What to know about going to your first blogging conference
Going to your first blogging conference? Score! You’re in the right place! This is for all the bloggers who want to know the ins and outs of going to their very first blogging conference.
Yes! So, you’ve decided to register for your first blogging conference! Now what? Yikes! Let me tell you, there is a whole new world waiting on the other side of those conference doors that is probably (most definitely!) going to rock. your. world.
Here’s what you’re probably asking yourself if you’re reading this post. Why do I even need to go to a conference (Facebook groups, duh!)? What should I bring? OMG, what do I wear??! What am I not remembering??
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Going to your first blogging conference
I can’t tell you how many times I almost backed out leading up to the conference. I had so much commitment phobia that I didn’t even register until two and a half weeks before the conference. Seriously. And even then, while I was packing and ordering cards and all those things, I seriously thought I was crazy to be wasting my time and money to go to a conference for blogging (blogger doubt is no joke, people!).
But I did it anyway. I planned all the details out. Ordered a new purse and suitcase (both definite necessities 😉 More on those later), checked out the facebook group, and waited until last minute to order my blogger business cards like a champ!
Let’s just say I’m not waiting until last minute for the next set of cards I order.
But, here’s the thing. This blogging conference (Haven 2017) completely rocked our socks off. As in, seriously changed our lives. There will definitely be some changes coming to my blog and business as a result of going to Haven. Not only that, but Nathan has had tremendous doors of opportunity open to him because he went (and he was just the bonus visitor!).
So, if you’re anything like me, wondering if you even deserve to go to a conference, lean in real close and listen hard. **Yes. Yes, you need to go to a blogging conference. Like, yesterday.**
Showing up is more than half the battle. The other half of the battle is greeting someone with a smile and introducing yourself. The rest of it will come.
You will create (and cultivate) relationships you never dreamed were possible. And these are the kinds of relationships you could never make in a Facebook group. Seriously. You will learn so much your head will explode. And the opportunities. They are out there far beyond your imagination, but showing up is. . . right. You have to be there to catch them. Or make them.
What to bring to a blogging conference
Here’s what you need to bring to Haven (and similar conferences):
Business cards. See this post about what your blogging business card info should include.
A tote bag. Haven is famous for the swag and it’s no joke. Get a big tote bag. Bonus for leather!
A cute suitcase. Especially if you’re sharing a room with your new best blogging buds.
An extra suitcase. Remember that swag? This is especially necessary if you’re flying to Haven.
A pen and notebook. I seriously made a trip to the store to get a cute one. (This one is adorable!) And I adore these pens.
Scarf, jacket, or sweater. Conferences are notorious for needing layers.
A smile and friendly disposition. For real, that totally sounds like Mary Poppins, but it’s true. I didn’t sit with grumpies at my table. I found the peeps that were real and helpful and sat with them.
Was. not. kidding. about the swag.
What to wear to a blogging conference
If you’re anything like me, the second you hit the submit button, you had a panic attack about what to wear. I can’t tell you how many google image searches I did for Haven Conference to see what people had worn in past years. I even read a blog post that said cocktail dresses were a thing, but then in the Facebook group there were shrieks when cocktail dresses were mentioned??
Along with lots of jokes. So, here’s the real deal about what to wear to a blogging conference.
Blogger conference: What to wear
I think of it as date-night dressy. Like, as a mom going on a date. Cute but casual. Dresses are totally okay, but I never felt underdressed in my jeans and a cute top. Here’s what I took with me (and actually wore) for 3 nights and 2 days at a blogging conference.
- Navy sleeveless a-line dress (with flip flops to tone it down)
- Two pairs of jeans (dark and lighter wash)
- White blazer (for layering)
- White peplum tank top
- Teal flowy tank with blush cardigan
- Basic hot pink tank for Ladies Night In
And let’s not forget the flip flops and sandals.
Wear to a blogging conference: Shoes
Everyone said to wear flats, but, y’all. I’m a Georgia girl with 10 pairs of sandals and one pair of real shoes. So, flip flops and sandals it was for me. If you love wearing flats, you won’t feel out of place a bit. But the flip flops aren’t out of line either.
