by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
Now I know the conference you love is Blue Ridge. But I also know that we may not be the only conference you love. So today I’m going to give you some ideas of how to give back to those events. The cool thing about supporting a conference is that every single thing on this list will help you, as a writer, too.
1. Follow the blog. Almost all conferences have blogs. And to help get the word out, they need subscribers.
Attendee Benefit: This won’t just help the conference, it will also give you inside and up-to-date information to make your own experience richer.
2. Read the blog. I know, this should be obvious, but you’d be amazed at the number of people who don’t read the blogs of the conferences they’re planning to attend.
Attendee Benefit: It only makes sense to follow what’s happening if we’re going to spend money to attend.
Attendee Benefit: Just like following a conference’s blog, this benefits you as well. It helps you stay current on changes, additions and special announcements. So to stay up to date on what’s happening plug in all three places.
4. Share what’s valuable on social media. This helps the conference directors get the word out about what their event has to offer. Not every conference is right for every person. So the more we share about different events, the easier it is for writers to find the event that fits them.
Attendee Benefit: Conferences are a great place to learn about the publishing industry, and a lot of that information comes from the blog and social media. When you share that information you’re doing two things:
- You help other writers learn about different aspects of writing and publishing.
- You build your own industry credibility as someone who knows what’s happening.
5. Enter the contests. You may wonder how this helps a conference, but it does. For Blue Ridge (and many others) the scholarship fund is populated through contest fees.
Attendee Benefit: Entering contests helps you in several ways:
- It forces a writer to work toward a deadline.
- It teaches us to let go of our work and show it to someone else.
- Since most contests are judged by industry professionals, it gives you visibility as a writer.
6. Donate to the scholarship fund. Almost all conferences have a scholarship fund. AND we are never able to help everyone who needs help. A lot of people don’t donate because they can’t afford to give an entire scholarship. Imagine what a difference could be made if everyone who attends a conference gave just $5 each.
Attendee Benefit: Reaching out and giving a helping hand to others always has benefits.
7. Promote the faculty. Faculty members teach at conferences because they want to give back to the industry—not for the money they earn. What they’re paid is an honorarium—in honor of the time they’re giving—and doesn’t begin to reimburse their time and preparation.
Attendee Benefit: By promoting the faculty, you are building a relationship with them. A lot of success in this industry comes from your ability to network. Social media is often where those relationships begin.
These are just a few of the things that we can do to help promote these industry events. What benefits have you seen by helping support the conferences you love?
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.