Last month, I attended my first blogging conference ever, BlogHer ’14 in San Jose, California. I was excited and a little nervous. Before going, I searched for posts with advice and tips from bloggers who had previously gone and read something’s that really helped me out. So when I got back, I decided to share some practical tips that I learned and will hopefully help you out.
10 Tips for Attending a Blogging Conference:
1. Pack comfortable shoes
I put this as the first tip because good shoes saved my feet. I did a lot of walking and standing and more walking. The first day I worn more ‘fashionable’ shoes but my feet really felt it at the end of the day so for the rest of the conference, it was my most comfortable sandals. And you can always find comfortable shoes that also look great. My favourite stores for that are Naturalizer and Soft Moc.
2. Bring a good way to store business cards
Be prepared to give out and receive a lot of business cards! Take at least 100 with you. You’ll need a good way to store the business cards you get so you don’t lose all the connections you make before you get home. My awesome roommate at Blogher, Crystal at Sew Creative Blog gave me a roomie gift, a hole punch with a big ring attached. This way I could safely store every business card right as I got it.
Another friend and blogger Kerrie over at Family Food and Travel also had another great idea. She carried a a small container with two compartments perfect for giving and getting business cards. She picked up this beauty at Staples.
3. You’ll need an extra bag to take home all your swag
I heard this a lot before going to my first conference but I still thought, really, how much will we actually get? So I did bring a backpack which I thought would fit everything but I was wrong. We got so much swag that I had to use a bigger bag and even leave stuff behind so I could close the bag and bring it home!
4. Don’t over pack
I thought I packed really well. I planned every outfit before I packed so I had an outfit for each morning and each evening. It ended up being way to many clothes! Most days there was no time to change in the evening or I was too exhausted or in a rush to bother with an outfit change. My shower either happened early in the morning or right before bed. I’d suggest clothes that mix and match well together. Bring one outfit for each day, pj’s, comfortable shoes, bathing suit (if your hotel has a pool,) an oufit for the closing party and a comfortable ensemble for flying home. Oh, and of course undergarments, toiletries and definitely deodorant!
5. Bring a wireless mobile phone charger
Being at a blogging conference, you’ll be taking tons of photos, tweeting, Instagraming and Facebooking which will drain your battery, fast. Invest a little money in a wireless cell phone charger, it’ll be worth it!
6. Be friendly
This one is so important. Be open to talking, smile when you see someone new, strike up a conversation. Everyone there is a blogger too, so you’ll always have something to talk about. And you’ll not only end up with lots of new contacts you’ll probably make some really great friends!
7. Be prepared to be tired
Blogging conferences are full of sessions during the day, meals and then get togethers and parties in the evening so you’re probably not going to get as much sleep as you usually do, just a warning so be prepared and maybe drink some extra coffee or green tea.
8. Plan ahead
There are going to be a lot of sessions and workshops at the conference so it’s a good idea to look at the schedule ahead of time. This way you can read the descriptions and pick what you really want to attend. If there is more than one session you want to attend but it’s at the same time, do what my roommate and I did. Each go to one session, take great notes and then share the notes with each other on what you learned.
9. Bring a pen & notebook or your laptop
You’ll be learning a lot and you’ll need something to write down the things you want remember. Make sure to bring a notebook and pen or a laptop to record all your notes.
10. And last but definitely not least, have fun!!!
Those are are my conference tips, from the experience of a newbie. Hopefully you found them helpful. If you’re a veteran at conferences, what other tips would you share?
*All opinions in this post are 100% mine.