This year’s Bloggy Boot Camp was my first blog conference, and I have to say that if you are a blogger, you definitely need to attend one. You will learn so much! Trust me, I know all the reasons not to go. I almost didn’t go even though I had a ticket. I am underemployed and really didn’t have the money to go. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have anything I thought was appropriate to wear. The list goes on and on and on… Well, guess what? Most people there are just like you. I mean, other than the camaraderie (which is definitely valid regardless of your level of success), you wouldn’t need to go if you already knew it all and were making tons of money blogging. So, in addition to telling you some of what I learned, I’m going to tell you what to expect.
I live not too far from Atlanta, so I drove in for the day, but I highly recommend staying at the hotel where the conference is located because you have more time to spend getting to know the others in attendance. But, in general, expect lots of speakers who will give you more information than you can digest, and getting to know other bloggers in between the speaking time. Everyone there will be very much like you. I promise.
Now about what to wear, you don’t need anything special to wear. If you google what to wear to a blog conference, you will find a ton of suggestions, but there will be lots of people in jeans or non-discript pants and tops. Yes, there will be a few people there in great blogger outfits, but really they are the minority. If you read posts about what to wear, you will be sure that what you are planning to wear is wrong. Be comfortable and be yourself. If you are anything like me, you will almost certainly be cold regardless of what the weather is like, so bring a sweater.
Yes, I know there is usually a cocktail or wine party after – see the Mirassou wine photo below. Most people just walked over to it in the same thing they work all day. If you are staying in the hotel, and want to change, you can, but really that is not the norm.
So, now that we have established that you almost certainly have something to wear, what else do you need to bring? BUSINESS CARDS! If you can get business cards before you go, you will exchange them with pretty much everyone you meet. Now, there were people there without them, and if you are reading this the night before your blog conference and can’t get any, no one is going to shun you, but if you can possibly get them, do. I took my I-pad, but didn’t really need it. I forgot my camera, because I had a crazy morning, but was soooo glad I did. I took these photos, which are pretty bad with my I-phone, but honestly it is pretty old, and I think the camera is going, so you need something to take photos with, but lugging around a big DSLR would have been a pain. If you have a smart phone, you will want to Facebook, tweet, etc., so that is a good idea. Some people took notes on laptops and I-pads, but even with mine available, I took notes with a pen and pad of paper.
The speakers were great and I learned a ton about affiliates from Kayla Aimee and Pinterest from Anna Luther, but I think, like most people there, Tiffany Romero’s and Danielle Smith’s closing probably had the most impact. They talked about how your kids are getting older every day, and how you need to spend time with them, about how there really is no balance and that you are really just juggling, and sometime you are going to drop the ball, and about literally running yourself into the ground by doing too much. If you are reading this and are not a blogger, you probably don’t know how much time this takes, but it is a LOT. I work part-time and go to school. Eventually, I will have a full-time job, unless, of course, I make enough money blogging not to. I am the girl that runs herself into the ground trying to make all of this work. Just a few days before the conference, I had dropped one of my classes, not because I was doing poorly, but because I was having trouble getting in basic necessities like food and sleep, but I was feeling guilty. This made me realize that I did the right thing. My son is a senior in high school, and I want to be at every one of his senior events, and I don’t want to kill myself doing it. But, I do want to blog. I enjoy it. I would want to do it even if I never made a cent doing it. But, it is my hope that one day it will be a significant supplement to my income or even a career. I highly recommend attending Bloggy Boot Camp if you want to take your blog to the next level. And, if you can’t make it to Bloggy Boot Camp specifically, go to some blog conference. Meet people who do what you do and understand you.