Making the Best of BlogHer–For Bloggers

GUEST POST

Last week, Mom Market Trends ran a post featuring tips on how agencies and companies could make the most of BlogHer. Following are suggestions for bloggers themselves, from a blogger with plenty of conference experience.

Listed in “Power Moms,” Sarah Peppel is the owner of Be There Online, a social media conference in the Philadelphia area, and has attending numerous other blogger conferences. She blogs at GenesisMoments.com and DIYFrugal.com and as a top blogger has worked on many brand campaigns (Wisk, Eggland’s Best Eggs, Rice Krispies, Disney on Ice, US Hot Air Balloon Team, etc.). Sarah is a member of the Child’s Play Communications Team Mom blogger review network and the mother of two teenage daughters.

Are you a passionate writer looking for focus and inspiration, a web designer hoping for future business, a vlogger who enjoys visual expression, a business woman or all of the above? There is room for everyone at BlogHer, where women do what they do best – network, network, network.

But, at some point, we all have to justify the expense of costly conferences. Whether you come for the personal relationships, renewed inspiration or the swag, there are ways to up your ROI (return-on-investment) and turn your trip into a financially viable, expensable and satisfying  journey.

Peter Drucker offers this quote, “More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on this subject.”  Point here? At any time there will be people around you who can change your life if you open up, talk to strangers (with a BlogHer nametag on) and get to know the people around you.
Here are a few tips to make your trip a little smoother and help you meet your goals:

Pre-conference
• Do your research – Know the conference seminar topics, know the sponsors. Look up both. Take notes and bring them with you.
• Business cards – Have a clean, clear business card which states who you are and exactly how you want someone to reach you along with a short title or mission statement. Leave white space for someone to take notes. Some bloggers are now recommending one-page media kits which help companies know you mean business.
• Camera – Unless you are a professional photographer, keep it light and portable but do bring something. Sometimes pictures can help you remember events and people more than your notes. And, there are increasing numbers of on-site Tweet-to-win opportunities if you bring your camera via smartphone.
• Dress for success – No, not a business suit but dress the way you want to be perceived as a business woman. And, of course, wear comfortable shoes!

At the Conference
• Quality time – Spend time getting to know the companies you really like and will actually write about. Get off your computer and spend time talking to the people at your table who are doing exactly what you want to do. LISTEN and TAKE NOTES!
• Continue your research – Take notes in seminars which inspire you. ASK QUESTIONS of bloggers you respect.
• Recap – Take a minute or two in the quiet of your hotel room each evening and write down everything you forgot to jot down earlier. Note questions you want resolved the next day before the conference is over. Make a list of companies you didn’t get a chance to speak with.
• Come to the Expo Hall prepared – The Expo Hall is full of companies and brand reps that need to go back to the office on Monday with a positive report. Make it easy on them. Respect them as individuals who got where they are for a reason. Ask brand reps about their product and then ask how their company currently engages bloggers. LISTEN to the answer closely. Make notes on the business card they give you with plans to follow-up later.
• Keep all receipts and records of mileage and travel expenses – if you are already making money blogging or plan to in the near future.

Post-Conference
• Implement – Put into action everything you learned about making your blog the best it can be! Ultimately, companies like seeing good traffic if they are going to invest in you.
• Follow up – Email the companies you really connected with. Offer solutions on how you can make their message better through your focused efforts or how you can expand their current program successfully based on what you learned from other bloggers at the conference or already see bloggers doing.
• Recap the whole big thing  – Go through your notes and do what you love: process through writing, video, photos, etc. Make it real.

BLOG ABOUT IT: Talk about who made a difference in your life. Talk about the speakers who inspired you and why. Talk about the products that got your attention. Be the blogger you know you are inside and enjoy every minute!