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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.

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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.

If you happen to live in Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona, you’re in luck — WordPress.com is organizing a new conference series by bloggers for bloggers, and those are the first two cities we’ll visit! Learn more about Press Publish.

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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