This week I’m in the US for Alt Summit, a design and lifestyle bloggers conference that hosts around 650 bloggers from all over the world in Salt Lake City, UT. It’s a big conference and because I’m both shy and quite the introvert, it takes a little extra planning for me to feel that these kinds of events will go smoothly and I’ll make the most of my time there. It’s my second Alt and my 5th blogging conference, so I thought I’d share some tips that might make attending and making the most of a blog conference a tad easier for you.
You usually have to get your ticket a few months (even up to 6 months) in advance, so it can be easy to forget about it until it’s just around the corner, but here are some things you can do to prepare:
- Write down what you think you most need/want help with for your blog – this will help you to pick sessions later
- Write down what your blog is not only about right now, but where you want to take it in the next 12 months – set yourself some bloggy goals
- Tidy up your blog (if it needs it) so it’s looking its best in the lead up to the conference and during as some people will want to see your blog not long after (and sometimes before) they’ve met you
- Order Business Cards – some blog conferences make a big deal about business card swapping, be ready to show off your blog with some
- Think of an elevator pitch for your blog – because the question you will be asked most is: so, what’s your blog about?
- Book your hotel as soon as you can – if it’s an option to stay on site, try to do so as it really makes the experience
- Read the speakers list and the sponsors list and write down a few names of who you want to connect with whilst you’re there
- Once the schedule is released print it out and go to it with a highlighter pick the ones you must attend and pick a couple of backups too just in case you change your mind
- If there are events or dinners that are themed, prepare and be ready to join in. Even if they’re not your type of thing, you never know who you might get to meet at these events – bloggers you don’t know might become future collaborators or even good friends
- Dress your best – even if you’re someone who blogs in their trackies/sweats, this is your chance to dress like you mean it and like you believe in you and your blog – play the part, it’s fun
- If crowds of people make you nervous, practice being ‘on’ and feeling more comfortable with it – and/or get a map of the conference space and see if you can spot a quiet place you can take a breather when needed
- Be ready to have a good time – going into it feeling positive will help make it a happier event
When you’re there
- Register once you’re settled into your hotel and get an idea of where you need to be the next morning for conference kick off – you should get a map or schedule
- Confirm which sessions you want to attend and remember to take a pen and notepad (or laptop if you prefer) so you can take in all the awesome information and inspiration that’s coming your way
- Remember to smile at strangers and always be polite – even if your nerves are getting the best of you
- Hand out your business cards, you got them to share
- Take other people’s business cards and make time to chat to them
- Be brave and go and talk to the people/sponsors you put on your list before the event, this is your chance!
- Take time out in the chill out rooms (if they have them) when you need to
- Go to the parties/events/networking and speak to new people
- Have fun!
After the conference
- Give yourself time to decompress, you will learn a lot and might be totally overwhelmed with ideas and plans and possibilities, be kind to yourself and write notes where you need to
- Sleep!! You will need it after a few days switched on
- Email people who you met at the conference that you want to stay in contact with whether it’s a sponsor contact or another blogger also follow them on social media if you want to
- Write 10 things you want to implement in the next 3 months that you got from the conference
- Follow that list with the things that you want to implement in 6 months from the conference
- Make a timeline for both and start working on the first thing – now it’s time to take action
- If you’ve come away with some big, mammoth ideas from the conference, reverse engineer how you can work on one smallish thing a week that will help you make that a reality – even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day
What’s your number 1 conference tip? I’d love to hear.