By Kay Lynn Akers
Many bloggers are shy and worried about attending their first blogging conference. The stress reminds me a lot of being the new kid at school.
I felt that way when I signed up for the Savvy Blogging Summit last spring and learned a lot about networking in the blogging world. While my tips won’t eliminate the nervousness, they will help you make connections.
Networking with other conference attendees can start as soon as the conference details are announced. I connected with other registrants three ways before the conference.
- Twitter – I created a Twitter list of everyone who tweeted they were attending. We also started communicating on the conference hash tag discussing speakers, travel arrangements and more. When we got to the conference, many of us were already friends!
- Link-up – The conference website had a link-up for registrants to post their blogs so we could visit them in advance. Reading the about pages really helped me get a sense of the person and why they blog.
- Blog Frog – For communications longer than 140 characters many of us took advantage of discussions in the organizer’s blog frog community. This was a great way to arrange roommates by posting important details from how long you need in the bathroom each morning to drinking habits. (BCN Note: Blog Conference Newbie Guide also offers forums for blog conferences to chat, connect, & arrange roomies/travel buddies.)
At the Conference
In order to network, you need to meet people. My goal was to speak with as many attendees as possible during the two days and I had a plan.
- Seating – I made sure to sit by different people each time we changed rooms or topics. Mix it up at every meal and every session. Yes, it can be uncomfortable but very rewarding as I got to connect with a lot of successful bloggers.
- Introduce Yourself- Sitting by someone new doesn’t help if you don’t talk to them. Introduce yourself and mention something you remember about them from your pre-conference homework.
- Share Your Contact Information – Most of the attendees were slow to pass out cards the first day and I regret that I didn’t ask for them. We were all sharing madly the last day, but couldn’t find everyone.
Reaping the rewards of connecting with others happens after the conference, so don’t stop communicating with attendees once you’re home.
- Blog It – Write a post (or more) about the conference and link to any round-ups. My visitor count went up in the days following the conference as other attendees and interested people came to read these articles.
- Follow-up – Email or tweet follow-up messages to sponsors, speakers or other attendees that you want to work with in the future. I also subscribed to blogs of everyone and made it a point to leave comments.
- Create a Tribe – One blogger contacted me a couple months later about participating in a network consisting of 6-7 people that all met at the conference. She carefully selected attendees she connected with that all had a different blog focus. We’re just getting started but who knows where it will end up.
Conference networking can be the best thing that’s ever happened to your blog, so make it a priority at your next event.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kay Lynn Akers is the owner of Bucksome Boomer, a personal finance blog. She is a baby boomer on a 10 year plan to retirement writing about money and life along the way. You can also find her on Twitter at @bucksome.