I had the opportunity to attend my very first blog conference last weekend and boy did I learn a lot! If you have the opportunity to attend a conference, I highly recommend it. No matter if you have been blogging for 6 months, 10 years or maybe you haven’t even started your blog- there are all sorts there and everyone is welcome. As a blogger, we are constantly looking for new ways to help grow our blog, inspire creative ideas, and meet other like minded individuals. I’m here today to tell you a few easy steps you can do before, during and after the conference to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.
BEFORE (What to pack):
- Comfy clothes and a jacket -Us girls are notorious for overpacking and I wholeheartedly admit that I am also infected with the overpacking disease. It is a blessing and curse but when you are only there for a short time packing light and efficient is the best way to go! Plan each specific outfit that you will need and leave the rest at home. My biggest piece of advice is to dress comfortable. You can see what I wore to the conference here. I decided to go comfy cute but you see it all! Next time I would wear jeans, a cute top and my comfiest shoes. Don’t forget to bring a jacket. Our conference room was FREEZING. You won’t be able to concentrate if you are shivering!
- Business cards– If you are debating if you need them the answer is 100% YES. Have lots handy at all times. You will be giving them out like candy. I invested in the Moo.com “Luxe” business cards and got so many compliments. They were well worth the extra penny to standout in the sea of business cards that were flying around. Stay tuned on a blog post talking all about how to design your blog business cards.
- Notebook & pen– I suggest writing things down rather than taking notes on your laptop. This way you will actually focus on what the speakers are saying and not have distractions popping up on your computer. Invest in a cute notebook like this one so you will enjoy taking notes. Cute planners= more notes 🙂 Don’t just take notes on the speakers, take notes on everyone you meet as well. You will meet so many people that they are going to start running together. Jot down something to remember each person by.
- Smart Phone & Back-up charger– Thank goodness the ladies that put on the conference thought of it all and put charging stations in the conference room but I’m sure this is not always the case. So if you have a back-up phone charger, charge that thing up and bring it. It will be like gold! Use your smart phone to take pics and snapchats during the conference because obvi your friends/readers need to know what you are doing at all times!
- A big ol’ bag– Instead of bringing 3 bags ( a purse, a laptop case, etc), invest in a cute all-in-one bag such as this. The less stuff you have, or appear to have, the easier it is to get around. I highly suggest bringing a bag big enough to put all of your essentials in, a notebook + pen, if you want to bring your laptop or DSLR, and last but not least plenty of room for all of the swag you are going to get because chances are you are gonna get a lot of stuff from vendors. Score!
- DSLR & Laptop– Personally I do not see the use for these unless there is a speaker that is specifically talking about a subject where you will need them. Otherwise leave them at home and go old school with your phone, notebook and pen.
Lastly this is not a packing tip but one I think is important to point out. If the conference you are going to has a facebook page make sure you join the group beforehand. This will serve as a source of information and a way to connect with others before and after the conference.
- Get out of your bubble- Chances are you are going to know at least one person at the conference, if not a handful of other bloggers. Use this time to network and reach out to others. You can never have too many friends and chances are you are going to learn something new with each new person you meet. Conferences are great places to build up your tribe. If you haven’t already read why growing your blogger tribe is a necessity check it out here. But it’s crazy how everyone is just so bottled up with information that they are ready to spew all of their blogging tips and tricks. It is not every day that you have that many bloggers in one place so have questions? Here is the place to ask! I would venture to say that I learned just as much from other bloggers as I did from the amazing speakers! Not every little thing is going to be profound but it is something new!
- Talk to the speakers– Do your research before the conference on who will be speaking and decide who you are most excited to hear. For me since I just purchased a camera for the blog, I was most excited to hear Megan Weaver speak about blogger photographer. I made a point during one of the breaks to seek her out, introduce myself, and create a connection so that if I were to ever need pictures or some sort of photography advice there would be more likely of a chance that she would want to connect again. Remember this is also a good time to pick the speakers brains about any specific questions they did not answer during their presentation. You paid good money to be here so get your money’s worth!
- Put your phone down– Stay off of your phone and social media as much as possible. Soak up every bit of knowledge that the brilliant speakers will be pouring out. Plus there is a good chance there will be a professional photographer documenting the conference and you don’t want your nose buried in your phone the entire time, that’s embarrassing!
- Send thank you notes to the speakers– In a sea of hundreds of bloggers a simple, hand-written thank you note will go such a long way. As multiple speakers pointed out, the bloggersphere is saturated with bloggers and anything that you can do to make yourself stand out, do it!
- Connect via social media– You’ve made all of these connections now what do you do? Well you connect on every single form of social media like it’s your job. You can bet you are going to gain a whole new following to your instagram, facebook, pinterest and everything else.
- Feeling inspired? Don’t stop now!– You are probably going to be on a “blogger high” once you are done with the conference. Well after you decompress, drink your obligatory glass of wine and take a long nap then you are totally going to feel super inspired. Did you hear of any blog post ideas that got your creative juices flowing? Sit down and plan out a few posts, jot down things that you want to implement from the conference, and then make plans to carry all of these things out. Ride that blogger high as long as you can!
I know it was a bit longer of a post than usual but hopefully it will help a few of you out that get the opportunity to attend a blog conference! Like I said before, you see it all. Every type of blogger, all realms of blog categories, some pros, some newbs, vloggers (video bloggers), you name it- they are probably there. Last but not least don’t forget to have fun! Yes you are going for the learning experience but it is so much more than that! It’s a chance to connect with people just like you and how often does that really happen? There are only so many times that you can share blog statistics with your family before they go insane. Bloggers on the other hand? The limit does not exist 🙂