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What Would Make Blogging Events So Much Better

by LaurettaCWright
What Would Make Blogging Events So Much Better

I've been blogging for over three years now and have attended my fair share of blogging events in that time.

I've been to events where you've stood around for hours looking for people to talk to. Then there are those that are highly structured, where you know what's happening every single minute of the hour.
And finally, there are those that seem to promise you the world – and offer nothing of any real value. In fact, you're sure you could have done a better job of it yourself.

From Blogosphere to BlogCampOnBoard and everything in between, you name it, I've done most of them. However, there's one thing that strikes me about most blogging events that could be made SO much better.

The people that they showcase.

Yes, that's right…I said it. I'm going to go off on a big rant here as it's something that so many event organisers get wrong time and time again. They'll get fixated on showcasing the big influencers (typically fashion or beauty influencers) with plenty of social media experience but not much life experience/common sense.

I can assure you that I'm not ageist. I totally get why most 20-somethings are much better placed to be able to give people like me the lowdown on what algorithms Instagram has decided to go with that week.

They'll also know which hashtags to use to pull in 100 followers a day, the people to get in with and how to ‘work it' as an influencer in general. They are at the top of their game – either through luck, sheer hard work or knowing the right people. And I applaud them for that.

BUT – and it's a big ‘BUT', what they find very difficult to do is relate to other bloggers, particularly those that have socks in their drawers older than they are. People like me.

When questions are fired at them at blog events, their answers are ALWAYS vague. Some of what they say doesn't even make sense at all. These social media stars and famous bloggers live in their little bubble of fame – and because of that they've forgotten what it's like in the real world where the struggle is real.

Back to blogging basics 

I'll give you a very good example. I attended the Blogosphere Christmas Festival last year. It was my second time at the event and I was hoping to pick up some golden nuggets of advice.

The venue was spot on. It was the five-star Landmark Hotel, which offered plenty of opportunities for ‘Instagram(able) pictures' and the expert panel talks looked exciting on paper – exciting enough for me to pay for a ticket to get some fab insight.

However, the venue was the only highlight of the event for me. Other than learning that the Instagram algorithm knows if you’re posting via an iPhone or a third party app, I didn’t glean any new information from attending.

During the interval I got chatting with another blogger, Emma. She was new to the blogging world and gushed about what a wonderful day it had been so far and how she had found it “really interesting”. As I'm not one to piss on someone else's parade, I kept schtum, glad that at least others were benefitting from the event.

But it dawned on me that the panel discussions were targeted to inspire new bloggers rather than inform and educate those who had been blogging for a number of years – people like me.

The other thing that irked me about one of the panel chats – which happened to be a ‘travel panel' – was the lack of knowledge of travel blogging and the travel industry in general. I should know, I've been a travel editor of a national magazine for the last 9 years of my life.

Instead of real travel bloggers with years of experience behind them, they get beauty and fashion bloggers who ‘happen to travel to lovely locations' on the panel – and then have the cheek to call it a ‘travel panel'.  These girls clearly knew nothing about dealing with tourist boards, what ‘AITO approved' means or what to do when you get stuck somewhere because of a natural disaster.

There was one guy on the panel who appeared to have his head screwed on – and he did have experience in the industry of sorts. His advice was to ‘bypass the PRs and go straight to the client to ask for press trips'. Let me tell you people, this is terrible advice.

PRs work damn hard to build a solid relationship with their clients – if you go over their heads, not only will you forgo building any level of trust with them for future projects, but it might backfire on you. And when I first started off in the travel industry – I got a few fingers burned and learned this very quickly.

What Would Make Blogging Events So Much Better

Real value blog events

What would have been a much better ‘expert panel' would to have got people with a range of experiences, a range of subject knowledge AND a range of ages represented. And this is where MOST blogging events I've attended) go wrong.

They pick the same people who have had similar experiences and very little life experience.

We often see young bloggers offering advice, which is great of course for newbies, but when you're an experienced blogger seeking answers to fundamental questions, they just don't deliver.

Here's a real example: one of the audience members was asking the panel for their suggestions on how to make money while blogging (aside from the usual collaborations with brands).

And back came the reply (and this will make you laugh) “Oh yeah, that's a good question. So what you should do is just launch some merch. I did that last year and now I'm loaded ha ha ha.”

