I started blogging back in 2003 (on Blogger) and on this blog in 2004. But it was only recently that I realized a whole world of blogging conferences had sprung up, promising to help bloggers up their game, find sponsors, and more.
I’ve learned about these conferences almost exclusively on Twitter, where I see hashtags for #blogher, #bwe10, or #trvlblog10. And it always seems that I learn about the conferences only when they are happening, not prior to. So, I never have a chance to attend.
I know I can’t be the only one in the dark about the myriad blogger meet-ups. So, I thought I’d profile a few here. Check the conferences’ websites for more information on hashtags, because Twitter will most definitely be the place you’ll find the most up-to-date news on them. And, by all means, if you know of others that I have not listed, add them in a comment below!
Blog World Expo – This is a general bloggers conference and touts itself as the “first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event for all new media.” Blog World Expo has different tracks for different blog topics, such as travel and food. While I am serious about blogging, I have to admit I am a bit intimidated by Blog World’s scope – visit their website and check out all the big name sponsors and pictures of the masses of people! In 2010, Blog World is meeting in Las Vegas from October 14-16. Follow them on Twitter @blogworld or #bwe10.
BlogHer – BlogHer also offers a general-track blogging conference for all the people – almost exclusively women – who are affiliated with BlogHer, a vast blogging network. It seems like everyone and her mother is a member of BlogHer – except for me, as I can never figure out how to get affiliated with and/or invited to BlogHer’s network. Nevertheless, BlogHer has proven to be an effective and exciting yearly event, judging from the Twitter love that it gets. In fact, the #blogher hashtag was one of the first ones I ever noticed for a live-tweeting event. BlogHer ’11 will be in San Diego August 5-6, 2011. There’s also a separate BlogHer Food Conference happening October 8-9, 2010, in San Francisco. (Food bloggers: read on, as I’ve listed a couple more food blogging conferences near the end of this post.) Follow @blogher on Twitter.
Travel Blog Exchange Conference – Ah, TBEX. This travel bloggers conference is dear to my heart because I actually attended the 2010 edition of TBEX in New York City. TBEX ’11 is taking place in Vancouver from June 11-12, 2011, and it’s sure to be as fun and informative as this year’s. I’m sure it will also be more packed. There also appear to be break-out chapters popping up in places like NYC and Copenhagen. For more TBEX info, follow @tbex11 or the #tbex.
Travel Bloggers Show – I just missed the Travel Bloggers Show, taking place in Orlando from September 11-14, 2010, in conjunction with the The Trade Show. While TBEX seemed more casual, the Travel Bloggers Show appears to be a more serious, industry-minded affair, with more travel industry and PR participants than travel bloggers. At any rate, their panels look much the same as TBEX – “writing a niche blog,” “working with PR,” etc. I’m unsure when the next Travel Bloggers Show will take place, but you can follow them on Twitter for details: @trvlbloggershow.
Book Passage Travel, Food, and Photography Conference – To be fair, this is more of a conference for old (print) media than it is for bloggers. But I saw a lot of traffic on Twitter coming from it when it was going on this past August in California, so I wanted to include it. Of course, many of the people who attend the Book Passage conference are bloggers – that’s just the way the industry is heading – but this is the event to go to if you’re serious about your content and not just about monetization and the like. Who knows? The things you could learn here could help catapult you to writing for other online outlets. More about Book Passage @bookpassage.
If I’m going to mention Book Passage, I should also mention ASJA and SATW. The American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Society of American Travel Writers both have writing conferences worth inquiring about. And, they are also on Twitter: @asjahq and @satw. You must be a dues-paying member of these organizations to attend their conferences. (Disclosure: I am a member of ASJA and a former member of SATW. I let my SATW membership lapse and it’s too much of a pain to try to reclaim it unfortunately.)
International Food Blogger Conference – The IFBC conference for 2010 just ended a few weeks ago in Seattle, and it looks like it was a fine, sophisticated time. Presented by the website Foodista.com, there were panels on recipe writing as well as making food posts SEO-able. One nice thing that the conference website did was set up a blogroll of all the IFBC attendees – a nice incentive to attend, no? As this conference just ended, I haven’t seen when the 2011 event will happen. But check the website or follow them on Twitter @ifbc or #ifbc.
FoodBuzz – FoodBuzz is a network much like BlogHer (see above) in that it has created a huge network through the use of affiliate badges and link love. And, also like BlogHer, all the people involved in FoodBuzz want a place where they can gather in real life to share tips on food, blogging, and social media integration. FoodBuzz’s 2010 conference, the FoodBuzz Festival, is taking place in San Francisco November 5-7, 2010. And I bet it will be both fun and tasty. Follow FoodBuzz on Twitter @foodbuzz or #foodbuzz.