Today on Episode #20 we’ll be talking all about blogging conferences.
Hey, it’s Katrina from the Sandbox to Success Podcast! Today I’m by myself, as Cat and I are done with our blogging conference and she has returned home. Today, I’m talking about blog conferences. If you’ve never been to a blogging conference before, it’s pretty much like any other conference. You go to learn and connect with other people. I’ve gone to a few in past and have been pretty disappointed with them (for the most part).
What You Need To Know About Blogging Conferences
I went in thinking that I’d learn tips to take my blogging to the next level. Instead, I discovered that most of the speakers at the conference were at the same level, if not below, my current skill set. It’s disappointing to go into a session ready to learn how to increase your Instagram engagement, only to find that the speaker has the same, if not less, followers and engagement as you.
Which leads us to my first tip on selecting a blogging conference:
Pay Attention to Who the Speakers Are, And What That Conference Is Promising You
This can be tricky since conferences usually have early bird tickets for sale, at the cheapest price you can get. At this point, they haven’t usually announced all of the speakers and details, so you’re going into it with blind faith. In this case, ask other people that have been to that conference previously. Don’t just ask them if they liked the conference, either. Ask questions such as “What did you take away from it?, What was your goal going into it?, Did you improve in it,” etc. That’s important because I’ve gone to conferences where I’ve met great people and enjoyed myself, but didn’t take away much as far as knowledge.
It isn’t always going to be learning about our blog. For example, this past July I went to the Blogger Bash conference in NYC. That was not a conference to learn more about blogging. It was not a conference for improving your skills. It was completely to connect with brands and I went for that reason. I also went because it was in New York and I have always been afraid to visit there, so I wanted to step outside the box. I also wanted to learn what brands look for when working with bloggers.
I wasn’t as aggressive as I wish I would have been when engaging with the brands. I did, however, get to meet and talk to a lot of different people that I wouldn’t have. A lot of these were bloggers outside my niche, which I wouldn’t have normally had the chance to interact with. The biggest takeaway from that conference is that when you speak to people and explain what your blog is and who you are, pay attention to how they take your elevator speech. It should be easy for them to understand what you and your blog are about. If they don’t you need to revisit your strategy.
Have a Goal Going Into Your Conference
There’s a different type of conference, like the Brandcation one Cat and I just went to. This was one geared towards networking with different bloggers. The goals for this one were completely different than the other conference I went to. This was about connecting with different bloggers and finding out best practices, differences in how they do things and why they don’t do some of the things we do. Another motive for this was that Cat and I wanted to get the chance to meet in person. We’d only talked on the phone, messenger, and Facebook before, so we wanted to connect in a different way.
Have hard set goals before you go to a conference.
What to Bring When You Go To a Conference
You want to bring business cards when going to a conference. The goal is usually to connect. I have a bad habit of meeting someone the first day and latching on to them. They become my comfort zone and I hang out with them throughout the remainder of the conference. This is something I want to do differently next time so that I can meet more people throughout the conference.
We put our stats on the first cards and they were quickly outdated (before they even came) and I also discovered at the conference that our stats weren’t near as impressive in comparison to the other bloggers as I had thought they were. Some people put headshots on their cards as well, but in our situation that isn’t possible due to having multiple owners and writers for our site, but you can definitely to it. I like to see social media handles so that I can follow you right on social media and that’s how I connect your face to your blog. Also, make sure that everything is very clear and easy to read.
I’ve been in situations where people have handed me their business card, then bounced. Don’t do that! If we aren’t talking and chatting, I’ll have no idea who you are or what’s going on. If you hand someone your card, be sure you connect. How you connect depends on your goals for the conference. Maybe you’re looking for VA work. Perhaps you’re looking for people to link up with for a series. You can talk to them about that and jot a quick note on your card to remind them what you spoke about. I.E “Girl on frugal living” because you spoke about frugal living.
What to Wear To A Blog Conference
It’s usually business casual. You don’t want to be too fancy, but you don’t want to be in jeans in a t-shirt either. There will likely be brands and PR reps there and you want to make sure that you are representing your brand in the correct light. You don’t need to wear a suit, and maybe even jeans and a nice t-shirt are okay. If you’re a fashion blogger, be sure to show your fashion! This is a chance to represent you and what your blog is about! You’ll also want to take pictures and get tagged on social media as well. You came for a reason, so be sure to show your friends and followers that you’re there and take blogging seriously. People don’t go to these conferences and spend this money just to have a “mommy vacation.”
If you’ve never gone to a blogging conference, you should seriously consider it. It’s something where you get to go and network with other people. I now recognize people from the conference in the different groups I’m in across social media and can put a person or personality with their social media, You also never know when you might need someone with a certain skill set or vice-versa.