It may be halfway through conference season already, but there are still so many great events out there for Patreon creators to attend. Deciding which conferences to show up for each year can be a big decision. There are so many factors to think through outside of price and location. Some conferences you go to for professional development and to mingle and learn from mutuals in your industry. Others may offer speaking opportunities or the chance to connect with your target audience. For Patreon creators, conferences are a fantastic way to not only leverage and market their unique expertise but also meet their online community face-to-face.
For example, Patreon creators Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat are the hosts of true crime podcast, Crime Junkie, a weekly show that boasts more than 8 million downloads a month. Ashley and Brit bring their “junkies” together by offering a special level of interaction called the “Fan Club”. Aside from their tiered offerings of bonus content and swag, they stage live recordings and create special meetups for their patrons during, but outside of the conference or event, they’re attending. Their patrons get the benefit of going offline and meeting their favorite podcasters in person, however, meetups and live events are just one possible option.
Conferences can also be a great place to meet potential patrons while also keeping the ones you already have interested in the behind-the-scenes of your professional life. Conferences also provide great marketing opportunities for your membership business, allowing you to build your social media content calendar around the hype of each trip throughout the year.
Another great opportunity you should take advantage of during professional events is what educational opportunities you can share with your audience. Consider how you can repackage what you learn during conferences to give patrons insider access to the insights and professional materials you pick up during events.
Basically, they're a lot of ways you can leverage conferences to build your membership business and connect with your audience. The approach you take really depends not only on your brand, but the content, offerings, and access you’ll use to grow fanbase and business.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Before you dive into our list of must-attend conferences, consider these things first:
- Which conferences have you attended so far this year? Keep track of the types of events you’ve crossed off your list and the types of events you thought were valuable and which events were not.
- What does your schedule allow for? If you can’t manage a week-long marathon, keep that in mind and find shorter or one-day conferences.
- Where are your patrons based? If you want to meet fans face-to-face, make sure you’re looking at events that they’ll be able to attend.
- What kinds of on-brand offerings do you want to focus on this year? If you have a podcast or video series, for example, you might want to look for events that make it easy to create content on site.
Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ll be able to start planning and researching the perfect events for not only you but your current and potential patrons.
Now that you’re ready, here are some of our top picks for conferences you should attend:
- VidCon US (July 10-13): Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, VidCon US is one of the world’s biggest events for online video brands and fans. Scheduled over four jam-packed days in Anaheim, CA, the city of Disneyland, video creators and patrons can choose from multiple tracks: About Community, About Creator, and About Industry. Not only can you choose a track, you’ll be able to enjoy a range of festivals, concerts, and exclusive programming.
- Podcast Movement (August 13-16): If you consider yourself a podcast professional or aspiring podcaster, you won’t want to miss this three and a half weekday event. Podcast Movement offers educational and informative breakout sessions and panels spread across seven tracks, and a range of networking events and parties. This conference also features industry reps from around the world and access to the Walt Disney World Resort from its base in Orlando, Florida.
- DIY Musician (August 16-18): Independent music label CD Baby hosts its annual weekend conference this year in Austin, TX. With one-on-one mentoring, “song pitch” sessions, music workshops, and sessions on building your artist brand and fan base, DIY Musician is the place to be for independent musicians. You can even get the chance to showcase your music live.
- Writer’s Digest Conference (August 22-25): The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference helps writers advance their careers creatively and professionally. Focused on offering tips to write better and get published, this 4-day NYC event includes full-day workshops, pitch slams, keynotes, and session tracks. Writer’s Digest covers topics across fiction and nonfiction, journalism, writing craft, and career building.
- World Maker Faire (September 21-22): Calling all creatives and makers! The World Maker Faire in NYC features artists and makers and showcases creativity from fashion, to science, tech, and art. The 2-day program covers an enormous array of talks, performances, demos, booths, and workshops. Maker Faire events attracted tens of thousands of attendees each year. And the best part? Their call for 2019 makers to showcase opens this month.
- The Freelance Conference (October 28-29): For those creators who just want to connect with like-minded people, #FreeCon is a great place to find them. Created by freelancers, for freelancers, this event explores the gig economy and small businesses as an industry, career, and lifestyle. This year based in Austin, TX, attendees can participate in roundtable discussions, micro-talks, interactive panels, and presentations.
Do these not fit the bill for your specific conference needs? No worries! There are thousands of events out there for every type of creator and just as many ways to promote your business. We hope this list and our tips will help you start creating that plan to build your business and connect with your community this summer!