By Nancy Johnson Horn, Editor
If you are going to BlogHer ’13, this post is for you. While I’m not the first blogger to write a post like this, I hope my voice will add some wisdom and insight (and practical advice).
I’ve been blogging, as a product reviewer since 2007. In 2010, when I was 9 months pregnant with my third child, I attended my first BlogHer in NYC. Last summer, I attended my second BlogHer, again in NYC.
There will be bloggers who may tell you that BlogHer isn’t worth it to them. I felt it was worth it to me, but I also made sure I attended seminars and sessions that could help my writing, blog, and the business I co-own with three other bloggers (Trumpeting Media – update – we closed this in 2014).
1. Take it seriously. Use BlogHer as a time to learn new things, network, pick up new skills and hone your craft. If you can learn at least one new thing, then it’s worth it.
2. Try to Meet People: Smile at someone who’s sitting by herself. Even if you have a huge bunch of bloggy friends or may be shy, go outside of your comfort zone and say hello. Remember we were all new at some point and we can all coexist. That’s the best part of the blogging world, we’re NOT competitors, but writers that add our unique voice.
3. Plan out your schedule. Pick the seminars, geek lab, writing lab, talks that interest you. Plan in some networking time, expo time and party time. Make a spreadsheet with your offsite and onsite parties and addresses (hopstop.com is a great tool for planning out how you’ll get around). Hook up with other people and share cabs or know how to get around on Chicago’s public transportation system.
SWAG (this needs some more advice)
1. Don’t get distracted by the bling. The Expo Hall is full of sensory overload. You’ll see crazy things and crazy people running around (and these are the sponsors). Enjoy yourself, but I suggest putting yourself on a timetable. Spend an hour getting sucked into the insanity and then move on. If you only bought an expo pass, then go ahead and embrace the nuttiness.
2. Play nice. Don’t knock someone over for a free mayonnaise coupon. Don’t be greedy or demand that a company give you free anything, no matter who you are and how many pageviews you get. Be polite. Be genuine. Ask other people about their blogs, you may learn something. Dress neatly — no t-shirts and jeans. Have business cards, which say your website, email and twitter id. Ask for the rep’s business cards. The onus may be on YOU to follow up after the conference, remember that the rep may be meeting 2000 other cool bloggers.
3. Which leads into something else that other people have mentioned – brand yourself!
Kerri Jablonski, The Maven of Social Media, did a great job of this last year. She had a drawstring backpack with her site’s logo (a pair of red shoes peeking out under jeans). She was a walking advertisement for her blog and it made me remember her.
Nicole the Finance Diva brought along these cute little survival kits. Please forgive that the photo is a little dark.
4. Parties! There are tons of parties, both private brand events and BlogHer sanctioned. You won’t be invited to every private brand event. Don’t scream and whine about it (unless it’s in private). Don’t try to crash. Next year you may be the one invited to the cool private parties..
Do you have tips to add?
This post is no way sanctioned by the Blogher Conference. These are my own thoughts and tips – meant to help smooth the way for new and returning attendees. You are welcome to disagree, please be respectful.