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.
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?).
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”.
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.
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!).
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!