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Sharing A Thought From The 2011 Financial Blogger Conference

October 2, 2011 · 281 comments

in Blogging

Are you someone that attends conferences and conventions regularly?  If so, do you find them boring and find yourself secretly texting through the presentations?

Well, I just returned from the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference, and I was incredibly impressed.  I only occasionally texted, but I kind of had to because I had to keep in touch with my kids.  Boring is about the last word I would use to describe the presentations that were given at this conference!

Anyway, I have to compliment Phil at PT Money for organizing a spectacular event.  Every single presentation was on time, the food was great, transportation was provided, and the speakers were fabulous, each and every one of them.

Something That Stood Out To Me At The Conference

The entire weekend was exhausting.  I learned so much, and at a very reasonable price!  The ticket to the conference was $89, my hotel stay totaled around $200, and I spent around $100 on gas to get me there and back.  So, I spent less than $400 for the entire weekend, and  I think I will get many times that amount in return, over time.

As I said, the speakers were great, and there are a million things I will remember about the weekend.  However, something that Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income Blog said really stuck with me.   The gist of his comment was this:  It is the voice of the writer that makes the content special.  He pointed out that the slides he prepared could be printed off and reviewed by people on their own.  He then asked, how meaningful would they be?  I am sure the information would still be somewhat helpful, but it is really the combination of the content and ‘story’ behind the content, that makes the information memorable.  (And in my opinion, easier to retain.)  In other words, you could take that same presentation, have 10 different people give it, and probably end up with 10 different perspectives and ‘take aways’ from the same information.

On the way home, I thought about Pat’s message.  It made me think back to college, when I found the crossword puzzle in the school newspaper much more intriguing than the lectures being given.  I so wish I had gotten an education where the professors put some meaning behind what they were teaching instead of just regurgitating what we could already find in the book.  I am not saying that it is the professor’s fault that I goofed off or didn’t go to class, I should have been a ‘better’ student.  However, the unfortunate part is that there would be no difference if I read the slides myself, or if the professor read them to us while standing at the overhead projector. It was just words being said, and nothing else.

It is definitely a fine line when writing to both engage AND educate the reader.   It is an area that I know I can improve on, and I will be keeping Pat’s message in mind when I do write my posts.  (Along with the info provided by all the other great presenters too.)  If you are a blogger and couldn’t attend the conference, I strongly suggest you try to track down any videos you can find from the weekend.  (At the moment, I cannot find any online, but will update when I do.)  If you did attend, is there a comment or moment that stood out for you?



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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents October 2, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Thanks for the update. Maybe next year.


Kris October 3, 2011 at 8:16 am

It was a lot of fun. I was shocked by the number of people that were there from California. I am completely exhausted, and I just traveled across a couple of states. I hope many people took the day off today!


101 Centavos October 3, 2011 at 6:27 am

Glad you were able to attend, Kris. I regrettably had other travel plans that got in the way. Perhaps next time around.


Kris October 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

I wish you had gone too, I have some composting questions for you! 🙂

I hope your travel plans were good plans. I know you just got back from an overseas excursion, too much travel can definitely be difficult!


Moneycone October 3, 2011 at 6:43 am

I don’t know about you in college, but your posts are certainly educational and engaging Kris! 🙂
Thanks for the update!


Kris October 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

Oh thank you MC. You are always too kind. I was hoping you would be at the conference!


The Biz of Life October 3, 2011 at 8:32 am

I find conferences to be long and exhausting, but I usually come away with one or two good ideas. The best you can probably do as a blogger is be true to yourself and write about what interests you, instead of trying to always please others. If you do it with a distinctive voice, the readers will come.


Kris October 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

I totally agree Biz. Sometimes I do get in my head questions like “but people don’t want to read this or that”. Then I do try to remember that I have to use my own voice, or I will be exhausted and fake. I am happy to write about what anybody wants me to, but I have to write in my own way.


20's Finances October 3, 2011 at 9:34 am

Thanks for sharing your reflection. That is a great tip (especially for someone who wasn’t able to go). I will give this some more thought.


Kris October 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm

The message about having a voice behind the site really rang true for me because those are totally the sites that I visit. I love a good story, and my attention span only last about 4 seconds for dry material, if that.


Little House October 3, 2011 at 9:42 am

I’ll definitely have to start making it out to conferences next year. FINCON sounds like a good one. Glad you have a great time and came home with lots of insight!


Kris October 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm

You never know Little House, maybe you would have been eyeing houses in the Chicago area if you had made it out! 🙂


First Gen American October 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Kris, that’s so true. Most of the blogs I follow definitely have a personality to them in addition to interesting content. I’d definitely be interested in getting links to utube videos if you have them.

Lots of credit has to go out to Phil. I just recently finished organizing a women’s network event at work and it took countless hours to pull together a 3 hour session. I can only imagine how much more work it was to get a whole weekend of content together.


Kris October 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Phil did an amazing job, and he never looked stressed or anything. The entire weekend was seamless.

I need to read sites with personality too. Even if I disagree with what they say, I would rather read those sites than just the ‘blah blah, do this, blah blah’. I think that is why I love your site so much!


Buck Inspire October 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for sharing and glad you had a great conference. I totally get your message about the voice. I had countless teachers who were monotonous and just read from the book or the overhead. They just put me to sleep. My favorite teacher was fun and injected his personality into his lectures. In another person’s voice, it would just be boring European history. His class was an adventure. I looked forward to his zany presentations and the projects he would challenge us with. He still sticks out in my memory today. I subconsciously may have done the same with my blog. Adding my own spin to what could be perceived as boring. Thanks for helping me reflect and great advice for all going forward!


