As you know, I’ve recently returned from BlogHer 2014 in San Jose, California. It was my 4th blogging conference, so I feel I have a few takeaways for people who may feel overwhelmed attending conferences or meeting new people.
Plan ahead! What do you hope to get out of this conference? Are you going to meet new people? Do you want to work with sponsors? Can you contact sponsors to schedule meetings ahead of time? Do you have business cards? Is your blog ready to share? Does it need to be cleaned up? Is your brand strong and your content relevant? Do you have a media kit ready to e-mail or share via dropbox? What are you going to wear? Plan to look and act professional, on behalf of your blog/brand.
With the last few conferences I attended I was able to network and meet people ahead of time via a facebook group, twitter, or a private platform. It eases your nerves a little and I find that more and more conferences are making this available for their attendees. You can even meet up with other attendees ahead of time or plan to meet for meals during the conference.
Once you are at the conference, engage everyone around you. Be courteous and greet people. Talk to sponsors you are interested in. Share your business cards and have a short ‘elevator pitch’ about your blog/brand that works itself into normal conversation. Make yourself memorable, in a good way. I like to write notes on cards I receive from people about where I met them so I can contact them later. Remember why you are there and what your goals are. Share photos and quotes on social media using a hashtag to meet more people as well.
I am not a very outgoing person, so this is something hard for me. I get overstimulated and like to take a break in my hotel room, just to unwind and take some deep breaths before going back out into the hustle and bustle of it all. You can also find other like-minded individuals to take a short break with outside of the conference. Don’t feel like you have to be 100% in the conference 100% of the time if it’s not something that makes you happy. This should be fun!
At the end of each day I like to think about my goals and take notes. Am I still on track? Am I happy with my progress? You don’t have to be able to cross off all of your goals at once. Please don’t be too hard on yourself, a little progress is still a step in the right direction. Remember all of those people you met? Contact them afterwards.
My experience at BlogHer this year was positive. If there is anything I’ve learned about conferences it is that you get out of them what you put in. I feel satisfied with my progress for this year and look forward to partnering with some really wonderful companies in the future.
Have you ever been to a blog conference? What are your tips? If not, would you like to go? What would your goals be?