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I just returned from my very first blogging conference – the Everything Food Conference was over-the-top! Considering it was their first ever conference, hosts Kami and Sabrina didn’t just raise the bar…they set the standard for blog conferences! We got to hear from Cupcake War’s host Justin Willman (who I got to say hi Kahri, hi Kennedy on camera for my daughters who are OBSESSED with the show!), Patt Flynn, Mary Crafts-Homer, Pinch of Yum, Six Sisters Stuff, and many more. It was absolutely phenomenal. I will come back year after year.
- No matter your level of experience, come with an open mind and ready to learn. There will be bloggers of all different levels at any blogging conference you attend. I’ve found that the greatest teachers also learn from their students. Don’t be afraid to talk to bloggers with a smaller or higher reach than you!
- Bring LOTS of business cards. At a minimum, you’ll want your name, blog name, phone number, and email address listed. I put all of that + my home address on the card. I would probably not put my address next time, and instead save that for my Instagram name, Twitter account, and Facebook like page. I found a template on Etsy and printed them at home using metallic card stock from Walmart. Every person I gave one to commented on how beautiful they were!
- Get involved! A lot of conferences have a private Facebook group set up so that you can network with other attendees prior to and during the event. Use all the #hashtags, and get to know your fellow bloggers! Create a dialog!
- Be present! There will be plenty of time to catch up on social media at night. During your sessions you should be paying attention and taking great notes!
- Be an extrovert. Fake it ’til you make it! When you’re at these events, could you imagine if we all just sat there and didn’t initiate a conversation with the person next to us? At the conference I walked up to people and FORMed them – first I asked about their blog, then FORM (read how to do this here). This really helps not only start the conversation, but keep it going and create a call-to-action.
- Don’t forget to bring your DSLR! I guarantee you’ll want to take lots of pictures, and there will more than likely be a session on photography where you’ll want hands-on training! You’ll also want to remember to bring a backup SD card (I FORGOT!!!).
- Bring your laptop, charger, pen, paper, and a backup charger. Our conference had a charging station to use, but I wouldn’t count on it. A lot of times people will bring a power strip, too, so that they don’t monopolize the use of the outlet.
On a budget?
Follow these four tips to save money while there:
- Can’t afford a ticket? Many blogging conferences allow you to get a “volunteer” ticket in exchange for helping out. This is a great way to cut costs down and serve at the same time!
- Look into alternative options for your stay. Airbnb is what I used and I was able to save a considerable amount of money. There are many options when using an Airbnb – you can generally rent the entire place, a room, or even just the couch. Use that link to earn a credit for your first stay.
- Instead of renting a car, and then just parking it for your stay at the conference…why not try Uber or Lyft? They both work in the same way – you request a pickup and they take you to your destination. Use my code to get a discount for Uber (your first ride is free!) and Lyft.
- Look for food trucks! We had one parked right out front of our conference and I got $1 tacos that were absolutely delicious! The taco covered the entire plate and just one taco filled me up.