Wear to a blogging conference: Luggage
Okay, so I get it that you don’t wear your luggage, but it just belongs in this section, so here we have it.
In the course of 2 months, my stay-at-home-only-go-out-to-target-and-homegoods self is going to two conferences and Disney World. Actually, I’m flying out from Orlando at the end of our family vacation to head to the second conference in Portland. (Can you say, tired??!?)
So, with all that in mind (flying by myself across the country, yikes!), I decided to go ahead and start packing smart. I used Haven as a practice run for the next conference because there won’t be grabbing any last minute things out of my closet if I’ve been sleeping in Orlando for the past week.
So, I got serious about the luggage situation. I scoured the internet and all my local stores to find a suitcase and bag that could multitask and be everything I needed it to be. Plus!! I’ve been searching for the perfect purse for months. So, this was a perfect opportunity to get on the tote bag/purse bandwagon since I needed a “personal item” that could hold all my necessities.
In the end, I found the perfect duo. This vintage-looking hard side suitcase with spinner wheels and this amazing leather tote purse. Head on over to this post if you want to read all about my new luggage setup.
What to do before going to a blogging conference
Order business cards
Before the week of the conference, preferably. Head over to this post about blogger business cards 101.
Join the blogging conference Facebook group
Just about every blogging conference has a Facebook group these days. It’s a great way to find a roomie, catch a ride to the hotel from the airport, or stalk people you want to be friends with before you get there. It’s really nice to get to a conference when you’re a newbie and at least recognize other bloggers that aren’t superstars.
The flipside to this is going in without knowing anyone will help you to be more outgoing and adventurous. We sat with some superstar bloggers and Nathan didn’t know who they were (I didn’t prep him at all on purpose). He asked if they blog full time and even asked the husband what does he do. We all snickered as the husband humbly said: “I blog, too, with her.” LOL. I love my bold husband. That conversation opened doors of opportunity we would have never imagined. But if he knew who they were, he would have been more reserved and not as genuine. <3
Review the conference schedule
Haven is a multi-class conference where you can choose hour-by-hour which class you want to attend. I even changed my mind more than once a day based on things I was learning were important throughout the conference. But having an idea of the class schedule is a great idea.
Some blogging conferences are smaller and have an educational slant to them. These conferences will only have one class at a time that everyone will go to. (I’m heading to a conference like that in Portland in the fall, so be watching for a recap of that conference, too!). Even when your schedule is set, it will probably pay off to know who the teachers are and at least have an idea of their website and business as you learn from them.
Get a flight and a roomie
The Facebook group should be a huge help to secure a roommate during the conference. And you can even find out from the Facebook group if anyone lands around the same time as you so you can ride together from the airport to the hotel. Thankfully, I brought my own roommate and drove to this conference, so neither of those applied to me this time. They definitely do for the next conference I plan to go to, though.
Prepare a pitch
Some of the Haven veterans came prepared with special cards to pitch their ideas to brands/vendors who were represented at the conference. This wasn’t our year to take advantage of that, but it was a great idea if you think there will be vendors there you want to talk to.
Sign in with your social accounts on your phone
Okay, so you might think this last one is a little weird. If you’re like a lot of other bloggers out there, many of us manage social profiles for other people. Or, maybe you just haven’t logged in to twitter in a while? Yikes.
Either way, be sure you’re logged in on social media (and know the basics of how to use it). There could be giveaways that you have to enter on social media or an entire network of new friends waiting on you out there in the social webs. At least be logged in so you don’t miss out on those opportunities. (Whwew! Good thing I wasn’t logged in to that attorney’s twitter account I manage when I tweeted about that faucet giveaway!).
First Blogging Conference Recap
So, if you’re thinking about going to a blogging conference, here’s the recap.
Yes, you need to go!
Wear cute but casual date-night type of clothes.
Come prepared, but not too psyched out.
Show up. Introduce yourself. The rest will follow.