What I Wish I Had Known Three Months Before My First BlogHer Conference
If there's a way to do BlogHer wrong, I did just that last year.
I signed up at the last minute, paid too much for rush shipping of bad business cards, didn't look into any other bloggers before I went and really had no idea what this whole Twitter thing was. I made almost every mistake in the blogging conference book.
Lessons learned, I'm heading to BlogHer '12 with less desparation and more preparation, and I'm here to share that wisdom with BlogHer newbies and alums alike.
To not overwhelm ya'll, I'll start with just the things you need to do this month and come back next month with more advice.
What I wish I had known three months before my first BlogHer Conference:
1. Sign up now. Yes, it's still three months away. Yes, it seems expensive (it's not compared to what you get). Yes, it's in NYC and that is very far away from where most of us live. But trust me when I say that if you blog, tweet, read or write in any way, this conference will change your life. Being in a room full of women who understand the need to and importance of telling our stories feels you up with a warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging that you can't get anywhere else. Buying your registration ticket now will give you the motivation needed to save the money, get the time off of work and prepare for one of the best weekends of your blogging life.
The Voices of the Year reception was inspiring beyond words. This is Mommy Nanni BooBoo speaking, I met her at the BlogHer first-year attendee breakfast.
2. Book a room at one of the host hotels ASAP. Last year, I saved myself money and stayed with family members. While I enjoyed building sandcastles on the beach with my nephews after a long day at the conference, I missed out on all the fun happenings at the host hotels. This year, the host hotels in NYC are almost as cheap if not cheaper than what I've found elsewhere, so the option was easy for me. They're filling up fast, though, so you need to book now. If for whatever reason you stay somewhere else, be sure to hang out at the hosted parties and blogger filled lounges at the host hotel after the conference is over instead of rushing home like I did.
Digging was fun, but I missed a darn good blogging dance party to do it.
3. Make friends with other BlogHer attendees now. Don't know where to start? Start with me! I'm very personable. Hi new friend! Then move on to every blogger you read, every blogger you want to read and some bloggers you never read but like the look of their Twitter avatar. Go on to BlogHer.com and read blog posts on topics you care about and find the writer's email, Facebook page or Twitter handle and write them. Trust me when I say everyone loves getting a heartfelt message, especially one from a fellow BlogHer attendee.
My new friend Krista (met on Twitter) making 'Smores in the Hershey's room.
4. Use the heck out of the BlogHer '12 hashtag. Before I went to BlogHer last year, I didn't even know what a hashtag was (it's the # sign on Twitter that creates a link to all other people using that same # topic). I had no idea that I could put #BlogHer12 at the end of my tweets and find other BlogHer attendees that way. It blew my mind when I got to the conference and was able to use hashtags to find people not just at the conference but in the same room. I still keep in touch with people that were sitting next to me at an event but I wouldn't have known it without the hashtag. But don't wait until the conference has started to make friends, use the #BlogHer12 tag to make them now.
Until next month's advice,
Lauren Marie Fleming, aka Queerie Bradshaw
Writer, Presenter and Owner of Creativity Squared, LLC: Digital Media Publishing and Consulting – Providing left-brain solutions to your right-brain projects.
QueerieBradshaw.com: Frisky Feminists & Politiqueers