What: BlogHer 2011, August, 4-6. The BlogHer conference is one of the largest annual blogger conferences in the U.S., where bloggers come together to learn and network with other bloggers, other influential leaders in the field, and brands / companies.
Where: San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina, San Diego, California
My BlogHer 2011 Newbie Experience:
I am very happy to share my BlogHer 2011 newbie review, and I hope next year’s conference newbies will read about my experience and feel a little less overwhelmed than I did.
BlogHer Tickets and Badges: I bought a full ticket, which was an all access pass to attend the keynote presentations, sessions, expo hall and parties. My husband purchased an Expo and Party only ticket, which worked for him because he loved hanging out in the Expo Hall where there was great S.W.A.G. and food. There were a lot of different ticket types, you could even purchase a one day ticket. BlogHer ’11 Tickets and Badges Tip: If you don’t receive your badge in the mail, printout and bring your receipt with you to get your badge at check-in.
BlogHer Hotel: I booked my hotel the week before the conference and I stayed at The Westgate Hotel, about 5 blocks from the Marriott, but most bloggers shared the cost of a room onsite. I met one blogger who was sharing a room with 3 other women. I guess the good thing about having roomies is you have friends to hangout with. On the other hand…read “BlogHer Networking Opportunities”.
BlogHer ’11 Schedule: As a BlogHer Conference newbie, looking over the agenda before the event was very confusing and simply mind boggling. There seem to be too much going on. And that’s right! The BlogHer conference will keep you busy, and there really is something for everyone.
BlogHer Conference Schedule Tip 1: If you don’t understand the BlogHer schedule, ask a blogger friend or get in touch with someone from BlogHer (they are very friendly) but stop worrying, just show-up and you’ll figure things out. There’s an online “BlogHer Conference Guide”, or you can pick-up the schedule at check-in.
BlogHer Conference Guide Tip 2: For the newbie, the printed conference guide is a lot less confusing. The BlogHer Conference Guide maps out the full schedule of events by day, time and conference room, with the description of each session.
BlogHer ’11 Sessions: Each day there were 3 blocks of 10 1 hr 15 min sessions. For example, between 10:30-11:45 am, there were 10 different sessions you could choose from.
BlogHer Conference Session Tip 1: Try to choose the session that best fits your interests and level of experience and, if needed, attend more than one session per block.
BlogHer Conference Session Tip 2: If you find yourself wishing you attended a different session, check out the VirtualConference online. The live VirtualConference blog hosts the full transcript of almost every session. This year’s BlogHer 2011 virtual conference was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.
BlogHer ’11 Sessions I Loved: “Putting the Professional in Professional Blogging” with Moderator Amy Lupold Bair, and panelists, Janine Nickel, Jessica Rosenberg, and Linda Sellers and “How to Create a Kick A$$ Proposal” with Moderator Leticia Barr and panelists, Andrea Fellman, Julie Meyers Pron, and Kelly Whalen.
BlogHer ’11 Sessions I Missed and Wish I Attended: “Success: On Our Own Terms with Huffington Post Women, brought to you by AOL” with Moderator Lori Leibovich and panelists, Christina Norman, Jane Buckingham, Janice Min, Lynda Obst, and Susan Stiffleman, “How to Pitch Freelance Editorial Work from Some Busy Editorial People” with Moderator Julie Godar and panelists, Barb Dybwad, Nicola Bridges, and Stephanie Wood, and “Your Blog Can Make You a Social Media Marketer” with Moderator Elisa Camahort Page and panelists, Jessica Kirkwood, Marcy Massura and Melissa Lion.
Missed a BlogHer 2011 Session or You Didn’t Attend at All? Like me, you can read the live blog online here .
BlogHer Networking Opportunities: Networking Opportunities is why the blogger, the brand / company and other influentials in the field attend BlogHer. You’ll be presented with networking opportunities from the time you land until you depart from the city hosting the BlogHer conference. I took the Super Shuttle and I met and exchanged business cards with 3 ladies who were attending the conference and, while waiting for my flight on the return home, I chatted with the founder of BlogFrog. I was so surprised to learn he was from my neck of the woods. Can you believe it? You travel to another state to meet someone who lives 15 miles from you!
BlogHer Conference Networking Tip 1: Make sure you bring at least 300 business cards to a BlogHer Conference. I ran out in the last hour, and seemingly that’s when I met even more people I really wanted to network with. I was pretty embarrassed when I was given a business card and my contact information was written on line paper.
BlogHer Conference Networking Tip 2: It’s great to meet-up with blogger friends.
But, step out of your comfort zone. Don’t just hang with the clique / tribe. Be willing to meet and mingle with new people. I arrived to the conference alone and I attended the welcoming parties on Thursday. I’m somewhat of an introverted person but I was there to meet new people, so I mingled.
“You are very brave,” says a fellow blogger at “The People’s Party”, Sponsored by “Fox Home Entertainment”.
A BlogHer Networking Highlight: It was very exciting when I met the faces behind the websites I browse and network with daily! And what’s even more exciting– When YOU discover fans of your own website.
BlogHer Food and Parties: You’ll probably need to go on a diet after attending and indulging at a BlogHer conference. BlogHer offers breakfast, lunch and eats are always available in the Expo Hall and at the parties. The parties are open to all BlogHer badge holders and a RSVP was not required this year.
Private Party Tip: There are a few brand / company parties you must RSVP for and the guest lists are usually very limited, so when you get the email to RSVP for a party respond ASAP. Don’t feel left out if you miss out on an RSVP only invite, the BlogHer parties are fun and a great place to network too. I was invited to an off-site Chase Bank party, and there wasn’t much happening there.
What I Learned About the BlogHer Conference: As a fairly advanced blogger, I learned I needed to carefully read the descriptions of the sessions, and attend the sessions that not only fit my interests but were tailored to meet my skill level.
Vocabulary I Learned at the BlogHer Conference: Cold pitches and Sneezers.
A cold pitch is when you pitch an idea without an established, working relationship and sneezers is a very interesting, complimentary or derogatory (depending on your interpretation), term being used for bloggers. Apparently, there are professionals in the PR and digital social media marketing world who are referring to bloggers as sneezers because, “When a blogger talks about something a lot of people hear about it,” says Julie Meyers Pron.
According to stats, 80% of people who read blogs purchase a product based on a recommendation.