If you’re a financial blogger, you may have heard that the first ever personal finance blogging conference took place over this weekend (October 1-2, 2011) at the Marriott Hotel at Schaumburg, Illinois. I wish I had discussed it here before it actually transpired, but I had so much going on over the past few months that it was a miracle that I even got the tickets booked in time for it. So yes, I have no great excuse for being unable to communicate it effectively through online channels as I normally do when big events take place. But hopefully, I can make up for it a little by talking about how it turned out for me.
Thoughts On The First Annual Personal Finance Blogger Conference
I’ll just come right out and say it: Phil Taylor and the organizers did an exceptional job putting it together. It was beyond my expectations and was extremely well organized for the size it was. I was running on adrenaline right off the bat that I ended up feeling zonked for part of the time. But allow me to share some of the highlights I experienced.
1. I was pleasantly shocked by how many financial bloggers showed up. Wow. There were around 275 bloggers, columnists, writers, media folks, financial experts and company representatives gathered together for this. For some reason, I couldn’t exactly fathom (or appreciate) the size of this group until after we were all assembled under one tent or ensconced in one conference room.
2. It was a thrill to meet so many people with whom I’ve only corresponded online or through email before: let’s see, there were Canadian bloggers, debt bloggers, coupon site publishers, frugal bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, freelance writers, general pf types, financial sponsors, affiliate networkers, advertisers, you name it. I enjoyed meeting with so many of you and shaking your hand! I got to meet some of the old timers and wish I had the chance to chat up one in particular (e.g. FMF). I rubbed elbows with the best of M-Network, shared a racy joke or two with Donna Freedman and broke bread with the Money Crashers. Some people stayed incognito and continued to hide their true identities, but I wasn’t one of them — I am taking baby steps towards revealing my true identity one day 😉 . I also caught up with a fairly controversial financial blogger named Rob Bennett, who struck me as the nicest guy around. There I said it.
3. The events were well organized and valuable. There was a bit of everything: we had the chance to help out with some wonderful causes (Phil’s Friends and Love Drop along with Adaptu.com), network with colleagues (speed networking for the win!), get some education (excellent sessions about branding, monetization and content production) and win prizes (those raffles were a great touch)! There were some stand out sessions — I caught a few, including the ones by Wisebread.
4. I was excited to meet four new personal finance bloggers from the Bay Area, whom I can now include in my growing list of contacts. I will be setting up a PF Blogging email and social group (SF Bay Area chapter) so we can get ourselves organized a bit better over here. A lot of financial sponsors are from my neighborhood so I was happy to see old friends from these companies as well!
5. There were also interviews galore, a lot of video taping and an award ceremony (the Plutus awards) which honored many names in commerce and the blogosphere. Congrats to Budgets Are Sexy who ran off with most of the honors 😉 .
6. The sponsors of this event really came through. I really appreciated having had a chance to meet some people in the advertising sector and to learn more about many new products in the financial space. I had a superb time at a dinner thrown by Savings.com where the conversation flew freely along with the food and wine. It was also lovely to chum around with friends from the credit and lending space. A big thank you!
This conference was a whirlwind that lasted one weekend, but it felt like a lot longer. I can’t wait till the next one. Hopefully it will be in some entertainment hub (say Las Vegas or Hollywood) — if so, we can mix business and pleasure, which would be a good excuse to turn part of this into a family adventure.
For those financial bloggers who missed this one, I really hope to see you next year!
Created June 2, 2008. Updated October 4, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.