Editor’s Note: During the month of November, we’ll be featuring posts from last year’s Scholarship winners, who’ll discuss their first-time impressions of attending the Dad 2.0 Summit. Our first contributor is Chris Giroux, who originally posted this on his new family adventure blog, Roadiculous.
The first words of advice when starting this personal blogging adventure were daunting and vague. I processed statements like “content is king” as license to churn out meaningless blog posts. I was focused on quantity over quality. My writing wasn’t very engaging, and I couldn’t encourage readers to return.
Instead of finding my voice, I obsessed over numbers. I figured (brand) offers would go to the guy with the largest social following. While largely true, the best marketers know better. I rarely felt connected to the brands I worked with and it was beginning to show in my work. Old posts became templates for new posts, and neither were generating traffic.
Up until the annual conference of dad influencers, Dad 2.0, I was suspicious of blog conferences and motivations. Attendees of parenting conferences often rave about their 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.
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, 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. I wanted a ticket.
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 more men can enjoy the roundtable experience.
Uniting with the men I’ve come to know only through a Facebook chat room was energizing. So many, like myself, were new to the conference; many of us were nervous. Veterans congregate while marketers mingle, some of us melt into corners. I learned something about confidence over that short 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 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. Dad 2.0 Summit provides an outlet for brands that are genuinely interested in dads.
And that brings me back to the mistakes I made right out of the blogging starting gate. This conference taught me to be confident and love what I’m writing about. This new blog, about the journey ahead for myself and family, is something I am uber-excited to begin sharing with audiences. We already have plans to sail our RV into Washington D.C. for Dad 2.016, and I hope you’ll join us.