Have you ever been to a blog conference? If you have, you know how awesome these events are. If not… why not? Conferences are a great way to boost your confidence, build your business and make some great connections.
When it’s time to head to your next blog conference, there are some things you absolutely can’t leave behind. If you want to have a great time with no regrets, here are 10 things to take to your next blog conference:
1. Business cards
You’ll meet a lot of people when you go to a blog conference, so grab a stack of business cards. You’ll want at least 100, but you might want to pick up a box of 250 or more so you never have to worry about running out. I got mine at Erin Condren. They were super cute and had a little inspirational quote on the back of each.
You should also think about how you are going to hide the business cards you receive. A small pouch, a large binder clip, or even a baggy will all work to keep your cards out of the way. And do yourself a favor when you get a new card — write a note on the card, immediately, to jog your memory when you’re going through your cards later. Things like “meet in line at the book signing” or “live in Pittsburgh” or “send a guest post idea next month” will be invaluable later when you’re trying to remember which cards go with which experiences (and which follow-ups) you promised. did).
Thirty one gifts Sent some swag to take on my trip (don’t forget they have a great home business opportunity too). These little polka dot zipper bags worked great for keeping my collected business cards in one place until I got them home.
2. A big bag
Conventions often involve lots of swag. You’ll likely receive things like a t-shirt, book, and a water bottle when you check in, and there will be plenty of giveaways throughout the event. You’ll want to carry a bag with you that isn’t big enough to carry everything you need for the day, but will carry everything you’ll need. A cute (large) tote or even a backpack should work.
Pro tip: You’ll also want to take a suitcase that’s big enough to bring back all your swag. If your suitcase is full on the way to a conference, you’ll struggle to close it when it’s time to go home. Do yourself a favor and leave some extra room.
There are conferences that have lots of food all the time and there are conferences that have nothing to offer outside of regular meal times. It’s a good idea to pack some snacks to carry with you throughout the day so you’re not too hungry to pay attention. Possible ideas include granola bars, apples, bagels or dried fruit and nuts.
4. A large water bottle
You are going to speak a lot at your conference. Do yourself a favor and stay as hydrated as possible. You don’t want to be the person with no voice on Day 3. The bigger the bottle you find, the better off your throat (and the rest of your body) will be. Just remember to keep it off the top! We have several of these. They are also great to take to the gym!
5. Great pen
You’ll probably be gifted a few pens during your conference, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to have the right pen on you at all times. You know the one – it writes perfectly every time, with no smudges and none of that annoying scribbling that makes the ink flow.
Pens are great for taking notes during sessions, but they’ll be even more important to you between sessions when you’re chatting in the hallway. There are little notes and reminders to jot down, and about a thousand times when you want to capture an idea or some useful information that comes to you unexpectedly (eg, a note-to-self on a business card you get).
6. A notebook
You must take a notebook with you to any conference you attend. You’ll take tons of notes during the sessions you attend, and you’ll come up with a lot of ideas during the conference that you don’t want to risk trying to remember later. Some common notebooks may include a pocket-sized Moleskine, a steno pad, or even a composition book. I got mine through Erin Condren. I choose a simple spiral-bound, lined notebook. I also picked up a pack of pocket corners to hide more business cards.
7. Shoes you can wear all day
Conferences are a lot of fun, but they also involve long days on your feet. Make sure your shoes are ones that you will be able to wear all day while doing a lot of standing and walking. I love me some sneakers and you can get them in almost every color and pattern.
8. An extra battery and/or charger and/or power strip for your technology
Blogging conferences involve a lot of technology, from phones to tablets to laptops. Once you’ve decided which of these you’ll have with you during the day (I’d recommend a phone and maybe a tablet, and keep your laptop in your room for the evening), you need to be ready to use them constantly.
Don’t take the chance of running your battery low and doing nothing for half the day. Carry an extra battery for your phone and a charger for any devices you have When you find a moment to charge them, you’ll be back on your way fully prepared
If you really want to be the belle of the ball, get a power strip so you can help others when you’re short on outlets. It’s a great way to meet new people, if nothing else!
9. A one-page media kit
It’s a good idea to have your media kit with you when you’re meeting with other bloggers and potential partners and sponsors. But if your kit is long, spanning multiple pages, you might consider creating a one-page kit to hand out. It’ll save you money (because you won’t have as many color copies), it won’t be nearly as heavy to carry, and it’ll be more useful to the people you’re meeting. It’s much easier to scan a single page than thumb through a long kit and you want to make that great first impression. I collect media kit templates from Etsy.
Take it up a notch and put your media kits in their own folder. This will keep them crisp, and you’ll see that you’ve really got your act together (even if you think you’re winging it). I found folders that had a place for a business card. Sponsor likes this! And no one else was there. My media page contains my traffic and social statistics, audience demographics, and a list of products and services that convert well on my site.
10. Roommate gifts
If you’re bunking with a roommate at a conference, it’s fun to get a little gift. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – think about a bottle of nail polish, a tube of lip gloss, a pack of your favorite hair ties, a candle, some cute stationery or sticky notes, or even something small like your signature cookies. It’s more about gesture than anything else.
And there you have it! These are not the only things you have to take, but they are the most important! Just be sure to pack a cardigan – the conference rooms are notoriously cold!