Why you should go to VidCon Anaheim

(3 min read) Make money, meet friends, and learn about the state of the business - how to get the best return on your time at VidCon as a Creator

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VidCon Anaheim is my favorite event of the year - I like it better than Christmas. 

(Don’t tell my mother-in-law)

Over the years, I’ve attended in very different capacities, including:

  • Suit-wearing talent agent representing Featured Creators

  • Impoverished founder sleeping in friends’ spare beds (thanks Kenny and Luke)

  • Patreon leader overseeing a team of Creator-schmoozers

  • Creator speaking on panels and drumming up business from industry folks

That last point is the one that should matter to you, and the biggest reason YOU should invest in going to VidCon Anaheim.

I’ll explain, but first - I’m giving away two (2) VidCon passes and $1000 for travel!

Win 2 tickets to VidCon + $1,000 cash!

We're giving away two Industry Track passes to VidCon, taking place from June 26 to 29, 2024 at the Anaheim Convention Center! To make the experience even more worthwhile for you and a friend, we’re also covering travel and accommodation with $1,000 cash (a $2,698 total prize value). 

Industry Track passes give you access to all four days of the event, including dedicated networking and peer-to-peer learning sessions - three of which I will be leading. Exciting, right?

Creators who attend VidCon and actually network can make it a profitable trip.

Last year, I went to VidCon Anaheim as a Creator for the first time. I spoke on a panel, and then spent the evenings going to parties and reconnecting with old friends in the hotel lobby bars.

I ran into a Creator I had interviewed for this newsletter, Rishi Jethi, in the Hilton bar one night and he introduced me to a startup founder. The conversation I had there led to a few months of pitching, and that founder eventually became a client. Their business yielded a >10x return on investment for the cost of the week. 

That’s the thing about VidCon - everyone is there with some sort of business goal.

As a rule, all of the industry folks at VidCon are looking to build their businesses. They want to sign Creators, work out partnerships,  and figure out ways for their companies to grow. They’re there to learn, but also to network and make deals.

Creators, on the other hand, rarely come with specific goals in mind.

Most Creators go to VidCon because they want to see other Creator friends, or for a chance to meet some of their fans, or for a few nights of partying and some VIP treatment. They often spend most of the day in their rooms, go to Creator-only hangouts and parties, and avoid networking with the industry side.

That’s both a mistake for them and an opportunity for you - if you’re willing to get outside your comfort zone and do some business networking.

Be where the right action is.

For security reasons, there’s a whole different hotel for the Featured Creators - the Hyatt.. Of course, lots of Creator attendees who aren’t featured want to see those Creators, maybe run into and chat with them - and so they work hard to get wristbands to get into the Hyatt, and then spend a lot of time there.

It’s a clout thing.

The thing is - the companies that are in the Hyatt are companies who either aren’t making deals with Creators, or are only looking to work with the biggest Creators. Think YouTube, TikTok, Patreon, etc. as well as megabrands spending hundreds of thousands to sponsor VidCon.

In business, the Hyatt would be considered a “Red Ocean” for Creators trying to get business (the same could be said about the Creator Track at VidCon, where Creators go to meet and learn from other Creators).

It’s a gruesome analogy: where there are lots of sharks hunting and fighting each other for the same prey, there’s blood in the water. 

If brand, platform, and startup budgets are the “prey”, you’re a shark - and you don’t want to get into a red ocean unless you’re a bigger, stronger shark than the rest. With Creators like MrBeast hanging around the Hyatt, that might be tough.

Meanwhile, most startups, boutique services companies, and small-to-mid-sized brands - the kinds of companies that are open to business with a wider variety of Creators, and are much easier to pitch if you’re not a megacreator - are in the Industry track networking area and the hotel lobbies attached to the convention center (the Hiton and the Marriott).

Since they don’t have access to the Hyatt, they don’t get much contact with Creators. This isn’t just a theory - several execs wrote about it last year, including Orca founder Max Benator:

I met an exec from the UK in the Hilton lobby. He spent $30k+ to fly his team out to Anaheim to meet and sign creators. His team, all with Industry passes, had no access to the Hyatt and wondered what the hell they were doing in Anaheim if they can't even get into the 'creator hotel'. 

Every exec in the Marriott and Hilton is dying to spend time with Creators directly. They want to figure out how to work with Creators in a mutually–beneficial way - otherwise, they wouldn’t be at VidCon.

For Creators, the Marriott, Hilton, and Industry tracks of VidCon would be considered a “Blue Ocean”. There isn’t much competition there (in the form of other Creators), so you have a much better chance of catching “prey” and getting business done.

If you’re willing to invest in a VidCon trip (or if you win a pass from one of our giveaways!), treat it like the business networking opportunity it is, and stick to the blue ocean areas (Hilton, Marriott, Industry Track).

You’ll likely end up getting some real business out of it. 

There are other reasons I love VidCon:

  • It’s a chance to spend time with industry friends

  • There’s a ton to learn from the programming and conversations

  • I get to sleep uninterrupted in a hotel room for two straight nights (I’m a dad, so this is big)

At the end of the day, though, VidCon is a business investment, and it’s one that’s always paid off for me. If you do it right, it could also pay off for you, and that’s why you should go to VidCon Anaheim.

By the way - I’ll be hosting a variety of events, panels, and meetups, and I’d love to see you in person, so let me know if you’ll be there!

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Written by Avi Gandhi, edited by Melody Song,
powered by TheFutureParty

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