Last year I was lucky enough to attend my first bloggers’ conference! I went to the inaugural BConnected Conference in Ottawa, ON, and it was an amazing experience! I met so many bloggers whose blogs I read and followed, and I connected with the speakers and exhibitors in such a way that I would have done at a bigger conference. Even though BConnected was a fabulous conference to attend, I could have made it an even better experience had I done a few things differently to have made even more out of this experience. There were some things that I learned beforehand, and other things I wished I had with me to have gotten to know other bloggers better, to have networked more efficiently and to have had more to take back with me once the conference ended. I also will bring a small case to hold my cards and to keep all of the business cards I gather at year’s event so they do not become mixed up in my purse or become lost.
One thing that attendees will be doing at conferences like BConnected will be using some form of mobile device to let their followers know everything that is happening, who they are meeting and sharing what they received in their swag bags. I did not realize just how much battery life it would take to do and share everything I wanted each day! My battery held out for a long while, but by the end of the first day, it was close to being dead. BConnected was thoughtful enough to have charging stations available, but there were only so many spaces for my phone to charge, and I was missing a lot of opportunities to use my phone.
The wise webmaster at the Conference let me in on a tip that would have helped me out of this sticky wicket: Use a portable charger. There are both wired and wireless versions of this lovely little gadget, and are small enough to fit in your purse or bag. My sister found a great deal on wired portable chargers last Christmas, and I was able to buy two of them. They also have different covers, so you can show off a bit of your own personal flare when you use it. I get a ton of extra battery life when my battery starts to get low so I never have to worry about being anywhere without my phone being charged for a very long time, and I will not be missing any of the action at this year’s conference!
Having business cards is an essential way of people who you connect with at conference, meetings, events, etc. to have information about you and your blog/business after you have connected with them. It is hard to keep the names of both the people you meet and their blogs and businesses in your head, so how are other people suppose to remember all of this information.The connections you make at events are less likely to also carry around paper and pen to jot down information about you as well, so having these vital pieces of details about you are an important step in making connections that may help you and your blog or business in the near future.
Doing your homework about your fellow attendees, speakers and exhibitors at any event you go to is a great way to start a conversation with them when you meet them face-to-face. You can do this in a lot of ways. Where the speakers and exhibitors are concerned, you can follow the conference or event you are about to attend. They are always sharing information about the people and businesses that are contributing in their event through their social media channels and on their website. You can then gather details about what the speakers and brands are like and who you may want to try and make a connection with them when you get your chance to meet and connect with them.
Where other attendees are concerned, again, you can follow the social media channels of the event you are attending to see who else is communicating and sharing their information. If the event also has an event page on Facebook, like we do, you can see other like-minded individuals like yourself who will be attending the event and find out about their bloggers and businesses.
The first three things are tips anyone can do and get for themselves, but to then put everything together and put yourself out there is a whole different world for some people. At first, I was a bit shy about going up to other bloggers I followed to speak with them or to chat with some of the exhibitors because I did not think that they wanted to talk to me. If you want to get your blog or business noticed at an event or a conference, then sometimes you may have to step a bit outside of your comfort zone, take a chance and make yourself known. Once I plucked up enough courage, I started to speak to the exhibitors, speakers and attendees. The results were all positive, and I connected with so many great individuals. I was also glad that I knew a bit about some of these people and brands before speaking to them, so it made our conversations less awkward.
There is so much information an attendee will learn at conferences. It is very easy to lose some of what the speakers are sharing with you as you are picking up new ideas and methods to improve your blog. This is why I was glad I brought a notebook and pen with me to jot down everything I was learning. It made it easier for me to recall my shorthand to then apply what I learned from the Conference at home. This can also be accomplished on your mobile device in a notepad app if you work better on this apparatus.
These are just a few of the tips and tricks I can pass on to attendees on items to bring in order to get through a bloggers’ conference. These ideas will help you stay connected to all of the action and fun of the event and will make connections with speakers, exhibitors and other attendees easier to make. Attendees that go to conferences go not only to have fun, but also to make valuable connections that could help improve their blog. Hopefully these tips will assist you in making the most of your conference experience, whether it be at BConnected this year or at any other event you attend!
What other tips or ideas would you add to this list to get through your experience at a bloggers’ conference successfully?