Now that I’ve had a few weeks to fully digest all that I took in at FitBloggin (or at least to the point that I feel like my head isn’t spinning in a thousand directions anymore!) I thought it might be good to take some time to reflect on all that I learned. And I’m not just talking about all the informative blogging and monetizing sessions I attended.
I’m talking about what I learned about blog conferences as a whole!
As I’ve mentioned before, this was my first ever blog conference and I was WAY out of my element. I’m typically fairly shy in crowds of people that I don’t know, and I’m pretty terrible at putting myself out there when I’m feeling uncomfortable. The first night of FitBloggin I was so overwhelmed, I honestly called Chris and said “I dont know what I’m doing here…”
Thankfully by day 2 that fear was (mostly) erased and the rest of the weekend just flew by!
But I thought I’d take some time this morning to give a few tips for those who are preparing for their first ever blog conference, or are on the fence about attending out of fear!
5 Tips for a Blog Conference Newbie
1. It’s Ok to be your introverted self… so try to “make friends” with other introverts!
I went in to FitBloggin basically knowing no one. Erin and I had met once before and talked via email a few times, but otherwise I was stuck in a hotel with several hundred people I didn’t know. Which was kind of terrifying!
I would have loved to be able to switch off that inner introverted person and just jump into a group and say hi, but the reality is, that’s just not me. And by the time the second day rolled around, I realized that that was ok! There are going to be loud, boisterous, extroverted people at any conference you go to, but that doesn’t mean you have to be one of them if that’s not you! There are also going to be introverted people, just like you, hiding in the corners as well.
Find them. Bond. Make friends. It’s so much easier when you can find other people who need some quiet time too!
Throughout the event, Erin and I kept saying that we were going to go work on “Making friends”. Networking, Mingling, or Exchanging cards with other bloggers just sounded so formal and intimidating to me, so I kept trying to remind myself that all I was doing was making friends. Much less scary! Especially when these friends were just as new and scared as I was!
2. Sponsors actually want to talk to you!
When I first walked by the sponsors tables, I figured they just wanted to present me with their product, hand me their business card, and wait for me to walk away so they could talk to the next person. Why would they be interested in what I have to say?
I quickly learned that that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Unlike an expo or event where vendors are pimping their products, the sponsors at blog conferences are there to get your information just as much as you’re getting theirs. They specifically chose this conference because they knew that it would be full of people who could help their business and share their products with readers. They need your help!
So don’t be afraid to actually talk to them when they ask “so what’s your blog about?” Tell them who you are and what you talk about. Give them your business card. I was shocked at how many sponsors actually reached out to my after the event just because I gave them my card!
3. Bring a notebook… and then actually take notes!
This one sounds like a “duh”, but when you’re running around from session to workout to your room to lunch (with your hands full of swag, of course) a notebook is an easy thing to forget. But let me tell you, it’s probably one of your most important tools at a blog conference.
Over the course of a weekend (or even just a day), you’re going to get so much information that your brain is going to feel like it’s about to explode. I’m not kidding. You’re going to have a million ideas buzzing through your head: post titles, project ideas, key words, tips, tricks… the list goes on.
And if you don’t write them down, you’re going to promptly forget that brilliant idea you just had as soon as you walk into the next session and get bombarded with more information.
So write it all down, like you’re taking notes for a final exam. That way later in the afternoon, the next week, or months later, you can go back and reflect on your thoughts and ideas without straining to try and remember it from a weekend full of information!
4. Bloggers are people too (even the big name ones)!
I’m not going to lie, when I saw the attendance list for FitBloggin and noticed that a few of the names were big name bloggers that I love to read, I may have done a little happy dance. I was actually going to get to meet some of my blogging idols??? Awesome!
Then I actually saw them in person and promptly forgot how to use my words. “…Hello? Hi… person… blogger… like your… yea… hi…”
What I learned after several awkward encounters is that bloggers, even the big ones, are people too. They are here to learn and grow and connect, just like you are (no matter how big or small your blog is). In fact, they may be just as introverted and awkward as you are – they are regular people, after all!
So go say hi! Or, as in my case, have an awesome friend (Erin) who will go over to your favorite blogger and tell them that this random girl over in the corner really wants to meet them but is too chicken to say Hi.
You may even get a selfie out of the deal! (Thanks Lindsay for being totally cool with my complete awkwardness!)
5. Bring an extra bag. Or 2. Or 5.
I’m totally not joking on this one. Every “what to pack for a blog conference” post I read before FitBloggin offered this advice, but I still went in thinking “yea, yea, I’m an expert packer, I’ll be fine.”
So foolish. So Naive.
Seriously, there is so much stuff, I dont even have words for it. Every where you look people are just handing you stuff, and then more stuff, until your little arms just can’t hold it anymore! I think my biceps got more of a workout from lugging my swag bags around than from the actual workouts (Ok, that’s a lie, Bootcamp and PiYo totally killed my biceps all on their own, but you get my point!)
Especially if you are flying, plan on having an entire suitcase dedicated to your swag. No matter what you think, you’re NOT going to be able to put it in your carry-on bag with the rest of your clothes. Even if you sit on it.
I see you thinking about it. Don’t do it. Seriously.
You want that swag. Trust me on that one!
Overall, I found my first blogging conference to be an awesome experience! It really made me step out of my comfort zone, but in an environment full of like-minded people with the same interests and passions as me, which was slightly less intimidating. I also learned a TON of valuable information about blogging, fitness, healthy living, and the blogging community in general. If you haven’t been to one, or are on the fence about going, I HIGHLY recommend it. Even check out some local conferences if you can – many major cities are doing 1 day conferences!
Check it out, enjoy some swag, and learn a ton! You won’t regret it!
So tell me: Have you ever been to a blogging conference before? Considered going to one? If so, what tips do you have for newbie conference attendees?