I was once a lost blogger.
When I started this blogging adventure a few years ago, the first words of advice I received were daunting and vague. I processed statements like “content is king” as license to churn out meaningless blog post after meaningless blog post. I was focused on quantity over quality as they say. My writing wasn’t very engaging and I couldn’t encourage readers to return.
Instead of finding my voice, I obsessed over “the numbers.” I figured (brand) offers would go to the guy with the largest social following, and while largely true, the best marketers know better. I rarely felt connected to the brands I worked with and it was showing in my work. Old posts became templates for new posts and neither were generating traffic.
My wife recommended I attend a blogging conference, but I was suspicious of conferences and their motivations. Attendees of parenting conferences often rave about the few days of kid freedom, alcohol-fueled afterparties and the bountiful swag. While not above free merchandise and drinking with buddies, I wasn’t convinced I needed to traverse the U.S. to make it happen.
That was until I found Oren Miller’s Dad Blogging community some months ahead of the Dad 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. I never had the pleasure of meeting Oren in person, but his reach was boundless. Oren stood for dads and bucking traditional “bumbling dad” stereotypes. He spoke highly of the Dad 2.0 Summit and its mission of changing perceptions of modern fatherhood. He is the reason I wanted to attend.
I was extremely fortunate to be awarded a free conference ticket and substantial travel assistance from the Oren Miller Dad 2.0 Scholarship Fund for writing about what fatherhood means to me. The “Miller Grant” is a program fueled by generous blogging peers and conference supporters so that many more men can enjoy the roundtable experience.
Uniting with the men I’ve come to know only through a Facebook chatroom was energizing. So many, like myself, were new to the conference; naturally, many of us were nervous. Veterans congregate while marketers mingle, and then some, myself included, melt into the shadows. I learned something about confidence over that weekend in San Francisco. Most importantly, I made new friendships, which in-turn expanded my network. It’s the single-most rewarding takeaway, personally and professionally.
I was also enlightened to the mistakes I had been making on this blogging journey. Not only are there great fathers at this conference, there are tremendous teachers as well. The successful bloggers are eager to share advice to those eager to consume it. Take notes and find inspiration within those notepad scribblings.
Of course, grab some free swag, but make meaningful connections with the brands in attendance. Grilling and smoking various foods is an enjoyable hobby of mine, so meeting with the gentlemen representing STOK Grills was rewarding for both parties. Our family received beautiful grills in exchange for content that I’m very proud to have produced. In other words, Dad 2.0 Summit provides an outlet for brands genuinely interested in Dads, and brands that dads are genuinely interested in as well.
And that brings me back to the mistakes I made right out of the starting gate. This conference taught me to be confident and love what I’m writing about. This new blog, Roadiculous, is about the journey ahead for myself and my family, and is something I am very excited to begin sharing with an engaged audience.
We have plans to sail our RV into Washington D.C. for Dad 2.016 and I hope you’ll join us this year.