I just got back from my very first blog conference, and it was a whirlwind of excitement. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but I quickly learned a few tips to help me navigate the crowds and the sessions. Here are some tricks to help you make the most of your time at a conference.
Have a Plan: Before I arrived at the conference itself, I knew which bloggers I wanted to meet, what sessions I planned to attend, and what connections I hoped to make. This made it easy to check them off my list, and I was able to concentrate on my specific goals while there. I contacted a few people beforehand, so it was easy to find them in the sea of attendees at the conference. I also carried the day’s schedule with me along with a pad and pen for notes, and I knew where the sessions were located. That made it easy to find a good seat in plenty of time to hear each presentation.
Business Cards: If your blog is your brand, then business cards are essential. While creative cards are popular, simple is always good, and there are many places online that make cards for a great deal. Be sure to include your name, your blog’s name, your email address, and your preferred social media outlets, so bloggers and sponsors can contact you easily. And once you exchange cards with someone, don’t forget to jot down a little something about them on the back. That will help you remember each person when you review cards later.
Know What to Say: It’s a blogging conference, so people will want to hear about your blog. Be prepared to share your name, your blog’s name, and what it’s about while waiting in line for the elevator. Casual chitchat is an easy way to make connections, and you might end up exchanging business cards while waiting to use the ladies’ room!
Be Flexible: Though it’s great to have a basic plan in place, give yourself some wiggle room at conferences. It’s okay to miss a session if you’re chatting with a blogger or sponsor, and making personal connections is important, too. The wintry weather was a major factor at my conference, and it delayed several sessions, as well as my arrival the first morning. It was completely out of my control, so I tried to relax and not worry too much. Conferences can be loud and overwhelming, so be sure to take breaks as needed for sanity’s sake.
Have Fun: Blog conferences are a great way to learn, find inspiration, and network, but they can also be a place to find new friends. It’s normal to be anxious, especially when attending the first time, but everyone else feels the same way, so try not to worry too much! Relax and enjoy the scenery, as well as the fantastic outfits, and you’ll have a wonderful time!