Blog conferences aren’t just fun — they’re a great way to learn about your industry and network with other bloggers from around the country (and even the world!). I’ve attended two blog conferences so far and met some of my closest blogging friends at them! But attending a blog conference doesn’t come without some fears and questions. Today, I’m sharing six tips that will help you prepare for a blog conference so that you can get the most out of it, put your best foot forward, and feel as little stress as possible.
1. Make your blog the BEST that it can be.
That “to do list” of little tweaks you’ve been wanting to make to your site? Now’s the time to get ‘er done, girl! After the conference, you’ll have plenty of new visitors checking out your blog, and you’ll want them to notice how rockin’ your site is…not how that link in your sidebar doesn’t work. Make a list of the things you can do to your site to really bring your vision to life in the best way possible. A few things you might want to improve?
- Create a stellar about page. After all, this is where people will probably be clickin’ first.
- Make sure your branding is consistent. Tips on building a consistent brand right hurrrr >>
- Check all of the links on your homepage. Make sure everything’s in working order. It would stink if a new potential client tried following you on Instagram, only to find that the social media icon on your homepage isn’t working. #sadface
- Publish relevant, awesome content. Though you should always aim to create great content, sometimes we fall off course. If that sounds like you, then make it a point to publish some of your best content 1-2 weeks preceding the conference. That way, when new friends visit your site, they’ll find content that is truly representative of your brand and what they can expect from you.
2. Create blog business cards
You need blog business cards if you’re heading to a blog conference. It’s how people will remember you and find your site later on. I recommend opting for high quality, memorable cards rather than cheap, thin cards. Why? When you get home from a blog conference, you’ll have a bag full of business cards from other bloggers. If your cards are thick and well-designed, they’ll stand out from everyone else’s and encourage people to check out your site.
I also tend to think that if a blogger hands me a beautiful, high-quality card vs. something thin and template-looking, that they really take their blog seriously. Those are the types of bloggers I’m quick to connect with after the conference is over.
3. Research the conference
Each conference has its own personality and it’s important to understand the nuances between the different conferences in order to get the most out of them. To research a conference, check out its website and blog. I also recommend searching for the conference on Google and seeing if other bloggers wrote about their experiences. It can be valuable to find out, first-hand, what the conference is like so that you know what to expect.
4. Research + interact with the other attendees
Not all conferences will have the attendees listed somewhere, but of the two I’ve been to, they both had a private Facebook group where you could interact with the other participants before the conference even happened. These groups are a stellar place to make connections before the event so that when the conference actually happens, you have a foundation to build a friendship or collaboration from.
Researching other attendees also helps because you’ll be able to see if there’s a particular person you’d like to connect with — perhaps someone in your niche. It’s unlikely that you’ll meet everyone at the conference, so doing your research ahead of time can help you make sure that you meet the right people for possible collaborations and friendships.
5. Research the sponsors
In addition to researching the other conference-goers, you’ll want to research the sponsors, too. At some conferences, it’s normal to give your media kit to sponsors, along with some collaboration ideas. If that’s normal for your conference (again, research it in #3!), then I’d recommend it! If not, then you can still make an impact, even without a media kit. Research each of the sponsors to find the ones that would fit you and your blog the most. Introduce yourself at the conference and hand them your business card (be sure to get theirs, too!). Then, follow up with them after the conference by sending your media kit and collaboration ideas.
Remember, if a brand is sponsoring a blog conference, then it’s very likely that they are interested in collaborating with bloggers! Don’t be nervous about approaching them — they’d love to meet you! 🙂
6. Work on your elevator pitch
Last but not least, keep in mind that you’ll be introducing yourself to tons of new people. It can be a little overwhelming at first, and certainly stressful if your introduction sucks. #bleh. Instead of introducing yourself by the seat of your pants, try perfecting your elevator pitch before the conference. Think of a few brief sentences that describe who you are and what you do in a conversational way. That way, you feel empowered rather than overwhelmed when someone asks you, “what do you blog about?”