I remember the first time I heard the word BLOG yeeeears ago. I was sitting in my living room across the country from my roots, while my husband was attending graduate school. I was lonely and homesick and craving interaction from loved ones. Hmm, a blog…a virtual diary? After reading a few of my friends blogs, I was quickly obsessed with idea of posting random pictures and stories of my kiddos for my family and friends to read while I was away from them. So for years, I wrote a private family blog.
When I started my furniture and home decor business last year I also started a business blog for fun! I occasionally posted pictures of my projects when I remembered. I wasn’t super serious about it. But then I had a change of heart! I knew I wanted to make friendships with other girls who liked being creative as much as I did. I knew I needed a some direction to get my blog going. About that time is when I’d been hearing chatter online about a super cool blogging conference, SNAP.
Since this was my very first blogging conference as a newbie, here is my beginner’s guide to SNAP:
1. Buy your ticket: JUST DO IT! I can’t tell you how many times I talked myself out of going even before the tickets went on sale! Why should I go? I’m a no name blog compared to some of the “queens of blogging” that will be in attendance. Then thoughts of inadequacy crept up, my page views are so small I should just stay home…this conference couldn’t possibly benefit me? With that being said, I know how intimidating it can be but buying your ticket will be the single best thing you can do for your growing blog.
2. Do your research BEFORE the conference: SNAP did a fantastic job connecting bloggers together through their private Facebook page and website. Jump on there as soon as you buy your ticket and start meet other bloggers through posts and comments. Once you can see who is attending the conference, hop over to their blog and get to know them even better. Engage them and hopefully make a little online connection before you meet face to face.
3. Make friends anywhere you can: I knew NOBODY at this conference…not.a.single.soul. The first class I went to I wanted to sit in the back row and hide but I knew in order to make friends I had to put myself out there. I noticed an empty chair next to a darling girl and I asked if I could sit next to her. I’m so happy I did because it turned out to be, Wendy from Pretty Well Organized, and she is a lot of fun. We hung out during down time sipping on our diet cokes in the lobby! Another time I totally put myself out there was in the BATHROOM. The lovely Rebecca from The Crafted Sparrow was putting on her lipstick while I was doing the same. I have been a HUGE fan of hers for awhile. She is so talented. Anyways, I introduced myself to her and she was so incredibly nice to me. We also hung out a little bit during the conference. I guess my point is just put yourself out there and you might be surprised who becomes a blogger friend!
4. Make connections with the sponsors: Yes, it might be a little terrifying to introduce yourself to the likes of Home Depot and Ryobi when you are still an up and coming blog. But I promise you that they are the nicest people there. They really do want to get to know you and your brand. Let them know how much you love their products. Now, be sincere…only tell them you love them if you really do 🙂 Tell them about some projects you are thinking about that involves their products. Be confident and they will take you seriously.
5. Stay at the venue if at all possible: I have family in Utah so I just thought it just made sense to stay with them. As much as I loved seeing them I feel like I missed out on a TON of fun that happened late into the night. These girls are party animals. During that down time is when you can make real connections with those fun girls! Next year I will definitely be staying at the hotel.
6. Write your to-do list the next morning: This conference is EXHAUSTING but in a really really good way. You are like a sponge for 3 straight days absorbing gobs of information and learning from amazing women. My head was spinning from the wealth of info I learned. After a good night’s rest and some Tylenol write down EVERYTHING you are thinking about. I promise you when you get home and get thrown back into your grueling life schedule you will forget some of the little things you wanted to remember. On the plane ride home I scribbled down my forever long to-do list!