Blog Conference: 4 Amazing Secrets That Will Change Your Experience

It’s blog conference season! And in order to make you as successful as possible, we’re sharing our four amazing secrets to success for when you decide to spend the time, and the money, on attending a blog conference.

The months between April and November are packed with offerings for bloggers looking to take their work to the next level, from The SITS Girls Bloggy Boot camps to SheCon to Type A Parents to BlogHer, and everything in between.

Blog Conferences: 4 Secrets to Success You Need to Know

The time and money spent to attend conferences can pay huge dividends for bloggers, in new contacts and new ideas. But it helps to be prepared. Taking a page from the years I put into attending blog conferences in the corporate work world, I’ve put together some pointers on how to maximize the value of your attendance.

blog conference with The SITS Girls

1. Have a few clear goals in mind before you leave for a blog conference

The social aspects of attending conferences cannot be understated – after all, who else understands your compulsive need to check for comments on your latest post like your fellow blog attendees? But if you’re flying a few hundred or thousand miles and paying for a hotel, you owe it to yourself to bring a few concrete ideas back too.

What are the blog problems that vex you: how to grow your readership, how to integrate more multimedia, how to play nicely with sponsors? By choosing two or three of these on which to focus, you can more easily pick your way through a crowded conference agenda, in order to focus on the sessions that will give you some practical information to take back home.

By the way, even with your goals in mind, never underestimate the power of serendipity. If there’s a session that calls your name but seems to have nothing to do with your blog, don’t be afraid to check it out. You never know where the a-ha moment will arise.

blog conference

2. Print as many cards as you think you can ever need, times two

You do not want to be the conference goer reduced to scrabbling your name and URL onto a corner of a napkin during the afternoon of Day 2. You’ll want to exchange them with the people sitting near you in the sessions who asked the question you needed answered, drop them into bowls to win cool prizes, and press them into the hands of conference sponsors. And if you have some cards left over at the end of the conference, who cares? All the more reason to hand those out at home.

3. Annotate the cards you collect, as soon as you can

As the stash of your own cards dwindles you’ll find it replenished with the cards of those you meet – including that one woman who told you how she started podcasting, what was her name again, I think her blog had the word “Mom” in it, she had dark hair…you see the problem. You’ll be meeting so many people and having so many interesting conversations that writing a few quick notes on the back of each card – “has a podcast, recommended a book on writing, lives in Houston, met at BBC” may be the only way you’ll ever be able to reach out and follow up again.

The longer you wait to write it, the more likely you’ll forget something. I try to scribble something on there when I’m collapsed on the bed back in the hotel room, wondering how the day went so fast. One of the best cards I ever got was from Cindy at ElephantSoap.com. It had a darling picture of her, all her contact details, and the best part, in big block print: “You met me at BlogHer ’11!” Genius.

4. Sort cards and prioritize follow up as soon as you get home from your blog conference

Do not succumb to the jumbled pile of cards that lives on the corner of your desk forever, or the notebook filled with great ideas from the conference that you never reread. Sort them into categories: “Blogs that take guest posts,” “Blogs to add to RSS feed,” “Bloggers who published eBooks,” “Writing prompts,” maybe? Or just Hot, Warm, and Cold based on how each person can help you meet the goals you set in step 1?

If the session you attended on working with sponsors reminds you that you have to update your About page, pronto, and send out a follow up query to a couple of vendors you met, then put those on the to-do list with a due date. You learned so much: don’t let the next steps slip through the cracks.

Finally, if there is but one piece of advice that I can implore you to take: wear comfortable shoes. No one is winning prizes for footwear at these shows, and you will be much cheerier if you are not going through a box of band aids in your hotel room each night.

I promise.

About the Author
blog conference with The SITS Girls Nancy Davis Kho writes about the years between being hip and breaking one at Midlife Mixtape Thanks to General Admission concert venues, she knows from comfortable shoes. Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MidlifeMixtape and on Twitter @midlifemixtape.

Put Your New Skills to Use at the Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago Blog Conference!

The Bloggy Boot Camp tour will be making a stop in Chicago this year, hosting a “Brand Edition” of the regular conference. Some of the biggest names in blogging will be on hand to discuss topics such as professional branding, public relations tactics and other blog-as-a-business focused themes. Aside from the natural benefits of mingling with the very best in your niche, Bloggy Boot Camp promises to help shape you into a better blogger, giving you the tools and ideas that you need to take your success into the future.

blog conference

Learn more about the conference here now!

About Francesca

One of two behind The SITS Girls and Bloggy Boot Camp. Believer that this community is a movement, and not just a website. Currently on a quest for unending free WiFi & stronger caffeine. I'd love to get to know you better: Find me on Twitter @FranBanducci and on Google+.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for these awesome tips! I’m heading to my first blogging conference in July and will definitely make sure to use these!
    The Famous Ashley Grant recently posted..My Ultimate Fantasy Right Now

  2. Adding 1. Print shitload of cards, 2. Come up with some conference goals and 3. Buy comfortable shoes that don’t look like I’m homeless (current shoes collection) to my list since I have just signed up for my very first conference, Blogher Food! Then I’ll be ready, right?! So excited!
    Stacy recently posted..Food Blog Love Fest 2013

  3. Can’t wait to go to my first conference!
    Audrey Gebhardt recently posted..Liquid Fall

  4. Auntie Em says:

    Great, practical advice that’s also good for when I start to go on a wild goose chase, following every interesting link I see! Thanks!
    Auntie Em recently posted..Don’t Play

