How to Prepare for a Blogging Conference

As a blogger I could not wait to attend my first blogging conference. I remember how excited I was when I bought my first ticket and booked my room. Then when it all sank in I got nervous. I had no idea what to expect and anxiety kicked in. 

I started questioning if I made the right choice. Why am I going? What do I need to do when I get there. Blogging like parenting does not come with a manual. So often we are just winging it. Figuring it all out as we go along. I reached out to some friends and asked them what should I expect? How do I prepare for a blogging conference? They gave me some great information and pointed me to many useful posts online.It really helped calm me down and put my mind to ease. 

Almost four years later I have now attended a few different blogging conferences and with that my confidence has grown. I attended Blissdom in the USA, Blissdom Canada, TBEX, LINK, ShesConnected and Bloggy Con.  They all have their unique aspects and are all very different. However preparing for each is pretty much the same. 

how-to-prepare-for-blogging-conference

How to Prepare for a Blogging Conference

Research

Before attending research who is going to be there. Often the conference will create lists on Twitter of attendees, speakers, sponsors and community leaders. Follow those listed, interact and get to know them. This will help you narrow down who you want to meet, hear and connect with. You can also set up lunch meetings, coffee dates etc ahead of time if wanted.

On the conference site there will also be a list of sponsors. I suggest reading up on them and preparing your pitch ahead of time. Looking at who you want to meet with will save you time once there. Especially in a large conference where many attendees will be flooding the halls. Knowing a bit more about each brand is always helpful before meeting face to face as well. 

Also research the agenda. What events are planned and is there a dress code? You may want to pack differently for weather if out doors at all or a themed party is planned, than you would if you were just in sessions all day. If this information is not listed on the conference site, email the coordinator or tweet them. They are happy to answer your questions and guide you in the right direction. 

How to pack and dress

Well this often depends on you and what you are comfortable with. I prefer comfort in the form of jeans and running shoes as you are often on your feet a long time. But many are ok wearing heels and dresses. Just be you and wear what makes you comfortable. I mix it up and bring extra items to fit as needed. If your blog is your business and you are looking to make business connections with other bloggers and sponsors, dress like you would for a job interview. “Dressy casual” works well. After all you are making a first impression. 

What you need to bring

Nothing worse than getting there and not having things you need. The following I find I always need at a blogger conference no matter what the theme.

Power bars and chargers for your devices– So many bloggers plugged in, so little outlets. Even in your room you would be surprised how handy this is

Business cards– Having business cards with your contact info and social media/blog links is a must. The more your card stands out, the better as reps will be getting lots

A positive attitude– Nothing makes the experience worst than a Debbie Downer. Be open to hearing other peoples ideas, trying new experiences and saying YES! You will be glad you did. we all have room to grow. 

Something to connect to the internet– WiFi is usually available throughout the conference for free. You want to support the brands you are meeting, coordinate lunch, a meeting etc. Best way is on social media. So bring your phone, iPad, tablet or laptop to do this. Your followers will also appreciate quotes from speakers, tidbits of info, tips and updates from the conference. 

Pen and paper– Some times keeping notes or writing down a tip or contact is best done in a note pad. 

If you arrive and are not prepared in anyway, do not worry! The blogging community for the most part is very kind and supportive. Often people will share notes, follow up by email and let you plug into their power bar. Be yourself and be friendly! Everything will fall into place. Many speakers share links to their sessions so you can read more later. 

Special needs

If you have dietary needs, accessibility requirements etc make sure to reach out to the organizers ahead of time. I have found them to be very accommodating as long as they know ahead of time and can prepare. Nothing worse than not being able to eat the breakfast or access the sessions because they are all up three flights of stairs after paying for a ticket. 

I realize my conference style is a bit different than my friends. And what works for me, may not work from them, so I asked around and here is what they have to say;

Bring lots of business cards to blog conferences, in order to continue conversations with other bloggers and corporate prospects. 
www.snymed.com

Be yourself – enjoy yourself! Don’t feel pressured or intimidated by others or where they are in their blog journey! Do you! Pegcitylovely.com

Bring all the devices you want (phone/iPad) plus charging devices, but don’t forget a pen and paper. You may find you prefer the “old school” way of taking notes. DO NOT try to carry your laptop with you around the conference all day. Keep it in your room for later. Best to come with your own data plan on your phone. WiFi isn’t always reliable at conferences with so many people trying to use it. http://www.canadianbloghouse.com

“Understand that everyone feels a little anxiety and excitement but realize that there are just as many bloggers there looking up to you as ones you look up to. Relax, enjoy and take everything in you can without overwhelming yourself.” http://answerthetullyphone.com

Dress comfortably and wear comfy shoes. It is not a fashion show. Bring a sweater as many conference halls are air conditioned. Kick Ass Living 

Try to get all work for clients, your own blog out of the way ahead of time. Even when you have “free time” at a conference, I find I want to use it to talk to brands or other attendees or just for a much needed information overload break and you’ll have less time and motivation to do that other work than you think! Creative Cynchronicity 

Dress professionally. Wear comfortable shoes. Have sufficient business cards on hand as well as a container or holder for the cards you will collecting for others. Bring a tablet instead of a laptop (much lighter), carry chargers on you at all times but also carry a pen/notebook. Be friendly, courteous and kind to those who may not know many people. Most of all, have fun and connect. CanadianMomEh

Prepare a 30-second elevator pitch. Journey of the Zoo

Bloggers are professionals and conferences are professional experiences. A social drink is fine, but getting sloppy fall down drunk at a business event is unprofessional. Thanks. http://www.thriftymommastips.com/

I always take a sec to write on the business cards I receive what we discussed, and include any bits of info to remind me who I was talking to. Examples: the one with purple glasses … or, said would provide giveaway product and to contact on two weeks. It’s always good to include reminders of what you discussed in your email.

http://www.mybitsandbleeps.com

“trust me this is so true wear comfortable shoes because your feet will thank you later..trust me” http://cindysloveofbooks.com

 If you suck at small talk then practice it in the mirror. Always introduce people you are talking to. Mommy’s Weird

 I realize some of these are more what to do/bring, but they all help 🙂 

Read more about how to prepare for a blogging conference on these posts 

5 Must Do Things Before a Blog Conference 

Preparing for Blog Conferences 

5 Reasons to Attend a Blog Conference 

Stop Telling Me What To Wear To A Blog Conference!

If you are headed to your first blogging conference or you thirty-first, have an open mind, share your thoughts (in a respectful manner) and have fun! Most of all, make friends, the best connections usually come from the most unexpected of places. 

Do you have any tips to add on how to prepare for a blogging conference? Please share below

Comments

  1. CanadianMomEh says

    Great post and tips! Thanks for sharing.
    My recent post What is Acupressure and how can it help you? #health #wellness

  2. Great information! This will be my first conference I am very excited to be going, but unsure as to what to expect and what will be expected of me.
    Thank you for positing this.

  3. sandy frink says

    great contest

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