Last week we had a great discussion at my weekly show #TrendyTalk Live about conferences, so I thought it would be interesting to bring it to the blog and share more information such as my favorite conferences for bloggers based on my experience and tips to help you have a happy and successful experience!
Let’s start with the Basics, here are some must have, dos and bring to conferences:
It seems basic, but I lost count of bloggers I’ve met who confessed they attended conferences with a few or no business cards at all.
Great quality business card printing is one of the best ways to promote yourself at these events. These little pieces of paper in many ways represent you and the higher the quality, the more likely you are to impress!
Your business cards are the open door to continue the conversation with brands, with bloggers for future partnerships and your connection with a PR company who might represent 10-30 brands! Don’t forget, bring a ton of business cards!
But there might be circumstances that might hinder your networking skills! For example, let us assume that you are on a visit to London where you have a conference to attend, but then, you do not have your business cards! What do you do then? The first thing to do would be to keep a level head and search for commercial printers london outlet or agences that can help you get a few of the business cards printed on short notice.
They should have a picture, so people remember the conversation afterwards while looking at the card, your basic blog info and your handles!
You can watch Trendy Talk video below where I share my opinion on outfits and why I think you should not come as you are when you’re talking about conferences. You are a walking brand, so think: what kind of first impression do I want to show? The sweatpants and old t-shirt impression or the business casual, I have it all together and want to work with you, kind of impression?
I also shared my thoughts on that, but wanted to add that comfort comes first when you’re talking about conferences, so flats and cute no heel sandals are super OK! Don’t do like me!! I walk in heels at most conferences, if you’ve hung out with me, you would know!! I honestly feel comfortable in heels and only bring the ones which will not hurt my feet!
Another obvious one, but again, I’ve lost count of the number of bloggers I had the pleasure to meet but didn’t have a pitch before attending conferences! You must bring your “A Game”! Just think about it – there are hundreds of bloggers attending the conferences, why would a brand connect, follow up and remember you? Because your pitch captivated them!
Make sure you know your brand and do homework ahead of time to come with meaningful information on how you envision a partnership with brands A,B,C. You will save them time and your card is going on the follow up pile! I can assure you!
My pitch is 20 seconds long, I share a bit about myself, my brand and end with how I envision our partnership to work. I also ask if it would be OK to send a follow up email with my media kit and ask for their card, while I hand them mine.
Sometimes you need to manage your time to make sure you make meaningful connections with sponsors while learning at a conference! If you have to juggle that with sponsor work, now you really need to be very organized!
What I do is, I set a schedule for sponsor commitments, those days and times are sacred to me, I need to make sure I don’t miss any of my appointments with them.
It’s so easy to get distracted, so when I’m working with a sponsor, I make sure to bring my tasks and check them off as I go.
Honestly, I make the best of my time there, I’ve never even seen the pool or beach at hotels when I’m attending conferences, because I’m there to work. I make sure I manage my time to attend sessions I really need to attend, to visit ALL sponsors and connect with the ones that really fit my brand.
Sometimes I leave conferences before closing parties. Usually at the end, I’m ready to head home and that extra night at the hotel is not really worth it just to attend a party! So I’ve skipped many of them!
What To Pack Or NOT
I never bring large cameras, nor do I bring a large suitcase for a conference. I want to make sure I get in and out of the plane, so I only bring the clothes I’m going to wear and very rarely bring a lot of swag back with me!
I bring a tripod or my iPad pro which has a nice case to help with FB live sessions.
I never pack crazy outfits, no matter how much they fit my brand! For more on what not to pack, read this post.
Here is the video of our FB live on this topic, I thought you would like to check it out:
Since we’re talking conferences I want to share some of my favorites, some of the conferences I’ve attended and loved:
For Latina Bloggers
Hispanicize and DiMe Summit not only offer amazing sessions for a whole week, but also the space to learn with blogging and empowerment sessions during the DiMe Summit which happens before Hispanicize!
They will also work with so many influencers matching them with brands to help you make meaningful connections and helping the brand get their message amplified through the influencer’s work! Some conferences do that to a small inner circle, limiting sponsorships to a few, the same few every year! I love that DiMe extends the options of working with several influencers to help the whole community, while serving their client’s needs.
