The Only Real Blogging Shortcut

heather-kat

In Crystal Stine’s interview last week, we talked a lot about how networking has had a huge impact on her online success. The same has been true for my online experience as well. There have been a few key relationships that have propelled my growth significantly.

We’ll get back to our regular interview schedule next week, but today my friend Heather MacFadyen is sharing how she kicked networking into overdrive, how that impacted her blogging influence and how you can take advantage of this “blogging shortcut.”

Heather’s Blog Story

In April 2007 I wrote the first post in my blogging journey. I wish I’d been one of those savvy “topic driven” bloggers back then. Alas, my site was more like a “write about my family for my family” kind of blog, called “The Mac Boys”.

Four years into blogging (Spring 2011) the MOB Society (Mothers of Boys) site posted they were looking for new contributing writers. Given the years I’d been blogging, and my three boys, I seemed like the perfect candidate.

Guess what?

I didn’t make the cut.

But I didn’t let it keep me down.

Instead I launched a new blog, “God Centered Mom”, in June of 2011.

You know what else I did?

I started meeting other bloggers…in person.

Don’t get me wrong I didn’t just walk up to random people at the park or mall and say, “Do you blog? I do. Wanna talk about blogging with me?”

But I was fortunate enough to discover a community of bloggers in my own town (well, really more like a giant metroplex, but doesn’t “town” seem more quaint and personal?).

The Catalyst

A few months after starting the new blog I signed up to attend my first “Christian Women’s Blogging Conference”. Whew, that’s a mouth full. It was a one-day conference called “Mamas Write”.

heather-declare

The time I spent at that blogging conference changed the direction of blogging for me.

The gals I sat across from and ate breakfast with and posed for pictures with…they are friends now – like, “text me your prayer request” and “see you once a month” friends.

And you know what other crazy thing happened? We all ended up hosting the next year’s conference together (Kat was the keynote that year and she was uh-mazing. She’s speaking again this year on how to blog efficiently. I’m confident she will rock da house).

This year we are changing things up. New name: the Declare Conference. More time: two days. New location: Dallas Marriot Los Colinas. We have a simple business plan: God leads. We follow.

Back in 2011, one of my Dallas blogging friends (that I met at the first blogging conference) ended up being my roommate at another blogging conference out of town. Knowing my roommate beforehand gave me the confidence I needed to meet more bloggers and build relationships.

So really, that first conference could be considered my “catalyst” conference.

Do you know who I ended up getting to know…in real life? The co-creators for the MOB Society! Really!

Exactly a year after I had been rejected from being a contributing writer, one of the MOB Society directors sent me a personal invitation to write for their site. Unbelievable.

I hope you know I’m not sharing that story to brag…more as an example of the power of real connection.

heather-erin

The Power of Face To Face

The only thing that changed in one year was being more intentional with face time at blogging conferences. I’m amazed how a few days of face time exponentially transformed the next year of online time.

I call it “touch points”. My favorite thing is when a blogger friend flies into Dallas and I get a chance to grab coffee with her or take her out to lunch. Touch point

These are women I respect, who follow God’s heart and desire to write for His glory. These are my people. They understand the in’s & out’s of writing one’s weakness on the World Wide Web. They know the sacrifice of making time to share His story for others to read. They get it.

Top 5 Reasons a Blog Conference Can Kick Start Your Blog:
1. Meet women who share your art form AND love Jesus (expand your network)
2. Be encouraged by those who understand what it’s like to post and hear “crickets” (so you keep writing).
3. Engage in real fellowship over meals (at the Declare Conference it’s four meals, to be exact)…not just comments/likes/retweets.
4. Learn to blog efficiently by chatting with peers (& sipping coffee together).
5. Experience the exponential impact on your online presence from a few days off-line and in-person (who knows the opportunities you will be given!).

We’d love to meet you in Dallas at the Declare Conference. Click here to learn more!

Let’s Chat

Have you ever attended a blogging conference? How did it impact your blogging? What tips do you have for making the most of a conference? Click here to connect and join the discussion!

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Comments

  1. COMPLETELY agree. Getting to meet other bloggers face-to-face has been an incredible blessing to me personally, and “professionally”. Many opportunities open up as a result of knowing someone “in real life”!

    Can’t wait for the Declare conference … and my next trip to your “town” so we can catch coffee and great conversation again.

