I’ve been to BlogHer twice. Once in Chicago and another time in San Diego. It’s a massive conference and if you’re new to blogging there are probably a good number of sessions with valuable content for you. If you are not new to blogging there’s a good chance that you believe you know everything there is to know and you will not attend the sessions. This would be a mistake.
If you’re about to take your hard earned money and spend it to a trip to Chicago let me give you a few tips so that you can spend that money soundly.
1. Don’t drink. If you typically have a glass of wine with dinner at home by all means go ahead and have a glass of wine with dinner at BlogHer but this isn’t a sorority party skip the second glass. This is a business conference and you will likely run into people all day and night that are potential partners. Corporations aren’t looking for a party girl, they’re looking for a business woman.
2. You don’t know everything. You’re going to BlogHer to learn so get busy learning. I never want to be a review blogger. I find what they do to be exhausting however review bloggers know a lot about SEO and working with brands. Why wouldn’t I listen to them? Are you a mom blogger? Meet someone whose womb hasn’t gone pro, listen to what they’re doing. We get tunnel vision and BlogHer is a great place to broaden your depth of field. Find someone who you think has nothing to teach you and have your mind blown when they teach you things.
3. Dress Business Casual. Yes, there will be boas and flowers in hair and party dresses and look-at-me outfits. There will also be some very casual outfits, very very casual. Remember, this is not a tech conference so jeans and flip flops is not de riguer. I would never recommend buying new outfits for BlogHer or being the lady with the tiara but I would recommend wearing something that says, “I’m here to work and to network.”
4. Bring pens. Plural you will lose some of them. Stash pens all over your purse. Of course you already have business cards and even if you don’t, don’t panic. The most important thing you can do is use that badge of yours to collect business cards. When you meet someone jot down a note about where you met them or something they said and write it on the card. Each night empty out that badge with the business cards and send folks a little email letting them know it was really nice to meet them along with an explanation of why. Hint: the why should be easy… you know so much about _____ or I enjoyed hearing about your passion for ____.
5. Set appointments with people you want to work with. Did you meet a publicist from a firm that you’re dying to work with? Ask them if they want to have coffee later in the day, all you really need is 20 minutes. Spend 20 minutes listening to them and figuring out if there’s a way you can work together all the while resisting the urge to shoehorn yourself into a role that really won’t fit.
6. Private off site parties aren’t as much fun as you think they are. Well, maybe they are, maybe they aren’t but when you’re off site you’re with a small group and you could be with them for hours without being in control of your own transportation. If you accept an invitation to an offsite event bring your credit card so that you can grab a taxi home. Better yet, set up an uber account ahead of time with my link and get a $10 credit on your first ride. I assure you that using uber just once will have you completely addicted.
7. Have fun. If blogging is your day job you’re one of the luckiest people in the world. Relax and enjoy it. Everyone is nervous and the most disarming thing you can do is smile and introduce yourself.
What did I miss? Any other tips for bloggers who are going to treat BlogHer as a business trip?