Okay, she didn't quite say that last part of the sentence, but she certainly implied that you'd be much wealthier if you just ‘launched some merch'.

Now, I'm really not trying to be funny when I say this, but putting my mug shot on a bag, a tee or a hat would send most 20-somethings running for the hills. I can almost hear them saying it right now ”Who's this old fart and WHY would I want her face on my chest?! I mean, GET REAL!”

What Would Make Blogging Events So Much Better

I rest my case.

But because this young vlogger had made a substantial amount of money from “launching some merch”, she assumed that it would work for everyone else too. I can forgive her naivety because of her age, but it doesn't take a genius to work out that this would be a huge waste of money for most bloggers.

There were so many other suggestions she could have made :

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Write a mini ebook – use this as an opt in for your newsletter and then lead people on to download your full ebook for a fee
  • Develop and sell an e-course
  • Niche down your subject matter and collaborate with smaller online companies to attract the bigger fish

Just four *REALISTIC* examples for the average blogger to consider researching a little more.

We are the people that don't have thousands of subscribers or fans. We need practical ‘take-away' advice that we can start implementing straight away, whether we're blogging about food, books, interiors, relationships…whatever.

What blog events should offer

I mean, let’s get real here. Most of us have to blog about things in return for nothing or very little, especially when we first start out. We need to think about things like attracting other brands to work with us, adding credibility to our media packs or just to get some experience.

The so-called ‘expert panelists' seem to forget this once they become social media stars, so it would be refreshing to have a 40-something mum of three sit on a blogging panel and say: “You know what, I experienced that too the other week and the way I dealt with it was…..”

What these panels need is a ‘Zena'.

Let me explain.

When I first started blogging, I found a handful of bloggers that I reached out to – to ask for advice. Three of them never responded, one responded to try and get me to buy her blogging course and one, the lovely Zena from Zena's Suitcase wrote me this HUGE email response, suggesting what I could do, what to read up on and what I could try to get more eyes on the blog.

I'm forever indebted to Zena and I'll always remember her generosity in taking time out of her busy life to help out a stranger. She must have spent a good 20 minutes writing up that email for me – and now, whenever someone writes to me asking for advice, I remember Zena's email and put as much effort into my responses as she did for me. Remember that film ‘Pay It Forward'? That's what I'm talking about people.

So, a final message to all those event facilitators hosting blogging events this year: you'd do yourself a huge favour by offering diversity amongst your guest speakers and panelists. And I'm not just talking about their age or life experiences, but also their subject knowledge and ability to offer real practical advice on what the average blogger can do to earn more money/get more followers and ultimately become more successful.

You all need a Zena. And I know for a fact that she'd never in a million years suggest that you should “just launch some merch.”

Who's with me on this?

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There's one thing that blog events miss when it comes to putting on a great show - pay attention event facilatators!


William Gould 3rd April 2019 - 7:27 am

That’s a really great read! There’s absolutely nothing in this world that can beat experience, something which today’s younger generation really don’t seem to understand!

LaurettaCWright 3rd April 2019 - 7:51 am

Absolutely – I’m glad you agree. They’ll agree when they get to our age and realise we were right all along…as is often the case.

jen 25th March 2019 - 12:31 am

Good article on realistic blogging, not been to an event yet but might do soon!

LaurettaCWright 3rd April 2019 - 7:51 am

Thanks Jen – there are some good ones out there, but I’d definitely advise looking into them first and doing your homework.

jen 25th March 2019 - 12:31 am

Good article on realistic blogging, not been to an event yet but might do soon!

Hillary 18th March 2019 - 3:15 pm

As a newer blogger this was really insightful and showed me that I need to think very carefully about blog events I’m considering attending in the future – I want to learn from the real experts! Thank you for this post!


LaurettaCWright 3rd April 2019 - 7:52 am

It’s a pleasure Hillary – I’m just glad that you found it useful. Thanks for commenting.

Hillary 18th March 2019 - 3:15 pm

As a newer blogger this was really insightful and showed me that I need to think very carefully about blog events I’m considering attending in the future – I want to learn from the real experts! Thank you for this post!