Kris October 3, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Isn’t it amazing how a teacher can make a huge difference? My favorite teacher was my junior high algebra teacher. He was a goofball, but he made math so much fun, and I think he is what started my love of math.


retirebyforty October 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

It sounds like everyone had a great time. I’ll try to make it next year. I think finding the voice is the way to go for PF blogs too. If the post doesn’t have personality, then it’s a bit dry for everyone. That’s how we bloggers distinguish ourselves from the mainstream publication.


Kris October 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm

RB40- you have enough on your plate. There will be another one next year I am sure, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t out on the west coast somewhere. Then I probably won’t be able to go!


Glen Craig October 4, 2011 at 9:17 am

There was definitely a focus on being yourself in your writing and telling a personal story. This resonated from a number of people in the sessions.

I didn’t know what to expect from Pat but I was pleasantly surprised.


Kris October 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm

I didn’t know what to expect period. Actually, I honestly expected to be a little bored during the sessions because I have minimal attention span. However, I was not bored one second, I was so pleasantly surprised.

Wish I could have met you!


Hunter @ Financially Consumed October 4, 2011 at 10:00 am

Hi Kris,

I’m sorry we didn’t actually get to meet at the conference, even though we split a pizza, ha! People reading this are raising some eyebrows! It was a big Yakezie group.

Glad you had a great experience. I got a lot out of it too.


Kris October 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm

We did share pizza. I think that was the most expensive pizza I ever ate at 10 bucks a slice! (My fault)

Hopefully we can talk more next time!


Jacq October 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Oh, that would have been so fun! I didn’t even know it was being held. It must have come out while I was traveling. Hopefully there will be another next year.

I hate being lectured to by a blogger. And I like personal stories about their families, but mostly I like hearing about some of the things they have done wrong or are doing wrong and how they’re changing how they do things. Just don’t like the “holier than thou” stuff and someone putting themselves up on a know-it-all pedestal. If I wanted that, I’d read TSD. I’m afraid that sometimes I do that myself because I do feel like I know *what* other people *should* be doing but I don’t know how to put that across in a way that makes them *want* to do it. Water dripping on stone sometimes works. 🙂 But if I was so darn smart on what everyone else should be doing, I wouldn’t have this 20 extra pounds hanging around either.

For me, reading blogs has replaced a lot of the fiction reading I used to do in a way. Only the stories don’t end.


Kris October 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Jacq, we are totally the same. I don’t read nearly as many books as I had in the past. Although I did read ‘the help’ and enjoyed it immensely. The thing about reading a book is I stay up too late and regret it the whole next day.

When I printed my ticket, it said I purchased it in March. I couldn’t believe how quickly time flew. You should have attended the conference in your motor home. Parked right up at the door and hosted a party.

I couldn’t agree more about TSD. He was supposed to be at the conference, but was a no show. If I cared more, I would try and figure out why.


Jacq October 5, 2011 at 9:57 am

LOL, I did that at a wedding once during the photo taking. Got the fridge, got the wine and beer, got the bathroom – that’s all you need. 😉
I must not read anyone’s blog who mentioned it. Unless you did and I somehow missed it? Oh well, I’ll keep my eye out for next year.
I just don’t take advice too much from people who aren’t doing better in an area than I am – or don’t have a life or outlook that I want. That rules out quite a lot of PF blogs – there’s only so much I can keep up with anyway. You will never see me giving relationship advice for instance – but I would certainly listen to yours. 😉


Kris October 6, 2011 at 8:40 am

Jacq, I am happy to dispense relationship advice. Here you go…
Avoid the following: drinkers, druggies,spenders, the unmotivated, the dull, the narcissist.
Instead, ‘catch’ someone who is: smart, ambitious (but not a workaholic), bad habit free (caffeine is ok), a good cook, a willing cook, kind, empathetic, humble, and a good listener.

Let me know when you find him and when the wedding date is. I will rent a Winnebago and provide the wedding reception under a little awning.


Jacq October 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm

A wonderful list! I love to cook, so he can just be a good eater. 😉
My #1 is must like children. People who love children are usually kind.


Paula @ Afford Anything October 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I loved Pat’s speech, because both he and JD Roth has similar messages — it’s the voice and personality of the writer, and the stories being told, that make a blog special. Continue telling stories and you’ll have a great blog.

I agree — this conference was WELL worth it. I’ve been to many conferences, some with mediocre benefit. This conference was absolutely 1000% (no that’s not a typo) worth it!


Kris October 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm

It was indeed worth it. It would be great if I could attend next year too, but we will have to see how things go!


Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager October 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

It was so great meeting you at FINCON! My favorite moment was folding cards for the Love Drop event.


Kris October 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

I loved Love Drop. It is amazing how one person can take a bad situation and turn it into something that helps so many people.


Beating Broke October 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Thanks for sharing those thoughts, Kris. I think the overall message that many came away with this weekend was that your story and the voice that you give it is what really matters. I think we’ll all end up with some really good stories to read very soon.


Kris October 6, 2011 at 8:35 am

I commented on this somewhere else too, but isn’t it amazing how not one person said a negative thing about a conference? Amazing.


Barb Friedberg October 6, 2011 at 12:13 am



Kris October 6, 2011 at 8:34 am

Oh me too Barb! Hope your flight home all went well and you were able to get some rest!


Khaleef @ KNS Financial October 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Hey Kris, it was GREAT to finally get to meet you. There was so much great information given at the conference, and I think Pat’s presentation summed it up nicely. I hope you are able to see a change in both of my blogs because of it!


Kris October 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Well, your blogs are both pretty darn good already! It really was great to meet you- I felt like I knew you already!


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