One of my favourite things about being a blogger is attending blogger conferences. I love the chance to chat to other bloggers, learn new things and speak to brands. Just being in the company of others who ‘get it,’ is pretty cool; as sometimes blogging is a solitary pursuit.
Before every conference I hear people who haven’t attended a conference talking about ‘building up the courage’ to attend and worrying about their ‘first time’! So I thought I would put together a post covering the main aspects of conferences and what you need to know. Hopefully that it is useful, especially with BlogFest right around the corner.
What Parenting Blogger conferences are there?
- BritMums Live – This is held in London at The Brewery, which is a fantastic venue (right next to the Montcalm Hotel). BML is in June and as the name suggests is organised by BritMums and incorporates the Brilliance In Blogging Awards. Historically a day and a half, however for 2016 they have changed it to a one day event which will be on Saturday 25th June. The event is also now known as BM16 for next year!
- BlogCamp – This Birmingham based conference is organised by Tots100 and is free! Held this year in April and October in Birmingham, it is a great event. In 2015 they have also run BlogCamp in Bristol and two smaller events, one at River Cottage and one in London aimed at bloggers who want to earn from their blogs.
- Blog On – These conferences are run by the lovely Laura from Tired Mummy of Two. The flagship event is Blog On MOSI (Manchester), which will be held on 1st May 2016. There was also Blog On Cardiff and Blog On Win (Winchester) in 2016. Ticket prices are around £35 for these day events and the goody bags are amazing.
- Blogtacular– Another London based conference. Blogtacular is THE place for creative bloggers. Being held on Saturday 18th June 2016.
- Blogfest – Mumsnet throw their hat in the conference ring with BlogFest. The date for 2015 is 21st November. Not long now!
- BlogStock – This is a conference with a difference, as it is a blogging festival. This year it was held from 4th-6th September and isn’t focused on parenting bloggers, but all niches. This is top of my list for 2016.
- Traverse – This is a travel bloggers conference organised by the same people who run BlogStock. For 2016 it will be held in Cardiff
- FunFest Blogger Summit – This conference was new for 2015. Held in Northants it was a day for all the family, with lots of children’s entertainment.
What should I wear?
Anything goes really. It is really important to dress so you feel comfortable and confident. If you’re representing a brand, it is a good idea to be smart casual. Some people rock their jeans and casual wear. Others have dresses and outfits gifted to them to wear at the event. I have been gifted dressed for events (just ask, you never know!).
What will I need?
- Charging case/Battery pack for your phone or tablet.
- Normal charger – there are always sockets you can use to top up your phone’s juice.
- Pen/paper or tablet/ipad – whatever works for you to take notes. I prefer old fashioned pen and paper.
- Business cards – useful to give to both brands and bloggers.
- Camera or camera phone.
- List of anyone you specifically want to meet, as it may be a little hectic and you might well forget.
- The # of the event. If you want to live tweet then knowing the # will be important, then your tweets will be found by people following the event.
Is there a conference etiquette? How do I approach other bloggers/companies?
If there is a blogger that you want to meet/chat to and you don’t know them, just tweet them and see if they have time to meet you. Remember bloggers will be attached to their phones, so even at the event you can make contact with them. Approaching brands is really easy at most conferences. Remember brands are there to meet bloggers, so they want to talk to you. Just pop along to their stand and say hi. Ask them in what ways they work with bloggers and if they could consider working with your blog. Don’t forget to tell them why you want to collaborate with their brand and have your business cards ready!
can I expect to learn?
How do I “book” the talks/sessions?
At most conferences you are given a timetable and are free to attend whichever sessions you want. Occasionally, you are asked in advance to pick or perhaps on arrival. This will all be made very clear by the organisers, so you needn’t worry.
Do you have to queue early to get into the workshops that you want to attend?
The sessions often run back to back, with the exception of coffee breaks and lunch time. So there isn’t really time to get to a session particularly early. I have only been unable to attend one session before, which was Google + at Britmums Live 2014. Just goes to show how confident we all are at Google + (it was rammed)!
How structured are the sessions and is there time to meet people?
The sessions are laid out in a timetable, but it is up to you whether you wish to miss a session in favour of networking. Remember it is not school and you can do as you wish. However, there is time to attend all sessions and network, if you are organised.
How do people take notes?
You will see people taking notes on tablets, phones and good old fashioned pen and paper. Do whatever works for you, there is no right or wrong.
How do I ensure I get as much out of the conference as possible?
- .Write a list of any bloggers you are in contact with (maybe via social media) that you want to meet up with. Contact them and make a plan to get together. Things can get quite busy and it is often difficult to catch up ad-hoc.
- Research the brands who are attending; would any fit with your blog? Make a list of those who you want to make contact with.
- If you are being sponsored, make sure you know what your brand expect of you and tweet regularly including their details.
- Take lots of pictures, especially if you wish to write a post about the event.
What do I need to do prior the event?
I am going to sound like a teacher now, but you get out of it what you put in. By this I mean, if you do nothing and just rock up, that is fine, but you may find yourself wishing you had done X, Y or Z on the way home. Do some research into the people speaking at the event, which will help you decide which sessions you want to go to. As I mentioned above, look into the brands attending and decide which ones you want to talk to.
- Find out the relevant # so you can join in with the twitter action around the event.
- See if any brands you work with or admire, will sponsor you to attend (usually this means they will cover the cost if your ticket, travel and accommodation). I secured my BritMums 2014 sponsor via an initial DM on Twitter. My 2015 sponsor was a company I was working with for another opportunity and I just asked them if they would sponsor me. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
- Make a note of the people you meet, you may not remember everyone and it is always nice to tweet people on the train on the way home. This is a great way to build relationships with other bloggers.
- Make sure you enter any competitions that brands are running. At BritMums last year a few bloggers won a holiday with Mark Warner! It is worth a little look around to see if there is anything you wish to enter.
Have you been to a blogging conference? What are your top tips? Which is your favourite?
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