I have been to a few blogging conferences and events recently (see what I learned at SitC here) and it struck me that over the past few years I’ve developed a bit of a strategy to make sure I am prepared for such blogging shenanigans. So in the spirit of Blognix, which is all about sharing, here is how to prepare for a blogging conference (or event).
There is a bit of a debate as to whether business cards are really that necessary for bloggers. Personally I’ve found them rather useful because I gave my lifestyle blog a made-up name, so when people ask what my blog is it’s actually just easier to hand them a business card whilst pronouncing it. They’d only ask me to spell it anyway. And then I’ve got my contact details in their hand, so they’re more likely to remember me.
I have always had my business cards made by Moo, I think their production values are great. In the very early days I made my own by scanning and printing a homemade design, then cutting them out by hand. Other good alternatives are Vistaprint or Instaprint.
Portable phone battery
I cannot recommend these enough, especially if you’re an iphone user. As a bloggers we are always tweeting and instagramming our way through events, which means our batteries last all of about 30 seconds. So grab yourself a portable phone battery so you’re never caught out with a dead phone halfway through the first talk.
For the Blognix conference this year I picked up this portable phone battery for around £25 and it’s worth every penny! It has several docking ports so you can charge more than one device at a time and it fits easily in your handbag. I now carry it everywhere with me.
Only two years into running a blogging conference and I’ve seen countless ladies (yes, it’s always us girlies) who have worn brand new, snazzy shoes and ended up barefoot with half their feet covered in plasters and compeed. Seriously, choose comfy shoes as you’re likely to be on your feet mingling a lot. You want to concentrate on blogging fun not painful feet. And if you do insist on picking out a fabulous but questionable pair of shoes, be sure to pack Compeed – that stuff is amazing!
Connect beforehand on social media
Even after four years of attending blogging events I still get super-nervous beforehand, the introvert in me is not always best pleased about social gatherings with a group of strangers. I have found the best policy to ease the nerves is to find out who else is going to the event before I go. I make sure I follow them on twitter, strike up conversation and sometimes I’ve even arranged to meet them before heading into the event. It makes it much easier to approach someone when you’ve already ‘spoken’ online.
Plan your sessions
If you’re heading to a conference with lots of sessions going on at the same time, be sure to plan ahead which ones you want to attend. Otherwise you might find yourself getting a bit lost or missing a topic you want to listen to. Trust me, I’ve done this loads of times.
Get there early
For me, it’s way scarier to walk in to a room full of people than already being in the space as people arrive. So try your best to get there early so you can chat to the organisers or early attendees. And if in doubt, hang out at the beverage (or cake!) table – great conversations happen over edible things.
Wear something bright or memorable
It was actually my Auntie who gave me this tip. By wearing something bright, or memorable you make it easier to stand out to the new people you meet. Think about it, if you meet 20 new people at a blogging event, how do you remember who they all are?
If you’re not into colourful clothes, maybe pick a quirky or unusual accessory? I have a little teacup and saucer necklace that I’ve owned for years but every time I wear it somebody mentions it.
Furthermore, if you’re stuck for conversation starters, compliment someone on their choice of quirky necklace! It’s great for breaking the ice!
Over to you! Do you have a top tip for preparing for a blogging conference?