In less than 3 weeks we’ll be arriving in Phoenix, AZ for the 8th annual BlogPaws conference. This will be my 4th year attending the conference but my first time attending as a member of the BlogPaws team and as a speaker. Last year I was a BlogPaws Ambassador and we drove to the conference since it was in Nashville. Phoenix is a little too far to drive from Virginia Beach so we are flying. Flying with a small dog AND being 21 weeks pregnant should be interesting! Good thing my husband will be with us!
The conference is almost sold out so if you’re still on the fence, please get your tickets ASAP before it’s too late. Get 10% off your BlogPaws ticket with my special speaker promo code: BP16-Speaker-10off
Attending a blogger conference for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Even as a conference veteran, I still get butterflies! I’ve put together the ultimate guide to BlogPaws Phoenix to help calm down your pre-conference jitters!
1. Plan Your Outfits & Rep Your Personal Brand!
My session is about how to Create an Irresistible Brand, so yes, branding is near and dear to my heart. Branding starts with how you present yourself at a conference. Wear something that best represents your brand and makes you feel irresistible when networking and taking pics that will be shared all over the internet! Take some time to plan out your outfits in advance. Of course since this is BlogPaws that also includes planning what your pet will wear too! Here are some great posts about what to wear to a blog conference:
- Conference Must Haves
- What To Pack for a Blogger Conference by Hi Sugarplum
- What To Wear to a Blogging Conference by House of Rose Blog
- Suburban Bitches
2. Clean Up Your Blog and Social Media Accounts
I mentioned in the Blogging Pet Peeves post that you’re going to have a ton of new eyes on your content. Make sure you clean up your bog and social media accounts before the conference! I’ve also put together a FREE workbook for the BlogPaws Social Learning Community that provides actionable challenges to help you prep your blog for a conference.
3. Business Cards
Don’t leave home without them! Make sure to print them out way in advance! I made the mistake of printing my own cards at home the night before my first BlogPaws conference. Take it from me, you do NOT want to do that! I order mine through VistaPrint and I’ve been really happy with the quality and the prices.
Media Kit or Nah?
I’ve seen a lot of questions over in the BlogPaws community about printing media kits for sponsors. My advice? You don’t need it. Business cards will suffice. My numbers change so frequently that I have no value in printing out this info. I would rather direct a sponsor to my blog where they can find this information and we can chat privately outside of the conference.
4. Make a List and Check It Twice
Preparation is the key to a successful conference. Make a packing list in advance! I put together a list of my blog conference must haves that will get you started. I use Trello to keep track of my to-do’s and packing lists!
5. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
Remember how I said that YOU are always reppin’ your brand? That means you need to nail down your elevator pitch. This is how you will describe yourself and your brand when meeting new people. PS – Having a pet with you is a great way to break the ice!
For example I might say something like this, “Hi! I’m Aimee from the blog Irresistible Pets. I teach other pet parents how to create an irresistible life . . . with their pets. This is Chuy, my Chihuahua and the CEO and mascot of our blog!”
Don’t just say “I write a pet blog.” This is your moment to shine and let people know what truly sets you apart!
6. Use Social Media Before, During, and After BlogPaws!
Start networking NOW with other bloggers, speakers, and sponsors! It will help ease the conversations when you actually meet face to face because you’ll already have some common ground. Check out these Twitter lists as a quick reference of who to follow and tweet-tweet with:
Be SOCIAL during the conference too! Be sure to use the hashtag #BlogPaws and tag other people & brands in your posts. Putting a face to a name will help you stay connected after the conference.
7. Be Nice To Everyone!
As you arrive at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, there will be a ton of other people (and pets!) walking around the lobby and other common areas outside of the conference center. You NEVER know who that person next to you could be. Just BE NICE!!! Make eye contact and say hello.
8. Make a List of Who to Meet
There are so many speakers, bloggers, and brands to meet at the BlogPaws conference. Even though you may want to talk to everyone, it’s literally impossible to meet every single person AND to develop a meaningful bond or relationship. I always say that if you can go home with at least 5 solid connections, that is golden!
9. Study the Agenda
Take a look at the BlogPaws agenda and sign up for the sessions you don’t want to miss. Based on the speakers and the content, what are are your conference goals? Think about:
- What do you want to learn how to do better?
- Which sessions are going to take your blog to the next level?
- Which speakers do you want to connect with?
- What content speaks to your brand and blogging goals?
This year there’s a paid session with limited seating called The Secrets to Successful SEO. Sign up before it’s sold out!
10. Take a Break When You Need It
BlogPaws is absolutely amazing but it is exhausting . . . in a good way! I’m an introvert. This doesn’t mean I’m a hermit that never leaves my house and hates people (although I have my days LOL). Being an introvert or extrovert simply defines HOW you get your energy. For me, being in extremely social situations like BlogPaws will drain my battery by the end of the day. This means that I have to protect my time and my sanity by building in some breaks and alone time so that I can stay fully charged.
This is how I usually feel by the end of the day! I can’t even imagine what pregnant me is going to feel like this year!
11. Stay Hydrated
Drink lots of water. This might seem obvious but it’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re going from class to class and networking all day. In Vegas, my feet were so swollen I couldn’t even wear normal shoes by the time I got home. They were swollen from a combination of being on my feet all day and not drinking enough water. Plus, it’s much easier to get dehydrated in a desert environment.
12. Wear Comfortable Shoes
On that note, bring some comfy shoes. I LOVE my high heels but during the day, I usually go for a pair of flats or a lower heel. I keep the cute high heels for the evening events like the Red Carpet and Yappy Hour.
13. Bring an Extra Suitcase
Swag. Lots of Swag. Trust me, you’ll either need to bring an extra suitcase or leave extra room to pack all of the swag you’ll get at BlogPaws. Some people even mail it home separately and BlogPaws always has a station set up to do this.
14. Prepare Your Pet
This will also be Chuy’s fourth BlogPaws conference. Listen . . . it can be overwhelming for us humans so our pets will definitely be feeling that way too! I love having the conference in the same place as the hotel. Take advantage of that and give your pet a break if they need it! There are dog parks inside the conference too!
Don’t forget to make a vet appointment for your pet and bring a copy of their current shot record!
15. Get Out and Explore Phoenix!
Travel is one of my passions in life. I love to explore and experience different places. A conference like BlogPaws is the perfect excuse to combine some sightseeing with personal development! Plan a few days before or after the conference to check out Phoenix. The conference center is near the following attractions:
- Raw Hide Wild West Town– I went here by myself when I got stuck in Phoenix during the east coast snowstorm in January. Definitely worth a visit!
- Casino – I love casinos but the smoke here was just too much for me to handle. I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke! Ugh!
- Premium Outlets – Shopping. Need I say more?
Here are a few other resources for dog friendly things to do in Phoenix:
- 7 Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in Phoenix
- Dog Friendly Tourist Attractions in Arizona by Dog Mom Days
- 11 Dog Friendly Adventures in Scottsdale & Phoenix by Golden Woofs
Register & Save!
I’m speaking at the 2016 BlogPaws conference about how to Create an Irresistible Brand. Get 10% off your BlogPaws ticket with my special speaker promo code: BP16-Speaker-10off
There are a ton of great posts from fellow BlogPaws members over at the pre-conference linky party to help with your plans. What questions do you have? Do you have any tips that you can add to this list? Leave em’ in the comments down below!
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