Zena's Suitcase 14th March 2019 - 8:24 am

Oh my word lady, you have bought a tear to my eye reading this. You have hit so many nails on the head with this post about blogging events in general. Very few are practical and helpful to people like us now. I can’t believe I was the only person who responded to you to offer advice. I like helping people and I’m just happy that you found my tips helpful at the start of your journey
Zena’s Suitcase recently posted…How To Help Children Be Happy TravellersMy Profile

LaurettaCWright 3rd April 2019 - 7:50 am

Thank you lovely Zena – your positivity and encouragement did wonders for me the day I received your email. xxx

John Adams 6th March 2019 - 6:29 am

I think this highlights an issue with the blogging industry per se. There are a massive number of people who do it to top-up their income or do it for fun. In reality, few people take it as seriously as I or you do. While I would speak at blogging events again, I did it a while ago and realised afterwards I had totally mismatched my presentation tot eh audience because I was talking about corporation tax and other issues that affect people running businesses. Few bloggers are interested in this stuff. I’d also say you have made an interesting point re Blogosphere. I like what the mag is trying to do, but it is mainly focused on the beauty.

LaurettaCWright 7th March 2019 - 10:34 am

Thanks for this John & knew you’d be one to agree with me on this. It’s definitely an issue that affects the whole industry, so event facilitators really need to up their game. And just so that you know, I’d listen to you any day on the corporation tax 😉

Carolyn 23rd February 2019 - 3:06 pm

This read ( and all the comments ) is a real inspiration and so helpful. I am a newbie 50 something and wondering what my niche is. I just travel a lot and love it. My blog started as a way to keep family and friends in touch, but travelpod shut up shop and I found myself switching to WordPress. The blog grew a bit and we travelled a lot more and I would love to adapt to a more business like approach.

Very much not interested in launching merch, that bit made me laugh.

LaurettaCWright 23rd February 2019 - 4:29 pm

Ah thanks Carolyn – I’m really pleased to hear you found the post an inspiration. I just don’t want other bloggers to waste their time going to events that aren’t helpful or geared towards what they do, so it’s definitely always worth doing some research and getting other people’s viewpoints. Best of luck with the blog – it sounds like you’re doing a great job already!

Alex Grace 21st February 2019 - 11:02 am

I have utterly enjoyed reading this Lauretta – as a ‘newbie’ who is in her 30’s it’s really refreshing to hear your views. I’ve not attended a conference yet – I want to but not even sure where to start!!
I truly hope someone gets hold of this post and creates an event as you’ve described (and they’d be foolish not to get you to speak at it!)
I’ve personally reached out to Kerry before when I got contacted about something I didn’t have a clue about and she was so lovely and helpful. It’s difficult when your new job doesn’t have actual colleagues sitting next to you to guide and train you up, you have to work out SO much on your own, so when someone is able to give you some genuine help or direction it really means the world.

LaurettaCWright 21st February 2019 - 9:29 pm

Thanks so much Alex. I think it’s probably a good idea to get yourself along to an event at some point – they can be great for meeting brands and also for meeting like-minded bloggers. You hit the nail on the head when you said it’s difficult when you’ve got no one to show you how things work and you’ve got to figure them out for yourself. I’ve actually found YouTube a great source of learning – and it’s kind of like being shown if you know what I mean! ha ha! Thanks for stopping by to comment xxx

Alex Grace 22nd February 2019 - 10:50 am

Any tips on where to start with the events? Thanks for the YouTube steer I’ll definitely have a browse xx

LaurettaCWright 23rd February 2019 - 5:34 am

My pleasure! Have a look at Eventbrite for blog events. You cam also use the hashtag blogevent or blogevents to see on social media sites to see what comes up. The best one I’ve been to so far is Britmums – the most informative, enjoyable AND had bloggers we could relate to – good luck! x

Alex Grace 25th February 2019 - 10:09 am

Thanks Lauretta that’s really helpful. I’ll look into it all x

Lianne 20th February 2019 - 6:32 pm

I bloody loved this! I was nodding throughout! In fact, I haven’t even been to any high-end blog events for about 12 months now because I felt similar!

LaurettaCWright 21st February 2019 - 7:38 pm

It’s a shame that blog events can get it so wrong and alienate so many bloggers isn’t it? I know many bloggers who have simply ‘outgrown’ blog events because they fail to cater to those who have been blogging longer than a couple of years. Thanks for commenting Lianne.

