BlogHer ’13 is less than two weeks away – and many of you are probably wondering what it’s like to attend the biggest blogging and social media conference…. Well, let me fill you in!
I’ll be up front and let you know that I’m not one of the people who has been there every year. And there are some people who have. But I have been there. I went in 2010 with some of my local friends and I spoke at BlogHer Handmade in 2011.
So, this may only be my second “big” BlogHer event, but I have learned enough to share some insights with you on what you can expect:
It’s going to be big. The main BlogHer Conference is huge. Of course, I heard it was huge before I went. But could I really imagine what over 5,000 bloggers looked like in my mind? No. You just have to see it. It’s going to be big. But in a totally fantastic way.
Don’t be scared. Yes, I just told you it’s huge. But really, don’t be scared. The BlogHer staff knows what they are doing and they know how to throw an awesome conference. There will be signs posted. You can download the app now and there are maps within it. They’ve taken care of shuttle buses to lead you from the hotel to the convention center. And there are going to be lots of volunteers to help you, as well as thousands of other bloggers. If you have a question about where something is located, ask someone for help.
You’re going to meet new people. Walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself can be scary. I get a little anxious about it, too. But, I’m going to suck it up and do it when I’m at BlogHer ’13. And I’ll be doing it a lot. Over and over. This will be the first time that I’m attending a blogging conference without someone I’ve already met in person being there. When I walk into breakfast and lunch, I’m going to feel like the new kid in the school cafeteria, trying to find a seat. But, I’m going to do it. And so are you. Why? Because…
Some of them are going to turn into real, actual friends. Yes, for real. I met my friend Beth when she came to The IndieBizChicks Conference in 2008. (yes, a conference named after my website!) Beth and I hit it off and she introduced me to several of her friends, including Lish. Beth, Lish, and I went to BlogHer ’10 together and that’s where we met Rachel. When I spoke at BlogHer Handmade, Rachel went and we shared a room together. Are you starting to see a pattern? Some of the people you meet will become your real life friends.
You’re going to get some free stuff. Oh, my goodness. There is swag to be had! There’s a whole expo hall of sponsors, and the vast majority are going to be giving out free samples. Unless you’ve declined them, you’ll also get “room drops,” where more stuff magically appears in your hotel room. So, yes, there’s lots of free stuff. But don’t get crazy, okay? There are lots of stories about the pushy, shove-y women who are all in a tizzy over free gum. You don’t want to end up as one of those stories!
Try to look at the opportunities, instead. Instead of thinking “I’m going to get free stuff!” try thinking “This is an opportunity to meet some potential partners or sponsors for my blog.” Look, I like free stuff just as much as the next person. But free stuff doesn’t pay my bills. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a job. I have a blog. I support myself with my blog, and if you want to start earning income with your blog by working with brands, go to the expo hall with that in mind. These are people that could hire you, so to speak. Don’t go there with the idea that you’re their free samples. Go there to meet them, learn about them, and see if you’d be interested in working with them.
You’ll get treated very nicely. You’ll be getting a gorgeous hotel room. You’ll be fed well at breakfast and lunch. There will be some great parties. BlogHer is going to be rolling out the red carpet for you.
And you’ll hear about some “private” stuff, too… In addition to the official BlogHer parties and sponsors, there are private events that are sponsored by other brands. These parties and events are invite only. You’re going to hear people talking about them, and you may see some of the swag that was gifted to the attendees. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get an invite. I didn’t get invited to any of the private stuff during my first year at BlogHer. But I have more invites than I can shake a stick at now.
Remember what you’re there for. You’re not going to BlogHer ’13 so you can compare invite lists with other people. You’re going so you can learn new things (remember, this is a conference full of sessions!), listen to wonderful speakers, meet the people you talk to on Twitter in real life, and network with brands (again, not to get free stuff but to find opportunities to potentially work with them in the future!)
Soak Up The Energy / Motivation … And Have Fun. Really. I’m being serious. When I leave BlogHer ’13, I am going to be sooo motivated and energized. You will be, too. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious!
P.S. I’ll be speaking – some come to my session and say “hi”