I've only been to 3 conferences, so far, in my 5 year blogging career. When I talk to my fellow bloggers I sometimes feel like a fish out of water as they discuss monetization and ambassadorships. I didn't start Momma Told Me to write sponsored posts, in fact it took Shelley, Still Blonde After All These Years a solid year of weekly nudges just to get me to apply to the online blogging community, Social Fabric. That's because the focus of her pushing was income- and I had no desire to 'sell space' on my blog. I write and create for fun, this website is my most satisfying outlet and I'd be just as thrilled with 20 subscribers as 20k. I'd looked at 'all the other suitors' and turned down ample invitations from marketing groups and blogging companies, and simply had no interest in joining SoFab.
"They'd love you- you tell such great stories," Shelley had said in that fateful plea, the very evening I applied to become a Social Fabric/ Collective Bias member. Stories. The true honest core of blogging, to share a bit of yourself, your life, your views, your experiences, your advice. Finally something I could connect with.
However, what I got was so much more- SoFab was a community, not a company. They understood that bloggers weren't websites but people, and that each of their voices had unique value not only to their clients, but to the bloggers they wove this community with. Yes, there were opportunities to make income through sponsored content, but even the sponsored content was carefully crafted with engaging prompts intended to excite and inspire bloggers through organic content. And whether you were looking for a fellow mother to swap teething advice with, or a rock star blogger to learn photography tips, Social Fabric provided a closely knit community to grow.
I wish every blogger could go to SoFabCon.
And, I am so delighted to tell you that now you can. Social Fabric/ Collective Bias has revolutionized the modern blog conference and created an event series that is truly unique. New for 2015, their one-day mini con, SoFab U On The Road will cover 11 unique cities nationwide, with an evolving schematic of activities and lessons. That's right, not one conference will be identical to another, speakers and topics will vary, and I find myself wishing I had a bus to attend them all in!
With Johnny Rockets as the official host for #SoFabUOTR, bloggers and SoFab employees gathered at the City of Industry SpeedZone to kick their day of with a delicious complimentary breakfast featuring Muller yogurt. I don't usually do brand shout-outs but this yogurt changed my life, ya'll- I have been hunting the dairy case at my local Walmart for the delicious ice cream inspired flavors (hello Raspberry Chip) since! After we'd grabbed some grub we settled in at small tables designed to spark conversation and information sharing among bloggers with a similar interest. My table was Video, where I learned how to find public domain music from the Windows Video Maker 'free music archive,' and all about creating a personal filming space (even if it's in your master closet with a backdrop!)
While we ate we were treated to an interesting brand panel, where executives and PR representatives from 4 major brands answered some burning questions about their exposure needs and personal brand struggles in marketing. Afterwards we were treated to 2 very special adventures (each SoFabUOTR location will have adventures unique to them) in which we got to interview Miss California and pose for a photo with her, as well as get a hands on grilling experience with Johnny Rockets head creative chef! It's had to believe we packed so much into one day, but the networking, and just connecting on a real level with Social Fabric employees and fellow bloggers was a priceless value well worth admission alone. I will be attending the Phoenix stop, date pending, in March and would love to see you there- check out the SoFabU On The Road map and be sure to catch a stop near you.
What Daughter Says: Find time for a smaller, more intimate conference, and experience the value of connecting with brands and bloggers.