Hi everyone! This weekend I’ve started staining our back porch and fence, and I’ve put on the first coat of fresh paint in my boys’ bedroom. It feels good to start on some new projects, and I’m excited to show you some fresh “afters” soon! I’m so excited that in less than 2 weeks I will be seeing many of you face-to-face at the Haven Conference! Whether you’re attending Haven or not, chances are good that if you’re a blogger you’ll choose to attend a blog conference in the upcoming year. I thought I’d take the time to write a post addressing some of the questions newbie-conference goers often have!
1. What do I wear???
Clearly this is the most important question of them all *wink*! I know this is going to sound cliche, but when packing your suitcase just be yourself. The temptation is to go out and buy new outfits that make yourself feel cooler than you think you already are. Chances are good that if you buy some new items that aren’t really you, you’ll feel uncomfortable and grouchy. I’ve been to several blog conferences and I honestly don’t remember any of the outfits that I know people pain-stakingly chose to pack. What you wear, really, really doesn’t matter as much as you think it might. That being said, I admittedly love the excuse to buy a new outfit or two :)! I will probably pack some jeans, shorts, cute shoes, and flouncy tops. I won’t be dressing up for the cocktail parties beyond maybe some blingy jewelry. Maybe I’ll wear a sundress. Remember that Haven is hands-on so wear clothes that you don’t mind getting some sawdust on! If you need more summer outfit inspiration, you can click on my post 25 Summer Outfits.
2. Do I have to have business cards? What about a media kit?
You don’t have to have business cards or a media kit to enjoy yourself at a blog conference. However, it is incredibly smart to have both on hand if you want to make the most of the networking opportunities available! Haven sponsors are a dream come true! There will be PR reps from some of the most prestigious DIY companies waiting to meet you and chat with you. Be prepared! If you’re unfamiliar with what a media kit entails, there are some good examples at the end of this post.
My business cards were purchased as a klout.com perk for the price of shipping at Moo.com. I put a QR code on my cards so that those with a QR reader can scan the code and be taken instantly to my site. If you want to create your own QR code for free click on the link. My media kit is a one-page blog resume that summarizes my blog accomplishments, stats, brands I’ve worked with, and testimonials. It’s just like a resume for your blog.
Be prepared that some bloggers will have the most beautiful, creative, adorable business cards that you’ve ever seen in your life! Some people will give out a little swag item with their business card. At the Snap conference I received a luggage tag, earrings, a ring, a cake-pop, a stick of gum, a fabric flower pin, etc. along with a blogger’s business card. It’s all part of the fun, but PLEASE don’t feel pressured to stay up until 3am creating 270 gifts to accompany your cards.
3. What else should I bring?
If you have a smart phone they are invaluable at a conference for keeping track of people you want to connect with! Also bring a camera, your battery charger, your laptop/ipad, pen/paper, snacks, and a cardigan in case of over-air conditioning. One last thing, please bring your flexibility and patience. Things will go wrong. Classes you wanted to go to might fill up before you arrive to the room. Your hotel room might not have enough towels. The internet at the hotel might not be adequately fast enough. Something planned that you were looking forward to might be changed. The conference will have some unexpected glitches and we ask that you be patient with whatever pops up that is out of our control ;).
4. Will it feel like high school all over again? Will I feel left out if I don’t know a lot of people?
This is a tough one. You will definitely see a ton of screaming, giggling, squealing, hugging, and laughing at blog conferences. Good blog friends rarely are blessed to live in close proximity and the few days of a conference are the only time for months, or all year they have to see each other. Expect to see a lot of camaraderie and girlish glee going on. All that being said, the Haven Team will be going out of our way to spot any introverted wall flowers lurking on the sidelines and we will come and tackle you :). So if you want to avoid bear hugs, you better find your hidden extrovert and join a group :)! Seriously though, the Haven team members will be sitting at separate tables at meals in order to spread around and make sure you feel loved! But we’re human too, and there will be a TON of people to hug and catch up with and not enough time to do so. This is the manner of all blog conferences and it just can’t be avoided. I’ll be tweeting out my location in the hotel frequently, so if you’re feeling lost and lonely you have no excuse but to come find me! I don’t want to see ANY forlorn blog posts after Haven saying that the conference was no fun because they didn’t know anyone. Come up and tell me your name and I’ll take it from there and make sure you’re not alone. Deal?
5. Will I be able to take home all of my swag in my carry on?
Hopefully! I honestly don’t know, so either pay to have your bag checked or be prepared to part with some of your swag. I don’t have the final details on the Haven swag bags, but at other conferences I’ve had to surrender some of my beloved swag because it was too many ounces of liquid to board on the plane. Grrrrrrr. Just be prepared that you might have to part with some items that don’t adhere to airline security codes if you don’t plan on checking your luggage.
Did I forget anything? Ask away!