“The best investment you can make is in yourself.” — Warren Buffet
Content marketing, social media, productivity. Our lives and work now require so much of us. Sometimes it is hard to know what to focus on. But underneath all the skills is you. There is no greater return on investment than investing in yourself.
Yearly conferences are a wonderful way to up your writing skills and give your creativity a boost. You learn, you network, and you open to new possibilities. You make connections that can last a lifetime. But, there is a problem. With so many conferences out there you can end up spending more than the value you get out of it if you do not choose carefully. That’s why we are bringing you this guide to help you decide which conferences from Summer 2018 to Spring 2019 will be most valuable to you as a writer, freelancer or creative.
If you are looking for marketing-focused conferences, check out The Ultimate List of Marketing Conferences: Summer 2018 to Spring 2019. And to help you generate ideas for stories, please also check out our 2018 Editorial Foresight Calendar Template, complete with 300+ notable dates and events.
Top Conferences for Freelance Writers and Creative Professionals Through Spring 2019Anyone going to one of these conferences for creatives? #freelancewriting #writerslife #designers #authors Click To Tweet
Dates: August 8-9, 2018
Location: New York, New York
Cost: $175 – $350
Sponsor: SheKnows Media
Description: BlogHer celebrates women content creators who empower through their stories focused on food, beauty, and health.
The summit features keynotes, workshops, and networking opportunities for lady bosses creating content. Sessions will include branding and influencer skills along with profiting from your passions and creating positive change through content creation. BlogHer has featured the best women online over 14 years of conferences. Admission includes keynotes and workshops, networking with brands and influencers, plus official meals and a tote of swag from sponsors. Live your best life through information, inspiration, and innovation
Great for: Women writers, authors, lifestyle bloggers, and social media influencers
Dates: August 10-12, 2018
Location: New York, New York
Cost: $369 – $499 (Depending on how early you book)
Sponsor: Writer’s Digest
Description: “Writer better. Get published. Build your network.” Everything you need to advance your writing career professionally and creatively.
No matter where you find yourself in your writing career, the Writer’s Digest conference can help you sharpen your skills and learn how to pitch your work to literary agents. Writer’s Digest has been nurturing writers at all stages of development for nearly 100 years. Because of this long track record, Writer’s Digest draws top-notch speakers who are in the trenches of the writing and publishing world to help you navigate the craft of writing.
Literary agents and editors come in search of the next big thing in a variety of genres, offering the opportunity to share your work. Part of this conference is the Pitch Slam, which gives you the opportunity to pitch your book directly to agents and editors and get immediate feedback.
Great for: Writers, authors, bloggers, and anyone wanting to develop their writing skills
Dates: September 13-14, 2018
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: $1,495 – $2,395
Sponsor: Innovation Enterprise
Description: Experts in digital publishing come together to innovate the content marketing space.
Though the exact agenda is TBA, the conference covers topics on how to build engagement across multiple platforms and devices. Social media, growth marketing, and building a loyal customer base. This summit will also be discussing virtual reality, how to survive in this changing digital space, storytelling, and fighting those pesky algorithms. “Where cutting-edge martech meets creative.” Speakers include directors and marketing professionals from Amazon, eBay, Tinder and more. The conference will be held at the Bespoke event and coworking spaces in Downtown San Francisco.
Great for: Writers, authors, bloggers, social media managers, digital marketers and content marketers
Dates: October 15-17, 2018 (Pre-conference 13-14)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Cost: $1,295 for Early Bird (by July 31st) – $1,595. Special pricing codes are available here.
Sponsor: Adobe Max
Description: “Join magical thinkers at the annual epicenter of creativity.” The Adobe Max conference provides the information to back the inspiration.
The creative track is set up to help conference attendees learn how to build strong empowered teams, get inspired with passion projects, and develop personal brands. There are also tracks focused on web design, photography, video, and illustration. The conference combines live sessions, creativity workshops, and labs to engage attendees in the learning process. There are even some “Bring your own device” labs so you may learn on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. There is a community pavilion where you can network and build cool stuff.
Great for: Creative directors, photographers, writers, and business strategists
Dates: October 26–28, 2018
Location: Franklin, Tennessee
Cost: $299 – $599 (Standard or Premium Tickets)
Sponsor: Jeff Goins
Description: The Tribe Conference was created by author and blogger Jeff Goins to gather writers, authors and other creative entrepreneurial types together.
The focus is on growing your craft and sharing your work in a way to attract and engage your tribe of fans. As one of Jeff’s books states, “Real artists don’t starve.” The conference teaches participants how to leverage their artistic sides while making a good living and life. Grow your platform and learn how to share your purpose and message. Along with your 2018 conference ticket, you get all the 2017 videos from the previous conference. A conference for clarity and connection.
