10 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Next Blogging Conference
With The Sustainable Seafood Blog Conference fast approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to share our top 10 tips for making the most of a blogging conference. Our Blog Partners are the reason the SSBP is possible in the first place, and we love supporting our Partner Roster and other bloggers with great content to help them build their blogs while simultaneously promoting sustainable food systems. Still need your ticket to The Sustainable Seafood Blog Conference? REGISTER HERE to save $100 with Early Bird Pricing through March 15th!
Blogging conferences are a lot of fun, but they’re also an investment. It takes time and money to attend, and once you’re there, you’re kept busy with sessions and networking and (of course) amazing food! With so much to do and so little time to do it in, it can be helpful to go into a conference with a clear strategy. Planning ahead will help you make the most of your time there and come away with as many new ideas and connections as possible. Here are our top ten tips for getting as much as you can out of your next blogging conference – and we hope to see you at The Sustainable Seafood Blog Conference from June 26-28, 2015 in New Orleans!
BONUS: We’ve included a handy dandy infographic with some of our best tips at the end of this post – Pin it to share with your followers and easily access our tips later!
1. Be Active on Social Media
Start tweeting, Instagramming, pinning, and Facebooking even before you get to the conference! Use event hashtags to connect with other attendees and speakers online before the event. Once you’re at the conference, stay active on social media – follow new friends, actively use the event hashtag – so that other attendees can find you more easily on social media. Social media activity can result not just in great connections, but in new followers on all of your accounts! Keeping an eye on the event hashtag can also help you plan which sessions to attend, find a roommate before the conference, make connections with sponsors, or personally thank speakers for a great presentation.
2. Bring Business Cards
Business cards are a great way to quickly share all of your blog’s information with new friends. Conferences are busy, and you may not have time to look up a blogger on Twitter or Instagram right on the spot. Business cards serve as a visual reminder to look that blogger up when you get back to your hotel room or arrive home after the conference, so you can enjoy all of the events without having to worry about forgetting anyone’s information!
Not sure what to put on your business cards? We recommend including your name, your blog name and URL, your social media handles, an email address, and your blog’s logo. You can also add a favorite photo from your blog or a photo of yourself if you like! There are some great online printers that can take care of the design and printing for your new business cards (or, if you like, you can upload your own design and have them print and ship it to you!) We recommend checking out Vistaprint, MOO, or Gotprint for their great business card selections and affordable prices.
3. Talk to Strangers
One of the best parts of a blogging conference is getting to meet new people! Bloggers are a very friendly bunch, so don’t be shy about joining a new table at breakfast or introducing yourself to a stranger sitting next to you during a breakout session. If you’re outgoing and make a point to meet new people, you’ll come away from a conference with great connections and new friends!
4. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
How will you describe your blog to new friends at the conference? Practice condensing a summary of your blog into a 30 second “Elevator Pitch” style presentation. Can you get your blog’s message across quickly and efficiently? To help develop your elevator pitch, sit down and make a list of your blog’s qualities. Are you all about seasonal, from-scratch cooking? Do you focus on one particular type of food, like baked goods or smoothies? What makes your blog stand out from the rest? If you can answer these questions and condense that information into a 30-second speech, you’ll be ready to effectively communicate what it is that makes your blog great!
Need some help getting started? Here at the SSBP, our favorite exercise is to ask our Blog Partners to describe their blogs in 10 words or less. Come up with a list of 10 words to describe your blog and get those creative juices flowing!
5. Be Comfortable
Conferences often mix long periods of sitting still with long periods of standing and mingling. Comfortable clothes and shoes are key to making it through long days. We recommend bringing shoes with different heel heights, so you can switch back and forth and give your feet a break from standing and walking in the exact same shoes day after day. Depending on the conference location, you may also have major temperature differences throughout the conference (for example, you might be in a warm city but have sessions in air-conditioned conference rooms), so it’s a good idea to bring layers that will take you both in- and outdoors without compromising comfort.
6. Take Breaks
It’s important to take time during a busy conference to rest and recharge. If you’re feeling particularly tired or if your voice is hoarse from talking so much, it’s perfectly alright to skip a breakout session for a quick nap or a cup of tea, or even just for a few minutes of quiet time. It’s better to skip something and come back refreshed and ready to go than it is to force yourself to keep going when you’re out of steam – it will be more fun for you that way and will make it more fun for others to be around you as well! Listen to your body, and make time to take care of yourself so you can have the best conference experience possible!
7. Be Yourself
One of the best things about your blog is that it’s a reflection of who you are – it’s an honest look into your life, and that’s what makes it so great! Stay true to who you are even when you’re at a professional conference – don’t dress or talk differently than you normally would just because you’re around other bloggers or brand representatives. Be authentic, and people will remember you for it!
8. Post a Recap
Conferences can feel like they move so quickly – before you know it, you’re home again! Posting a Conference Recap on your blog after the conference can keep the ideas fresh in your mind, and sharing your experience with your readers can help keep you accountable for goals you set or ideas you came up with while you were there. Make a list of your top 5 Conference takeaways, write a review of the hotel or the location, or talk about your experience with sponsors, speakers, and other attendees! Conference recaps are also a great way to let other bloggers know about cool new conferences, and they give feedback and data to conference planners, which helps bring in more sponsors and attendees so the conference is even better next year.
9. Keep in Touch
Send follow-up emails to bloggers or brand representatives that you met at the conference, and be sure to follow new friends on social media or by subscribing to their blog email lists. Staying connected after the conference keeps you fresh in peoples’ minds, and can lead to great guest posting or brand ambassador opportunities as well as amazing friendships!
10. Remember Why You’re There
Life can get so busy – it can be difficult to get ready for a conference when you’re also running a blog, or taking care of a household, or working full-time, or juggling any number of different things. When you get to the conference, think about why it is you started blogging in the first place – why do you love it, and what drew you to this conference? Remind yourself that you’re there because you’re passionate about blogging, and because you love the community you’ve found or the opportunities blogging has given you. Let yourself relax and enjoy the sessions without worrying about anything but your blog and your passion – and, most importantly, HAVE FUN!
As promised: A snazzy infographic! Click to pin and share with your social networks – and don’t forget to register for #SSBC15!