If you’re going to your first blogger conference, you may be feeling a little bit nervous. But help is at hand with my five simple tips!
BlogCamp, Blogtacular, BlogFest, BlogOn, Traverse… These are all examples of conferences that are run by and for bloggers. If you’re getting ready to go to your first blogger conference, then you’re probably feeling very excited. You might be feeling a little bit nervous as well – I know I was before my first blogger conference!
Blogger conferences are a great way to learn new skills and meet other bloggers. There’s a lot to be gained from attending them, and so I try to get to at least one or two per year. But if you’re going to invest time and money in going to a blog conference, you want to make sure you get the most out of it. Here are my five top ways to make sure that you are conference ready:
1 – Tidy up your blog
You’re going to meet a lot of people at the blogger conference, both other bloggers and brand reps. They will probably take a look at your blog, so it’s a good idea to give it a once over before the event. Make sure that your social media channels are clear and easy to spot, and that the links aren’t broken. It’s frustrating when you can’t click straight through to a social media page.
Don’t forget to take a look at your About Me page and your Work with Me page, and update them if necessary. And if you have a Media Kit on your blog, make sure it’s fully up to date with your latest stats and rates (if you include them).
Top Tip: If you’re particularly proud of some of your recent posts, make sure you link to them from your About Me and Work With Me pages as well.
2 – Don’t forget your Business Cards
Business cards are still a really popular way of sharing your contact details at events and conferences. There are many places online where you can design and buy your own cards, but I really like Moo.
Take your time to pick out a design that reflects your personality, or design one from scratch to completely match your brand image. Some people like to use mini cards or a portrait orientation to make their cards stand out. You could also consider paying for upgrades like heavier card stock or rounded corners if you want to give an impression of luxury.
Top Tip: When people give you their cards, it’s worth jotting down a note on the card or in a book to remind yourself of what you discussed.
3 – Get to know people before you go
Many blogger conferences now have Facebook groups for attendees to break the ice and get to know each other. They may also set up a Twitter list, hold Twitter chats or run an icebreaker linky like this one from the BlogOn conference that I attended in May. If you’re a bit nervous about attending a blogger conference on your own, then these may calm your nerves. You can also take a look at other attendees’ blogs and social media channels to find out more.
It’s also a good idea to scan down the list of people in Twitter lists etc, so you can see if there’s anyone that you particularly want to try and meet up with.
Top Tip: If you’re feeling nervous about going to a blogger conference alone, try posting on Twitter or Facebook to ask who else is going solo. You’ll probably find someone else who is feeling nervous,and you can walk into the conference together.
4 – Prepare an introduction
If you’re fairly new to blogging, you might still feel a little self-conscious about introducing your blog to people ‘in the real world’. One of the great things about a blogger conference is that everyone there is familiar with the blogging world. So you don’t need to feel nervous to introduce yourself as a blogger.
But it’s worth preparing a quick introduction or elevator pitch. This will help you to explain what your blog is about in a couple of quick sentences. When I went to my first conference (Blogcamp in 2015), I kind of shrugged my shoulders and said ‘It’s a lifestyle blog, a bit of everything really’. Not exactly a great introduction or a way to make my blog stand out from all the rest! Now I explain that my blog is ‘a food, travel and lifestyle blog aimed at the over-40 age group’.
Top Tip: Practice saying your elevator pitch in front of a mirror before you go. It’ll help you to feel more confident and relaxed when you introduce yourself to bloggers and PRs.
5 – Pack a bag and be prepared
Blogger conferences vary in what they provide on the day. Some will give you a printed name badge, some will get you to write your name on a sticky label. Others may ask you to use a business card as your name badge. You might get a notepad at some events, others will expect you to bring your own.
These are the essential items that I always pack for any blogger event:
- Phone – make sure it’s fully charged!
- Battery pack or charger and charging cable
- Business cards
- Notebook and a couple of pens
- Camera and spare battery/memory card
- Mints/chewing gum
- Bottle of water
Top Tip: I often find that the air in many venues is quite dry. Combined with looking at screens and concentrating on speakers all day, that can often cause headaches. So it’s worth popping some headache tablets in your bag as well, just in case.