  2. I love this. I’ve had a chance to meet several bloggers in person and will be attending allume in the fall! I may be meeting up with a blogger here in my state next week too! I also loved the (in)RL conference hosted by incourage.com and met a lot of people that way! I LOVE meeting other bloggers! Wohoo!!!

    • Look forward to meeting u at Allume, Aprille! Thankful u have found great blogging community. A unique but now popular art form. 😉

  3. Last year was the first time I went to a blogging conference. I had been blogging since 2008 with virtually no results, but this year, my blogging changed because it was more fun. I had people that I felt like I was doing it with. Because I have made friends that I met from the conference and as a result more intentional with my online bloggy friendships. I still have a long way to go, but I am having fun and making friends from all over the U.S. Blogging is a great hobby to have.

  4. This is SUCH a great post! I am still praying for a way to attend the Declare Conference–I just see the fruit and feel God is doing some major things with that conference. Major things of which I would love to be a part! And Heather, you are just adorable, online and in real life!

    • Christie, We (The Declare Team) are praying our hearts out for God to make a way for you and others like you to be able to come to Declare. It’s been one of our big prayers from the beginning.

  5. I totally agree!! I’ve only been to one blogging conference (Allume ’12) but I have learned that all you say is TRUE!! I am so pumped to see about Declare…would be amazing to attend…I’ll be asking the Lord about it, and talking to my husband. Would be a great time to learn from you ladies and connect (IRL). Thankful for this growing community! Thanks Kat and Heather for keeping it real!!

  6. Somehow I didn’t know about that! Shame on whoever told you no 😉 You’re an invaluable member of the MOB Society team Heather, and I’m so grateful you said yes. It just goes to show that God’s timing is perfect. Love you!

    • Heather says:

      Aw. Thanks Brooke! And I’m thankful for exactly how it turned out. So thankful for the connections & information I gained from blogging conferences I attended. If I’d been accepted as a MOB writer back then, there would have been no “God Centered Mom”! Glad God’s got good plans for me..it’s my job to follow! Thanks for always leading well!

  7. Danielle says:

    This question is for Kat – Will you be attending Allume this fall?

    Thanks!

    • Danielle,
      No, sadly, I’m not. I’ll definitely miss everyone, but I’m thrilled so many of my friends are attending Declare (Bonus that it’s only 90 minutes from my house!)

  8. Thank you for the wonderful advice and suggestions!

  9. Ah, I wish I could do it! Dallas is only a few hours away from me, but the conference cost is beyond what I can do at this point. I’ve really been working to take things to the next level, so this was a helpful post. Maybe next year!

    • We would love to see you there Gabrielle! That is definitely the downside of hosting the conference at a hotel this year instead of a church…everything is more expensive. Positive side is more time to hang out casually (my favorite part). Late night conversations (& crocheting…like in the pic above) are when I made the best connections with some wonderful women. I think I met most of our speakers at conferences! Make sure you sign up to get the Declare email updates. Hope we get to meet some day!

  10. Thanks for this one Kat! I’m fairly new to blogging, trying to push myself to blog a little more regularly, so this is great food for thought. Have you heard of any blogging conferences near Raleigh, NC??? It’s a little way from Texas. 🙂 Let me know if you know of any, I sure would love to have a circle of friends who write.

  11. Now you have me even more excited about attending Allume this October! Tell me, what are your tips for introvert bloggers new to a conference? I’m so usually a wallflower at these events feeling all awkward and word stumbling, but I do pray to connect with some other women.

    • Melissa,
      I definitely recommend connecting with other attendees before you get their – via the conference hashtag or Facebook page. Join in on any Twitter parties and if there is a link up of attendees, check out some of the blogs and reach out to others that you feel you connect with. Having roomies is another great way to get involved. And, if possible, plan to meet up with someone when you arrive, that way you have somewhere to go and you get started right away.

      Most of all, pretend you’re not a wallflower. No one knows the difference. This is the time to connect and meet people. Be interested in getting to know them and they’ll be interested in getting to know you!

      I hope that helps and that you have a fabulous time! Sniff, sniff. This will be the first Allume that I’m not attending. Have fun for me.

    • Melissa, have you joined the FB group for allume newbies? https://www.facebook.com/groups/AllumeConferenceNewbies2013/

  12. You know what makes me incredibly sad? Over here in Australia, we have no blogging conferences otherwise I would be all over them like a hot rash! ha ha

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  1. […] their sleeves! (Heather wrote a great post last week over at How They Blog about conferences being The Only Real Blogging Shortcut, and it is so, so […]

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