Why I Don't Speak At Conferences


Author: Daniel Cuttridge

Conferences are great for attendees, bringing them knowledge from multiple different speakers in a short amount of time. They gain a lot of knowledge, for not a whole lot of effort - attendees maximize their input. Super efficient, smart...

Conferences for content creators, are another matter. I have always felt that the output is low... Most conferences can only hold a finite number of attendees; if the same talk were put online onto a blog the reach is limitless.

This is why I don't speak at conferences.

Now, I'm not going to pretend I have endless people knocking down my door asking me to do so, no, that doesn't happen... That said, I have had multiple offers to do so (saying no even earned me a lot of hassle one time).

What has been the case, is that I have been asked - more times than I can count - why I don't do conferences. So for the record...

I think conferences are a great thing for learning, I also know a lot of people enjoy being able to network with others in person. I'm just not that kind of guy. I got into working on the web before it was respectable to do so. Earned a lot of hassle for that, too. I just wanted to be left alone to do what I saw as important work. This hasn't changed.

I think there has been a bit of a trend of content creators getting excellent results ($$$) from speaking at conferences. I think this is why in the SEO industry, as an example, there are less bloggers than ever. People abandoned them for speaking. Many just want to go the social media route and speak at conferences.

If there is a reason for the bizarre regularity that I get asked why I don't speak at conferences, I think it is this one... Conferences are great value for attendees, and so attendees tend to conflate this - associating the speakers with the total value received. That's my theory! I've given away a lot of information over the years, and this would seem like a move people would expect me to make - if they conflated the value, as I suspect they do.

So conferences are great value - no argument. My main argument is that it doesn't provide the most output in terms of reach, and that is why I don't do it. Plus, it's not my medium, and I'd butcher a talk. Honestly.