Happy Monday! Wow, it’s been a while, huh? Did you miss me? I know I missed you! I got hit with the worst flu of all time last week and have been in bed since Tuesday of last week. NOT EVEN KIDDING! I’ve spent the last week half dead and there was basically no way I could get any work done. I’m still not 100%, but at least feel semi-human today so wanted to get some fresh content out! I’ve missed writing and miss you! Over the weekend, I got photos back from TBSCon, the blogging conference I attended in Chicago a few weeks ago! I had such a great time in the Windy City and enjoyed the conference so much, I wanted to share them with you and offer up a few tips on how to get the most out of a blogging conference. Attending a blogging conference can be really expensive, but I think it’s a worthy investment. Getting the most out of your experience is crucial, and there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re maximizing your experience.
Bring Your Business Cards.
Before a blogging conference, make sure you order plenty of new, updated cards. You could design your own cards and use a same day printing delivery service to get them delivered to you if your event is being organized at a short notice. Business cards could not only improve your visibility but also increases your reach with your prospective clients. That said, I personally love Moo for printing business cards, they’re super affordable and great quality. I’ve used other sites before to print my cards and really noticed the difference in the cardstock. Moo’s cards are really sturdy and high quality. If you want to be really memorable, you could always switch out the traditional card to a personalized wristband with your details on it. Rubber wristbands are sturdy and durable and a great way to make a good first impression. If this is something that appeals to you, rocketwristbands.com has custom silicone wristbands you can take a look at!
Here are some tips for your traditional business cards. In terms of design, you have a few options. You can buy one of Moo’s designs or you can use Moo’s template builder to build your own card. You can also buy a template from Etsy for really cheap and upload it to Moo for printing. Do not forget to opt for a good quality thick page!
Also, if you want to stick with the traditional design, make sure that they are finely cut and have smooth edges. For that, however, you can use a 3-in-one slitters cutters creasers machine that is efficient enough to do the job quickly.
I designed my own cards in Photoshop and uploaded the design to Moo for printing. The quality of the cards is outstanding, I totally recommend them. Make sure you include your blog address, email, and all social media handles. Use this link to take 20% off your order at Moo. (I get a discount too, so it’s a win-win!)
Bring the business cards. If you are in the process of creating a website or a blog, be sure it has a sufficient amount of content available to potential clients or people of interest to take a look at. Alongside this, in order for it to be professional, having your site go live on the internet by looking into something such as web hosting canada puts you at an advantage at these conferences, especially if people want to take a look at your website on the spot. Getting a good web host provider will certainly help your blog become successful, it just means that you have a higher chance of people finding your blog and subscribing to it (and as a blogger this is obviously something that you want). So if you are thinking of starting a blog, or are thinking about getting a web host provider then you might be interested in checking out a company like Hosting Foundry, as they can help you find a web hosting provider that suits your needs. If you already have a blog when you go to conferences, at least you’ll have something to show them. Other things you need to so is charge your phone. Have a backup phone charger. Keep your camera with you all the time. If you are totally new to blogging and you aren’t sure what might be the best hosting site for you, you might be interested to check this Bluehost vs SiteGround review. Do your research ahead of time. Be familiar with the hashtags/social media handles/geolocations for the locations you go to, the conference, and the brands attending. Check out the hashtag before the event and get a sense of who will be attending. Many gals for your network will be there, know who to look for! This year, there were SO many girls attending the conference who I know from social media but have never met in real life! It’s funny, because you find yourself chatting and hanging out with them like old friends and then you may realize it’s the first time you’re actually meeting IRL. I always make the joke that bloggers are like pretty internet nerds… we all have a ton of internet friends we don’t know in real life lol! Knowing who will be there will help you 1) make plans for downtime, 2) break the ice when you’re introducing yourself to people for the first time. Knowing someone’s blog makes a great ice breaker! Last year, I had just gotten back from Italy and Spain and so many girls I was meeting for the FIRST TIME kept saying “Oh my gosh, how was your trip, it looked amazing!” and it was such a great feeling and really fostered a connection between us. (Plus, there’s nothing more embarrassing than when someone knows who you are and you can’t place them!) Knowing who to look for will help you remember who you wanted to talk to! A few times, I haven’t realized a certain person was at a conference and later see pics of them and kick myself for not saying hello!
