These days, there exists a plethora of conferences that cater or appeal to bloggers. I had always heard that blogger conferences are chockfull of tips, best practices and learned lessons from big brands, start-ups, and of course, experienced bloggers, but I've never really had the time or extra funds to attend. Until recently.
My very first blogger conference experience was this year’s Thrive BlogConference in The Woodlands, TX, hosted by Whitney Hough and Bree Pair. It was everything I imagined it would be and more. I can say wholeheartedly that it was worth the time, money and energy. It was an absolutely incredible experience, both academically and socially, and I really came away from it with new knowledge and a new sense of confidence as a blogger and online influencer. Additionally, I wish to add, if you’re unfriendly, unhelpful, unsupportive, or pretentious, this conference is not for you.
If you’re where I was before the Thrive Conference and wish to be best prepared for your first blogger conference, here are a few tips I learned.
What to Pack
The conference I attended was a 1-day event with a 3-ish hour social event the evening prior. Keep in mind different lengths of various conferences, but here are items I strongly suggest:
- Business cards (I didn’t take enough. Horrible networking when someone asks for your card and you don’t have anymore on-hand.)
- Lip gloss
- A notepad and 2 pens (someone always needs a pen; be the person who has an extra)
- Camera or camera phone
- Phone charger (fortunately, I met the sweetest person at my table who loaned me her charger)
- Conference itinerary
- 5-10 copies of your media kit
- Tablet or laptop (to take notes, pictures, or look up blogs)
You will hear this a lot, but it’s so true. Meeting so many new people can be both intimidating and stressful, but fear not…there will be others exactly like you – bloggers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some are introverts and some don’t stop talking. Undoubtedly, there will be someone you will connect with. Your kindred spirit perhaps.
If you don’t know any bloggers attending your conference, send out tweets, FB messages, or instagram posts and see if you can find other lone bloggers who are in the same boat as you. The social event Thrive hosted just before the conference itself, helped me connect with some truly wonderful people. It made all my experience more welcoming, inviting and home like.
Eat & Rest
Speaking of social events, alcohol is often provided into the AM hours. And while it’s fun to indulge, remember that morning comes early and you will want to feel and look your best.
Conferences usually entail a lot of sit-down class-style sessions, but you will be walking around and standing during breaks. You won’t want your time spent focusing on sore feet. Of course you want to look fashionable and cute, but be aware of being so consumed with how you look that you won’t be comfortable. If you take heels, perhaps pack of pair of flats in your bag.
Put Yourself Out There
Some of my favorite bloggers attended the Thrive Conference (i.e. Rachel from Southern Fairytale) and I imagined I would feel insecure around powerful and successful bloggers like her, but Rachel and the other well-knowns were some of the most lovely, humble people I interacted with. Fabulous as they may be, they’re still human.
Insecurities are brought upon ourselves and it is so common to feel this way when you’re a beginner bloggers, but successful bloggers are no different than you are. They are thriving to survive in the blog world just like you.
Carry a Big Tote
Not lying. You are going to be given so much stuff to take home with you. Between swag, business cards, your wallet, lipstick, cell phone, notepad, computer, snack, camera; make sure you have a large purse or tote to carry all these things.
Yep, warmth. This is your opportunity to be a genuine encourager and nurturer among your peers. Leave a good impression. Better yet, leave an amazing impression. Walk away knowing you did your best to brighten someone’s day or have them leave feeling better about themselves than when they arrived.
Photos courtesy of Meg Cady.