Not only are bloggers interesting people, they also are super creative, innovative and willing to share their knowledge. I didn’t completely know this to be true until I recently attended Social Media on the Sand 2018 at Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort & Spa. During my four days, I met bloggers from across the country with all kinds of interests and experiences in the digital world. Whether you just launched a blog or consider yourself a veteran, going to a conference pays off in all kinds of ways beyond the obvious.
Here are the top 10 reasons to go to a any conference (but particularly a blogger conference)
1. To learn how to make more money
Bloggers are making money in all kinds of ways – through affiliate links like CJ Affiliate(formerly Commission Junction), through sponsored posts, as influencers on Instagram and even by selling products live on Facebook (creating their own QVC like channels).
In a serendipitous kind of way, I ended up having diner with Danielle Faust of OK Dani. She shared all kinds of tips on how she is making a living with her lifestyle blog and her social strategy. Thanks Dani! In addition, YouTube expert Diane Hughes of BeingMommyWithStyle shared some video tips that should also prove useful
2. To re-energize and recommit
To build a following on any platform takes work. During the conference several bloggers and Instagram influencers mentioned to me they had slowed their pace when they got caught up in other life priorities. After being around people who are going strong with their online ventures, they recommitted to start back again
3. To hear from fabulous speakers who have built empires
Some of the conference speakers included Alli Webb, founder of Drybar; Holly Robinson Peete, actress, author and philanthropist, and Rebecca Minkoff, founder of her own brand of handbags and fashions. All three of these women understand branding, marketing, how to use social media and work with bloggers. All three continue to grow their brands and Alli and Rebecca both have launched podcasts. Hearing them helped me realize that even established brands work hard to stay relevant and continue to innovate.
4. To get away to a fabulous resort.
There is something absolutely amazing about being at an all-inclusive resort in a beautiful location. Most conferences are in ideal locations but this one was especially well located. While only a 90 minute flight from my hometown of Fort Lauderdale, being at Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos felt like paradise — gorgeous sand, warm ocean water, pools galore, pina coladas coming my way around the clock. Oh and did I mention the large choice of restaurants. I kept finding myself in café sipping a Beaches Carmel Latte and the baristas could not have been more friendly or accommodating. Some of the attendees pampered themselves at Red Lane Spa on the property. I didn’t have time this trip, but those who did raved about their treatments.
5. To see creativity in action.
There are bloggers and then there are entrepreneurs who are taking their talents and extending their brands in inventive ways. In one of the sessions, BSM Media founder Maria Bailey led a discussion with Camille Beckstrand of SixSistersStuff.com. Camille told the audience she not only has a website, active Pinterest account, and newsletters, she has added to that with cookbooks, merchandise and a newly launched magazine.
6. To get cool swag.
I have been to conferences that hand out swag bags, but this conference took swag to a new level. Attendees received empty bags and were able to sweep through a bungalow and fill them with goodies such as a beautiful, high quality Land’s End towel, a Hapari Hydro Flask, a Polaroid Instamatic Camera, and Yummie undergarments. Great brands and great products!
7. To connect with brands.
As I mentioned, representatives from a variety of brands attended. The conference proved an opportunity to hear in person what these brands look for in their online partners. Each differs in the way they work with influencers, micro influencers and bloggers, and it’s worth asking questions to craft partnerships that benefit both parties.
8. To build your network.
Over the four days, I met some talented, friendly and creative lifestyle, travel, wellness and mommy bloggers. I definitely will stay in touch with many of them. Everyone at the conference eagerly shared ideas, suggestions and advice for others who are trying to build a business in the digital space. Now that’s what supporting each other is all about!
9. To reclaim me time and invest in yourself.
We are all SO busy, but once in a while it is worth investing in yourself. It makes a difference in your outlook when you take a step away from the daily grind and put yourself in an environment that is invigorating. If you ever hesitate about going to a conference, “Just Do It!”
10. To learn what’s ahead.
This may actually be the TOP reason to go to a conference. Facebook Industry Manager, Michelle Vincent, presented a fascinating look at what’s ahead for her company with platform messaging and Facebook Watch. These are innovations anyone in the digital space should know. In addition, Kristin Castillo, VP of Strategy at Trendera, gave us insights into what to expect from the newest generation, Generation Z (born 1995-2009). To succeed in business and life, we all need to stay up on the characteristics, buying habits and attitudes of the next generation, which differ greatly from those of the millennials.
Bottom line: Seek out conferences that will put you in the company of inspiring people in your field and help you build your network. You won’t regret it!