Today we welcome Dollie Freeman, founder of the Focused Blogging Conference to share how networking can often be one of the biggest overlooked benefits of attending a blogging conference.
Blogging conferences are an investment that any business-minded blogger should be investing in for the growth of their online business. Often times, conference attendees solely focus on the learning benefits of the conference, without taking the consideration of how important networking is to their blog’s growth. I want to highlight how networking is the overlooked benefit of blogging conferences and what you can do to increase your rate on investment through networking.
Networking: The Overlooked Benefits of Blogging Conferences
Investing in a blogging conference is always a good thing to continue growing a blog and the learning that comes from the sessions speakers are always filled with nuggets to improve your current efforts. However, there are always so many more opportunities for growth through networking at blogging conferences that I would love to highlight the ways you can benefit from making this a focus for your future conferences.
Networking Opportunity One: Social Media
Prior to attending the conference, be sure to get connected on all the social media platforms available through the conference. They may offer an attendee only group on Facebook to connect with the other attendees, conference team, speakers and often times the sponsors. If the conference is offering any Facebook parties be sure to participate and start the learning and networking prior to attending.
Twitter is another social media platform that conferences utilize to grow community prior to their event, as well as during and after. Follow the Twitter handle for the conference and also the hashtag. Join in on the conversations and start using the hashtag prior to attending the conference. Mark your calendar for any Twitter parties the conference could be offering, as it is a great opportunity to follow other attendees and become a part of the growing community.
Dont’ forget Instagram!
Instagram is a really fun way to connect with others attending the conference and get a feel for those that really resonate with you, building what could be amazing relationship for years to come. Follow the conference and begin using their hashtag!
Networking Opportunity Two: Arrive Early on the First Day of Conference
Organize a lunch or relaxed meeting with those who have arrived early and start to get to know each other FACE to FACE. Don’t just meet up with your establish friends! This is one of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers making all.the.time.
Make the most of every opportunity to connect with other attendees. Exchange business cards, take selfies together and share them with the conference hashtags, follow each other on your favorite social media platforms.
Take some time to share your elevator pitches to each other, so you can identify those within your niches, and than put a * on their business card if you want to network further for a future project together.
Networking Opportunity Three: Always Eat With New People
Networking can be difficult for most people, especially those who aren’t comfortable in new environments or a conference setting. Sharing a meal together makes it so much easier!
Conversations around a meal can feel less threatening and open up more potential when you have a table of people to enjoy a conversation with and get to know in a relaxed setting.
Nothing is easier than just simply asking, “Tell me about your blog” or “Where have you seen the most growth in your blogging journey?”
Networking Opportunity Four: Accept Invitations That Are Offered
One of my favorite networking parts of a blogging conference is the impromptu meet-ups, whether they are for brain-storming, grabbing a bit to eat, enjoying an evening in a room to laugh and eat chocolate or just working on a project.
It is important to be watching the Twitter hashtag, or the Facebook group for things that are put together last minute. These are golden opportunities and worth taking advantage of because often times they are inspired by something that is taught at the conference and people are ready to network with others who share their vision or within their own niche.
Pack your own chocolate and open up your room for a late night debriefing of the day, where you all share your top 3-5 things you loved best about the learning for the day. Then put a plan together and see if others share your idea… you may just get a business partner for an idea!
Networking Opportunity Five: Don’t Assume Another Blogger Is Too Big to Get to Work With
Some of the most successful bloggers are the easiest to approach and network with, but you need to get past the star-struck ideas. They started their blogs with no traffic, no followers and no knowledge, so they know how important it is to network.
I approached many of the most successful bloggers I have met through blogging conferences to work on several projects and each time I was thrilled to see they were completely excited about the opportunity to work with me, and never asked my blog size before jumping in on the project.
Networking Opportunity Six: Niche Networking Is Powerful
Learning about the bloggers who are attending the conference that are writing within your same niche can be a powerful way to network together. Have a few project ideas in mind to share with those you are meeting during the conference and see if they are interested to join you or have additional ideas to share how to make it even better.
Embracing those that share your influence online will strengthen your message and grow your platform because you are focused on meeting the need of your readers, not competing with a fellow blogger.
Networking Opportunity Seven: Follow Up After the Conference
Once all the knowledge of a conference sinks into your brain, and you have had time to sleep, digest the information and make a plan of how to implement the key take-aways from the conference, you will want to be sure to follow up with those bloggers that you met that stuck out to you.
You may want to invite them to a private Facebook group to discuss a project, start a mastermind group or have an accountability group where you work on the key things you really want to do to grow your blog.