The days of huge blogging conferences seems to be slowing down compared with previous years. Certainly in the ‘parenting’ blogging sector. Instead, there are more smaller more intimate events or conferences. Each catering to a more specific theme and usually more helpful and enjoyable for those attending.
There are also more smaller, independent organisers setting up regional events. Always good for those who don’t live near London or Manchester. If you’ve never been to a blogging event, then they’re a good place to start so you don’t get too overwhelmed.
If you want to get the most from a blogging conference or event, here’s tips on how to do so.
Tops on getting the most value from a blogging conference
Before the event
1, Be in relevant blogging groups online so you can find out about events that have happened previously that you might want to go to in future.
2, If you know there’s an event coming up, and you’ll be pushed for money, start saving early.
3, Look out for the ticket launch date. Free events can be snapped up on the day, other popular events tickets go quickly because it’s cheaper to buy early on with Early Bird deals.
4, If an event says it’s sold out, register for waiting list places. Lots of people just book until they know if they have the money or can sort out childcare, and will then cancel or sell on tickets. So quite often people a long way down the wait list will get a place.
5, Join any Twitter lists or Facebook groups for the event. Here you’ll be able to meet other who’re going, arrange a room buddy and coordinate travel with others. Plus find out about things earlier than they might go on the website.
6, Remember that everyone will have gone to their first event at some point, and that bloggers aren’t generally scary people.
7, Plan your sessions from the schedule. Most events share the schedule beforehand. Some sessions will be bookable, so get in quick (see point 4 above), others will be open to all. If there are sessions that clash, arrange with friends to split and take notes which you can share afterwards. Some presenters will share their slides afterwards.
8, Arrange hotel rooms and travel. The earlier the better, book trains 12 weeks out for the best deals, or look at splitting tickets.
9, Order business cards if you want them. Or think about online versions of business card scanners, or simply take a photo of other bloggers cards and lanyard/badge details.
10, Work out who you want to speak to. You can arrange to meet up with them, or just keep a watch out. Even if you plan, be prepared that you might not get to catch up. Things move fast at conferences.
11, Get your conference kit together. Phone plus charging cable, battery pack, camera if you’re doing photography sessions that need one, money, business cards, something to write on and with, refillable water bottle. And a fold up bag – always useful for collecting freebies and business cards.
On the day
12, Arrive on time for registration. Often there will be a queue. Don’t be scared to talk to people as there will be people in the same situation as you if you’re on your own.
13, If you’re with other people, take time to wander round alone and meet others. Groups are less approachable and you might miss meeting new blogging friends if you just stick with the same people.
14, Talk, talk, talk. In sessions to the people sitting next to you, at coffee and lunch times, to people as you’re wandering around any brand or open networking space.
15, Don’t get embarrassed to ask people their names and their blogs/twitter handles. Often you’ll realise you know them on social media. But don’t be worried if you don’t know their blogs. You can’t know everyone’s and it’s so easy to forget.
16, Take notes in the sessions you go to. You won’t remember everything, but do whatever style notes works for you.
17, Use your phone. Blogging conferences are probably the only conferences who allow people using phones throughout. Take photos, tweet, do Instagram stories, take notes.
18, If there’s a brand area, think about who you want to speak to rather than just going round everyone if they’re not relevant. Hit the ones you’re interested in first, then go back round the others if you have time. Plan what you want to tell people about how you can work with them, or are you just fact finding?
19, Don’t feel like you have to stay in a session if it’s not as expected. Don’t feel obliged to go to a session in each slot. Take a bit of time to rest and meet people for a chat.
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After the event
20, Follow up with anyone you met, via tweet is fine
21, Keep a look out for any other session notes you missed being shared. Share yours if agreed.
22, Pull out the notes you made, reflect and act on anything useful. Or make a plan on what you want to use and learn from, and when.
23, If writing a blog post or doing social media, tag the conference organiser, use the hashtag and tag relevant brands who were there.
24, Look out for the next conference you might want to attend.
Hopefully these tips will help for any blogging conference or events you’re going to?
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