I spent last weekend at the 2:1 Conference in Herndon, Virginia, and it was a new, enriching experience for me. Even though I just celebrated my 3rd blogiversary, this was my first blogging conference. I’ve attended lots of Montessori conferences and homeschool conferences, and I’ve now discovered the benefits of attending a blogging conference, too.
Although I was honored to be a keynote speaker at the 2:1 Conference, I was a typical conference attendee for the most part. Here’s a recap of my 2:1 Conference weekend and my top 5 reasons to attend a blogging conference.
1. You’ll meet many like-minded individuals.
At any blogging conference, you’ll obviously meet lots of bloggers. Still, each conference has its own emphasis. If you work to find the conference that will be the closest match to your interests and personality, you’ll probably have the best experience.
The 2:1 Conference is a social media conference for Christian homeschooling bloggers. I LOVE social media, I’m a Christian, I homeschooled my kids through high school, and I’m a blogger. So the 2:1 Conference is a perfect fit. Even better, it’s one of the smaller blogging conferences. That makes it perfect for introverts … which many bloggers are anyway.
2. Your online blogging friends can become in-real-life friends.
It was exciting to finally meet organizers Cheryl Pitt from Somewhat Crunchy and Stef Layton from Educating Laytons, who I’ve loved knowing online since my first year blogging. And I met other longtime online blogging friends like Rebecca from Mom’s Mustard Seeds. At the conference, there were many wonderful bloggers I’d met online, and it was awesome to meet them in person. I especially like the 2:1 Conference’s emphasis on friends and sisters, not competitors.
Leann and I had a brief time between sessions to get together with fellow Kid Blogger Network members Kristen from Busy Kids = Happy Mom and Melissa from Mama Miss. It’s so much fun meeting blogging friends in real life! 🙂
3. You’ll be inspired and encouraged.
At the 2:1 Conference, you’ll find Christian inspiration and homeschooling inspiration and encouragement along with blogging inspiration. But whatever blogging conference you attend, you’ll almost certainly find some inspiration to return home and improve your blog.
Official conference photos by Jamie Worley from See Jamie Blog.
4. You’ll gain ideas and make connections to improve your blog and blogging skills.
I attended at least one homeschooling conference every year until my daughter (my youngest) graduated from high school. Even though I was very comfortable with what we were doing in our homeschooling by the final years, I always followed the principle that I could learn at least one new thing at a conference. And I always came back with something new.
It’s the same with blogging. No matter how advanced you are in your blogging skills, there’s always something you can learn. Even in areas of your expertise, you can probably gain some reminders to update your blog or spend more time in a certain area.
Pinterest is a special love of mine, and I’ve devoted many hours to creating unit study boards for homeschoolers and other educators. But attending a Pinterest session with Tabitha Philen from Meet Penny reminded me of the Pinterest areas I need to update and improve. Since returning home, I’m working a bit each day on re-organizing my Pinterest page.
If you’re interested in monetizing your blog, a blogging conference is perfect. You’ll typically find helpful sessions on monetization (there were some at this conference), and you can even connect with potential sponsors and companies you can be an affiliate for. I always enjoy the exhibit hall at conferences, and it’s nice to connect businesses with friendly faces.
5. You’ll have a mini-vacation designed to fit your interests.
A blogging conference in itself is a mini vacation. I love gaining knowledge in areas of my interest, so I feel like I’ve had a vacation simply by attending the conference. But I like to do more than that if possible.
My family always liked to make the most of any time away from home. When my kids were competitive skaters, we turned competitions into mini vacations whenever we could. (See “Let Gratitude Carry You through the Competition Season.”) We especially focused on finding ways to add tours and fun adventures to international competitions. We didn’t want to only see the hotel and the rink. Those vacations were some of the most memorable parts of our homeschooling. (See “Top 5 Homeschool Lessons My Children Taught Me.”)
So, I wanted to add a bit extra to the 2:1 Conference, too. I brought my husband, Terry, with me so that he could have a mini vacation as well. Terry and I arrived a day early and stayed a day late. Although we didn’t have a chance to leave the hotel the day we arrived, we did get to have a leisurely day.
After the conference, we had planned to do a bus tour of Washington, D.C. It ended up being a bit more complicated than we really had time for since we didn’t rent a car and were outside the city. So, we took a taxi to Reston Town Center and had a lovely time walking around the area, eating at a nice restaurant, and enjoying the beautiful day outdoors. If our kids would have been younger and with us, we probably would have found a way to add extra days to create a Washington, D.C., homeschooling adventure. What we ended up with was perfect for my husband and me.
If you decide to attend a blogging conference, I hope your experience is as wonderful as mine was! 🙂
If you’re thinking of attending the 2:1 Conference next year, be sure to check out this video:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAuI-HZ16sI[/youtube]
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