As you may know last week I attended the blogging conference BlogHer16 for the first time, you can find my recap here. I go over (almost) everything I did, with a ton of pictures ~ celebrity photo opps are always exciting!! Like I said I was a complete newbie to the whole conference thing, and barely knew any bloggers online. All in all, had an amazing time and can’t wait to go back next year!!
Download the BlogHer events app. Input your whole schedule, make sure you have the location, time and any notes. The Maps will save you from wandering around lost, but don’t let that scare you because others will get lost as well. You can highlight any sponsors you don’t want to miss visiting. I also found the alerts to be helpful, only because when it came to conference time the FB page got overwhelming to even go on and my wifi was very wonky.
Connect with people online before. Even if it’s just following each other on social media, it will help you recognize a few friendly faces. The majority of the ladies I met at the conference were all ones I had recently followed on social media because I knew they were heading there too. If you’re shy it can be a little intimidating to approach someone and introduce yourself.
Set a goal. My goal for attending my first blog conference was simply to break out of my shell and make connections, very simple and easy to achieve. And remember everyone’s goals are all different, some may want to only go to connect, some may only want to go for the celebrities, or some may want to actually go to the sessions take notes and learn. It’s all up to you!!
Don’t go in with high expectations. Don’t be afraid of change. I probably went in with too high of expectations, my schedule was jam packed with sessions and everything else, including visiting all the booths at the expo hall. WELL, that didn’t happen! My schedule spontaneously changed from all the sessions I wanted to attend to attending 6 private parties, the keynotes, and walking around the expo hall. But I was only able to visit about half of the booths, the expo hall was either a little too overwhelming/intimidating or they were closed/closing.
Let’s talk cliques. It makes me sad when I read about people getting a nasty taste from blog conferences because they feel the cliques. I didn’t necessarily get that feel, except from a few ladies in the expo hall but then again I don’t think that was necessarily cliques but more like ladies shoving for that swag, know what I mean. We do need to remember they are probably not cliques but more like friends who are happy to see each other outside of the screen. Over the weekend I hung out with a number of lady groups whom didn’t know me but welcomed me in their group, so I’m very thankful for that.
Don’t go for just swag. I’m so glad I did not go just for the swag, don’t get me wrong all the stuff I received was amazing but if that was the only reason I’d go then I would of lost out on money. So, just don’t make swag your number one reason to attend!!
Private events. No one says you have to go to the private events, it is your conference you do what’s best for you. From all the private events I attended; some had swag, great swag while some didn’t have any, most were informative but after a couple I thought to myself that was a waste of my time, I could of just learned that from their website! You live and learn. But even those, I came out thinking about what’s important to my blog, brand, me.
Put yourself out there. If you let go of all your self doubt, you will have an amazing time. I didn’t find anyone judging me for what I was wearing (truly you will see all kinds of different styles), how big or small my blog and social reach was ~ I was surprised it didn’t even come up for anyone, no one was judging me for standing around alone. Every morning I got the courage to leave my hotel room, walk down to the event all by my lonesome self and put myself out there and every evening came back to my room glowing from the wonderful time I was having!
Get used to everyone buried into phones. I loved taking as many photos (including food) as I possibly could, without someone making a comment. But I will say it was the oddest thing seeing everyone buried into their phones ALL the time, including at meals while people are speaking and it just felt wrong in so many ways.
Celebrities. This was one of the highlights of my trip; I loved seeing, meeting and taking photos with all the celebrities. BlogHer definitely knows how to do that right!!
Don’t be surprised if something goes wrong! With a conference this magnitude, something is bound to go wrong, but try to remember people who have a lot on their plates are behind the curtain. The hotel for BlogHer16 wasn’t perfect but they tried and did a fantastic job. I think this is what makes an experience perfect.
What to wear? How much should I pack? What size luggage? I heard from a lot of people before I left so I packed very light, with only one outfit a day and an extra dress for the closing party. Honestly, no one will care what you are wearing. And you will see it all. Dress comfortably. Don’t leave the house without comfy shoes, this is key!! Bring a light jacket or sweater especially if you get cold easily. I packed a couple snacks because there were times that I got hungry in my room and wanted a light snack. Pack light for the way there because you will still have swag to bring home, the hotel wasn’t prepared for shipment so I just checked a bag on the plane and had to leave a bunch of stuff behind. A trick to save space in your luggage, roll clothing works like a charm. Business cards, at least 150 to be safe and no need for any address labels they tend to take your business card or scan your badge.
If I’ve learned anything from attending it’s; put yourself out there no one will be judging you, it is your experience – your conference – you make the rules, you will leave feeling wonderful about yourself. As a Mom you are so wrapped up in your families life, that you forget how important it is to leave that title at home and not just for the evening. It felt so amazing to talk about me – Tabitha! You bet I’ll be attending next year.
Will I be seeing you for #BlogHer17? I sure hope so….