I always enjoy a good blogging conference. And BlogOnXmas, which took place last weekend in Manchester, is more than merely good – it’s great.
What makes this particular event so good?
Let’s start with the basics. If you’re a parenting blogger, the major London-based conferences are Britmums’ BML (September) and Mumsnet’s Blogfest (traditionally November but not happening this year). BlogOn takes place in May and September, formerly at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry but now relocated to Hotel Football by Old Trafford football ground. There are also the smaller Tots100 Blog Camps, which vary in terms of timing and location.
If you’ve never been to a blogging conference before, BlogOn is a great place to start. Even if you’re a conference veteran, it has a distinct vibe all its own that I – and many others – love.
Here are ten things that make BlogOn a little bit different from the others.
1. With only 200 attendees, it’s big without being intimidating. This makes it easier to find and talk to people.
2. All the presentations are given by fellow bloggers across a range of subjects. Each of them has genuine expertise they are happy to share and the content is relatable and practical. “Here’s what I do and why it works.”
3. Large portions of the day are given over to free time to allow delegates to talk to brands or just chat with friends. Or to take group selfies in lifts. (200 bloggers in one place? Of course there are selfies!)
4. The number and variety of brands is greater than at any other blogging event, so it’s a great place to build contacts for future work.
5. The goodie bags are the stuff of legend. There is a reason why attendees are advised to bring a large empty suitcase.
6. The raffle is enormous with lots of great prizes. Particularly in the case of BlogOnXmas, it’s a great chance to win presents for the kids. Proceeds go to the BlogOn Community Fund – over £2,300 was raised last weekend – so you’re supporting good causes too.
7. At the last two BlogOns there has been an evening party before the conference (hosted by Paladone). It’s a great way to ease into the event, catch up with old friends and make new ones.
8. The little things. Laura and the team bend over backwards to make everything as easy as possible for everyone, whether that is catering to specific dietary requirements or providing personal goodie bags for speakers. Lots of small touches add up to a lot.
9. From a dads’ perspective, this time there were about 20 male bloggers out of 200 delegates, double the number you typically see at BML or Blogfest, which are two to three times the size. And as I’ve written before, some events are/were distinctly unwelcoming to dads (ahem, Blogfest).
10. Everything is a bit less formal, in a good way. BlogOn feels like a big party for you and your mates – by bloggers for bloggers, if you will. It’s a subtle but important distinction.
That’s not to say the other conferences aren’t worth attending. Far from it. Some bloggers only go to BML, while others found Blogfest to be the most inspiring. It depends what’s right for you and the only way to find out is to try one or two for yourself.
The thing I always like about blogging events in general – and BlogOn in particular – is that I always come away with new knowledge and inspiration. And I say that as someone who has been blogging for over ten years and is a professional social media manager. In the past I have come away from conferences with ideas spilling out of my brain – content, technical hacks, even the inspiration to start my own podcasts. This time was no exception – although you’ll have to watch this space to find out my latest plan for 2018 …
If you’re a blogger, that’s why you should consider attending a blogging conference – and why you should think about doing BlogOn. Improve your technical skills. Find inspiration. Make friends.
Tickets for the 2018 BlogOn events will go on sale in the new year. If past ones are anything to go by, they will sell out within two to three days. Why not sign up and see what all the fuss is about?
Follow @BlogOnUK on Twitter for the latest updates on Blog On events. I was not paid or incentivised in any way to write this post.
Header image credit: Simone Riches-Teale/Sim’s Life (simslife.co.uk)