Investing in your blogging business helps keep you accountable because you’re putting some “skin in the game.” Many blogging courses and conferences have built-in communities that help you learn and grow far beyond the event or course conclusion. Also, attending live events help re-invigorate your drive to blog—that’s why I like to attend events quarterly.
Conferences and COVID-19
1. Elite Blog Academy
Cost: $1,097 to $4,997
Many bloggers consider Elite Blog Academy to be one of the best blogging courses available because of how comprehensive the course is, especially for new bloggers. It’s important to understand that a lot of this course provides guidance as to what to do and when, like when to know if you’re ready to start monetizing your blog, but not a lot on the technical aspects of blogging.
As you progress through the course, you get access to more advanced bonuses. For example, after completing Unit 5, you unlock Tripwire 101 for Beginners. This tells you how to build your list, which is an important part of growing your influence after you’ve laid the basic foundation of your blog. Each module gets more advanced and focuses on how to make money blogging.
Instead, you’ll find technical guides in the bonuses you get for signing up for the course. Bonuses are worth thousands of dollars, and because you get access to the EBA course for life, you also get new bonuses every year as a new round of students joins the course. Each year the creator of EBA, Ruth Soukup, updates course content so it always stays relevant.
After hearing about how amazing the BlogHer conference is, I finally booked a ticket and attended the one held in Los Angeles in 2016. I met a lot of celebrities, came home with a ton of swag, networked, learned a lot about monetizing my blog, trends in blogging, and won a ton of stuff. I’m talking about a laptop, two backpacks full of school supplies, printer, gift cards, and a $500 custom toy package for my kids. Plus, I came home with 12 brand sponsorships.
After taking second place in BlogHer and SheKnow’s The Pitch competition, where entrepreneurs compete for funding for their idea, I knew I had to go to the next BlogHer held in NYC the following year.
I didn’t win near as many things this time—an upright vacuum, handheld vacuum, drill, purse full of goodies, and JBL speaker—and there weren’t very many vendor booths at all. My experience at the second event was quite different. I learned that the owners of BlogHer recently sold their business to another company, which explains the big change in the event.
While BlogHer isn’t nearly as awesome as the first time I went, you will still learn a ton and get a chance to network and work with brands while there. Celebrities still speak onstage but aren’t near as reachable as before.
3. Pinteresting Strategies
Ask a handful of bloggers what Pinterest course they recommend, and chances are you’ll hear about Pinteresting Strategies. This is an online course by blogger Carly Campbell, who desperately needed help with Pinterest but grew tired of reading ads veiled as ultimate guides for paid blogging resources and tools like Tailwind or Boardbooster. She was on a strict budget, so she learned how to grow her page views to 200,000 per month just by pinning manually—no scheduler required.
The best part about Pinteresting Strategies is that you get access to the course for life. Campbell updates the course curriculum regularly so students have access to the most up-to-date information on Pinterest. You’ll learn about strategies like using group boards, how to create pins that get clicks, search engine optimization, and how often to re-create pins for your blog posts.
If you are a DIY blogger, Haven is the conference you want to attend. Enjoy hands-on demonstrations, try new products, mingle with other bloggers, and connect with sponsors and vendors. Even if you aren’t a DIY blogger, you might love this conference if you’re looking to DIY your house and decor. Plus, you get to take home a ton of swag.
Due to COVID-19, Haven is digital this year and is already sold out. However, you can purchase a replay for just $89.
5. Pinterest Launch Plan
Jennifer Maker is a blogger that found success quickly through Elite Blog Academy and regularly appears as a success story on sales pages for the course. People love to follow Jennifer’s blog for crafts, and more recently—for blogging help.
Pinterest Launch Plan is Jennifer’s course on how she uses Pinterest. Jennifer grew tired of people saying, “well of course you’re killing it on Pinterest, your blog is already successful!” So, she did what any reasonable blogger with a competitive streak would do: she decided to test her strategy using a brand-new blog (aptly named her Great Pinterest Experiment).
Jennifer didn’t tell anyone she was doing this, and she used stock photography so as not to give away her identity as she implemented her Pinterest strategy. In one month, this new blog grew to 773 sessions per day thanks to Pinterest traffic. You can view this entire strategy and the data behind the experiment by joining Pinterest Launch Plan, which is an e-book and online course that you have access to for life.
6. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog
Over 20,000 bloggers have taken the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course by ProBlogger. This course started as an e-book but evolved into a full-fledged course that receives regular updates. Based on the title, it appears that this course is for bloggers that haven’t found success yet. However, based on the fundamentals taught in the course curriculum, like setting blog objectives and how to come up with post ideas, this is really for beginners that have just launched their blog.
In the course, you get access to videos, audio, and printable worksheets for life. You can even download each piece of content—which is unusual for online courses.
7. Everything Food Conference
The Everything Food Conference (EFC) is a conference specifically for food bloggers. I attended its very first year, and you would’ve thought it was the 20th year holding the conference—it was that good. There’s so much swag that you may need to bring an empty suitcase along just to bring everything home.
In addition to swag, you can attend breakout sessions, network with other food bloggers, and talk to sponsors at the many different booths. This event is in Utah every year, and the food alone is worth the ticket price. Even if you’re not a food blogger, you’ll still come away with invaluable skills to implement in any blogging niche, like photography, working with ad networks, and social media.
TBEX is the largest travel creator community in the world with conferences in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Early bird tickets typically sell out in less than a day, so you’ve got to be quick to score a cheap ticket. When attending the event, not only do you get to learn about all the latest and greatest about blogging, writing, and destinations—but you also get to network with brands and travel providers.
One of the most coveted mini-events at each TBEX conference is FAM trips—which is a familiarization tour between writers and a travel destination. This often means free food, lodging, behind-the-scenes tours, and local swag. You’ve got to be quick to register, though—spots are limited.
How to Attend Blogging Conferences on a Budget
If you’re on a tight budget but want to attend a blogging conference, check to see if your conference needs volunteers. I’ve attended many conferences by volunteering, and it’s a great way to get closer to the facilitators of the conference.
Even if volunteer applications have closed, don’t be afraid to offer your services in exchange for a complimentary ticket. For example, if you’re a licensed massage therapist—offer to provide massages to conference workers and talent. Or, perhaps you’re a talented photographer or videographer—these services are some of the biggest conference expenses.
Additionally, many blogging conferences have Facebook groups for attendees where you can find a roommate or ride-share. The very first conference I attended was six hours away so I drove and shared a hotel room with five other guests to cut down costs. It certainly wasn’t comfortable, but I needed the information taught at this conference more than I wanted comfort.
Whether you’re attending an in-person blogging conference, taking an online course, or viewing a digital conference, there’s one key to getting the most out of your experience. You must implement what you learn. Don’t get so focused on being a student that you forget to execute.