What I Learnt From Organising The Aussie Bloggers Conference

Me and Nikki Parkinson on the Social Media Panel

Thanks to Dani from Dannimezza.com for letting me use the photo.

As you would have known, last week end I went to Sydney to attend the Aussie Bloggers Conference. I had an amazing time, starting off with getting to see my sister on her birthday and cuddle my niece and nephew who I hadn’t seen for a number of months.

The conference itself was a huge success with the #ausblogcon2011 hashtag trending on twitter for most of the weekend. You can find tons of links on the Aussie Bloggers Conference website, were you can read reviews, reflections and transcriptions of the conference.

In the middle of last year, I was lucky enough to be asked by Brenda Gaddi to join her in trying to follow her dream and put on a blogging conference targeting personal and mum bloggers. Along side Veronica, Tina and Karen, we worked hard over eight months to bring it all together. Today I thought I would share what I learnt as part of the organising team that put on ABC 2011:

We could organise a conference without ever meeting

We met as a team for the first time late Friday afternoon before the conference. Prior to that all communication had been by email and fortnightly conference calls. Between the five of us we had 18 kids, so the conference calls often had some background noise, but we managed to work through the tasks and points for consideration.

Supportive Folks

As this was an inaugural event, some people weren’t prepared to come aboard in the early stages. There were however some incredibly supportive and encouraging people at the beginning and the end of the conference:

  • Melissa Gassman from Kleenex Mums signed up almost immediately as a platinum sponsor for the conference. To be able to have a sponsor like them on board who also believed in the vision of the conference was fantastic. They also went further and organised an onsite creche making it possible for some mums to come along as they could have their kids looked after.
  • Darren Rowse (Problogger) – Darren would have spoken at the conference had it not been so close to his trip to Tanzania. When we were yet to sell out the conference Darren tweeted about it for us and helped us get the word out there. On the day he was also encouraging and adding to the twitter conversation via the #ausblogcon2011 hashtag. Post conference he gave all attendees a generous gift as he felt so inspired by what he saw happening in Sydney.
  • Mark Pollard – Was on the same panel as myself on Social Media. He gave great insights to social media on the panel and has been very public about his positive impression of the conference. You can read more in his post What I learnt from 170 Aussie mummy bloggers.

Public support and praise of the conference by folks like these meant that many more people who didn’t know about the conference previously now do. This makes putting on the event again a little easier.

Last Minute Requests

Just how many last minute requests we would receive from people wanting to come along and sponsors trying to find a way to be involved surprised me. Two weeks out with the conference sold out and the major sponsor packages taken, the pre-conference social media buzz started. The conference was now on the radar of people who previously hadn’t thought much about it.

Community Rules

As organisers we did our job the best we could, endeavouring to make the event as professional and smoothly running as possible. But the community spirit of the attendees was critical in making this a stand out event. The positive vibe, the excitement of being there and the responsiveness of the audience truly helped make the day.

Meeting People

As an organiser, I didn’t get to meet as many people on the day as I thought I would. If I buzzed past you and didn’t stop to say hello, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to, I just needed to get things done.

Everyone can have (should have!) a blog

Seeing the range of people in the room at the conference and listening to their stories and why they blog, it showed me just how wide and diverse blogging can be. If you have ever thought about blogging and don’t know where to start, you might like to check Kleenex Mums’ recently released e-book Blogging 101: the Mum’s guide to starting a blog. It is a fantastic and comprehensive guide to get you blogging, with contributions from Aussie Mum Bloggers (including me!). After reading this you will see how easy it is to start blogging! If you do start a blog, be sure to let me know and I will come and visit.

Organising a conference takes lots of time and energy

While I loved being part of the organising team for the conference, it did take up lots of my time and energy, as I know it did the other lovely ladies I was working with, particularly Brenda. So with my book due for release in less than a month’s time (!!!!!!) I won’t be able to devote that amount of time to the conference in the upcoming months. It is not without sadness that I step down from my organising role, as it was wonderful to be part of such a memorable event. I will however be amongst the first bloggers to purchase my ticket for the 2012 event!

Thanks to the organising team and to everyone who attended the Aussie Bloggers Conference, I had a truly memorable weekend.