Emily and Cooper have been representing The Motherhood at BlogHer since the conference began years ago, but the rest of The Motherhood team was among the “newbies” on site this year.
We had a blast, met new friends and connected with old ones, and learned a lot, both in the workshops and on the Expo Hall circuit. Whether you were at BlogHer ’13 or have attended in the past, you probably know it’s a nonstop whirlwind of activity, but we’ve narrowed down our takeaways to the top 13 things we learned while we were there. We hope you find our thoughts useful, or at least entertaining!
Tip 1 (from Brittney): Twitter is a Great Tool for Instant Recaps. With such a packed conference schedule, as much as you would like to be in three places at once, it’s just not possible. Because many interesting sessions happened concurrently, The Motherhood team split up and took to Twitter to share bite-sized tips from sessions we attended, keeping both our team members and the larger #BlogHer13 community abreast of the expert commentary. It paid off in more than one way – Cision listed @theMotherhood as the fourth most retweeted username at the conference!
Tip 2 (from Erin): Include On-Site Flex Time in Your Schedule and Use Twitter to Arrange Meet-Ups. Yes, The Motherhood blanketed Twitter with tips from workshop sessions and comments from the keynote speakers, but it was also the handiest way to set up last-minute get-togethers with people we wanted to meet, and those who wanted to meet us – including longtime friends Amy of Grinning Cheek to Cheek and Deb of Just Short of Crazy and new friend Maggie of Super Savvy Mommy.
Tip 3 (from Dana): Make Yourself Easy to Find. In many instances during the BlogHer conference, you could be walking right past someone you have regular online conversations with, but have no idea what they look like in person. Let your community know where you’ll be and when, but also consider tweeting out a “selfie” that includes the outfit you are wearing that day, so you are easy to spot as you make your way through the conference activities.
Tip 4 (from Erin): Sometimes You Just Have to Say a Name and Hope You’re Right! It’s not always easy to recognize real-life faces from photos! Sometimes we would see a face we thought we knew, wait for the person to pass, and then call a name after her and wait for a pause or a head turn to indicate that we were right. Using this “technique,” we met several people we might not have otherwise, and the fantastic Jen of The Suburban Mom was one of them!
Tip 5 (from Nicole): Pinterest is the New Google. This is one of those great insights we gleaned from the workshop sessions. Of all social media networking sites, Pinterest is the number one referral site – which means you want to be well-represented there! To make it easy for others to pin images from your blog, add hover-over “Pin It!” buttons on your images. Because people are now using Pinterest as a search engine, users should add hashtags and descriptions to pins that will make the images more discoverable in search results.
Tip 6 (from Brittney): Be Ready to Connect Anywhere and Everywhere. One of the best aspects of BlogHer is the community and the creating and rekindling of connections. We made some wonderful new friends at speed dating, in the Expo Hall, and during a quick chat before sessions. However, some of the best interactions happened at the most seemingly random times: in the women’s room at the conference center when a blogger recognized one of our voices, in the check-in line at the hotel when we met one of the Voices of the Year keynote speakers, and in the airport heading home to Pittsburgh when we met a brand-new blogger. From the moment you leave your home city and until you return to your point of origin, be ready and be open to creating meaningful, lasting connections.
Tip 7 (from Erin): Keep Your Head Up. Attending BlogHer on your own as a newbie? It’s a tough situation to be in – but make the most of it. Approach people and introduce yourself, or make yourself appear friendly and approachable, rather than sitting in a dark corner with your iPhone. We were much more likely to strike up conversations with people walking or standing alone than those who were engrossed in a computer. Remember – there’s no need to feel self-conscious, because everyone is there to meet new people!
Tip 8 (from Kayla): Read Your BlogHer Emails… Especially if you’re a newbie and not sure what to expect! When you purchase your conference ticket, consider checking the box to get all the emails about the conference and events. There’s so much useful information packed into those emails, including the announcement of the BlogHer app (which we all used) and registration info for the BlogHer 5k sponsored by Best Buy. If we had not read those emails, we would have missed these beautiful views of Chicago on Friday morning.
Tip 9 (from Dana): Google Rules the Blogging World. Google tools, applications, and policies were the subject of many discussions during BlogHer. When it comes to creating visibility and monetizing your blog, it’s important to be in the know about all things Google. Julie Yamamoto encouraged bloggers who are working with brands and PR agencies to use Google Analytics to report metrics because it is the most widely accepted tool for collecting blog data. Guy Kawasaki sung the praises of Google+ as a network built upon people connecting through sharing passions. And Carmen Staicer and Gigi Ross implored bloggers who are writing sponsored posts to make sure that they follow Google’s policy regarding the use of “no-follow” links when linking to an external site.
Tip 10 (from Kayla): Your Charger – Don’t Leave the Hotel without It. When you’re constantly tweeting and taking notes, your phone, laptop, iPad or other devices WILL die! But have no fear … there are many places to relax and re-charge all around the conference. One such place this year: the Folger’s Lounge, where we enjoyed coffee and donuts while waiting for our overworked electronics to power up. Always be sure to bring your chargers! You never know when you’ll need to give your batteries – and yourself – a boost.
Tip 11 (from Kayla): Don’t Skip the Expo. The Expo Hall is a great place to meet people in real life that you have been talking to for years online (like the wonderful Elena of Live.Do.Grow.), and it’s also full of top brands that want to work with you (like Sargento. We snapped a photo of our PR friend Kerry Robinson as she talked with attendees and passed out samples of delicious Sargento cheeses). Have your business cards ready and be who you really are – that’s what will make them remember you.
Tip 12 (from Erin): Business Cards are a Big Deal. You will meet an overwhelming number of people at BlogHer. You likely will not remember them all if you don’t get their business cards, and likewise, they might not remember you. Bring plenty of cards with you, and be sure they include all of your relevant information – social media handles, website, contact information. Even a photo of you and a brief description of your site stats and interests can be helpful in making connections.
Tip 13 (from everyone): Have Fun! ‘Nuff said.
We would love to hear from anyone who has been to BlogHer and has a tip to add. Give us your thoughts, feedback, anecdotes and ideas in the comments! Hope everyone who was there had a productive, wonderful, FUN time this year!