If you’ve been blogging for very long, you have probably considered attending a blogging conference. There are many each year. Some are focused on a particular niche and others are more general. Some are small and intimate, others are huge and overwhelming, but there is certainly something for everyone.
One of my favorite conferences to attend and one I often recommend is the Type A Conference. PSMM is pleased to be a media parter for the Type A Conferences this year. While Type A Philly is already sold out, tickets are now on sale to the main Type A Conference in Atlanta on Sept 27-29, 2013.
If you’ve never attended a blogging conference before, Type A is perfect for the conference newbie because it is small and intimate, the organizers and attendees are welcoming and friendly, the sessions are meaty but accessible to all levels of blogger, and there is plenty of opportunity to network with the brands who sponsor the conference.
If you are attending a blogging conference, no matter which one you choose to attend, here are some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your experience.
1. Be prepared to walk. A lot.
Some venues are bigger than others, but all blogging conferences require a lot of walking so you will want to reconsider packing those sexy stilettos. Go for a comfortable but stylish shoe, and do NOT break in new shoes at a conference.
2. Bring a bag big enough to hold your laptop, camera and other necessities.
You’re not going to want to trek back to your room between every session, so bring something big enough to hold all your stuff. I love my Kelly Moore Libby bag because it holds my laptop, dSLR camera, iPhone, biz cards, lip gloss and all the associated cords and batteries.
3. Bring a power strip and extension cord.
The most popular girls at the blogging conferences are the ones with the power strips and extension cords! The seats near the outlets are always taken first, so if your laptop tends to run out of juice, it’s a great idea to tuck a power cord in your bag. And if you have an iPhone, get a Mophie Juice Pack Plus Case and Rechargable Battery. It’s an iPhone case that charges your iPhone as you go. VERY crucial for conferences where your smartphone battery doesn’t stand a chance of lasting the day.
4. Eat dinner.
I’m dead serious about this one. The BIGGEST mistake that I made at my first few blogging conferences was relying on the conference food to get me through. Breakfast and lunch are provided, and there will be some nibbles at the nighttime events, but you need to plan dinner into your schedule. Trust me. The last thing you need is to get home from a weekend away feeling like you didn’t have a decent meal for three days. Your family deserves a healthy, energetic mommy coming back to them, so take care of yourself!
5. Dress for YOU.
The question of “what to wear” is always a doozie, but I stand by the “be yourself” advice. Definitely put some thought into your outfits, but don’t go out and buy a bunch of stuff you’ll never wear again. Shop your closet and purchase only what you need — maybe a new pair of shoes or an accessory or two. You will be more confident if you are wearing clothes that you feel comfortable in. During the day, you will see people wearing everything from jeans and flip-flops to business attire. I generally opt for the middle ground. I usually wear my typical jeans and cardis during the daytime.
Some conferences have dressy nighttime events. Check it out beforehand, and come prepared with at least one nice dressy outfit just in case. This is the time to break out the high heels, if you want to!
6. Bring lots of business cards.
You will want to share your business cards with other bloggers as well as brands that you connect with. I highly recommend business cards with photos so people will be able to put your face with your name when they get back home and go to sift through those 242 business cards. Don’t be afraid to make notes on the cards you receive — to remind yourself when you get home who you wanted to follow up with and about what. Also, I do NOT recommend odd sized business cards. They are hard to keep track of. Be original in your design, but use a standard sized business card. It’s more professional.
7. Schedule some “me time”.
I won’t lie to you. Blogging conferences are a bit overwhelming — especially for first-timers. In fact, I highly recommend scheduling some downtime into your weekend. I have no problem skipping out on a meal or a session to spend an hour by myself in my room. Whatever it is that helps you recharge, make time for that, and don’t apologize for it.
8. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.
I say this to newbies as well as old-timers. We all need to be willing to put ourselves out there. Don’t stick with your three besties all weekend. Sit with someone you don’t know. Introduce yourself to that blogger that you’ve always admired. And if you see someone who looks lost or lonely, certainly invite them to sit down with you. Don’t close yourself off. Look around, make eye contact, and SMILE.
And if you DO attempt to reach out to someone and don’t get the positive reaction you were hoping for, show some grace. Maybe she’s distracted, maybe she’s as overwhelmed as you are, maybe something is going on at home. You don’t know, so don’t assume someone is being a snob if she doesn’t welcome you with open arms.
9. Be professional at all times.
After blogging conferences, there are always stories of bloggers partying a little too hard, cat fights over swag, stealing products from vendors and all sorts of bad behavior. Brands are watching, other bloggers are watching, and the outside world is watching. Be one of the ones that give mom bloggers a good name!
10. Have fun!