Rebecca Smith 19th February 2019 - 8:14 pm

Totally with you on this. I don’t really attend events anymore unless they’re the ones super local to me. I’ve actually been to one where a blogger was on a panel and suggested doing something and then on Twitter a little while later was tweeting out, slating those who did! It gave me such a bad taste in the mouth and made not trust the advice from them any longer. I definitely think events should actually showcase people who know that niche rather than the same old few.

Also..Zena is amazing! Such a lovely and helpful blogger.

LaurettaCWright 19th February 2019 - 9:43 pm

Thanks Rebecca – I totally get why you don’t go out of your way to attend events. I can’t believe that blogger who was saying one thing and then offering conflicting views on Twitter – it just doesn’t make sense. I will probably keep trying to find a great event by trying ones I haven’t been to before, but won’t hold my breath! Great to hear you agree about Zena – she’s lovely!

kerry 19th February 2019 - 5:14 pm

Well, if I could say YES a gazillion times, I would! I agree with everything that you have said here. I think in the travel blogging market especially, its always represented by the bloggers that feature themselves in the destination photos, more than the destination! It grinds my gears. I think blogging has grown massively, but it seems these conferences have not moved with the times. Now i appreciate that it could be that older bloggers wouldn’t pull in the crowds (lets face it, it is still a very young industry) but having at least one over 40 would be a start!

LaurettaCWright 19th February 2019 - 6:07 pm

Hallelujah to this Kerry. Just one blogger over 40 and who’s ‘been around a bit’ would make all the difference wouldn’t it? I feel I’d get some real answers to questions that we all want to know…! Thanks for commenting lovely xx

Eliza Urzica 18th February 2019 - 10:47 pm

I have been thinking of attending BlogOn this year since I’ve never attended a blog event before. I’m guessing it will still be the case at this event too? Well, I am quite a newbie anyway, so I might learn a lot from it, or not. Who knows?

LaurettaCWright 19th February 2019 - 6:05 pm

To be honest Eliza, I couldn’t tell you as this is one of few blog events I haven’t been to. but it might be worth asking the question on social – and it looks like Kara (who’s also commented) has been, so maybe pick her brains?

WhatLauraLoves 18th February 2019 - 10:24 pm

What a bloody brilliant post. So well written and hitting the nail on the head over and over again. I’ve really valued reading what you have had to say on this subject and as someone who has made a career out of blogging for the last 8 years without hitting the ‘big time’ blogger fame, while still being able to make an honest living out of it, I can completely empathise with your points. xxx

LaurettaCWright 19th February 2019 - 5:49 pm

Thanks so much Laura – I’m just pleased that I’m not the only one who’s frustrated at what’s offered at blogging events. They really could be run so much more efficiently if they knew who to approach.

Kara 18th February 2019 - 9:39 am

I love going to blog conferences but more for the social side these days. Have you been to BlogON – it’s a more inclusive event?

LaurettaCWright 19th February 2019 - 5:41 pm

Thanks Kara – I haven’t been to BlogON – I’ve heard lots about it. I’m willing to give it a go if it’s very different from the usual….thanks for the tip!

michelle twin mum 17th February 2019 - 11:36 pm

I love pay it forward, for years I got loads of emaisl from newbies asking for help and I used to help as much as I could. In fact for about 4 or 5 years I ran New Bloggers Fortnight with posts all directed to help newbes, it was good fun. Nowadays people tend to leave me alone as I feel I’ve had my day. I’d love ot find a good conference aimed at experienced bloggers. Mich x

LaurettaCWright 17th February 2019 - 11:58 pm

That’s really kind of you Mich – and just the sort of thing I can see you doing. YEs – I agree! It would be great to find a conference for bloggers who have been around for a good few years…those seeking really great ‘golden nuggets’ of advice!

Jo smith 17th February 2019 - 11:19 pm

Yes yes yes!! Appreciate the ‘older bloggers! At 34 I feel very left out despite blogging for well over 7 years

LaurettaCWright 17th February 2019 - 11:22 pm

Thanks Jo – I have a feeling a lot of bloggers find it difficult to relate to or connect with most of the panelists at blogging events.

Jenna Parrington 17th February 2019 - 12:01 pm

I’ve been blogging 6/7 years but have never been to a conference!

LaurettaCWright 17th February 2019 - 12:03 pm

How interesting Jenna – it’s a great way to meet other bloggers in person…I’ve made some firm friends over the years and really pleased I found people that I can really relate to – it’s worth a shot!


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