I love attending conferences! They are motivating, educational, and fun. Admittedly, as an entrepreneur, they make me feel like a “real” businessperson. Not that I’m not, but so much about freelancing is unstructured. Packing up and taking the time to learn and meet other like-minded people is always refreshing.
This year the Outdoor Blogger Summit (to be renamed the Outdoor Media Summit in 2019) was held in Roanoke, VA, which is about an hour away from me. When I saw that the super reasonable fee (compliments of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge) included the conference, 2 night’s hotel, and 5 meals, I just couldn’t resist making the decision to head to the Star City.
So, besides amazing swag for outdoorsy folks (which I don’t claim to be!), here are…
5 things I took away from the Outdoor Blogger Summit.
1. Define your niche.
The first night of the Outdoor Blogger Summit, we had to come up with a 60-second bio. I’ve never done speed dating – I was married long before that became a thing (thankfully!) – but the pressure is real. To tell someone about yourself and what you do in one timed minute was a bit intimidating. But it really forces you to hone in on what you do AND what makes you different from everyone else.
My 60-second pitch? I included a bit of my background, and when it came to what Travel Like a Prince was all about, I truly realized something that I started using in my pitches. I’m a 40-something female, and women in their 40s are rediscovering themselves. They have devoted much of their adult life to their families, but now that their kids are older, some are going back to work or school. I’ve decided to travel and try new things.
All in all, my hope through this blog is to inspire women to get out there and explore – no matter their age or stage of life. I love that I discovered something about myself while I was in a pressure situation.
2. Pick a memorable blog name.
I can’t take credit for Travel Like a Prince’s name. Long ago, a friend of mine suggested that I do a travel show with that title, so when it came to my blog years later, I knew that would be the perfect name! When I told other attendees the name of my blog AND that my last name was Prince, they all got it. Although many didn’t remember my first name, they did remember the name of the blog, which was a much greater success in my mind. Yay for marrying my handsome Prince!
3. Connect with everyone.
I was excited when I saw the brands that would be at the conference. Of course, they were all outdoors focused, but meeting them and learning from them was beneficial. I also had the opportunity to meet other writers, which to me was equally as important. Getting to know and follow other like-minded people is always a good thing to do. Some were really helpful with tips, too!
4. Take advantage of all activities.
Before the conference started, there was a hike. An almost 8-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail, that is! I opted to make the most out of the conference and head to the hills. There was a core group of bloggers and brands that went on the hike, and it gave such a nice tone to the Outdoor Blogger Summit itself. It was helpful to get to know a few people before things got started while providing familiar faces to connect with throughout the conference.
5. Bigger isn’t necessarily better!
I have been to huge conferences, but the size of the Outdoor Blogger Summit fostered unique opportunities that just can’t happen when you have a large group of people. The “speed dating” alone would have been chaotic! We also had fun activities, such as a scavenger hunt and hikes pre-and-post conference.
The size afforded more opportunities to interact with a small group. We had several Q&A sessions around tables or “campfires” which all added up to a highly positive experience. And I learned SO much to help my business along the way.
So, what else did I learn?
When it comes to the actual education, I learned a bunch. I may start a podcast (not as hard as it seems!), and I was also taught how to hone in on pitches a bit better. The illusive topic of SEO was handled well, and I even learned a bit more about the ever-changing platform of Instagram. I’m looking forward to implementing so many things from my experience at the Outdoor Blogger Summit, and thank you to everyone involved for fostering such a positive experience!