If you’ve been following me on social media you’ll know that I’ve mentioned how excited I was to be attending #BlogHer17 this year. I’ve been blogging in some way or another since I’ve been in undergrad. I love blogging but it was mostly random rambling and observations. I watched as others started, grew and developed their blogs and left me in the dust.
I had no organization and blogged from the seat of my pants, when and where I wanted as soon as inspiration hit. And for some, that works. It worked for me for the longest time but personally for me I knew if I was going to become serious about blogging and content creation I needed to take the steps to get there and find direction.
I started posting on this blog late Fall 2015, however, I really didn’t get ‘serious’ about it til earlier this year. I’ve been eyeing the BlogHer Conference for the past few years and felt it was just what I needed to propel me to where I wanted to be in regards to my blog and also help me find my tribe. The last two years life got in the way and I wasn’t able to attend but at the beginning of 2017, I told myself that I would attend #BlogHer17 and just like that all the stars aligned to make it possible!
So I’ll be headed to Orlando this week to connect and learn from some of the best ladies (and men) in the game. I’m crazy excited! If you follow me on twitter you’ll know I’ve overused the word ‘excited’ but I don’t care Y’all! I’m in my feelings!
I’ve never attended a blog conference before especially one as massive as #BlogHer17. I thought all I had to do was register, make hotel reservations, book a flight and show up. Technically I could do just that, but that would be selling myself short on gaining the most from a conference of this size. So I’ve been chatting with fellow attendees and deciding what needs to be done prior to the conference to ensure I have my best experience. These are my top 5 ways to prepare for a conference.
1. Business Cards
One of the most important things you’ll do at a conference is network with other bloggers as well as sponsors. You’re THIS close to some of your favorite bloggers, content creators, influencers, brands, and celebrities. What better time to rub shoulders, smize, introduce yourself and let them know about your awesome blog and/or business? Business cards are a great way to share your information and show a bit of your personality. I get all my business cards for my business from Moo. So I went right back to them when it came time to print cards for the blog. I design my cards myself and then upload the design and have Moo print then for me. Super easy. I love the quality, feel and weight of their cards.
2. Dress for success
This one had me for a loop because when I think conference. I think networking and that I should be business casual. But BlogHer is a different kind of conference and I wanted to stand out, look good and be comfortable. From my understanding, BlogHer is very much come as you are, but growing up West Indian with brought-upsey that means dress decent. And ‘decent’ is up for interpretation. I went back and forth for weeks about what I would wear. I figured dresses would be the easiest thing, I still agree that they probably are. So after being back and forth and pulling my friends into my ‘what am I gonna wear’ saga I decided to settle on a dress for Friday and a blouse and slacks for Saturday. For all the parties I’ve heard I’ll be invited to I’ve got a selection of maxi dresses and rompers to choose from.
This doesn’t have to be an arduous process. You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe. I just wanted to be extra and take that plunge. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram to see my OOTD posts.
3. Make Friends Beforehand
I’ve made it my mission to befriend other attendees prior to the conference via our private Facebook group and weekly Twitter chats. This way I know someone at the conference or at least can spot a familiar face in the crowd. I did the same exact thing prior to moving to London for grad school a few years ago. And the women I befriended in my uni and flat’s private Facebook group became the core of my support system when I lived in London as well as when I moved back to the U.S and we are still great friends to this day. I’ve been chatting with a few fellow bloggers and can’t wait to meet up with them in person at the conference.
4. Be Prepared
By this I mean think about what you’re really attending the conference for and what you expect to get out of it. Connections? Lessons? Swag? All of the above? Whatever it is, you need to develop a plan to get whatever it is you came for. I also suggest leaving wiggle room for plans to change and be open to other opportunities that may present itself.
Also, have your gear ready. I know most people use their laptop/tablet to take notes or a good old fashion notebook. Personally, I’m not gonna lug my MacBook Pro around a conference hall all day. I REFUSE TO. But I plan to have my iPad, my notebook, a couple pens (I picked up some new ones from MUJI), and my vlogging camera on hand. I also plan to have extra batteries, a mobile charger, a cardigan for ice cold conference rooms, extra batteries, mints, hand lotion (my hands are always dry) and Advil on hand. I got a new tote bag (FINALLY!) and I’ll just throw everything in there. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of headaches so I rather be prepared instead of having to leave in the middle of a session to tend to it.
5. Be Flexible
Kinda weird right? But I’ve done tons of research on this conference as well as others and I decided I want to go with a super open mind. My goal is to meet as many bloggers as I can. Learn as much as possible in breakout sessions and just absorb as much of this experience as I can. Understand that things can and more than likely will change but that’s okay! Just roll with it.
And that’s it! Those are my top five tips on how I plan to survive #BlogHer17. I’ll make sure to update you guys next week on the total experience. Make sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat to catch a peek of conference life.
Have you ever been to a blogging conference or any other conference related to your professional field? Share your tips in the comments!