I’ve heard some horror stories from certain conferences, but for the most part, all the times I’ve attended a conference I’ve had nothing but positive experiences. I think the most important part is being friendly and open, willing to socialize and connect with people. Try not to be glued to your phone and try to socialize outside of your friend circle. I’ve been to conferences where I knew no one and conferences where I’ve had a group of my gal pals with me. Obviously it’s easier if you have a group of friends with you, but I find that when you go alone you end up networking a whole lot more. This ties back to the research… check out other attendees’ IG feeds and get a sense of who they are and what they’ve done lately to help break the ice.
To brands, to other bloggers, to everyone. Say both your first and last name as well as your blog’s name. I read an article a long time ago that really stuck with me about how men introduce themselves using first and last names and women typically only introduce themselves by first name. The article mentioned that this was a confidence issue. At the end of the day, you’ll meet like 12 Laurens and 25 Kristens… you want to stand out from the crowd. Saying both your first and last name will really make your name stand out.
Don’t forget about the brands! It’s tempting to miss out on chatting with the brand reps to catch up with your blogger gal pals… make sure that you seek out the event sponsors or the brands on site and make the effort to build a relationship with them. Have your business cards at EVERY. SINGLE. EVENT.
Maximize Your Time.
I’ve fallen victim to this one a few times. Maximize your time. Blogging conferences tend to have packed schedules. Make sure you carve out time to shoot photos and post on social media. The first two blog conferences I went to, I didn’t shoot ANY OF MY OUTFITS. ANY OF MY CUTE, CAREFULLY CURATED OUTFITS. This was a crime! I was in a different city with beautiful scenery in adorable, current outfits… and didn’t take advantage of my time.
Plan time to shoot full outfits with either a blogger friend or a photographer. But also make sure you leave early for any events to make sure you get iPhone ootd photos for IG. Trust me, this one is important!
Find a Buddy.
Find a gal who you trust to snap some pics for you and who you don’t mind snapping pics of. Teaming up with another blogger is great because they’re always down to take photos and they know what to do to get the shot. Also, once you’re used to shooting each other, it becomes second nature and getting the shot is easy and quick.
Manage Your Expectations.
So many people ask me if blogging conferences are worth it. In my opinion, they totally are, but you have to manage your expectations. Obviously newer bloggers will have a different experience than established bloggers. The important thing is to know what you want to get out of the experience? Is it knowledge? Contacts? Inspiration?
As a newbie blogger, you will most likely be inundated with information you’ve never heard before. About taxes, photography, contracts, business. You will learn information. You will learn skills. Take copious notes and learn about the business of blogging. Soak in the info.
As a blogging vet, you’ll most likely hear a lot of info you’ve heard before. But… you’ll always, always learn something new and if you take the time to network with those leading the panels and workshops, you’ll most likely get some important questions answered that maybe they weren’t able to delve into in the main event. If you’re a more established blogger, the benefit you’ll see is more likely networking and inspiration. After a blogging conference, I always feel energized and refreshed, ready to take my blog to the next level. If all you get is motivation and inspiration… that to me is worth it!
After the conference, make sure that you follow up! With other girls you met, with brands, with everyone. Send follow up emails with your media kit to brands and make sure to reference any stand out moments or conversations you had with them at the conference. Reach out to your new blogger pals and keep up the relationship! Blogger gal pals are the new pen pals haha.
Overall, have fun and constantly keep an eye out for ways to be friendly, meet people, socialize and grow your network. Networking is the key to success in any industry, but blogging in particular. Collaboration with other bloggers is a great way to grow your own platform, plus, blogger friends are the best friends. Collaboration with brands is the way to take your blog to the next level and turn it from a hobby into a business.
I hope this post helped you and gave you some great tips on how to maximize your experience at a blogging conference. Check out a few amazing photos from TBSCon, courtesy of photographer Julie Kennedy.
If you want the details on my outfits from the conference, check out these posts:
Thank you so much for reading! In the spirit of collaboration…
This week I decided to team up with some of my favorite bloggers and bring you an amazing giveaway. One lucky reader will win a $700 gift card to Target.
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Use the widget below to enter the giveaway. The more “tasks” you complete, the more entries you will receive. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents & Canadian residents only. The winner will be announced (on the widget only) up to 2 weeks after the giveaway has ended. It can take time to select, verify, and get in contact with the winner, so please do not privately message any of the hosts. If you have any questions about the giveaway process, feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.