Now, maybe I am (once again) late to join the party, but, after seven years of blogging, I just attended my first ever blog conference a couple of weeks ago, and it was a great experience on all counts. (I have no idea why I hadn't done this before!)
There are so many conferences to choose from out there, and so many of them sound amazing, that just selecting one can be a challenge.
Last summer my daughter suggested we go to the *SNAP! Conference being held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, we booked tickets for this particular conference for a couple of reasons. First off, she had researched and read up on a number of conferences, and this particular one had gotten lots of rave reviews from the attendees last year. (Which was coincidentally, it's first year.)
It had sponsors we loved (Annie Sloan Paints, Lowe's, Ryobi, Minwax...)It was also the closest blog conference to our homes, being less than a two hour flight away.
Now, normally when I am looking forward to an event of any kind, I am planning things out in my head. What am I going to wear? (Oh! I need a cute new pair of shoes!) How many outfits will I need? What research do I need to do about the event I am attending so I come prepared?
In this particular case, that never happened. As the conference date got closer, my daughter and I both became busier (more busy?) with our own lives, and before we knew it, the conference was upon us.
I haphazardly packed the night before our flight, overcome with that oh-my-gosh-why-didn't-I-plan-better?! thought overwhelming me.
"Oh well, it will be fine", I convinced myself.
And, really, for the most part, it was.
We arrived the just before midnight the night before the conference and got settled into our hotel room. We stayed up far too late, talking and giggling. Before we knew it, our alarm went off, and we were out the door and running.
(Here is one of the two pictures I took at the conference, as we registered. No, we are not in the picture, but two of my daughter's favorite blog writers are.)
The conference classes and events went from eight in the morning until around ten or eleven each night. You would think this would cause us to tumble into bed each night and go right to sleep, but...no.
We were far to excited each night, rehashing the day, and looking through all the swag we got from sponsors. We'd be yakking it up and finally turn the lights out, only to have that darned alarm go off far too early to get going and do it all again.
In short, attending a blog conference is a great experience overall, and if you're lucky enough to get to spend that much one on one time with one of your grown kids, it's the absolute best.
We are already trying to decide which blog conference we want to attend next year.That being said, we learned what we will and will not do next go round.
Do: Go with a friend (Qr your daughter. Or your Mom.) if possible. You can share a room, and exhange ideas over snacks at midnight.
And you'll spend a lot of time laughing.
Don't: Bring your big 'ol Cannon Rebel Camera. It's bulky and heavy, and you'll forget to take pictures anyway. Your cell phone can do the job just fine for this occasion.
Do: Bring an empty duffle bag or carry on suitcase to schlepp home the new Cannon Rebel Camera (my daughter!) cordless drill (me!)you might win in drawings, along with all the other incredible swag the sponsors give out.
Do: Pay attention to the little details in the conference activities emails. Case in point- we looked pathetic at the "Cookies and Milk Pajamma Craft Party" one of the nights after dinner....all because we didn't really take the memo all that seriously.
We will not even discuss our better-late-than-never lame attempt at entering the Hotel-Room_Door-Decorating Contest.
Do: Bring business cards that are double sided, have ALL of your contact info on them, and have your photo on them. Neither of us did this, and apparently everyone else got the memo to do so. It was so helpful to remember who was who!
Do: ask around as you meet new friends as to which other confereces they have attended and would recommend. (We now plan on attending Haven, and the Bloggy Boot Camp on Branding at some point.... I can't wait!)
I think that about covers the main take-aways I came up with for tips on attending a blog conference. How about you? Have you attended any? If so, which ones? Would you go again?
Do tell. I'm dying to get my next conference pans underway!