How to prepare for a Blog Conference (not the same old boring Tips)

28 May

This post has 29 Tips that will help you prepare for a blog conference and what to do once you attend one (that you might not have thought of). It also highlights how the Mitsubishi Mirage made the trip better. #DriveMitsubishi

Mitsubishi Mirage in front of luxury hotel #DriveMitsubishi

This month’s been busy. Our second book hit the shelves and with that frenzy has come some amazing opportunities. I was invited to a blog conference in southern Florida, a few hours from our home, and was thrilled to accept the invitation to “get away from it all” for a few days. These conferences are filled with knowledge that is so useful to building a business. Thankfully, Mitsubishi Motors helped us prepare for a blog conference by lending us a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES.

The Mitsubishi Mirage is the perfect compact car for this quick trip as it’s gas friendly, averaging about 40mpg, so we don’t waste any time filling up. Even for its small size, there is plenty of room to create a makeshift office on the road (hubby’s driving of course).

Mitsubishi Mirage gets 41mpg #DriveMitsubishi

Mitsubishi Mirage mobile office #DriveMitsubishi

29 Tips to Prepare for a Blog Conference

I know you’ve heard the typical tips and tricks about business travel, so I won’t bore you with the same old details. I’ve listed some “lesser” known tidbits that are helpful, particularly if you are traveling alone, which thankfully I didn’t have to do this time. All travel starts with the 3P’s. Prep, Plan and Pack.

 

PREPARE BEFORE THE BLOG CONFERENCE-Personal

GET SPRUNG: Whether you work outside the home or not, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row when it comes to being absent. As soon as you know the dates for the conference, add it to your calendar so everyone is aware. (HINT-most mobile phones have calendars that sync between users). Heck, even the Mitsubishi Mirage has Bluetooth® hands free syncing.

Mitsubishi Mirage interior #DriveMitsubishi

 

PACK IT ALL: Create a list for traveling that includes the essentials and you won’t forget to pack important items. After each trip, revise the list with things you forgot. Here’s a packing checklist [click to print] so you’ll remember everything you need. Bring zipper bags, you’ll find a way to use them, trust me!

 

MARK YOUR TERRITORY: Clearly mark your luggage with identifying items such as a colored bandana or removable sticker; this eliminates confusion. Time is of the essence on business trips and you don’t want to be left waiting in the lobby or airport. Bring the smallest suitcase you can.  Our car had such a tiny trunk I was glad we packed light.

Mitsubishi Mirage trunk space #DriveMitsubishi

 

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Bring actual cash and change. You’ll need it for tips, vending machine runs and drive tolls. This one is easy to forget since we’re used to debit cards. Tip the concierge well and the world’s your oyster!

 

RENT A FLASHY CAR: Anytime you rent a vehicle, make sure it’s a flashy color and includes a navigation system. An InfraRed Mitsubishi Mirage is easier to locate because of its color. And should an accident happen, help will never miss you on the side of the road. Our car had a 7” touch screen MMES Navigation System with 3D maps that actually showed us restaurants and gas stations-a must when driving!

 

PREPARE BEFORE THE BLOG CONFERENCE-Professional

BRAGGING RIGHTS: Know the presenters at your blog conference, yes it’s probably Scary Mommy, and spend time researching them. If you get your 2 minutes of fame on that proverbial elevator ride, you want to be prepared to impress. Know the people you respect and they’ll remember. Even our Mitsubishi Mirage can brag that it’s been ranked #1  “New cars for penny pinchers” and “Best all around and environmental performance”. Don’t be shy!

 

STALK ATTENDEES: Follow the conference hashtag, speakers and other attendees on social media prior to arrival. Memorize their faces and you’ll be more comfortable when you meet.

 

BUSINESS CARDS: Print more than you think you’ll need and make sure they’re updated. Include your blog’s name, logo, your photo, phone number, and social media links. Be sure they include CTA buttons for new friends and brands.

 

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: You’re attending the blog conference to meet brands so when you do, be ready to show them you’re worth working with. Know your Page views, UVM, impressions and engagement levels. Always check your Google Analytics prior to attending. The most important number for our car is the starting price of $12995.

 

UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA HEADERS: You’re meeting people that only know you from your blog so be sure that your headers, logos and business cards match. Use a picture and be sure to look like it the day of the conference. I can’t tell you how many people said, “I recognize you from your Twitter picture”.  If your blog’s design needs to be freshened, consider hiring a designer.

 

GO MOBILE: Create a mobile office on the road. Take you laptop, cell phone and charger, power strip, portable USB plug (the Mitsubishi Mirage has its own USB port), battery charger, Sharpie marker, notebook with folder pockets, pens, highlighters, your published books, business cards, media kit, camera with SD card and a flash drive. I wrote this entire post while riding shotgun on the drive home.

