Next weekend is the BlogHer conference in New York City. I believe they are expecting 4,500+ bloggers this year – yes, it is a big conference! This is my third time attending this conference and the second one in New York. I thought I would offer a few tips that you might find useful.
If you don’t know something – just ask – ask anyone. I know some people are shy, but really it is ok to ask. Not sure where to check-in – ask. Not sure where the private sponsor suites are – ask. Not sure were a session room is – ask. Not sure if lunch is included – ask. Not sure where to grab a cab – ask. On top of asking for things you do not know, do not be afraid to ask others to JOIN YOU for things. Ask others to join you at your table for lunch, join you in sharing a cab, join you in walking around the Expo hall. ASK!
Some people are really freaked out about going. It is great to be excited in a fun way, but there is no need to be nervous or stressed in a bad way. There is no biting allowed at BlogHer (well maybe at a party or two, but that’s something different)
I highly encourage you to download the PDF file of the BlogHer Conference Guide – do this NOW – before you leave for the conference. Trust me, it is very useful, lots of information in it and I promise you there are things you did not know in there – even if you have been to lots of BlogHer’s in the past. It is NOT the same as the app for your phone.
This is a big area of stress for some also. Yes, there are private parties and events during BlogHer, some from official sponsors and some from outside brands at other venues. Please do not feel that you are in any way inferior or not “big enough” if you are not invited. Think about it, there are over 4,500 bloggers who are going to be there – the smaller events just can’t accommodate everyone. I promise there is PLENTY to keep you going the entire time if you stick with just the official BlogHer public events.
Do Not Overschedule
I heard this over and over again before I went to my first conference and yet I did it anyway. There is no way to see and do everything. Pick what is most important and go with that. If you have accepted an invitation to something and need to back out notify them as soon as possible. They will understand and will appreciate that they can offer your spot to someone else.
Not a ton, but you will want some for tipping or small things. It is also nice because if you end up splitting a bill with someone it is easier. Note that all cabs are supposed to accept credit cards, but some complain and prefer cash – use it if you can to make them happier.
If you are planning on venturing out into the city for dinner or other activities, make sure you plan on transportation time. This includes not only the time to get to point A to point B – maybe in heavy traffic, but also the time it may take to hail a cab. The cab line at the Hilton can get REALLY long – be prepared to wait. While you are in line ASK if others are going to the same place and ASK to share a cab.
Food and Drink
Breakfast and lunch are included on Friday and Saturday. Other days you will need to make your own arrangements. At the official parties there is generally food too – appetizers and such. Many make a meal (dinner) on that. Water is usually in all the session rooms. Other drinks at meals and alcohol at parties. There are soda machines in the hotel but they are pricey. I suggest having your own supply of some of the drink of your choice (coffee, tea, soda, whatever) and a few healthy snack options in your room. You can bring them with you or pick them up on the way to the hotel from the airport. That way if you miss a meal or just need a late night snack you are ready. Also not to be missed is the Halal food cart just outside the Hilton – it is yummy and the long line goes quickly!
Room Keys and Cell Phones Don’t Mix
In case you did not know, if you put your room key card next to your cell phone in your pocket there is a good chance it will erase your key card. If this happens go back to the desk and they will give you a new one. Just keep the cell phones away from them.
Wi-Fi is included with the BlogHer rooms at the Hilton – and I *think* the Sheraton also. Ask when you check in how to access this FREE during your stay. While it is included, it is on the slow side generally. I am bringing a Verizon Jetpack (my own personal Wi-Fi) with me as are many others just for a better connection.
If you have a laptop you are going to take to sessions with a short battery life, bring an extension cord if you can. It also helps to get to your session room early to grab a good spot by an outlet – watch along the walls.
We hear “be authentic” all the time in sessions – it really is true. If you are being yourself during the entire conference it makes it so much nicer. You do not have to act like you have more, or less, unique hits per month than you do or that your writing has been awarded by X, Y, and Z magazines, etc. Just be who you are – let yourself shine!
Live and Let Live
While you and many of the bloggers you know may be going to the conference for one thing, others want to get something totally different out of it. Some bloggers are writing to share a life experience, some love to talk about deals, some are artists, some want to expand their personal brand, some want to just have a girls weekend and meet up in person with online friends. The reasons to attend BlogHer vary greatly. Live and let live. You may not agree with things that others are doing at the conference, just let it go, they may not like what you are doing either. Relax, go where you want, attend what you want, enjoy what you want.
I hope some of these tips help. The BlogHer conference can be overwhelming, but it is also a heck of a good time. If you see me come up and say hi – and don’t be offended if I don’t recognize you because I am TERRIBLE with names (Twitter names help). I will be in the Hilton bar on Wednesday night from 7:30 to whenever – stop in for 5 minutes or all night. #WeAreInTheBar (non-official, non-sponsored, all-welcome, pay-for-your-own-stuff).
Disclosure – A quick thank-you again to Bumble Bee Foods who is sponsoring me to attend the conference again this year. I will have full value coupons from them with me so just ask if you would like one!
Are you going to BlogHer?
© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.