Great for: Writers, authors, artists, work-from-home entrepreneurs
Dates: November 5-7, 2018
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: $1,115 – $1,395
Description: Where social media and marketing professionals gather for keynotes, networking, and some Texas BBQ.
The focus is on bringing big brands down to an intimate level for learning and inspiration. Last year there were representatives from companies like Facebook and Airbnb. Even Michelle Obama took the stage. Leading the next phase in social with businesses small and large. “From break-out sessions to mainstage keynotes, SmartSocial Summit brings together the smartest minds in social to share, learn, and build meaningful relationships.”
Great for: Writers, artists, work-from-home entrepreneurs, and social influencers
Dates: February 12-13, 2019
Location: Redwood City, California
Cost: $255 until August 31, 2018
Description: Silicon Valley is the place to be to discuss startups, and this conference is sure to deliver. A global startup community of 1,000,000 entrepreneurs, 120 countries, and 350 cities. That is a big network to join together to create this conference.
Attended by industry leaders like Forbes, Slack and Facebook. Make friends that you can grow with and get the resources you need to make your business successful. Brainstorm, write, network and play. Come ready to give and share ideas using top networking technology. “These are our people.” Sam Altman, Y Combinator
Great for: Business owners, startup founders, creative entrepreneurs
Dates: March 8-17, 2019
Location: Austin, Texas
Description: The SXSW® Conference began to help creatives achieve their goals through the celebration of the film and music industries.
Behind BIG ideas are points of inspiration that everyone can learn from. Industry leaders, artists, and filmmakers celebrate music, art, comedy, and technology with exhibits, screenings, and festivals. Meet-ups, lounges, and parties provide the opportunity to make connections that will inspire you to dream bigger. Listen to industry leaders who are changing things up. The 2018 track included everything from coding to experimental storytelling to virtual reality, and 2019 is sure to be a hit. The SXSW® Conference combines mentor sessions, workshops, and roundtable sessions with networking opportunities and media events, so there is a learning style for everyone.
Great for: Writers, authors, artists, filmmakers, YouTubers, musicians
Dates: 7-10 May, 2019
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Sponsor: HOW Design
Description: Helping designers to be more creative and inspired. HOW began as a design magazine and expanded from there to help designers in building connections and improving their skills.
The conference is for designers working with clients and for creative leaders who want to make a positive impact. HOW presents opportunities to test-drive new technologies and gain insight to benefit both your clients and your team — in a four-day event that will improve your whole year. Vendors share implementable resource materials with attendees. Networking opportunities lead to lifelong business connections and friendships. Connect with people, support one another and collaborate on projects.
Great for: Business owners, designers, creative leaders
Dates: May 8-10, 2019
Location: New York, New York
Cost: TBA (Registration opens August 2018)
Description: “A creative knowledge conference of inspirational proportions.” The 99U conference is ready to help you build a creative career you love. Industry leaders come together to bring insights and trends in technology, leadership, productivity and more.
The conference is made up of stage talks, breakout sessions and labs. 99U loves to end their conference with a closing party at the iconic Museum of Modern Art. Past speakers have included well-known writers, entrepreneurs and creatives like Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, and Seth Godin. A great opportunity to network and reignite your creative passions.
Great for: Writers, artists and creative leaders
Dates: June 10-14, 2019
Location: Seattle, Washington
Cost: TBA (Early registration begins July 9, 2018)
Sponsor: Creative Pro Network
Description: “The giants of the Web assemble,” according to The Wall Street Journal. A practical how-to conference with Adobe and ePublishing. PhotoShop and InDesign along with Print and ePublishing topics. This conference will help you bridge the print-to-digital gap while optimizing online design productivity.
The conference focuses on creating a learning environment where you can get your pressing Adobe design and publishing questions answered. Both beginners and experienced designers and illustrators can benefit from productivity tips, learning how to increase the quality of images, creating digital documents, best layouts, and more. You can learn how to work more efficiently both on desktop and mobile. Join Creative Pro in the Emerald City.
Great for: Graphic designers, artists, and publishers
Things to consider about attending creative conferences
Think about your return on investment in terms of both business and personal development. When choosing a conference also think about your distance, travel time and hotel options. Many conference websites give suggested hotels and some even offer discounts to conference attendees. Be sure to get the most out of the networking opportunities by having business cards ready or consider a more unique handout to share with all the new friends you will meet. Don’t forget to make sure your online portfolio has been freshly updated as well. Try to relax and be present in the moment to get the most out of each opportunity. Be sure to take great notes too and lots of them. Use a note-taking app to record details about people you meet to follow up with them later. A good conference can be a game changer in your life and career.
Most of all enjoy, learn and grow.
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