A lot of bloggers I know struggle with confidence, myself included, and that’s something I think can hold you back when it comes to networking events and conferences. Now, I’m not an expert when it comes to the blogging world, I only actually found out that there were conferences here in the UK last year despite having blogged for quite some time and I was determined to go to one. The first ever blogging event I went to was the Big Blogger Expo in London which was a fantastic event. I spoke to lots of brands, got lots of lovely goodies, won on the raffle twice and met some new blogging pals. The second event I went to was Blogfest hosted by Mumsnet. I didn’t speak to as many brands but I met up with some fantastic other bloggers, had a few drinks and did actually come away feeling pretty inspired. The third event was a smaller class where I made perfume with a group of bloggers. We had a really lovely time and I really enjoyed myself. Despite being super nervous before attending I still went, all three times to London by myself which is an achievement in it’s own right. I’m working on my confidence for the two upcoming events next month and wanted to share my tips on how to prepare if you’re feeling a bit nervous or anxious.
- Join the groups. Both BlogOn and Britmums BML have groups for their conferences where you can get to know others that are going. These are great for finding out hotels and what’s going on nearby too. You can usually introduce yourself in a thread and there will be all the information you need before, during and after the event. It’s a great place to introduce yourself, find out who else is going that you know, get to know other bloggers and get to know the event in more detail.
- Arrange to meet up just before with a friend and walk in together. I think walking into the event is the scariest thing really. It can be very daunting. Arrange to meet with a few blogging friends just before so you can all walk in together. It takes a little bit of the pressure away. If you don’t know anyone to meet up with before hand then that’s where the groups really come in handy. Tell people you’re new and a bit nervous and you’ll be met with plenty of reassurances. I’ve always been met with smiles and hellos at these events and pretty quickly you’ll find yourself joining in.
- Read past posts and vlogs. Even if the event has changed, evolved and updated these past posts written by other bloggers that have attended can give you an excellent idea of what you’ll need to bring, what is provided and what you can expect. It can help you decide on what sessions to do and just give you a really good general overview of whether this is an event you’ll enjoy.
- Familiarise yourself with where the event is and how close it is to your hotel or travel arrangements. This really makes you feel so much more prepared. I actually emailed the hotel in staying in Manchester for BlogOn asking for the best way to get to the hotel and they were incredibly helpful with prices for Taxi’s and what Tram stop I would need. I found this so helpful. I don’t know Manchester at all so having that bit of extra information is making me feel a lot less stressed.
- Check to see if there is a launch party or meal before the event. If you can make it, do it. It will be a lovely social environment and a taster of who will be around the next day.
- Read through the sessions and see what you fancy. Most conferences like you to book in with each session online before the event to give them an idea of which will be popular. Conferences are a great place to learn something new so take advantage of that. There will be other bloggers just as interested in what you want to learn.
- Wear something comfortable. Honestly, I’ve seen a variety of dress at these events and the most important thing is that you’re comfortable. Expect a lot of standing, walking and moving around. I like to dress up a little bit but I’ll be sticking with a dress, leggings and vans for both events. Unless I can fit into my only pair of jeggings I have, then I’ll be going for those! If you are worried about dress, speak to other bloggers. Britmums have a ‘What I’m Wearing’ Pinterest board you can use for inspiration and ideas of what others like to wear.
- Bring business cards or media kit printouts. I might actually do a few printouts of mini media kits myself because there’s only so much information you can give on a business card. You then have something to hand over to brands straight away. Some brands do have lists you can sign up to and some host business card competitions so it’s worth having them on you and it’s not too late to get some before the events next month.
- Bring a battery pack charger. If you plan on taking photos and being active on social media throughout the event, and to be honest, pretty much every blogger will be then you’ll need to be able to charge your phone. The conferences usually last all day and whilst most will have plenty of plug points, it’s worth being prepared and having something to charge on the go. Perhaps a clean SD card would be a good idea for those with cameras too.
- Remember the goody bag. I love a goody bag and it’s a really nice perk to attending these events. You can come away with so many lovely products to trial, test, review and enjoy. BlogOn say a suitcase is a necessity for their goody bags so I am following on with the advice their, especially as I have a long way home after the event. Even those travelling by car are told they will still need one. Any advice like this from the event organisers is so helpful. Take a look at past videos and blog conference write ups to get a feel for what to expect.
I hope you find these tips useful and they help satisfy some of your nerves about any conferences you are attending. Just remember they are fun and a chance to meet some new friends that really get what you love to do. It’s also a great chance to get more work your way for the next few months. Enjoy yourself and come on over and say hello if you see me!