August 2, 2017

Tips For Attending Your First Blogging Conference

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Last year, I attended my first-ever blogging conference in Charleston.  I had no idea what to expect or how to pack or prepare.  I am so excited to be attending my second blogging conference this weekend in Chicago with The Blog Societies, and wanted to share a few tips for attending your first blogging conference if you have never been to one.  I highly, highly recommend attending a blogging conference if you are able to.  I gained so many new blogging gal pals and met a lot of other creatives, and the information I learned has proven to be invaluable.  Know that everyone is just as nervous as you are, but as with anything, it is what you make of it, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there and enjoy!

The Blog Societies Conference, Charleston

How to Prepare: Pre-Conference
1. Plan your outfits ahead of time
You do not have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe!!  In fact, I hope you don't because chances are, you have already spent a good amount of money on conference tickets and other travel accommodations.  Not to mention, if the conference lasts several days, you will likely spend money on food/drinks and shopping.  Feel free to shop your closet, this is what I did and I guarantee many others will do the same.
**If you use rewardStyle, go ahead and get your links ready so that you do not have to waste time searching for each outfit link while on the go.

2. Arrive early to the conference
If possible, arrive a day ahead of the conference.  Last year, we landed in Charleston with two hours prior to the conference and it was pouring down rain.  We had to Uber back and get checked in to our hotel room (which ate a lot of time), so we felt very rushed.  If you can't swing arriving a full day ahead of schedule, try to arrive sometime that morning or early afternoon so that you have plenty of time to unpack and unwind.  You may even have time to explore the city and take some photos so that you can sit back and enjoy the rest of the conference.

3. Know the conference hashtags and handles
Be sure to use the conference hashtags and handles in all of your social media posts.  All conferences have an official hashtag and if you use it, your photos will show up with all of the other photos from the conference.  I always love browsing photos with the official hashtag.  It's a great way to discover other bloggers!

4. Schedule blog content in advance
If possible, schedule your blog posts and social media posts one week out so that you are not frantically trying to put something together last minute.  This way, you can sit back and enjoy the conference knowing that your content is scheduled.  Not to mention, you will be exhausted when the conference is over and will not want to think about sitting in front of your computer.  Easier said than done, I know!

5. Email sponsors and influencers ahead of time
Don't be afraid to reach out to sponsors and other influencers to introduce yourself and let them know you are excited to meet and connect.  Again, everyone is nervous, but this will help break the ice.  You might be able to schedule coffee or dinner with a brand rep or some other influencers and really get to know them, which could lead to other opportunities.  

The Blog Societies Conference, Charleston

What To Bring to the Conference
1. Business cards
Have plenty of business cards with your contact information for your blog and social handles.  You will meet a ton of people and will likely forget some of their names (and handles), but if you swap business cards you are much more likely to remember to connect in the future.

2. Media kit
Be sure to have some media kits stashed away in your bag and ready to hand out.   You may really hit it off with a brand rep and she may ask for your media kit on the spot.  If you have never done a media kit, do not panic. You can easily create one for free with Canva to cover all the essential metrics (I'd also recommend doing some research here and even watching a YouTube video on how to create a media kit).

3. Camera

4. Portable charger
I don't know about y'all, but my phone is always running low on juice, no matter how many times I charge it!  I always have my wall charger, but you may not be around any plugs, so it is better to be safe than sorry and have a portable charger on standby in case your battery is running low.

5. Comfy shoes
Be sure to pack a pair of flats to explore the city comfortably.  I love these flats because you can fold them up and stuff them back into your bag when you need to switch back over to your strappy heels. 

6. Extra room in suitcase or extra carry-on bag for swag
Chances are, many of the brands will bring products to send you home with and you will need to fit those items into your suitcase.  You will either need to pack lightly, or, bring an extra carry-on for any extra goodies.  I would also advise to watch the weight limit because some of the items may be heavy.  Last year, one of the brands gifted us a cutting board that was very heavy, so we all had to get creative!

The Blog Societies Conference, Charleston
All photos by Kim Graham Photography.

What to Do Post Conference 
1. Follow up with your contacts
Be sure that you are connected and following your new conference friends so that you can stay in touch.  Be sure to support them by engaging with them on social and leaving a comment here and there on their blogs.  They are likely to return the favor.  You could even do a #FollowFriday on social to introduce one another to your audiences.

2. Send thank you cards and emails
Be sure to send thank you cards and emails to any brands that may have invited you to any special private events or gifted you any products at the conference.  It is a major time and money commitment for the brands to attend and bring all of those products for 100+ people, so let them know how much you appreciate them taking the time to be there.

3. Make sure all blog and social posts are FTC compliant at all times
I am speaking about Contract Law and the Federal Trade Commission: Disclosures, Rules and Regulations, and Trends.  All posts need to disclose any sponsored and/or gifted content clearly and conspicuously, in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission Guides.

I hope this post helps alleviate any fears you may have had about attending your first blogging conference.  I hope you get a chance to attend some- they are so much fun!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please feel free to leave any tips in the comment section below!


  1. Cute post and such great tips! Yay for blogging!

  2. This is such a handy guide for all bloggers who are attending their first conference! Love this type of events to promote the blogging community!

    Jessica |

  3. I wish this was closer to me, I've always wanted to go! Sounds like a busy but fun time!