Tips for Your First Blogging Conference
I recently attended my first ever blogging conference and am so excited to attend more! My friend, Mikaela, and I attended The Blog Societies 7th Annual Conference in Adairsville, Georgia (about an hour and a half northwest of Atlanta), and we are both already planning for the conference next year! I learned so much about blogging in general, including SEO, photography, email marketing, pitching, and pricing for profitability. We also met a lot of wonderful people and networked with multiple major brands. It’s a weekend I won’t soon forget and highly recommend for any blogger, whether you are just starting out or have 100k followers. I learned more during the conference than I have in my past 2.5 years of blogging. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share some tips for attending YOUR first blogging conference!
What to Bring
- Be sure to pack accordingly. While you’ll want to dress to impress, you also want to be comfortable- and that includes your shoes! I’m notorious for always having sore feet. Even when wearing shoes that are relatively comfortable, if I wear any shoes long enough, walk enough, or stand enough, my feet will hurt! So wear your heels, but be sure to pack other shoes too in case you need to change, or if you’ll be standing a long time. Our conference was located at Barnsley’s Resort in North Georgia. It was so beautiful and sprawling, but our sessions and events were located far enough apart that I wished I brought wedges instead of skinny heels! Also, pack some more casual outfits as extras- you may decide to do something with the other girls after dinner, or just hang out at the hotel bar. I love my fancy dresses, but it feels so good to change into jeans and flats or sandals after a long day!
- Bring your business cards! You will meet so many new people during the conference, brands and other bloggers, that it will be hard to keep track of everyone! I handed out my business cards to all the brands in attendance, and accepted as many business cards from others as I could. Also, I’d highly recommend having your picture on your business card- it definitely helps when trying to remember everyone, and vice versa.
- Leave space in your luggage for gifts! While I’m not a light packer by any means, I initially tried to get everything into a carry-on bag since we were flying to the conference. After reading other’s suggestions from previous conferences, I decided to bring bigger luggage to accommodate for any gifts received. Thank goodness I did! There is no way everything would have fit back into a carry-on, and one of the gifted items was dry shampoo over 3 oz. We were spoiled by our brand sponsors this year! Every year and every conference will be different, but it’s best to err on the side of having more space!
What to Do During the Conference
- Be social! Even if you consider yourself an introvert, fake it! The only way to form relationships with brands and build friendships with the other bloggers is to talk to them. Not everyone will approach you either- you will need to introduce yourself first to many people. During our conference, any time I would walk past another blogger, or sat down next to someone I didn’t know, I introduced myself. Then we usually exchanged IG names and followed each other immediately. During our welcome reception the first night, we met most of the brand sponsors. It was up to us to go to each brand and talk to them. We made sure to go to every brand’s booth and introduce ourselves, ask questions, and give them our cards. Network, network, network!
- During the educational sessions, take lots of notes! Some people had notepads, some people had laptops or tablets. While we will be getting copies of all the session’s training materials, I still took some notes to be able to use right away, or jot down some examples the trainers may have used in order to refresh my memory.
What to Do After the Conference
- Connect with the other bloggers, brands, and conference organizers via Instagram and their blogs. Engage with their posts and stay active on their pages to make sure you stay in touch!
- Reach out to any brands you may have connected with during the conference. Within a few days after the conference ended, I sent pitch emails to several of the brands that were represented at the conference that I would be interested in working with. I made sure to let them know I enjoyed meeting them at TBSCon and wrote something about my personal connection with the brand.
- You will learn a lot during the workshops. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to incorporate everything you learned all at once. Make notes of all the things you want to implement in your blogging/pitching/social media and then break it down into several smaller lists. Maybe pick three things to implement in the first month; then three more in the second month, and so on.
And last but not least, HAVE FUN! I was exhausted by the end of the weekend, but it was the best kind of exhausted! The whole experience was so great and I am so excited to implement everything I learned.
Remember: like most things, you get out of this experience what you put into it. Stay organized, socialize, follow up, and have a blast!
Stay tuned for my next blog post on what I wore each day during the conference!
Have you been to a blogging conference before?