BlogHer 2012 will be my third year at the conference. Going into BlogHer this year, I certainly have a different outlook than I did my first time around. This is my no-nonsense year. I’m avoiding a lot of the parties and swag, and this is why: BlogHer is an investment in your business and your personal brand. If you’re not thinking of it that way, you’re not allocating your time and money effectively.
BlogHer Tip #1: Consider the Cost of BlogHer
Thanks to all the great brands and sponsors, the cost of the BlogHer conference itself is very reasonable. However, even if you have a private sponsor paying for your ticket, it’s still not completely free. You still have the cost of transportation, hotels, clothing (admit it, you’re buying new stuff whether you need it or not), airport parking, taxis, etc. If you’re flying to BlogHer (as most of us are), chances are you’re spending at least $1000. That’s a pretty expensive girls’ weekend getaway, if you’re not using your time to truly network and build your business.
BlogHer Tip #2: Go with Clear Goals
Judging by the Tweets I’ve seen about #BlogHer12, most attendees are putting more thought into their wardrobes and what to pack than they are their business plan. You’re there to build your brand, not participate in a fashion show. Before you go, revisit your blog’s business plan. Make a short list of 5-7 realistic objectives you’d like leave BlogHer having accomplished. Who do you want to connect with, and talk to them about? What information do you want to leave with? Where would you like to take your blog in six months, or in a year? If your time isn’t spent accomplishing those goals, you may need to reevaluate how you’re spending your time.
Blog Her Tip #3: Skip (Some of) the Private Parties
So much of the buzz surrounding BlogHer is connected to the private party invites. Did you get the so-and-so invite? This one? That one? They can make you feel like you’re in high school all over again. BlogHer isn’t a popularity contest. Smart bloggers will realize that and avoid a lot of the parties altogether because they’re not a good use of their time (see #2). Again, while many of the parties are super fun – they’re not going to help you build your brand. Only attend the parties where you can network with the people you really want to work with (and those are few and far between).
BlogHer Tip #4: Consider The Price of Swag
Let’s just get it out in the open. BlogHer swag is a HUGE draw. In years past, attendees have received anything from Vera Bradley handbags to full-size vacuum cleaners. Before you fill your suitcase full of “free” swag, consider the cost. First off, there’s the time spent collecting it. Don’t stand in line for 15 minutes for a brush or mug that you could buy for $5 and probably don’t need to begin with. Next, there’s the cost of getting it home. I’ve seen bloggers spend $30 or more to ship boxes of swag home to give their readers in giveaways or even bring an extra suitcase to haul home their loot (to the tune of $25-$50 in extra baggage fees). While it’s great to want to “share the wealth” with your dedicated following, there are more cost-effective ways to do it. Not only are you paying shipping costs once to get it home, you’re hit with a double whammy when you pay to ship the “prize” to the winner. Wouldn’t it be more prudent (and extremely more convenient) to skip hauling the swag home altogether, and then run a gift card contest instead? Eliminate the hassle of shipping it or hauling it to the airport, and cart it around the Expo Hall? Plus, it’s likely your readers would appreciate a Target or Amazon gift card much more than they would a mug with someone’s logo on it.
BlogHer Tip #5: Have Fun!
I don’t mean to be the Debbie Downer of BlogHer. BlogHer is fun, and if you miss out on that, your BlogHer experience would be incomplete. I’m likely to down a few drinks and break out my statue of liberty crown again this year (if you see me there – please say hello!). Just remember to balance the partying, swag-grabbing and hoopla with why you’re going in the first place. Because you have a blog.