It’s really over! I can hardly believe that the Conference I have worked towards attending nearly since my beginning as a Blogger has actually come to an end. #BlogHer15 – 3 Days packed with so many opportunities at times it became overwhelming. I mean between schmoozing with Brands, trying to learn a few things along the way and meeting some of your favorite Bloggers the days can get away from you quicker than you realize. Finding yourbalance during it all will help you have a successful experience.
Finding that balance between all the amazing things offered at a BlogHer Conference is luckily easier than it may seem. There are a few things you can ask yourself to help get you on the right track to a fun-filled and fulfilling BlogHer.
Why Did You Come?
Understanding why you decided to attend the conference in the first place is the first step. Be honest with yourself. Did you come to make new friends, make new brand connections or learn new tips for your Blog? Maybe you just came to have fun! Any answer is a good answer but knowing your reason is the best way to have a plan for getting the most of what you want out of the time you’re there.
If your number 1 reason for attending is to connect with Brands then the Expo Hall is where you need to be. This means a few things. First when purchasing your ticket you may want to select the Expo Only Pass because this will allow you to have all access to the areas where Brands will be throughout the Conference without paying the extra costs of a Full Pass.
Keep in mind that selecting an Expo Only Pass will eliminate your opportunity to attend Keynote and Topic Focused Presentations as well as the breakfast and lunch provided. Still, if you came to simply meet Brands then this may be the option for you. The Expo hall is a place where every Brand has a chance to make the best first impression on you while you try to do the same.
Scheduling your time for this will be a bit easier than trying to combine different aspects of the Conference. All you will need are the Expo Hall hours, a great pair of flats and as many business cards as you can hand out.
The first night I entered the Expo Hall I had to literally take a moment and just breath it all in. The Expo Hall is a maze of booths, presentations and demonstrations from nearly every Brand represented at the conference. The limits are endless – from technology, beauty, lifestyle, parenting, home design, food, DIY – you name it and you could find a Brand that was perfect for you.
So where to start? That’s what I was thinking as I stood at the entrance and realized that there were literally hundreds of booths and I had to try to navigate my way through to make sure I made connections with the ones that best fit my purpose and goals for my site and my own brand. This is definitely where the BlogHer App came in handy. The App provided not only a list of the Brands represented, the PR Contacts for each but also a visual Map of the Expo Hall. I was able to plan out my where I wanted to be and keep a bit of logic to it at the same time.
By the end of my Expo Hall experience I had connected with Brands I loved and wanted to work with as well as become aware of a few Brands that may not have been as big but definitely grabbed my attention with their dedication as well as the potential they have for growth and impact.
Pssst! The Expo Hall is also where you can get your Swag Grab on! I mean each booth is always trying to have you walk away with a lasting impression of why you should work with them. This means the t-shirts, magnets, key chains, booklets, tote bags and sample will be handed out freely and abundantly so be prepared 🙂
I know what’s the difference between attending for Brand connections and Networking? I think the main difference is when you Network it is less about the swag and demonstration and more about making a lasting impression of what you and your Brand can offer them.
To network for me means to take things a step beyond simply handing over your business card and saying Thanks for the swag bag. Networking begins when you find a common ground between you and that Brand. Networking is finding that personal connection between yourself and that Brand that can help make an impact.
With a Brand like iSow who offers an amazing App to help your family and friends teach your children how to save and invest their money I realized that within my family of six children I am trying to teach them to their money a purpose this App would not only be perfect for me but I would be able to share their purpose with my readers through personal experience.
Or even an eyeglass company like Phonetic Eyewear who’s product offers style and usefulness by adding a coating to their lens to help protect your eyes from hours of looking at computer, tablet and smart phone screens. As a Full-Time Blogger and NerdGirl who sits in front of a screen of some sort nearly half the day, finding the perfect pair of glasses that would help protect my eyes and fit my style is a perfect fit for both me and the Brand.
At BlogHer, finding the chance to Network is as easy as saying ‘Hello‘. I think the best thing I realized while making my way through the many different events, parties and presentations was that PR Reps are people too. Many of them are attending the Conference for more than just work and getting to know them, chat with them and share a bit of who you are as a person can at times make a longer lasting impression than the perfect set of business cards.
When I arrived in New York City on Wednesday night I was a ball full of introverted nerves. I was an entire day early and wasn’t sure what to do. So I sent out a ‘meet me’ plea through one of the BlogHer Facebook Groups I joined months ago and was pleasantly surprised when I received a reply.
I headed to the Lobby feeling a bit anxious and excited. What was she like? Would we have anything in common? As Vernette from Vernette Out Loud walked towards me, I knew we would have a connection. She was smiling, happy and looked almost as excited as I felt. We introduced ourselves did the whole card exchange but then we actually started to share. Who we were, why we were there and what we wanted to walk away with from the Conference. For both of us the connections with like-minded Bloggers was right at the top of our lists. I knew we were both headed in the right direction.
That very first impression of what BlogHer could be was so important for me. When you attend a conference finding someone or a few someones who has similar dreams and goals to you can be such a big step to having an amazing experience. Vernette and I stayed connected throughout the Conference and were even able to introduce our friends to each other.
Tonight I had the chance to #MeetUp with @vernetteoutloud … Vernette flew 5 hours from Trinidad for her #BlogHer15 and still took the time to #KnowMe and share some great conversation over my cheeseburger and her tiramisu 😁 ➖ #newyork #newyorkcity #blogher15 #nyc #manhattan #love #ny #travel #bloglifestyle #blogger #blog #blogging #lifestyle #NCBlogger #MrsTeeH
I am so glad to say that not only was Vernette my very first impression of BlogHer but my last as well. The final night after the #McDBlogHer Close Out Party we were all so wired and full of memories we didn’t want it to end. We met up in the lobby and brainstormed on ways to stay connected and support each other.
— Jen Lawrence (@JaelDesignsInc) July 19, 2015
There’s SO Much More!
There is even more to attending a Blog Conference besides the obvious benefits of getting your site and brand out there and connecting with other Bloggers you get a chance to have the experience itself. That’s right sometimes just being there is enough motivation to spark something in your own life. Inspiration to do more, Education on how to do it and the Resources for getting there.
The Education side of the conference is just as important and Brands and Networking. If you don’t have the tools you need to prepare your site and your mindset for giving a Brand what they need then you may not see the results you want when you approach them.
BlogHer offered so many different topics that it was hard to choose just one. I was able to pick a few to help me in areas I know I want to see growth in such as the YouTube Storyboard presentation as well as a few others. Sitting there as your peers and experts in the fields share tips and tidbits on how they reached their goals is a moment I will never forget.
You Can Do It!
I know it sounds cheesy but you can! No matter how big you think the Conference may be you can do it! Just breath, set your goals and do it!
**Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”