Now that the 4th of July holiday is over the official countdown to BlogHer begins!! Twenty-seven days until I board a jet plane headed to NYC! Until then, there is so much to do in preparation for the biggest blogging conference of the season. I felt compelled to write a post for all the first timers attending BlogHer in hope to silence some of their worries.
Last year, I was FA-REAKING out in anticipation of attending my first blogging conference. I was terrified that I wouldn’t know anyone and that I wasn’t getting any private party invites. I was embarrassed that I didn’t have an iPad. I was worried I’d get snubbed by the big time bloggers. I couldn’t remember my elevator pitch. I didn’t know what to expect from the Expo floor. I wasn’t sure what to wear. All my worst insecurities were rising to the surface. And you know what? It was all for nothing!
- Yes, I went knowing very few people but I came home with a lot of new friends and connections. My advice? Don’t be afraid. Lean into your discomfort. You already have something in common with the stranger sitting next to you. You both blog. The easiest way to start a conversation with someone is to ask them what they blog about. Or where they’re from. Or if they’re staying at the Hilton. The person next to you is likely feeling the same way you are – so just reach out to them. It will be worth it. And if it’s not, there’s another person sitting next to her.
- Being excluded from a private party can take you right back to junior high when you didn’t get invited to the slumber party. I didn’t get invited to one single private party last year. (Hell, I haven’t got invited to one single private party this year!) However, I did go as a friend’s +1 and it was fun. Free food and cocktails. A celebrity chef. A couple of fun gifts in a swag bag. After that particular party, we walked back over to the San Diego Convention Center and went to the free BlogHer sponsored Sparklecorn party and it was a BLAST! It was the best party of the entire weekend. Great vibe, free drinks, lots of dancing, two unicorn cakes, glow necklaces, and a celebrity DJ spinning records. So, don’t get hung up on the private parties. Grab some dinner with your new friends and kick up your heels at the BlogHer sponsored soirees!
- I thought I’d be a technological outcast if I didn’t have an iPad. The remedy? I borrowed my Dad’s and I hardly used it. My iPhone 3 with the cracked screen worked just fine and really I’m a faster note taker with a pen and paper anyway. Bring what you have – no one else is worried about it except for you.
- Yes, the big time bloggers you follow will likely be in attendance. Hopefully, they are gracious to you. My advice? Keep your mini fan girl freak out in check. Last year, a friend introduced me to Jill Smokler and she was lovely. Sure, inside I was like “OMGeeeee that is SCARY MOMMY!!!!” Unfortunately, I wasn’t as cool and collected (or sober) when my friends and I ran into Mama Kat in the hotel lobby. I may or may not have complimented her on her beautiful skin. How absolutely creepy is that? I’m still horrified.
- The elevator pitch! Gah!!! I still don’t have a great one. Keep in mind, you will be asked 8 bazillion times about what you blog about. Keep it short and simple is my best advice.
- The Expo floor is a beast. I suggest going Thursday night when it first opens – there will be less people. Last year, I walked the floor with a veteran to that kind of environment. I hung back and tried to learn from her. Oh…and bring a tote bag. You are given so much stuff – things you won’t even want but still take because you think you have to have it. Some people only go to BlogHer for the Expo floor and the parties. I’d rather stay away from the Expo floor and maybe take a nap back at the hotel!
- What to wear to BlogHer is the number two question behind the how to get into a private party. Last year, I spent too much money on clothes I didn’t wear. Bring flats for the sessions and the Expo – you’ll be walking a lot. I stuck to what I was comfortable in – dark jeans, cute top. In the evening, I broke out the LBD (little black dress) and wedges. I’m certain I’ll follow the same guidelines this year but NYC is far different from San Diego so I might be consulting someone who knows more than I when it comes to fashion!