  5. Auntie Em says:

    Great, practical advice that is also good to keep in mind when I start to go on a wild goose chase following every interesting link I see! Thanks

  6. Thanks! I can’t wait to go to bloggy boot camp in Chicago!
    Kristiina recently posted..{DIY} Luxe Tooth Bracelet

  7. Oh, the shoes! So true. Great tips, Nancy! Ones I hope to put to good use next year.

  8. Great tips, I wish I would of seen it sooner. I know I need more business cards than I have, lol. I love the idea of adding which conference to the cards! & I am going to jot down things on the back to help me remember who is who. I am leaving in a couple of days for my first conference. Thanks!
    Theresa @DearCreatives recently posted..Easy Weekend Craft Projects & Inspiration Spotlight Link-Up #7

  9. Kathryn says:

    These are great tips for any conference setting, or any opportunity to network! I never knew what to do with all of those cards! Thanks!
    Kathryn recently posted..Where is God?

  10. These are FANTASTIC tips! :) Thank you so much for sharing them!
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Open Letter To Jessica Simpson…Again

  11. These are great tips! Can’t wait to use some of these for BBC Vegas! I love the suggestions about bloggy business cards.
    Kate recently posted..Simple Savory Steak Sandwich

  12. Love the idea of annotating! Knowing me I’ll forget so annotation will come in quite handy. Thanks for the great tips!

  13. Well said! I totally agree!
    Wendys Hat recently posted..Flowering Shrubs {Garden}

  14. Great post! Another thing that helped me was to be myself. Not the version of myself that comes out when I’m meeting new people, the version that I am with my best friends and family. Letting go, reaching out, and showing my personality really allowed me to get the most out of things.

    Looking forward to BBC Chicago! :)

  15. My conference tip is bring a bag big enough to put the literature you’re given (will be lots!), fit your note taking items or laptop in, and enough room for goodies. Luckily one of the sponsors at BBC were giving away bags so I could put my armful of takeaway in. Helpful post!
    Kathy Penney @ Pinner Takes ALl recently posted..Mexican Chicken: Easy Creamy Slow Cooker Recipe

  16. I have yet to go to a blogging conference. *tear* But when I finally get to–I’m gonna be the most prepared blogger out there lol. These are great tips!
    hilljean recently posted..The Guy You Should Always Sit Next To. Unless You’re At A Funeral

  17. One thing no one really ever writes about are business cards! People never realize that they should have them and then tons of people are like “so what do I put on there?”

    But I’m glad you mentioned them at least. I’m writing on blog about that because when I met someone this weekend and I asked them for their card they didn’t have one and then when I gave them mine they drilled me about them. Of course they loved that my business card has my owl tattoo on it (helps people remember me).
    Sara Ivy recently posted..Make Up Monday: Make Up From Forever 21

    • I saw a lot of the Mini Cards from Moo.com this year that had been custom made for the event, like the Elephant Soap example I mentioned. It’s such a smart strategy – they’re cheaper than regular business cards so it’s not such a sacrifice to custom-brand them for a single show.
      Nancy Davis Kho recently posted..R.I.P., Butt Mullet

  18. These are some great tips!
    Barbara recently posted..Welcome to France Wednesday … Seeing Red

  19. GREAT TIPS!
    Brittany recently posted..Tragedy…

  20. My goal for the year is to attend my first blogging conference. And now, I know just what to do to prepare.

    Fondly,
    Glenda
    Glenda Childers recently posted..Stuck

  21. Yay, I’m so excited. I have a whole box of cards for BBC Las Vegas, can’t wait. I just realized I’m going to need a purse with two easy reach pockets one for my cards to give and one for the cards that I receive!
    Sonia Barton recently posted..MTC Drop off

    • Here’s my system – I put my cards into the back of the name badge holder, so I can just reach down and pull one out. I end up putting the cards I collect into it too – it’s fast – so you just have to be careful not to give out someone else’s card!
      Nancy Davis Kho recently posted..R.I.P., Butt Mullet

  22. Thanks for the great tips! My first conference will be BBC Las Vegas and I am so excited!
    Raquel recently posted..Simple Pumpkin Pancakes

  23. Thanks, Nancy. These are great. Annotating cards is SO wise. xo
    Lisa Rae @ smacksy recently posted..Saving Second Base

  24. Yay! Great tips. Just in time for BBCLV!
    Suzanne @The Wine{a}be recently posted..Wine{a}be Winemaker: Week 3

  25. Excellent tips, Nancy, thanks for sharing!
    Alison recently posted..Home Is Where All The Children’s Stuff Is

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  3. Project Eve says:

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  4. [...] is full of conference success secrets that may help make your next conference the best one ever. http://www.thesitsgirls.com/blogging/blog-conference-secrets-to-success/   3.    A few weeks ago, Shades of Social Media, my favorite Facebook group, had a Twitter party [...]

  5. [...] is full of conference success secrets that may help make your next conference the best one ever. http://www.thesitsgirls.com/blogging/blog-conference-secrets-to-success/   3.    A few weeks ago, Shades of Social Media, my favorite Facebook group, had a Twitter party [...]

  6. [...] For all you bloggers and/or conference goers out there – I have a piece over on SITS this week about making the most of a Blog Conference…click on through if you’d like to read the [...]

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