I'm headed out this week for a blog conference! This is my fourth year now headed to Type A Parent, where I'll be doing Blog Design One-on-One Sessions with some fellow bloggers.
Besides making hotel and travel arrangements, there are a few things I always like to do to make my trip productive. The fun part of the conference will come automatically– it's the productive part that takes a little upfront planning. Here are five things to do beforehand to make the most of your blog conference:
1. Update Your Profiles and Pages
You'll be handing out business cards (you have them, right?) and meeting new peeps left and right. After making a stellar first impression, those who you meet will be loading up your social media profiles… following you on Twitter, liking your Facebook page, subscribing to your blog. It's a social media lovefest!
Don't blow it with an outdated profile! Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are your social media profiles filled in completely?
- Is your picture current in your social media profiles (or at least look like you)?
- Does your blog make it easy for people to subscribe?
- Does your blog make it easy to find your most popular posts? (Use a widget or plugin to make this easy)
- Is your About page updated?
- Is it easy to contact you from your blog?
Polish your profiles and pages as needed and make that great second impression.
2. Follow the Conference's Hashtag on Twitter
If the blog conference you're going to doesn't have a Twitter hashtag, get your money back. A few years ago at Type A Parent Conference, I discovered that my Twitter handle might as well be on my birth certificate. Blogging and Twitter go hand in hand so don't trust a blog conference that isn't involved on Twitter. Seriously.
By following a hashtag, I:
- Discovered new people to follow (who I'll soon meet)
- Found out when attendees are arriving and leaving
- “Met” attendees whom I've gotten to know a little better
- Learned that certain bloggers I admire were going (I had no idea they were going!)
3. Join the Conference's Facebook Group
4. Plan Out Your Posts
Before you take off, spend half an hour and plan out posts for during and after the conference.
You may want to plan guest posts or schedule your own posts while you're gone (if it's a one-day conference, you may not need to). However, don't feel like you HAVE to post while you're away. This week, I don't plan to post anything else. I've got a #Disneyside costume to finish for one of the evening parties! It's up to you.
For posts after the conference though, you'll probably want to write at least one! Go ahead and draft a post with an outline of the things you'll want to cover. While this may change after you actually attend the conference, it'll give you a good skeleton to work with for building out your post-conference posts.
5. Jot Down a Few Key People and Brands You Want to Meet
You ever go to a family event, think “I need to get a picture of all the family together!” and then forget? The same thing will happen at blog conferences. With all the geeky fun, it might not hit you until the closing keynote that one of your favorite bloggers or readers was at the conference too.
In a notebook, Evernote, or wherever, jot down a few people who want to make sure to connect with. AND write down their Twitter handle so you can reach them easily without having to search around for their handle.
Same thing goes for brands. Check the conference page beforehand and take a look at the sponsors. Make a wish list of brands you want to make sure to speak with!
What's Helped You Plan for a Conference?
Okay, now that I've freaked you out before your next conference, remember that most of these are relatively easy to do.
Deep breaths, people.
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Hey- I'm Melissa! I'm a mom, side hustler, online course instructor, and brand marketer. I run a 6-figure blog helping online biz owners find their a-ha moments with can-do tips, tutorials, and online courses. I also work at Burt's Bees as the assistant manager of Brand Engagement (yep, it's as cool as it sounds). Jump start your biz productivity with my free worksheet!