I will be sharing so much more on my experience in 2017, but wanted to make sure you knew that this is a must attend for Latina Bloggers!
Check it out HERE!
Disney Social Media Moms
This is an invite only conference, one of my absolute favorites! I have no idea how to be added to the list, but once you do, it’s a blast because nobody does a conference like Disney! They totally roll the red carpet; we get behind the scenes action – before opening hours events; unlimited fast passes (meaning, we get more than we can use without making a reservation, so no lines!!) and all the magic that only Disney knows how to do!
This year we had a combination of land and sea Conference, which was one of my absolute favorites! Every time we come back my son asks, when will we be coming back?? He thinks we get to go every year.
The conference is partially funded, we pay a portion of it, but what we receive, far exceeds the amount paid and honestly, the magic we get is priceless!
Just a few moments:
Magic Kingdom Closed for us for dinner:
Rivers of Light First Audience:
Starwars Private Dessert Party and Character Meet and Greet:
Disney Cruise Priceless Moments:
Sorry, no sign up link for this one!! I just cross my fingers every year and hope to be honored to get an invite!
I love Mom 2.o because you feel like you are in a different atmosphere. The whole conference has a different vibe, a growth positive one! I also love all the sponsors and how large brands come ready to connect with us! It’s definitely one of my favorites!
Check it out HERE.
One of my favorite diversity conferences! I’ve made so many amazing connections, plus it has given me the opportunity to be on stage on a keynote panel, an unforgettable experience! Blogalicious also brings amazing sponsors all sizes and opportunities to have a private connection with brands you’ve always wanted to work with!
Check it out HERE!
I believe a conference is what you make of it! I love Blogher! It was my first conference ever … I attend every year and make amazing connections by attending it, as well as learning opportunities with sessions!
Check it out here!
I love the location, a gorgeous OHIO area, love the organizer and everything about it! I’ve been a speaker/attendee for 4 years and can’t wait to be there in September. It’s a very affordable conference, which gives new bloggers the opportunity to attend and I love that about it!
Click here for more information!
Such an important topic! Somebody mentioned that during our Trendy Talk Show and I didn’t feel we had time to address it! I will be talking about this topic later on, but wanted to share some advice on that!
Brands usually connect with conference to give them, not bloggers individually, potential sponsorship opportunities, so make sure you’re connected with the conference organizer to have access to them. Also when you pitch brands individually, make sure they are attending the event and that they have a booth, so you’re not infringing on any conference rules in regards to brands.
My experience is that sponsorships come last minute, so if you want to attend the conference, don’t wait for that, buy your ticket and book your hotel ahead of time and work towards those opportunities as you go.
I’ve worked with some sponsors attending conferences and each experience was different. I would like to definitely say that you should educate the sponsor ahead of time so they know what to expect. A few years ago a sponsor paid for my hotel and two days into a five day conference, they were emailing me 3 x times a day asking for contacts, saying that they needed to justify the expense to their board, and I wasn’t even finished with the conference to be able to give them a report. That unique negative experience taught me to only work with sponsors who know how conferences work and have expectations which can be met.
I had the pleasure of working with very happy sponsors in the past year and can assure you, it can be a win/win partnership and should definitely be pursued! I love partnering with brands to attend conferences which allow me to attend more events and the brand to have their message amplified.
A few final thoughts:
I decided not to attend West Coast conferences without sponsors, because the cost x ROI was not benefiting my brand, just the conference owner and the brands there, so for me, it was a financial decision, being on the East Coast and due to the fact that is costs me over $ 1,500.00 to attend any conference on the West Coast!
Conferences are what you make of them! I have attended many conferences and had a very positive experience while other people didn’t like it. Make sure you make that experience what you envisioned. Don’t always listen to people when they say a conference is not worth it, do your homework.
Conferences have brought me amazing nominations for the TECLA Awards at Best Twitter Creator and IRIS Awards as LiveStream of the year. I am so honored to be included among so many great content creators.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Do you have anything to add? As usual, give us a Trendy Shout!