Find a Blogging Conference in Your Area

This week I received an excellent question from a reader asking how to find out about blogging conferences in her area. Attending a blogging conference or a local blog meetup or tweetup is a great way to meet others who share your interests (blogging and social media), network, and learn new skills. Here are several resources I’ve found that list blog conferences in 2010:

Still can’t find something in your area? If you haven’t already, try engaging with other bloggers in your area. You might try finding a hyperlocal blogger (someone who is blogging specifically about your city or area only) in particular and ask them if they’ve heard of any local get-togethers. If no one has taken this on yet, do it yourself! I bet there are several other bloggers out there wishing there was a regular meeting where they could share ideas.

Also, if you are at all interested in moving to WordPress, there is usually a WordCamp in most major cities/areas during the year (just Google wordcamp and you’ll see). WordCamps are put on locally and focus on using WordPress effectively (but they also just offer great info on blogging better). They offer lots of help and are very welcoming of new users.

My favorite blog conferences to attend are

  • I_Blog Conference in Perry, IA. November 5-7, 2010. First of all, my family is from Iowa so if there’s a conference there, I’m going to try to make it because I love Iowa. Second of all, Jody puts on a great conference in a beautiful, relaxed venue (the Hotel Pattee) that offers real learning experiences. It’s a very small conference (my favorite kind) so you really get to know the other attendees. I especially loved that everyone who attended last year (whether a new or seasoned blogger) learned something new. All of the presentations were relevant to what people are doing regardless of their level of blogging. I highly recommend this conference.
  • Blissdom in Nashville, TN. It’s possible that I’m biased here because my friends Alli Worthington, Barbara Jones, and Paula Bruno put on this conference, but you’ll find that it’s a phenomenal event. It’s limited to 500 attendees so it feels more intimate than some of the larger conferences. What I particularly like about Blissdom is that there are very few cliques; I feel like I can approach any group of women and introduce myself and join in the conversation (and, as an introvert, I’m here to tell you that can be tough). I’ve explained my thoughts on Blissdom before; I recommend attending if you can.
  • Blog World and New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. October 14-16, 2010. I usually try to keep to the smaller conferences because I like that vibe. I like to connect with people on more than a surface level. However, sometimes you have to jump out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. BWE is the place to go to meet the movers and shakers in the blog world, meet the marketers that want to work with bloggers, learn new skills, and hear about where the Big Guys (i.e., Chris Brogan and Darren Rowse among others) think social media is headed. If you want to see the lay of the land and maybe meet your blogging heroes, this is the conference you have to attend. If you do decide to go, understand that there’s a lot happening and you should have a good idea of what you’re there for. I go to learn every new skill I can; I’m less interested in theory and more interested in hands-on so those are the sessions I focus on. If you can attend with a friend, divide and conquer! Take notes so you can share them with each other later.

I haven’t attended SxSW yet, but that may change in 2011. If you can’t make it one of the three conferences above, SxSW in Austen is your next best bet from what I understand.

So, tell me:

  • What conferences have you attended in the past?
  • Which are your favorite(s) and why?
  • What are you looking for in a blogging conference?
  • Do you have regular local get togethers that you attend? How do those compare to the national conferences?