C Lee Reed working in Mitsubishi Mirage #DriveMitsubishi

 

MAKE YOUR HOTEL STAY MORE COMFORTABLE

GET A ROOM: Reserve a room (if needed) well in advance of your stay since they sell out during blog conferences. If staying alone, ask for an interior room on an upper floor; it’s safer. Ask for two beds so you double your workspace. Get a room with a coffee maker, mini-frig and desk. You’ll want a place to organize your handouts and check emails at night. Ask for a room with a safe in it.

 

PARKING: Always try to stay at the meeting location since it will save you time or taxi fares. Most venues charge for parking so factor that into expenses. Use valet to avoid having to walk in dark garages at night. We had no trouble parking our Mitsubishi Mirage; it was easy to maneuver (it can literally turn on a dime) and fits a compact car spot easily. Bonus!

 

CARPOOL: Even though it’s smaller than my normal vehicle, the Mirage holds 5 people. Just Plane Dad shuttled bloggers back and forth. I loved that we got extra time to get acquainted and they all remarked on how nice the car’s interior was. Our loaner had black cloth interior with black and silver trim.

Mitsubishi Mirage interior at conference #DriveMitsubishi

DIRTY LAUNDRY: Use the plastic dry cleaning bag they provide in the closet to hold your dirty clothes on your return trip. They won’t touch the clean clothes.

 

PILFER: Use the toiletries the hotel provides and save space in your luggage. Be sure to take all unused complimentary items with you to donate to those in need. Remember-you’ve paid for them!

 

BUSINESS CENTER: Use the hotel’s business center for last minute copies, faxes or meeting bloggers (they tend to hang here). Take your room key as doors are locked.

 

BEFRIEND CONCIERGE: During rush hour, traffic’s dangerous and taxis are busy; ask if they’ll transport you in the house vehicle. They aim to please so just ask. We drove without hassle thanks to the Mitsubishi Mirage’s anti-lock braking system and active stability control. It’s also got 7 airbags! Yes seven.

 

ATTENDING THE BLOG CONFERENCE

GO NAKED (NOT): Bring a sweater and flats, no matter what. Blog conferences expect a lot of attendees so the room is kept cold. You will be chilly! If you must wear heels, bring a pair of Fast Flats in your bag.

 

SWAG BAG: Bring an extra bag in case one isn’t provided for all the swag you’re sure to get. Fill it with essentials you’ll need during the day as you may not have time to return to your hotel room.

  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Laptop with its power cord
  • Cell phone with its charger
  • Snacks such as pretzels, dried fruit or gum
  • Tissues and nail file
  • Cough drops and eye drops (the a/c is very drying)
  • Teabag (they always offer coffee instead)

 

BRING A BOTTLE: Choose a bottle with a built in purifier as hotel ice and water fountains often taste terrible. If your meeting is in another city, the water will taste different and you’ll be glad that you have it.

 

NETWORK: Greet everyone with a smile and introduce yourself. Yes everyone! This is a great time for your heavily practiced intro. If you’re shy and this is difficult, mention something about their clothing that you like. People love compliments and it will get them talking so you don’t have to.

 

Last day with the Mitsubishi Mirage. What adventure should we take? #drivemitsubishi @mitsucars

A photo posted by HMaJPD (@hmajpd) on

PREPARE FOR AFTER THE BLOG CONFERENCE

  1. Back at home, follow-up with a quick “thank you nice to meet you” tweet to everyone you met. Include the conference name in the tweet as a reminder.
  2. Be patient, some opportunities take a while to come to fruition.
  3. Register for next year’s conference!
  4. Write a blog post with the most important topics you learned at the conference. Share the wealth with those that couldn’t attend.
  5. Thank your hubby and kids for handling the house (and themselves) while you were away. You appreciate their support so show it.
  6. Tweet a quick note to all the brands and sponsors that gave you swag. Don’t forget to include #sample as a disclosure.
  7. Send suggestions to the coordinator on how to enrich the experience next time. Could they offer shuttle service? Free bottled water? Breakfast bar? Certain speaker? They’ll appreciate the suggestions.

 

Blogger conferences are a great way to meet and introduce your services to the brands you want to represent. I’ve met so many wonderful sponsors during my blog conferences, that’s how we get to drive this Mitsubishi Mirage, and it’s been memorable each time. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself and don’t forget you’re there to build your business.

 

Good luck! Hope to see you at the next one! What tips would you add to this list? Tell me in the comments below.

 

Are you looking for a vehicle suitable for a blogger? Mitsubishi vehicles rock! Check them out at @MitsuCars #DriveMitsubishi

Mitsubishi Mirage in parking space #DriveMitsubishi

 

Hovering high and low, Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

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