David Letterman is from Indiana. I’m from Indiana.
David Letterman is live from New York. I went to New York for Blogher’12.
We are practically next of kin. In honor of our kinship, top 10 things I would remind myself of in the future at blogger conferences…or tell a newbie going into the eye of the storm.
It’s taken me a whole week to write this…better than the whole year that I still sometimes use for giving wedding presents.
Non-blogger alert: THIS will be boring to you… just skip over today if you have better things to do like re-start the musty load of laundry sitting in the washer that never got dried or wipe out the bottom of your refrigerator Oh, wait – that’s on MY to do list.
Blogher’12 Learnings from the Newbie (that decided to forego all Blogher vet advice about NOT wearing heels. Go splurge on awesome flats and rock them. Ok, that was #10 1/2)
**If I linked to somebody, it’s because I think you should go look at their cool personal world**
10) Say “Hi, I’m (enter name here) ” to everyone. People that seemed to know what they were talking about in sessions and asked the good questions – I super hunted them down after & exchanged cards. If I loved a session, I went and introduced myself to the speakers. Everyone here is just a person that once pooped in diapers like you did, I tried to not be afraid of anyone. Two of my favorite people from the weekend were Kathy Cano-Murillo and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor – the two AMAZING best selling authors that are in the “blog celeb bracket.” But I talked to them, they were normal and they both went the EXTRA mile to help me out with guidance, advice and introductions! I mean, even the bathroom is a great place to meet…right NYCJenny and HalfbakedLife ? Or over food – that is good too…Travelswithlulu.
9) If you are new, go to Pathfinder Day. If you aren’t new – I would say skip it. I learned some great tips and advice from two of my new favorite blogger crushes – as aformentioned – Kathy and Stefanie at the small breakout session for “blogs as book pitches”. But really, the best part out of the day was the practice lap for your mind and nerves as you enter the blogger conference mystery weekend. AND actually being surrounded by people that are probably somewhat similar to you (since you both chose a small group that was centered around one common theme.) Actually, it’s a toss-up, maybe I would do it again. It was worth meeting these lovelies: Lady Sippington, Jen Has a Pen, Momtini Lounge or Suburbankamikaze and Realestatetangent.
OH…and if you are new and know NO ONE like I did…I highly suggest finding a potluck roomie on the Twitter hashtag or on the forums! It was fun, you save money, have a wing-man to walk to breakfast with and you get a new buddy like mine – HowIPinchAPenny !
8) When meeting someone, take a deep breath and just say who you are and why you are here and what you hope to learn..and then flip them a business card so they will flip one back. (Tip – keep your cards in your name tag badge so you don’t have to search in your black hole bag and have to tell jokes while you sweat and look for your cards that you so carefully prepared and packed.) I thought I had to have this elaborate “elevator speech” prepared, but NAH, just take the deep breath as to hold back nervous verbal vomit and then just speak and start a convo – it felt fun to naturally “talk shop” with all of these other bloggers!
7) Listen in sessions and jot down appropriate and well thought out questions. Raise your hand and stand up during the Q&A with a specific question about your brand or blog. I met a few people outside of class that tracked me down because they had similar sites or questions. A simple way to network! I also tried to shoot out a quick tweet that mentioned my speakers and a favorite “takeaway” so others could learn something and maybe follow someone that is an expert in the field mentioned. For example, during our vlogging session, I mentioned that Catherine McCord of Weelicious.com would be leading us in a vlogging session and then shared a great “how to” tip later that connected me to some other bloggers in the session. I thought this was a good way to create dialogue with other attendees for after the conference.
6) Be a creeper and track down people that asked good questions in class & exchange info. It’s nice to have a contact that may be working on similar areas of improvement on their blog. (Bonus: they may actually understand the SEO-enese that was just spoken in the last session& may be willing to help translate.)
6 1/2) Avoid a lot of the sugary snacks – you will crash. Bring a HUGE water bottle and fill up as you go. Dehydration ruins days.
5) Action steps and resources. I tried to jot down a few “homework” action steps out of every session with a few examples of resources to utilize once I got home. For example,”produce 1st vlog by end of August” or google this term or that plug-in was an action step. A sample of noted resources: “HARO” (help a reporter out) or Media Bistro.
4) Someone told me “let your feet vote for a session.” This is so true. I ended up in a political session that applied to about negative nine things that I focus on… I politely left and spent some good time chatting with expo booths that I was interested in getting to know.
3) You know how you circle a buffet and don’t grab anything until you get a good look at the whole selection? Do this with the expo. I took the 1st night to scan and not take anything (you just don’t need most of it.) And by the 2nd or 3rd day, I had actually gotten to know some of the booth vendors through all my “drive-bys” and we were able to have a natural discussion about marrying my blog to their brand. Focus on meeting brands that fit with YOUR brand…besides, you just don’t need 84 pens and three vibrators – but you could use two or three new sparks with a cool brand. Ok…truth be told… maybe I left with a few things. Hint, I didn’t bring any pens home.
2) Attack what is really important to you while there. For example, I REALLY wanted to connect with HuffPost Parents while in NYC because it is a media outlet that I adore and would love to contribute to. I stalked them and part of my vision unfolded – I met them and they were lovely – and now when I pitch them, they sort of kind of know who this new blogger with triplets from Indiana is.
I also wanted to milk all the info I could about publishing a book. I feel confident I discovered some truths and uncovered a few lies within this arena, so I feel good about it.
And to connect – that was #1 reason for going. And I also feel good about that. So although I missed most of Sparklecorn, didn’t make it to one minute of CheeseburgHER party and didn’t attend one GeekBar, I hit my priorities and I can feel good about that.
1) #1 takeaway: Take care of you. This weekend was the biggest and most fashionably dressed roller coaster I’ve even been on. Be prepared to not be prepared for some of the emotions and physical reactions you will feel. Don’t feel guilty for skipping this or attending that. If you cry, embrace it. If you compare yourself to all of the awesomeness in the room, sigh and move on. If you think you are better than “those people” – you’re probably wrong. I am happy to say I came home tired, over thought and stretched in bigger ways than ever before (how is that possible after stretching my human body to grow three humans?)
Goodnight Blogher’12 – I am done (lie) talking about you on this blog…real life can resume…I guess.