Two weeks from today, I will be in San Diego getting ready to attend Blogher11! Last year, I went to Blogher in NYC and I will say, it was extremely overwhelming! I thought I would pass on some good blogger karma and give my best tips to surviving your first Blogher experience!
- Have a buddy! I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the most important thing you will need is to have someone you can have as your wingman, or wingwoman. Last year I did some venturing off on my own but was glad I had a few numbers in my phone of people I could text because I felt I didn’t know anyone at Blogher and I was overwhelmed.
- Do your research: If you have been following our #Print4Blogher sessions, we’ve talked about doing research before you get to Blogher. Find out what brands you want to meet with that will be there and find out what sessions you want to attend.
- Create a calendar: Even better if you have a smart phone use something like Cozi.com or Google Calendar to keep track of everything. Input your parties, favored sessions, meetups etc in your calendar.
- Follow the #Blogher11 hashtag: A lot will be happening from now until the end of Blogher. Be sure you are following that hashtag on Twitter.
- Expo Hall Experience: The Expo hall was carazy last year! So many vendors, so little time! Luckily, the expo hall will be open a little later this year. Grab an expo map when you get there and map out what brands you want to see first!
- Sessions: As I said above, do your research and find out what sessions you want to attend. Have more than one you want to attend? Last year the sessions were available online after. Also, I did do a session hop last year because there were 2 sessions I really wanted to attend at one time. I actually found that one wasn’t really for me so I went to the second session.
- The Swag Exchange Suite: One of my biggest complaint last year is that I ended up with WAY too much swag to possibly ship home. We left a large pile for our maid with a note that said thank you, this is yours (we had to do this so the management knew we left it on purpose). Luckily, this year the Swag Exchange is open on Sunday! What it is: A large room where you can drop off the swag you don’t want, pick up some that you do want!
- Parties, Parties and MORE Parties: As with Blogher conferences before, the parties are a very large highlight of the conference. There are official Blogher parties and unofficial parties. This year, Blogher listened to complaints from last year and the parties are open to ALL attendees, not just those who register. So how do you keep up with what parties are when and how to get in? MomSpark does a great job of the what and where and keeping everyone informed of when invites are released and how to get into parties: http://momspark.net/blogher-11-official-and-unofficial-parties-and-events-blogher11/
- Take a Break: It’s easy to get consumed and overwhelmed. If you are staying at the hotel, be sure to take a few minutes to head back to your room to recharge.
The Must Haves:
- Something a little lighter than a laptop: Some people bring laptops to use in sessions but I will tell you, after attending a few conferences I don’t think it’s a necessity. Also, last year I found myself on the floor at least once during a session, crunched down in a corner because there was no room for me, or my laptop. If you have an ipad, tablet or smart phone, just use that. Netbooks are a little easier to carry around too.
- Cameras: People bring their DSLRs , I did last year and will bring one again this year. Of course, it depends on what you want to carry around. I carried it mainly around my neck but when I was done, I brought it back up to the room. For most of my pictures though, I just used my smart phone.
- Business Cards: You can not attend this conference without a large amount of business cards (plan on at least 250). You can read about my design ideas with the #Print4Blogher series here: http://www.supersavingsense.com/2011/07/print4blogher-session-5-design.html
- Pen and Notebook: I felt I was constantly taking notes, having a handy dandy notebook in your bag will be most helpful!
- Bandaids: Blisters happen, in fact mine happened within the first hour of Blogher last year! Even if you don’t get them, you could easily make a friend when someone else needs them 🙂
- Comfortable shoes: Obviously, I learned my lesson from last year and I will be leaving the heels at home. Or at least in my room till party time. If you do want to rock the cute shoes, have some foldable flats in your bag! I’ll have some http://cityslips.com/ with me!
- Snacks, candy & gum: Feeling famished during Blogher11 is a big possibility! I like to keep snacks in my purse (call it the mom in me) for those moments when I realize I forgot to eat! Last year I brought some to keep in my purse and then I also grabbed some granola bars from the breakfast buffet in the morning to stash for later. Candy is just a way to stay sugared up and of course, make friends!
- Power Strip & Chargers: We are all going to need to recharge something at Blogher, find an outlet and bring your power strip. Another great way to make friends! If you have an Igo, definitely bring it! If not, check them out here: http://www.igo.com
- Outfits a plenty: I’m such a clothing uhm, enthusiast. I love to glam it up and change outfits, last year I changed more than once per day (don’t judge). Plan on bringing an array of outfits for the events, if you are like me that is. At least 2 outfits a day, one for day and one for night.
- Large Bag: You will be getting swag like crazy, also you will be carrying your electronics, notebooks etc so you need something big. Blogher gives out totes every year so if you don’t bring one, don’t fret.
- Fun! You must have fun, I think it’s easy to think that you have to do this, this and that but if you lose sight of just having a good time, you won’t leave Blogher with a very happy feeling.