Setting Conference Goals

This week’s #Print4BlogHer @TheUPSstore Blogger Ambassador program lesson is about setting conference goals. Follow us each week as we share our journey to prepare for the BlogHer Conference in San Diego, California. Our group is working with Debba Haupert of Girlfriendology.com who will be teaching us all about how to prepare for conferences, market ourselves and our blogs, and how to work with brands and companies to successfully market ourselves. This training will come in handy not only for BlogHer but any tradeshow or conference.

You can follow along through Sweeties Reviews or on the aggregate site, www.lovinlogistics.com

Week Two: Setting Goals

Last week we learned all about branding, how to define our brand, etc. This week we learn how to get the most out of a big conference like BlogHer.

I had a lot to learn this week when Debba taught about setting goals before you even get to a big conference like BlogHer. Last year I attended BlogHer (2010) and got little out of it. Greg went with me but since he didn’t have a full conference pass he spent a lot of time in the hallway waiting around for me to return. We did go into the Vendor hall, met with brands, and picked up a lot of free swag, but I ate lunch alone and never even attended one session. I did get to attend several private brand parties and I think I got the most out of those.

This year I want to take a different approach and be ready to get the most of out BlogHer went I step foot on the conference floor. Since we are flying from Connecticut to California and staying for 5 days it is quite costly. Greg has a full conference pass this year and I am bringing along team member, Lisa, from the Freebies site and her friend.

Defining Your Goals

One of the biggest things that stuck out of Debba’s lesson this week for me was , “Unless you have a define strategy and clear, realistic goals, you could easily invest your time and money in attending a big, fun, blogger-filled party. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the social side of a conference, especially one like BlogHer (which is supersized social) and return home to wonder what value this conference was for your blog/business.”

I agree with Debba when she says “I can’t afford to take four days out of my life, spend up to $1,000 for travel/conference tickets and justify coming home with stuff, I may or may not need. Going to a blogger conference is a strategy that I invest in to network, meet with potential advertisers/partners/other bloggers and learn new information.”

blogher sessions schedule setting goals

Set Specific Goals When Preparing For BlogHer or Any Other Conference

With these questions in mine it helped us to focus on what we really want to get out of BlogHer (or any conference).

Do you want to learn more about blogging?

Maybe you need to learn about how to optimize your blog for search engine traffic or learn HTML, how to use WordPress, or set your blog up to make money (monetize)

Do you want to meet other bloggers?

Do you want to find bloggers to network with who lie in your local area? The new blogging buzz word is Tribe. Or, maybe you would like to meet other bloggers who are in your niche (write about similar topics). Maybe you want to finally meet that blogger you have been following for years.

Do you want to meet brands and agencies with whom you could work?

The main BlogHer conference hall is brand heaven. You could spent a lot of time in there and it’s usually two floors just meeting and greeting brands and PR agencies.

Strategy for Achieving Your Conference Goals

I never really thought about any of the questions above. I just figured I would wing it when I got there – big mistake. This year I am going to look at the session schedule ahead of time and write down the sessions I really want to attend.

Another thing I never thought about was to go into the Conference vendor hall with specific brands in mind. Don’t just go in there and meet every brand. Sure, get your free swag but only spend time with the brands that will fit into what your blog and brand is all about. I plan on looking at the BlogHer.com website to see exactly what brands will be represented at BlogHer so I don’t waste my time.

Debba also said – don’t wait for BlogHer – figure out what brands you want to work with whether they are going to be at BlogHer or not and contact them now. If they are attending BlogHer tell them you will be there and would like to setup an appointment with them. Ask your fellow blogger buddies if they have the contact information or PR Rep for that brand, ask on the BlogHer.com site, or on the Social Fabric (Collective Bias) site. Ask on Twitter.

followup-with-brands-after-conferences

Following Up with Brands After BlogHer – Be Proactive

Another big lesson I learned was to follow-up with those brands you want to work with after BlogHer. You have seen and talked with 100s of people and brands and you will come home with a lot of swag and business cards. Make a note of the brands you definitely want to work with and set them in a special pile. Brands and PR Reps walk away with much more business cards than you do and are overwhelmed as well. The Blogger who follows up with an email after the conference is the one who will get remembered and put on their radar for future projects.

BlogHer is a huge conference with so much to do and see that unless you have a plan you will get little or nothing out of it like I did last year.

Take a look at the other 4 bloggers who have been hand-picked to be a part of this amazing campaign:

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. All opinions are my own.

Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links. Some products may be media samples given to us to for our honest review. All opinions are our own and not that of the brand. Read our policies for more details.

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