It’s that time of year again when many of us bloggers are making final decisions on what blogger conferences to attend. If you’re anything like me then you may be working on a budget and trying to determine what conference will be the best fit for you and your blog. Since the conference itself, along with travel and hotel stays can add up to hundreds of dollars you’ll definitely want to have a game plan in place to get “more bang for your buck” and take full advantage of all the conference highlights that will benefit your blog.
- Plan Ahead- Plan your days at the conferences almost like you plan your editorial calendar. Be meticulous about what breakout sessions and booths you want to visit. Familiarize yourself with the vendors in attendance and set a schedule so that you always know where you should be and when. Of course with modern technology you can set your phone calendar to alert you when you’re due in a session or when you’ve spent more time than you should have in the vendor halls. Don’t worry, like anything your plan is subject to chance but at least you’ll have a good idea about how to maximize your time and money during the conference.
- Download the App- The premiere blogger conferences have apps available for your iphone or android system that make navigating the conference a breeze. You probably want to download the conference app a few days in advance so that you can be aware of any glitches and some of the apps even have a schedule feature that allow you input your schedule and provide the full conference schedule. What’s even better is there are often live maps that will prevent you from getting lost in the sometimes huge facilities.
- Prioritize- It’s so easy to get off track at these conferences, between wanting to spend time with all your blogger buddies, participating in fun-filled vendor events and partying the night away at dinners and parties you can become really overwhelmed with all the features offered. Be realistic in your planning, start by committing to sessions that you will gain the most knowledge from. Next think about some of the sessions you’d like to attend but can ditch without remorse if you choose to do lunch with your friends. Choose the brands you know you need to see in vendor halls and skip the ones that won’t benefit you. If you’re a beauty blogger, there’s no need in spending time with the food brands because that’s not your niche. Sure, visit all the vendors and attend all the sessions only after you’ve tackled the topics that speak to your blog and your brand.
- Tag Team – Two is always better than one so why not partner up with some of your blog contributors or colleagues to help you maximize time? Let’s say you want to attend a session related to social media and a session about brand management but they’re scheduled at the same time. Partner up with a buddy to attend one or the other session and then swap notes afterwards. This way you both have attained the information you wanted and made the most of your time. I’ve always loved the sense of community in the blogging world so take full advantage of that with your blogger friends and make the most if your conference experience.
- Come Prepared- It’s a given by now that you’ll need to have business cards on hand when attending conferences but you’ll need a whole lot more than just business cards to make an impact.
- Media Kit- You’ll have the opportunity to meet with some really influential brands that are looking for bloggers like you. Take full advantage of that and have a media kit ready to go in case you should be asked for one. There may even be instances when you’ll ask to forward one to the brand. You’ll want to have electronic and hard copies available. Take one hard copy for every brand you’re potentially interested in, just to be safe.
- Real-Time Statistics- Be prepared to talk numbers if you’re asked. Stay current on your monthly views and unique visits.
- Patience- That’s right, be ready to stand in lines and wait to speak to people. You’ll be one of hundreds of bloggers with the same intentions.