4 Tips on How To Get the Most out of BlogHer '14
I’ve written about BlogHer before—many times, actually. This year will mark my 3rd BlogHer conference in a row… so I feel like I pretty much have a good grasp on it by now.
This year I signed up to be a part of the BlogHer Buddy System. Basically I will be a mentor to a mentee and answer any of their questions before the conference. If they’re cool, I’ll also meet up with them there so that they have a friendly face waiting for them. I threw this out there on Twitter and had a couple other people contact me with their questions, so I figured I’d put all my best advice into a blog post for anyone else who wants to know the deal about BlogHer.
#1 Be Comfortable
Without a doubt, the hands-down most asked questions I’ve gotten are about clothes, shoes, and whether people will hate you if you wear yoga pants. Here is your HONEST answer: You can wear whatever the hell you want. However, please keep in mind that there are people out there who judge you for what you are wearing.
You don’t have to buy an entire new wardrobe, shove yourself into Spanx three sizes too small, and hobble around in six-inch heels if that’s not your thing—but I would suggest kicking it up a notch from your "hanging around the house" clothes. You’re going to be meeting people for the very first time. You’re going to be in a ton of pictures. You may run into Kerry Washington or The Bloggess between sessions… dress like you give a crap!
The first year I went, I was a bit casual and wore Bermuda jean shorts and a cute top and sandals. I looked okay and was comfortable. Looking back on it, I’m glad I retired those shorts…
My second year, I wore a couple of my favorite summer dresses and skirts and felt much more confident. Even if I did kind of match the upholstery on the Laz-Z-Boyz outfits.
This year, I’m planning on a mix of day-to-night dress options for official events and skinny jeans for exploring the area. I also always pack my most comfortable yoga pants/pajamas for hanging around my room and decompressing in between activities.
On the subject of shoes: Go for comfortable and a bit cute. There is usually a TON of walking between the hotels, conference rooms, expo hall, etc. If your shoe is too high or rubs just a bit, you’ll be miserable by the middle of the first day. Don’t buy something new (I know, I’m insane) and wear something that you KNOW will make it through a 12 hour day. Believe me, you’ll thank me!
#2 Be Interested
Don’t skip the conference sessions. Look at the schedule before you go and pick your top two favorites per breakout session. You’re paying a lot of money to go to this conference; don’t skip the meat of it because you want to make another round of the expo hall. If your first choice is totally not working for you, grab your stuff and quietly exit to check out your second choice.
Introduce yourself to EVERYONE. When you’re looking for a place to sit down at lunch, find a table where people are awkwardly staring at each other… these can be YOUR people. If everyone at the table is already taking animatedly, they probably know each other so it can be hard to break in if you’re shy. Ask people questions about themselves and their blogs. Get their business cards so you can check them out later and follow them on all forms of social media.
Map out your game-plan. The Expo Hall is AWESOME. Truly awesome. If you want to just run around grabbing freebies like Supermarket Sweep, you totally can. However, if you really want to make some good connections with brands, allot enough time to stop by and really talk to the people there. I have made some incredible connections in the past that resulted in some sponsored posts and giveaways throughout the year. If that’s your goal, put in the time and effort to make it a reality.