In just 15 days we’ll be arriving in Nashville for the 7th annual BlogPaws conference. I can’t believe how fast the time has been flying by. When I was selected as a BlogPaws Ambassador in November of last year, it felt like it was so far away! The conference is almost sold out so if you’re still on the fence, please get your tickets ASAP before it’s too late. Make sure to use my “irresistible” promo code to save 10%: BP15-Amb-Aimee-10. 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 Nashville to help calm down your pre-conference jitters!
1. Plan Your Outfits
I stressed this in my conference must-haves post that YOU are representing your brand and first impressions count. There are going to be a ton of pics and networking opportunities where you’re meeting people for the first time. 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:
2. Clean Up Your Blog and Social Media Before the Conference
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!
3. Business Cards . . . Seriously, BUSINESS CARDS!
Don’t leave home without them! Oh and 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! These days I order mine through VistaPrint and I’ve been really happy with the quality.
But Leave The Media Kit. . .
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 and MK Clinton from Barking from the Bayou has a fantastic packing list to help you out.
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:
- BlogPaws Sponsors
- BlogPaws Speakers
- BlogPaws 1 on 1 Speakers
- BlogPaws Table Topic Speakers
- BlogPaws Ambassadors
Be SOCIAL during the conference too! Be sure to hashtag #BlogPaws and tag other people in your posts. Putting a face to a name will help you stay connected after the conference.
7. Be Nice To Everyone!
As you start to arrive at the Sheraton Music City, there will be a ton of other people walking around the lobby and other common areas outside of the conference. 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 awesome workshops, 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, then you are golden.
9. Study the Schedule and Set Goals
Study the BlogPaws schedule and sign up for the sessions you don’t want to miss using the Sched.org app. 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?
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!
11. Stay Hydrated
You mean drink water? Yes. 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. Last year, 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. Drink up!
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. Pack and Prepare Your Pet
Are you traveling with your pet? If you’re flying, be sure to check out our air travel tips for small dogs. This year we’re driving which I prefer especially with Chuy. Here is a list of a few pet friendly things I took to Vegas last year. There’s also a really handy post from Oh My Shih Tzu about what to pack for your pet.
This will also be Chuy’s third 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!
15. Get Out and Explore Nashville!
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 Nashville. Hey, you never know what Nashville celebrity you’ll bump into either! I’m so excited that BlogPaws is offering a Friday night fun shuttle so we can all checkout downtown Nashville. Yee haw!
Here are some Nashville Twitter lists I’ve put together:
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’ all in the comments down below!
PS – I’ll be working at the registration desk on Thursday, so make sure to stop by and say hi! I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone and catching up with old friends!