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Blogging 201: Make the Most of Events

Today’s task: create a recurring blogging event on your site, and/or make plans to attend a conference.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

When it comes to building a strong, engaged community around your blog, nothing can replace steadily publishing and reading and commenting on others’ blogs — but that doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself (and your blog) target new audiences through blogging events, both virtual and in real-life.

Today’s assignment: create a recurring blogging event on your site, and/or make plans to attend a blogging conference.

Why do this?

  • Because hosting a blogging event attracts visitors beyond your immediate network of blogger friends.
  • Because running an event or participating in a blogging conference helps raise your profile in the community and grow your audience.
  • Because interacting with more bloggers and learning from others’ experiences will inspire more of your own great posts — and keeps your finger on the pulse of what readers care about.

It feels great to have a group of blogging buddies who get you, whose stuff you know is going to be fun to read, and whose insight and feedback you respect. Branching out can be just as fun, and is necessary to your blog’s growth.

Some bloggers also host lower-key events like blog hops or link-ups, where readers are simply invited to submit links to posts so all participants can hop from blog to blog, reading — kind of like The Commons!

Have you ever participated in a blogging event? These are community-based challenges that invite bloggers to post around a common theme at the same time — most are weekly, though their frequency varies. Many focus on a particular topic or niche, like photography or fiction; others are more general blogging-oriented. They bring together bloggers that don’t necessarily mingle on a daily basis, and lead to lively discussions and new friendships.

(Before joining WordPress.com, one of our colleagues — Sara, of The Daily Post photo challenge fame — co-founded World Nutella Day for Nutella lovers to share their favorite recipes. It now has its own website, a Twitter handle and Flickr poolover 45,000 Facebook fans, and frequently used hashtags on Twitter and Pinterest.)

Today, we invite you to start a new event of your own. Think about its main parameters: would you want to have a specific thematic focus? When and how frequently would you hold it? Would you structure it as a challenge, a contest, or a free-for-all? You should tailor your event to your blog’s strengths (and to your schedule): the idea is not only to attract more visitors, but also to engage them in a meaningful, fun way that also benefits their blogs.

From basic logistics to tips on publicizing your event, we’ve prepared a complete guide to help you host the perfect event (onion dip: optional). Once you’re ready to launch, don’t forget to submit your event to be added to our listings.

If the time commitment to run an event sounds too daunting, or you want to expand beyond the virtual realm, try a blogging conference.

A quick Google of “blog conference” turns up hundreds of options around the world, and some bloggers have helpfully curated lists of the best, for food, travel, fashion, and more. There are also conferences like Bloggy Boot Camp that move from city to city.

From beer to parenting, conferences have been bringing together like-minded bloggers from across cities, regions, and even continents. They’re a great place to listen to blogging pros share their wisdom, meet others interested in the same topics as you, and exchange tips straight from the blogging trenches.

If you hear “conference” and immediately think of a splashy, pricy event a long flight away, think again. You can look up a blogging meetup in your local community, or attend a WordCamp nearby. If there just aren’t any relevant conferences that meet your needs, no worries: just gather a few other bloggers from your community for a session of co-blogging at a local coffee shop (or your living room). You don’t need a fancy name tag to make friends, brainstorm, and find inspiration in others’ ideas.

The idea of coming out from behind the computer and meeting a bunch of other bloggers in real life is daunting, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you get the most of of conferences and meetups without also getting overwhelmed.

Want feedback on your event idea? Share in The Commons.

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  1. I go to blogging conferences and meet ups at least twice a year. In the gardening world, there are lots of opportunities to share ideas and visit gardens to blog about. The garden blogging fling is held annually in a different part of the country and gets me out from behind a computer. Also, you can meet your twitter friends in person and make new ones.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Really cool idea! We will have to brainstorm over some coffee this morning to come up with some ideas. Our blog is centered on our faith, marriage, and that we are currently living abroad in Taiwan. So we will need to decide on which theme to focus on. Unless we find some more Jesus loving, traveling married couples to join an event we host! There’s got to be at least a few!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How do you document that you attended a blogging conference? just blog about it? I go on blogging “dates.” Would that be the same thing? there is a meet-up online of everyone across country but we get together sometimes singularly, sometimes in small groups, to blog, to write, and then check in with the online person…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. At first, online. I just write a lot and keep in contact via Facebook, and I came across this little group that mushroomed. Then I just happen to have a few friends who are published authors…I met them through church…and it goes from there.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I love your blog, it has helped me make lots of progress to my site, and gain some nice clientele. I was just informed that my URL Kidmunicate is trademarked and I have to switch names. I’m scared of losing my content….could you direct me? Thanks and keep posting!!!

