When I first began The Cubicle Chick two years ago, I had no idea that there were so many conferences out there pertaining to blogging and social media. It wasn’t until I attended my first conference in the summer of 2010 that I saw the diverse list of conferences offered to us each year. With so much being offered, how does one narrow down the conferences that would most benefit them? It’s a very difficult thing to do.
I am a glorified conference junkie and I am proud to say it. But don’t let this post fool you—I cannot in any way attend all the conferences that I want to go to. Even with a sponsor helping defray some of the costs, it can still be quite taxing and time consuming to attend conferences. Add that I have a family at home that also have schedules and events they attend as well, so it’s quite a balancing act. I generally go to conferences that have a track record for being exceptional events (meaning the word on the street about them is good), and ones that I can learn information from and network with others. Cost and location are also factors as well. For instance BlogHer and BlogWorld are both in NYC this year. And even though I love The Big Apple, I don’t want to go there twice in a span of a few months. So I have to choose the best one for me and my needs.
So after a lot of thought and careful planning, these are the conferences I am planning to attend this year:
- Propel! (Atlanta, March 10th)
- Bloggy Boot Camp, (St. Louis, April 21st)
- Type-A Parent (Charlotte, June 22-24th)
- Blogging While Brown (Philadelphia, June 1-2)
- BlogHer (New York City, August 1-2)
- Show Me the Blog (St. Louis, October 19-20th)*
A lot can change as I perhaps garner sponsorship and travel opportunities, so this list may not be final. But for now, these conferences are listed in my calendar and I have already purchased my tickets for a few of them.
How can you select what conferences you should attend this year?
- Money is always a factor as not everyone can garner a paid sponsorship to every conference event they would like to attend. I view attending a conference and paying for my ticket as an investment in my business. I also write it off as a business expense on my taxes (as well as all of my travel fees).
- Content is critical too. Before I buy a ticket to a conference, I look for the content it will offer. The sessions, the speakers, the diversity. I want to feel that I will get something out of the event, no just go to be going.
- Location is also key for me. I love attending conferences in a city I haven’t spent a lot of time in so I can also use it as a vacation.
- Reputation for conferences goes a long way. For me, if others are singing its praises, then it’s something I want to attend for myself.
- Beware of free conferences. I fell into a trap of that last year during a conference. The ticket was free so I thought, why not? But once I arrived and went to the sessions, it wasn’t a well run conference. Some of the speakers advertised on the website and program weren’t even there. So free isn’t always good. Do your homework.
What conferences are you planning to attend this year? And what conference should I attend that is not on this list?