Attending a Blog Conference: Tips & Advice

I’m attending Blog World & New Media Expo again this week. Attending any sort of conference is hard for an introvert like me, but attending a large non-female-centric conference (e.g., Blissdom or BlogHer) with the rock stars of blogging can intimidate me right into the fetal position. I’m here to tell you that attending a blogging conference is a lot of fun, you meet some great people, and you should go if you have the opportunity. To help you out, I’ve rounded up some links to help you (and me) get ready for the conference.

Get Your Head in the Game

I found these articles last year before my trip to BWE and they helped me immensely. In fact, I felt so at ease, I went right up to Chis Brogan and introduced myself. He’s one of the most genuine people out there. I also met Darren Rowse and he, too, was kind, soft-spoken, and accommodating. My normal behavior is to stand outside a circle and listen. These guys brought me into the circle, gave me advice, and listened to what I had to say. If you’re an introvert like me, I encourage you to leave your comfort zone for a few days (you can always head back to the hotel if it’s too intense) and meet some people you wouldn’t otherwise approach. You’ll be happy you did.

Consider Finding a Sponsor

I’ve been lucky enough to secure sponsors for past conferences, but this year I decided to forgo sponsorship and make the investment myself. Why? Well, because I’m busy right now. It’s a lot of work to attend a conference, take notes, network, vlog, and share information with y’all. I love it, but it’s a lot of work. If I add a sponsor into the mix, I also have the added responsibility of promoting that sponsor at the event as well as in my posts for you. Right now, it’s just one more thing on my plate. Now, having said that, there are many bloggers who wouldn’t be able to attend a blogging conference without some sponsorship help. To that end, here are some links to help you put together a proposal for potential sponsors.

Blog World & New Media Expo has a three-part series on securing sponsorship:

  1. Blogger Sponsorship for Conferences: Part I: What Do You Have to Offer?
  2. Blogger Sponsorship for Conferences Part II: Finding a Sponsor
  3. Blogger Sponsorship for Conferences Part III: Your Proposal

A few more links to help you craft your sponsorship proposal:

You’re There. Now What?

When I attend a conference, I usually attend because I want to learn something or become better at something. Then I want to share that information you so you can learn too. The problem is how to do that efficiently and still be part of the conference. You’ll be networking and attending panels. You need to pay attention. You’re also going to need to multitask. A few things you may already be doing:

  • Use Twitter. Use the hashtag for the conference and update your Twitter stream. You can also follow what others are tweeting about the event by subscribing to the event’s hashtag.
  • Use an offline blog editor. There are times when you won’t have internet access (yes! even at a blogging conference!) and you just have to get a blog post down. In those instances, it’s helpful to have a third-party application installed on your computer so you can write the post and upload it later. Webhost Checklist and Six Revisions have reviewed many apps you might be interested in looking at.
  • Record your interactions. You’re talking to interesting people all weekend, why not share those conversations with your readers? Invest in a small video camera and interview the people you meet. Have them talk about what they do, how they help people, what their blogging goals are. My Flip Mino allows me to take a few hours of video and upload it easily to my computer. I can share it instantly if I have an internet connection.
  • Live blog. Aliza Sherman’s article, Preparing to Live Blog an Event will help you put together a live-blogging game plan.

That’s a lot of information, I know. You may want to bookmark this page so you can refer to it as needed. Maybe you’re not headed to a conference any time soon, but it’s never too early to start planning. Blissdom (in February) is right around the corner and so is SxSW (in March). If you’re considering finding sponsorship for those conferences, you should start now!

Are you attending Blog World next week? Please let me know! I would absolutely love to meet you and talk about what you’re doing. I mean it. Come say hi, OK?

A version of this article is cross-posted at BlogHer.com.

Comments

  1. Great post – I’ll be at Blogworld this week and am doing as much as I can to mentally prepare myself for getting as much out of the event as possible.

  2. Thank you! I’m going to Blissdom and would like to find a sponsor – but didn’t really know where to start. This is a great resource, Melanie. Thanks!

  3. Another great post! Hope you don’t mind if I link it up over at I_Blog!

  4. Great post.
    We @ DoNanza are going to attend the blog world expo conference.
    We find bloggers as unique and talented population in general and as target audience to partner with us as publishers.

    love to meet you Melanie at the conference.

  5. Thanks for the link, Melanie! I’ll be at BWE this week — would love to meet up at some point.

  6. Excellent tips, Melanie. Thanks so much for sharing them.

    How was BWE, by the way? I hope that you write a re-cap {did you already do that?}.

    I’ll be at the Mom 2.0 Summit this February. :)

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