I received a discounted conference ticket in exchange for this post. All opinions and ideas are my own. May contain affiliate links. #SoFabUOTR #cbias
A little over a year ago I was preparing for my first ever in-person blogging conference. I was super nervous, had no idea what to expect, what to do…or what to wear (that seemed to be a common concern)! Luckily I had friends who helped give me some tips, and now I’m passing on that wisdom with these 10 Best Tips for Attending a Blog Conference!
Now, I’m not saying I’m an expert by any means! I do have some experience with conferences now, and am currently prepping for a couple more this month! I was so excited there were some here in Dallas, TX that made it pretty much too easy to say no….so I said YES!
On May 30th I’ll be getting with about 50 other fabulous bloggers at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center for the raved about SoFabU on the Road! It’s going to be a chuck-full day of chatting with other amazing bloggers, fantastic brands and learning more information than I could hope for – such as How to Use Social Media to Drive Blog Traffic. The main speaker? My friend Randi Dukes of Dukes and Duchesses, a craft and DIY blog!
Randi’s blog went from a hobby into a business in the last few years, and she’s passionate about using social media to promote and monetize it. She’s one of those people that I really admire, and I can’t wait to learn about her strategies that built her over half a million combined followers on her social media channels.
They recently announced ‘The Adventure’ portion – we’re going behind the scenes for a photography/video lesson while learning from top Chef’s at some of the Gaylord Texan’s award-winning restaurants, plus walking around their 4.5 acres of indoor gardens and waterways. Yup, I pretty much yelled ‘Woot woot’!!!
I also can’t wait to talk to some of the great sponsors like Johnny Rockets, Müller, Kraft and iBl
Tip #1: Making Friends is Easy – so Be Social!
I’m a shy person initially, but once I feel comfortable with someone I’m a total talker! I slowly learned, after attending more conferences and socializing, that I had the best time when I just pushed myself to be friendly and go outside my comfort zone. You never know who you’ll ‘click’ with, so reach out – just start with a ‘hello’ and go from there!
Tip #2: Bring Business Cards
You’re going to be meeting so many bloggers and brands, you WANT to stay organized…the best way is with business cards. Keep theirs (hole punch them and use a binder ring to keep them together). It keeps your mind from going crazy trying to remember everyone’s details, and it’s much easier to follow up after the conference!
Tip #3: It’s Ok to Use the Camera on Your Phone
I know this isn’t EVERYONE’S opinion, but most that I know agree that it’s just a pain to carry around a DSLR. Many of the pics you want are general ‘fun’ and candid ones – it’s difficult to get these when you’re pulling out the massive camera and messing with settings. You’ll stress a lot less by just using you phone camera. This tip alone saved my sanity at my first conference!
Tip #4: Notebooks are a Must, Laptops are Optional
You’ll want to take notes – LOTS of notes! You definitely need a notebook and something to write with (or a couple – you never know when your pen will run-out mid-session). But again, lugging around a big piece of tech isn’t going to be fun or help you feel more comfortable, so a laptop is up to you. It could also die in the middle of the day, then you’re either carrying around a useless, getting-heavy laptop or racing back to your room to put it away and missing out on more socializing.
Tip #5: Dress Comfortably
I know, we all want to look our best when meeting other bloggers and brands – but don’t go overboard and make yourself miserable the whole time! Stick to your favorite pieces that you NORMALLY wear; don’t feel like you have to go out and buy a new wardrobe. Also keep in mind that conference rooms can really vary in temperature – you could be freezing in one session, then sweating in another – so be flexible and do layers.
Tip #6: Use Your Social Media – Everyone Else Will Be!
In general public, it’s considered rude to sit there on your phone while you’re talking to someone. When you’re surrounded by bloggers, it’s the norm, so do it! I’m not saying never talk to someone while making eye-contact, but join everyone else is sharing about the conference, your new friends and all the fun on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, whatever.
Tip #7: Back-up Batteries can Save Your Life – or at Least Your Phone!
My first conference, the biggest frustration I had (and several others) was our phones dying part-way into the day. We have much more social media to do and pictures to take! I bought a battery back-up before my last conference, and it was a life-saver!
Tip #8: Don’t Try to Learn Everything 100% the First Time
You’re going to be hearing so much excellent information, and if you’re like me you’ll want to go implement ALL of it right away. Do NOT do that! Your brain will go crazy trying to process all of that, plus the whole time issue. Make notes of the top things you think would be BEST to do immediately, and address those very shortly after you get home. Keep your notes on the rest for down the road.
Tip #9: Perfect Your Blogger Elevator Pitch
Every time you meet a new person or brand, you’ll probably repeat your elevator pitch. What IS an elevator pitch? Basically it’s you describing yourself and your blog in 60 seconds or less. Your name, blog name and what it’s about. Difficult, I know – I’m still trying to perfect mine!
Tip #10: You’re Never the ‘Newest’ Blogger
I could have sworn I’d be the newest, smallest blogger at my first conference – and this affected how social I was willing to be! I wouldn’t even TRY to talk to ‘the big’ bloggers because my thought was ‘I’m nothing compared to them, why would they want to talk to me’. First of all – that’s entirely NOT true! They want to be friends with you regardless of the size of your blog! Secondly, there’s ALWAYS someone there that’s newer, smaller, quieter, whatever than you are. It’s a huge assortment of people – so don’t let that affect how much you get from your conference!
Bonus Tip: Have Fun and Don’t Stress!
Seriously, I always kick myself when I stress unnecessarily about a conference because I always end up having the most amazing time (even the one where I got sick and sounded like a toad the ENTIRE time)! It’s going to be great, you’ll learn lots and meet so many fabulous people – so just have fun and go with the flow!
SoFabU on the Road Events are open to all bloggers and influencers! Go check out their website to find them at a city near you!