I’ve attended my very first blog conference, The Blog Workshop Online Conference, this past weekend. I was at home, enjoying the rare and beautiful sunny weather in Chicago with my family during the day and attending the conference in the evening from my laptop. I attended the conference in my office, in the living room and even in the backyard, wherever I pleased.
Besides the logistical comfort of attending a conference via Internet (which I am used to because I work from my home office everyday), I would like to boast about the structure and the content of the conference.
- Attendees were provided workshop workbooks in advance, with the summary of the presented material and spaces where we could take notes. This workbook came in so handy, because you can only take so much notes (especially while interacting with the rest of the attendees, which I’ll explain in the following bullets) or copy the presentation. The workbook was formatted in a way that you didn’t need to copy the slides and could write down exactly what you needed.
- I’ve been blogging for years and I know a bit about the business side of blogging. However, this is not our mom’s blog business anymore. It’s an establishing industry. There are not only special business considerations only for blogging business but there are also rules and regulations (such as FCC’s disclosure and use of media) you have be on top of in order to avoid any legal issues. The conference covered all areas with great speakers, who shared very valuable information and expertise: Basics of Blogging, Legal, Finances, Branding, Monetizing, Sponsorships, Advertising/Marketing, SEO. I’ve learned so many things that I didn’t even know. There were many other experienced bloggers. From the messages, everyone seemed to be learning something valuable.
- Even though one might argue that the attendees would miss the opportunity of networking at an online conference vs. an on-site conference, it was quite the opposite. During the conference (3 hours x 3 days), there was a live discussion/messaging board for everyone (attendees, speakers and the admin) to write messages, opinions and questions. I’ve learned from the messages of other attendees and their experience as much as I’ve learned from the speakers. Lots of tips and tricks and insider information. I met and connected with many other bloggers, that I follow now.
- Presentations were very informative. Q&A sessions were even better. What I liked about this conference and I think both TBWC13 and presenters did a great job, is that the presentation portions were rather concise, informative but short enough that there was ample time to address any left over questions. Everyone asked many questions that I have not even thought of. Most of them were addressed.
- Presenters and sponsors are experts in their pertaining fields are people/businesses that I might consider to work with in the future. So the conference itself was a great reference for these experts, if I start thinking about ads and marketing and sponsorship.
- To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from a conference therefore I wasn’t expecting that much but TBWC13 has set the bar high now. What I got out of this conference is a list of action list that I need to spare time to work on, in order to take my blog / blogging to the next level.
- There were great giveaways, none of which I won. 🙁
There were some areas, which I think can be improved next year.
- In some Q&A sessions, some presenters had lag so their voices were overlapping. It was very confusing. This might be caused by their connection or my connection. I don’t know.
- I enjoyed the chat like discussion board with other attendees, however, sometimes the Questions asked by attendees would get lost in between those chat messages. There might be another box to submit questions only or we can tag questions with #QUESTION so that they wouldn’t get lost.
- There was a “Pre-party” via Google Hangout a day before the conference, in which only 10 people could attend. There might be an “after-party” on a platform that supports more than 10 people. During the conference, we had a momentum of networking. An “after-party” might benefit the attendees more in terms of mingling and discussing what we’ve learned during the conference.
Overall, I am really glad I attended The Blog Workshop Online Conference. It was well worth the money. Now I need to go back and apply what I’ve learned.