for years to come. It is worth the investment to seek out a conference that meets your needs and allows you to expand your blogging potential.

We are grateful to Molly Stevens for sharing her trip to Erma with us. To find out more about her experience including details on some celebrity bloggers she rubbed elbows with, and how she got placed in the final round of the popular Erma Bombeck Writing Contest, and the amazing workshops she attended just click here.

If you have a blog idea then please don’t be shy! We want to hear about it. You can contact us on our pitch page here. If you don’t know how to pitch then don’t worry, we have you covered with this blog post that gives you some great tips. And if you have any questions feel free to swing by our Facebook page, Twitter page, or leave us a question or comment below.

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Scary Mommy, Disney’s Babble, and Momtastic. Sarah runs a popular Facebook page, @Housewifeplus where readers laugh and share stories from the parenting trenches. She is a co-author in several books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine and National Public Radio.