    Like

  5. Highly recommend WordCamp. Went to the one in Chicago last summer and learned so much (beginner track for me). Still a lot more to learn.

    Off topic here – any one else get Theme Envy? I want to “try on” practically every new theme that comes along. Worse than shopping at the mall;) at the moment, I’m loving Hive.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Have I ever told you how much I LOVE when you write “Why do this?” after new ideas that you present? Well, I really have come to expect it now and have incorporated it into my own life. I will leave a note for my kids to empty the dishwasher and walk the dog. And then below I will write, “Why do this?” And that’s where I outline the benefits to them which has been a real eye-opener. Thank you Michelle for this subtle way of communicating!

    Liked by 8 people

  7. I am attending SITC (Catalonia International Tourism Show) Barcelona Tourism Fair in April next year. So I will definitely have posts and photos on that, as well as Barcelona posts, apt in Barcelona posts, food/wine photos etc…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the idea of it.. But I need a few like minded people.. Is there anyone who can join me for a conference? Do visit my blog to know about me and what kind of things I post. Then we all can come together and do a conference. 🙂
    Hope I’ll get a few like minded bloggers.

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  9. Nice to learn about such a broad organized system by which you can meet face to face with bloggers in your own community. Might see about attending an event this weekend. Oogh!, all this and still thinking of participating in NaBloPoMo coming up in a few days.

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  10. I have a couple of recurring events on my blog which I love doing and have a couple of people who also take part. Originally I stipulated that they were weekly and this was fine for a while. However, as always, life got in the way and I missed a couple of weeks and started getting the “blog guilts” I therefore decided not to to be so strict on the schedule and this helped a lot. My advice is to think in advance if you can stick to a very set schedule or just have it there ready to call on when you can. Hope this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Shari, look at Fiesta Friday. It’s a great way to continue meeting foodies. All you have to do is click on the join button and then put the URL of your recipe in the appropriate space. Choose the automatic picture that shows up and press done. go to Thenovicegardner.com and if you have any questions, let them know, or you can contact me too. I also do Thankful Thursday and that is an easy one too. Great was to figure out how these work.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful idea, but as far as I’m aware, blog meet ups are few and far between in Scotland – unless you count things to do with NTS, but they are equally sporadic. Otherwise, the next place is likely to be London, but that’s more of a presumption than actual fact. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to read other people’s experience of meet ups 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As for an event, I’m currently doing a third series on my site called ‘Autumn: You’re Mine’ (in between show reviews and work plugging), which is essentially a furthering of ‘Summer To-Do List’. Feel free to stop by and let me know what your to-do list consists of – my list is a long way off from stopping.

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  12. I participated in the Two Cents Tuesday Event. This sounded like a fun and easy one to incorporate into my blog.

    I also found a Houston WordPress Meetup group that I joined. So excited to attend one of those meetings! it never even occurred to me to look for one.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am loving Blogging 201 so far and am learning a lot, but I have to say, this one intimidates me! I struggle with the technological part of being a food blogger. I am all about creating new recipes, taking pictures of food, ranting and raving about a new dish, but the technological part of it is like pulling teeth. And it is the technological part of this challenge that really scares me!
    http://cookazido.wordpress.com

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      1. Hi Julie, I read your comment above and really appreciate the suggestions! That’s what I was thinking, too, that I need to join someone else’s event before doing my own to get more comfortable with it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Food blogging conferences are great because they typically have sessions on photography, writing, recipe development, etc, along with more technical stuff. A few to check out, in case they’re being help near your: BlogHer Food, FoodBuzz, International Food Bloggers Conference, Big Summer Potluck.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate the information you gave me, Michelle. I would like to attend a conference. I had always wondered if you had to be invited to go to one. It sounds like that isn’t the case. I will check those out and see if any are near me. This really is a wonderful class. Thanks for all of your input!

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  14. I participated in a theme based recurring event during blogging 101 last year that I still participate in. I’ve met the most wonderful people. I am contemplating replacing this post with a weekly round-up based on baking dough. I am a foodie and need to concentrate on expanding this brand. I need a catchy title such as “We all knead a little extra dough”? Any other ideas? Or “Kneading this weeks’ dough? Too long a title? Any creative alternatives? Thanks folks!

    http://HostessAtHeart.com

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  15. I have submitted an idea for an event called Kick Back Thursday…I’m still waiting on approval for this. The basic premis of this is, as a lot of people consider Thursday the new Friday, I thought it would be a fun idea to have people write about what weird and wonderful things they do with their downtime. Or even the run of the mill things people do to unwind.

    A little more about this event can be found here

    http://pdxmag.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/kick-back-thursday/

    Like