I had the opportunity to attend my first blog conference. Well, I’ll be honest. I packed my family with me. We had the opportunity to attend our first blog conference.
It was both terrifying and exciting. Overwhelming and insightful. But I’m glad I went.
My family and I live a little over an hour away from Salt Lake City. This city hosts a huge conference every year called Build Your Blog Conference. And because Salt Lake City is full of fun adventures my husband and I decided to take the kids along and make this into a family trip.
If you decide to do this (your other half have the kids while you attend your conference), I can promise it’s not as scary or as frustrating as you might think. To be honest, having them there actually forced me to meet people that I wouldn’t have said hello to. They were my accountability and they worked well.
But if you need an escape and some personal time for a while, I completely understand.
After the conference was over I came home and wrote down all the lessons I learned from this conference. The lessons that I didn’t find anywhere else online.
Then my son ate my list, but thankfully there was no writing on the chunk he ate.
I am sharing with you lessons I learned from my first blog conference. 10 Tips for success. I promise they’re not as painful as you might think (or as painful as some of my embarrassing moments you’ll soon read about).
First Blog Conference: 10 Practical Tips for Easy Success
1. Print out a schedule ahead of time
If you want to make life easier on yourself, print out a detailed schedule ahead of time. This schedule will display the title of the class, a brief synopsis of what will be taught, who the teacher will be, and their blog name.
I recommend doing this for two reasons.
One, so you can decide prior to attending the conference what you want to learn and what would best suit your blog’s needs. And second, so you can focus on the people around you instead of staring at a piece of paper.
The schedule is usually available about 1 – 2 weeks prior to the start of the conference. Check your conferences website for more details.
2. Research the speakers and instructors
There are going to be a ton of instructors you will be taking classes from, and usually a select few keynote speakers. As I researched the names of those who would be speaking, I found I learned a lot more from the messages they prepared.
I could also ask more detailed questions about how the things they’re teaching apply to their blog and what they’ve done to be successful in that field.
I also felt a better connection to the instructor.
Now, a word of caution and wisdom. If you do this, you will not remember all of the names, faces, and biographies of everyone. Trust me on this.
My first morning at the conference I sat at a random table with a group of gals (you know me, trying to make my introvert-self meet new people) and started having a conversation with the woman next to me.
Somehow we got onto the topic of Facebook videos and what happens when one goes viral. I asked her a question, wanting to learn more, and she gave me an answer. We talked for a bit longer and when it was time to depart I wished her well on her blogging pursuits and said, “I hope your blog does as well as you want it to.”
She said thanks with a smile and we parted ways.
I went to my first class and sat down in the second row. The woman I just left came in a few minutes later and started teaching the class…about Facebook videos and videography. Her food blog averages 500,000 pageviews a month. I HAD NO IDEA WHO SHE WAS!
I laugh about this experience now but at the time I was so embarrassed.
Remember: we are all on a blogging journey together. Some are further along than others, and that’s okay. What’s important is we be kind to each other and willing to learn from one another.
3. Order business cards
I cannot tell you how happy I was to get my business cards in time for this blog conference. They came the day we left for Salt Lake City.
Normally I’m not a last-minute person, especially since I ordered them 2 weeks before the conference. Learn from me, order your cards at least a month before your conference is to start.
There are tons of tutorials, DIY posts, and options you have when it comes to ordering your business cards. I designed mine in Canva and ordered them through GotPrint.
You’re going to be meeting a ton of people. You will want to be prepared with your card.
I highly recommend keeping your card simple, make sure your face is on the front so people will remember you easier, and stay true to the brand you have set up for yourself.
4. Give yourself plenty of travel time
Most blog conferences begin early in the morning. If you don’t live nearby, I highly recommend you checking into your hotel the day prior to the start of the conference. This will give you a good nights rest and time to better prepare in the morning.
A blog conference is very busy with classes, meeting new people, and everything else you’re going to be doing. I highly encourage you to take your time traveling to and from.
5. Wear comfortable shoes & clothing
I’ll be honest, I wore a cute dress one day and jeans the next. I wasn’t sure on the dress code for a blog conference, but honestly, it’s all about what you find comfortable.
I will encourage you to wear a VERY comfortable pair of shoes (flats if possible). You will be on your feet a lot and you don’t want sore feet or blisters.
6. Meet 5 new people
Push yourself to say hello to at least 5 new people. For an extrovert, this is no big deal. Super easy, right? Well, I’m definitely an introvert, especially when it comes to large groups.
And in all honesty, large groups terrify me…a little…lot…okay, back to meeting new people…
Something that helped me was having 3 questions in my mind ready to ask. Here they are:
- What’s your name?
- What do you blog about?
- Why did you start your blog?
People LOVE to talk about themselves, and these questions will help open the doors for you to meet new people.
Be genuinely interested in what they have to say and offer input and suggestions as you listen to them speak.
I met one woman who blogs about essential oils and I asked her if she’s ever written a book about “essential oils for dummies?” She said no but wrote the idea down because that was something she thought would be great for her audience.
If you contribute and help build up another person, they will remember you. The more value you add to someone else, the better your relationship with that person will be. Then after the conference is over, if they’re similar to your target audience, keep in touch with them and continue to foster your relationship with them.
7. Contribute what you know
You don’t have to know everything to contribute something. You just have to know a little more than someone else.
No matter if you’re just starting a blog or if you’re averaging six-figure page views, everyone has something to contribute. Everyone has something of value to share.
I can promise that you’re hurting more than just yourself by not sharing your thoughts with another blogger. You’re missing out on the opportunity to add value and they’re missing out on learning from you.
8. Give yourself grace
You’re not going to know everything, you’re going to learn a TON, and you’re going to feel a little overwhelmed. That is perfectly normal.
The purpose of a blog conference is to learn and network with other bloggers. Learn all that you can and then go home and apply the things you’ve learned. Be patient with yourself, expect great things, and keep working hard.
9. Don’t become discouraged
If you become discouraged you start to doubt and if you doubt you lose faith, and if you lose faith, you’ll eventually give up. People need you. They need to hear your voice and the message that only you can share.
Don’t get discouraged, and don’t compare your journey with another person’s journey. Both are unique and special, but your journey is made for you.
10. Let’s do that again!
After the BYBC festivities, I told my husband, “I don’t want to do one of those again for another year.”
Let me explain.
I loved all I learned. I definitely had some struggles with my weaknesses and insecurities. But I can promise you’re going to be so tired after your conference. But a good tired.
There comes a time when you need to stop learning and start applying. Conferences are not cheap. Do what you can to save up for at least one conference a year and go to it.
As you remember and apply these 10 practical tips for easy success for your next conference, maybe one day you’ll be teaching a class and the new kid on the block will sit next to you and say, “I hope your blog does as well as you want it to!”
Have you attended a conference? Leave a comment and share your helpful tips and insights below.