Top tips for attending a blogging conference

#BML16 Top tips badgeAttending a blogging conference is something that most of us will do at one stage or another, with BritMums Live at the top of list. But sometimes it can feel a little daunting. BritMums gathered 6 bloggers together on a Google Hangout to share their top tips.

The bloggers on the hangout and sharing the tips below are some of the most seasoned bloggers in the BritMums community. They are:

Aly Hodge, Bug Bird and Bee
Helen Wills, Actually Mummy
Marianne Weekes, Mari’s World
Nadine Hill, JuggleMum
Jennifer Howze, BritMums/Jenography.net
Susanna Scott BritMums/A Modern Mother

 

Here’s what they had to say!
Tips from Aly Hodge (AH), Helen Wills (HW); Marianne Weekes (MW); Nadine Hill (NH); Jennifer Howze (JH); and Susanna Scott (SS).

  1. Book your tickets early. You save money plus you have peace of mind knowing you’re going and an opportunity to plan.  —AH
  2. Book your hotel room early. You can snag a deal. —AH
  3. Book a double room, even if you don’t have a roommate in mind, as there are always folks who decide to come at the last minute. You’ll end up splitting the costs, plus have a friend to walk in with. —AH
  4. Join a Facebook group in advance. It’s a great place to make connections in advance. —AH
  5. Join Linkys before the event as a way to spread the word that other bloggers can expect you there and plan to meet you too. —HW
  6. Stalk bloggers. Not in a scary way. Single out the ones you’d like to meet who are going, get to know their blogs, talk via social media and tell them you’d like to meet in person at the event. —AH
  7. Meet up beforehand on the weekend, to travel in together by train, grab coffee before it starts or walk in the front door together. It calms anxieties and sets you off to a good start. —AH
  8. Don’t forget the gear – an extra power pack for your devices, a Gorilla Pod for shooting video. —AH
  9. Take lots of business cards and use them for notes. Make sure you have the kind that people can write on, and when you meet new folks, scribble a few notes on the card they give you as an aide-memoire for later. —AH
  10. Include your picture on your business card. It makes it easy for people to put a face with the name afterward and they’ll recognise you the next time you meet. —MW
  11. Print out a small version of your header and/or avatar and slip it into your badge folder. Folks will recognise who you are without having to read your badge. —HW
  12. Spend as much time as you can at the event. There’s a lot going on and that way, get as much out of it as possible. —HW
  13. Try NOT to take notes. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you spend your hours scribbling, you’ll arrive home with reams of notes and can easily get overwhelmed. Put down the pen and shut the computer. You’ll absorb more too. —HW
  14. Don’t be embarrassed to just go up and chat with people.  —HW
  15. Study the schedule before and sketch out which sessions you want to attend and where you want to be throughout the event. When you arrive, you’ll already have a mental map of your weekend.  —MW
  16. Take an empty suitcase. Come the end of the event, when you have received freebies from sponsors, loads of information and a bursting goody bag, you’ll be able to easily wheel everything home. —MW
  17. Find a way to find out about the other session. Video them if you can, in case you have to miss them. (NOTE: The use of Periscope or other streaming media is only allowed in the plenary sessions, not in breakout sessions).
  18. Take time out during the conference to just breathe. That could mean grabbing a coffee or just a quiet moment. It will be restorative for you to head back into the fray.  —NH
  19. Be approachable. It’s easy to get stressed and worry about how to say hello to other people. Remember, they’re looking for a friendly smile and an opening with you too.  —NH
  20. Wear something in which you feel completely at ease and with layers so you can adapt to chilly or warm rooms. —NH
  21. Have a few conversation starters in mind and ready to go, so you don’t struggle to chat with new folks. —NH
  22. Go armed with this foolproof opener: “May I join you?” Even when the room is full of apparently tight-knit groups, this phrase helps you easily join them.  —JH
  23. Have an “elevator speech” ready. This is two or three sentences that describe who you are and what you do. It’s a quick way to describe yourself and get the conversation rolling with brands or other bloggers. —JH
  24. When you talk to brands, listen to what they would like out of a relationship with bloggers. That’s the best basis for a partnership. Likewise, listening to your fellow bloggers about their blogs, their plans and what’s been happening in their world is a great way to understand what’s going on “out there”. —JH
  25. Be open to something surprising to happen. You might turn the corner and meet your new best friend. You might hear of a project that paves the way to new opportunities. You might learn something from an expert that ends up being a totally new direction for you. By being flexible and open-minded, BritMums Live (or any conference) becomes a creative, innovative experience. —SS

Don’t miss out on the blogger event of the year. Register now for #BML16!

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Got tips of your own? We’d love to hear them in the comments section, or tweet them using #BML16!

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BritMums is the UK's largest parent blogger collective. We offer bloggers the latest support, advice and how-tos as well as feature great content on food, travel, relationships, health, charities, crafting and much more. Our social network is free to join and helps bloggers connect with others; our BritMums Pro programme connects bloggers with brands on our high-quality projects and our annual conference, BritMums Live, is the blogging event of the year.

One Response to Top tips for attending a blogging conference

  1. Morgan Prince 18 November 2015 at 09:20 #

    This is so helpful! I’m attending my very first blogging conference this weekend and I’m SO nervous. More so as it gets closer. I’ll be on my own, travelling on the train, I don’t really know anyone (but know of lots of bloggers who are going). This list of tips has really helped me, I will be taking your advice on the “may I join you?” thing and hopefully I’ll meet lots of lovely people. 🙂 Thank you.