Something must be in the water, but I’m heading to four blog conferences in the next three months! I am so excited at the opportunities to connect with other women who are growing their blogs like me, and I can’t wait to meet brands who are interested in reaching out to the online community. And, bonus, I get to go to DISNEY! :) You see, I was selected to be a volunteer at the Niche Parent 2014 event. It’s being held at Walt Disney World in the Coronado Springs hotel on October 16th through the 18th. Attending this conference was not in my budget so I am totally blessed to be able to go. Bring out the confetti, because this mama gets a weekend AWAY to play!
The agenda is welcoming, and there are many sessions already listed. My social media guru, Kim Garst, is this year’s keynote. I can’t wait to finally meet her and hear her speak. I have been following her work and her message for years now. I’m also looking forward to the SEO and photography sessions, and the Painting With a Twist family event seems awesome! This conference has a variety of activities and topics, and I am so impressed with the material thus far.
If you’re not family with the Niche Parent community, it’s a network of over 850 digital influencers. I’ve been a member for about two years now, and I was even featured on their website last year. We are a diverse group of writers, bloggers, and social media influencers, and I can’t wait to meet some of these faces I’ve been networking with the past few years. We all have unique stories to tell and blog niches, but together, we are Niche Parents!
While I continue to bask in the excitement of all this bloggy travel, I’ve rounded up a few easy tips for attending a blog conference. I was so nervous about going to my first one this year, and I scoured the web for articles like this one. I soon found however, that everyone has a different perspective. My tips won’t be yours, and vice versa. However, I hope they do help you or inspire you to not only attend a blog conference, but to have the most wonderful experience!
6 Tips for a Wildly Successful Blog Conference
1. Make your business cards stand out. In a sea of colorful cards, do something to set yours apart. I’ll never forget that Dirty Laundry used washi tape accents on hers or that The Thinking Closet shared a tutorial for temporary tattoos to include with her card. My business cards are not standard size. Instead, they are a perfect square. It’s not something too unique, but it does receive compliments! I might redesign them for these upcoming conferences, but I love the statement that they make since photography is the main focus of them.
2. Ask questions. During the sessions, keep track of things that you would like further clarification on! There is almost always a question and answer session at the end, and if not, this is a perfect conversation starter when you run into the speaker later. I found myself sitting next to conference speakers at other events and I was so glad I not only paid attention during their presentation, but that I had a take away to discuss.
3. Take notes. THe first blog event I attended, I took notes in a notebook. While this was fine, I soon learned that it was not that convenient! I always try to share my notes on my blog, and having to retype everything into WordPress was not so much fun. I quickly discovered that it was much more time efficient (and easy!) to bring along my Chromebook. I type all my conference notes in a Google Doc, and it’s easy to share on my blog. Not only that, but you can add other conference attendees and share each other’s notes!
4. Bring your camera. I was a member of a blog conference group earlier this year, and they almost unanimously said to skip bringing your camera. “Just bring your phone.” Maybe because photography is something I’m trying to improve upon or because it is so important that I share high quality images on this website, but that didn’t sit well with me. Most of my phone photos from indoors just don’t come out right (I have an iPhone 5S). The lighting is awful or they can be fuzzy. I would much rather lug along my SLR and take great images that I can share on my blog. One of Niche Parent’s sessions is on photography, and it even encourages you to take your SLR. So, my advice, is to take your camera! Besides, my phone died SO quickly at the last conference that I try to not use it for photos if I can!
5. Extra chargers are key. To go along with my last point, using your phone for everything will quickly drain it! I packed along a portable charger to get me through the day. I definitely recommend it (or taking along your charger and finding an outlet!). Sometimes I find power strips in conference halls that some kind soul brought along, so you shouldn’t have to worry about not having a phone. It’s just nice to have an extra external charger or battery stick to power up!
6. Use the hashtag! Most conferences and events have hashtags, and it is such a great tool for communicating during the event. If you are heading to the conference alone (like I am for this one!), it’s an easy way to tweet out that you’re by the pool having drinks or heading out to an event. I saw many people at the last conference do this and make new friends. :) Sometimes the conference will even live stream the tweets with the hashtag, and this is great for your brand visibility!
My best piece of advice involves the return on investment with a blog conference. Is it worth it? The answer is always yes. You might not need a Pinterest 101 session or a photography tutorial. Yet, it’s the brands and other bloggers that attend that is worthwhile. The connections made in person can help you grow as a person and as a blogger. Remember, this is your business. Treat it like one.
What’s the best blog conference you have ever been to? Do you have any tips?