Making the Most of #blogher12

BlogHer '12The weeks and days leading up to the BlogHer conference are a crazy time for attendees. There are so many worries and considerations when attending a conference like this, and it is important to make the most of the time, money, and energy spent getting there and while you are there. Some of my considerations were:

  • Are my business cards and other marketing materials printed and looking spectacular?
  • What sessions are most pertinent to my goals?
  • Have I collected all the Twitter handles of the people I would like to connect with?
  • How is my blog looking?

How I Prepared

As you can see, I was not lacking in concern over BlogHer '12.

I began preparing to network by designing and ordering new business cards. Moo cards are AWESOME by the way. Never hesitate to order from them.

After I received my shiny new cards, I thought about how I would make connections, and aside from the speed dating event and general introductions and discussions with my fellow bloggers, I decided my best bet was to find the best people to network with was to take a look at the session schedule and decide which sessions I wanted to attend, and from there, connect - or prepare to connect - via Twitter.

In choosing what sessions I would attend, I looked back on my monthly and 2012 year goals for both of my blogs in order to be really focused on what I wanted to learn and who I wanted to connect with. For any given session, there were several places a blogger could choose to go, which created a little conflict. Fortunately, knowing that BlogHer will publish the sessions on the site helped a lot, because it freed up any conflicts between what I wanted to learn and who I wanted to meet.

And now comes the Twitter part. I collected the Twitter handles of other bloggers in general, and speakers whose sessions I would attend, along with a little information about them just in case I had the opportunity to chat with them. I then added all of this information to a 3x5 flip book. I color coded this information with my session schedule. That's just how I roll, ya'll. Some people I tweeted prior to BlogHer, some I tweeted about during the sessions, and some I met after and am tweeting with right now!

After thinking about how I was going to connect with bloggers and other attendees, I began thinking about how my blogs are looking. I've recently started working with the Genesis Framework, and have spent the last several months getting clients set up with Genesis in preparation for the big BlogHer event. Hence, I was a last-minute-Leslie on my own switch over to Genesis, so that caused quite a lot of stress. But, aside from a couple of kinks I still have to work out, I felt good about my blogs, and great about showcasing a Genesis customization.

What I Would Have Done Differently

Believe it or not, there is not a lot I would have done differently. I'm quite organized and know enough about myself to know what will and will not work for me. Although I wasn't really there to make big connections with big brands, I do think it would have helped if I had been more aware of the brands that were not only at BlogHer, but were holding their own events off-site. At the time, though, I was not sure in which direction I wanted to go with monetizing my blogs. In fact, I'm still working that out. Ultimately, I feel confident that the experience of talking to a few, gathering their information, and just soaking it all up was the best way for me to experience interacting with brands for the first time.

Also, I would have loved to have been able to be there to see President Obama address the BlogHer crowd on Thursday!

Where I Go From Here

After all of this exhausting planning, networking, partying, and traveling, it is hard - but vital - to immediately sit and think where to go from here. What is important to me and to my readers? What is my plan of action? How do I put it in place? As I eluded to in the comments section on paulag01's post, "What’s Your BlogHer ’12 Follow Up Strategy?" my plan is threefold.

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