Okay, I’ve had a couple days to cool down from the wild weekend, and I’m happy to say I checked everything off my BlogHer ’12 Bucket List! If you were at the conference, send a shout-out below in the comments! (or tweet at me: @krisdickinson) If you’ve never been to BlogHer before, buy your ticket for next year and keep on reading for some helpful tips :)
1. BRING A BUSINESS CARD
I can’t stress enough how important this is. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) will ask for your business card to get in touch, and it’s the easiest way to have people remember you and stay connected. It’s even better if you pimp it out to stand out from the crowd…I love my gift-bag biz card (below), but it would be even better with a photo of me on it. Lots of women put pictures of themselves on theirs, and it really helped me put a face to the name.
One more thing: have a pen close at hand at all times, and write a note on each person’s card about where you met/what you talked about/their hair style/whatever. It will really help later on when you’re trying to get in touch!
2. ARE YOU A SWAG HAG? CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR…
I asked myself this question, and yes. I admit it. I am a TOTAL swag hag. I love free stuff, and I’m not afraid to say it. There’s nothing wrong with taking full advantage of what the sponsors have to offer, but remember these three things as you approach that booth filled with grab bags & goodies:
1. You need to take all this stuff home with you. Yeah. I’m gonna guess there isn’t enough room in your suitcase/carry on for twenty extra pounds of stuff, so stop by the Swag Exchange to give away anything you don’t want/can’t squeeze into your luggage.
2. Do you need a few extra canvas bags to go grocery shopping with? Sure. Saves paper & plastic. Do you need 25 of them? No. (I learned this the hard way)
3. Make sure you take the time to explore the whole expo hall, but don’t let it interfere with any seminars or keynote speakers that you really care about. There will always be another time for free apple-smoked sausage and sex toys.
3. BEFRIEND THE BADASS BLOGGERS
Badass Blogger; noun; [bad-as blawg-er]; A blogger with thousands of followers, the coolest design, plenty of sponsors, tons of engagement, and talks about vibrators and vaginas like it’s no big deal.
Okay, so not everyone fills the whole definition, but you’ll meet some pretty amazing women (and a couple men, maybe) who have at least one of those qualities. For a new blogger like me, that can be a little intimidating, but make sure you step out of your comfort zone and speak up!
Not only are there plenty of people with small blogs (13% had never even blogged before) but you’ll quickly come to realize that the hot shot bloggers are just like the rest of us. Chat with them, tweet at them, ask for their expertise…and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in a seminar. You never know who you might meet!
4. DON’T STRESS THE SESSIONS
Unless you have one of those time turners Hermione used at Hogwarts, you’re out of luck when it comes to seeing every single session (and trust me, it ain’t easy to choose between a sex & erotica seminar and a session on WordPress tools…clearly, both are equally important). Don’t worry, though. The only magical gadget you need is your computer, because BlogHer posts most of the seminars online after the conference.
So just go to the sessions that you’re most likely to participate in and/or meet people with your interests and goals. They say you should also go to at least one session that you have absolutely no business being at, for good measure. And why not? If you’re torn between two seminars, don’t be afraid to get up and switch rooms in the middle of a talk. Anything goes!
5. PARTY LIKE A ROCK, OR PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR
I’m a big supporter of glitter parties and wearing burger bags on your head, but it’s okay to take a night off and just relax, if that’s more your pace. A full day at BlogHer can be tiring without a nap (I actually took one at the Zeo booth, but more on that later…) so it’s okay if you run out of steam before party time.
If you’re looking for a calmer night, suggest grabbing a drink with a new blogger buddy, or go to an early event like the fashion show before hitting your hotel bed. If you didn’t get a chance to see the first annual BlogHer fashion show (complete with dolled-up pups) you can watch it here.
6. COMFORTABLE SHOES. DO IT OR DIE.
Seriously. You’re on your feet ALL the time–especially if you can’t snag a seat in a full session–so make sure to treat your feet with something that won’t make them hate you after eight hours. If you have flat feet like me, try a wedge-heeled sandal that tilts up at the toe and straps your ankle in (Doctor approved: my pediatrist struck down all flats and flip flops, recommending espadrilles and wedges for flat-footers).
7. BRANDS THAT WORKED BLOGHER LIKE A BOSS:
As a marketing student, I just wanted to give a shout-out to a few companies that made branding at BlogHer look easy (no, they are not paying me. sadly.)
1. Zeo, Inc. – The Zeo is an at-home sleep monitor that helps coach you into getting better sleep. So yeah, it’s probably the BEST invention of all time. Their booth had a super comfy bed where you could wear the wireless Zeo headband, and it tracked your brain waves right there to the iPhone/iPad app, showing all your data for REM, light, and deep sleep. Did I mention they offered 20% off on the Zeo, too? Sweet deal, considering it’s only $99 normally. Here I am, gettin’ my nap on:
2. SHEEX – SHEEX makes the sheets that were on the Zeo bed I napped in. They say their sheets are what would happen “if UnderArmor and silk had a baby”…and DAMN are they silky smooth. If you’re up for splurging a little on dressing up your bed, check them out.
3. Udi’s Gluten Free Foods – They handed out gluten-free cookies like Halloween candy, and we were grabbing as many handfuls as we could! Udi’s cookies may not be sugar-free or fat-free, but they’re definitely the most delicious gluten-free product I’ve had yet. My mom is gluten intolerant, so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for their products from now on :)
4. Hillshire Farms – Hillshire identified their target market (hungry BlogHer attendees who have no time to grab meals between seminars/sponsors/speakers) and provided the perfect product (make-your-own stir fry!) They had chefs at grill stations, where you could pick out your favorite fresh sausage and veggies to make a mini-meal, and enter into a couple contests. Love it.
5. Dole – Dole had some talented artists carve up fruit & veggies into a beautiful display that I couldn’t help but share on Instagram as soon as I saw it. Plus a friendly banana mascot, free canned fruit & strawberry-shaped bags, which were pretty darn cute. Props to whoever made the display!
That’s all for now, folks :) Again, if you went to BlogHer ’12 and loved it too, or you have any conference knowledge of your own, leave a comment below!