As I mentioned in my weekend post, I’m about to jet off to ProBlogger’s Training Event in Melbourne. Although I’ve been to some local meet-ups and the like, this is only my second blogging conference (I attended Nuffnang’s Blogopolis in Sydney almost four months ago).
And given this vast blogging conference experience (and my own much-lauded performance) I thought I’d share some tips for blogging event/conference newcomers.
1. Get your act together. Before Blogopolis I had a couple of nightmares about not-being-prepared. It was akin to being in an exam and not knowing answers, or going out in public naked. (Though not quite as vomit-inducing… in my case!) I’m a big believer in lists and am about to start have already started my own #PBEvent ‘To-Do List’.
2. Go old-skool AND high tech. It goes without saying that you need life’s essential items (no, not food, shelter, love etc; but rather your smart phone and iPad or laptop if you have one), however it’s also handy to take a notebook and one of those pen thingys you write-by-hand with. You never know when technology will fail, batteries will die and so forth.
On that note, don’t forget your various chargers and cords and the like. Having a wireless internet connection backup is also useful – I often use my iPhone’s Telstra wireless (bluetooth) connection for my laptop – which was handy in Blogopolis as we ran out of download time / space (or whatever it’s called) in the afternoon and weren’t able to access the training room’s wireless network.
I’ve now been to two things where live-tweeting was encouraged. And. I. Love. It. I don’t like watching TV and tweeting, but for some reason listening to someone speak and tweeting highlights is kinda fun. I think it’s cos there’s something slightly ‘wrong’ about it – heavily trained we are as children to PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS.
In blogging forums you are actively encouraged to share the love. Of course, it can be a fine line – absorbing what’s said for your own benefit versus focusing on spelling your tweet correctly – particularly if hashtagged tweets are displayed on a large screen for all present to see!
You also have to make sure you aren’t seen as a smart arse, sucking up to presenters saying overly-gushy things or coming across as the nerdy student diligently paraphrasing EVERY SINGLE WORD uttered, like a big crawly bum-lick. (Young Ones quote for those under 35! Crawly bum-lick = suck-up!)
3. Business cards are not just for sales reps. The very first informal blogging meet-up I went to everyone produced their business cards. It wasn’t even something I’d considered, although I was moving to a more professional blogging realm. Like a gathering of insurance sales reps, bloggers LOVE to pull out their cards to help you remember them once you’ve returned to your humble abode and the weekend just a distant memory. Your cards don’t have to be fancy. I received some lovely homemade / handmade ones at Blogopolis from apologetic bloggers, but think they’re lovely. And more memorable.
4. Be on your best behaviour and harness your inner schmoozer. I sometimes think blogging is less about the content and one’s ability to write and more about who you know and being in the right networks (which generally reflects life, I guess). I’m quite outgoing so have no problem walking up to complete strangers and saying hello. I do get a bit intimidated by the more ‘known’ bloggers: not because I don’t think I’m unworthy or inferior; but more because I’d hate them to think I was behaving in a groupie-like manner, or wanting a ride on their coattails.
Although I absorbed a lot from the Blogopolis sessions, it was the chatting and networking I enjoyed more. I was fortunate to arrive a day early and catch up with other bloggers in the afternoon and for dinner. I probably learnt more outside of the sessions than I did in them (no offence to the speakers or content of the conference).
It’s just easier one-on-one (or in groups) to ask dumb questions and suck the more experienced bloggers minds’ dry! Unfortunately I’m staying close to the venue but probably away from others on this trip, so informal catch-ups may be more difficult.
5. Have fun! Finally, I’d like to caution young players about the traps of overindulging in alcohol – which (ahem) many of us (ahem) may have done after Blogopolis. I still blame my platform heels and cobblestone footpaths for the tumble I took after a few thousand champagnes (and no food!). Fortunately I was among loved ones (well, it felt like it at the time) and several in a similar predicament so all was well in the world… and I had war-wounds to show for my efforts plus D-grade celebrity status!
I’m sure there’ll be more posts about #PBEvent from far more experienced bloggers over coming days. I’m about to sit down and go through the program and decide what sessions I’ll be attending. (Don’t forget you too can attend from the comfort of your own home!)
I also (again) apologise in advance to my Twitter followers for the endless #PBEvent tweets which will litter my Twitter feed over coming days. Unless of course you’re gonna be there and committing similar offences against humanity, the unsuspecting.
Are you going? Are you ready?