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6 Things Bloggers Should Bring to Conferences

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This past weekend I was at WordCamp Dallas, where I was given the opportunity to both speak to and interact with a group of over 300 fellow WordPress users, bloggers and soon-to-be bloggers. It was a great event that was a unique combination of wonderful sponsors, great planning, spectacular speakers and great attendees.

But if you are a blogger that is new to conferences, whether they are blogger-specific, technical or otherwise, there is a lot to remember. Blogging, for the most part, is a solo activity and if your job doesn’t sent you to a lot of conferences there may well be a lot that you forget or don’t think to bring.

Since conference season is under way and many bloggers may be treking out to their first convention, here are a few things that you should remember before you get in the car.

6. Swag

Swag, which now famously stands for “Stuff We All Get”, are giveaway items that you hand out at conferences. These are small, but useful items that carry your logo and information.

Swag isn’t right for every blogger but it is a great and relatively cheap way to make an impression. Bring something creative that is cheap but people will want to keep. If you’re not feeling imaginative, pens, buttons and plastic bags are all cheap, if environmentally unfriendly, ideas for giveaways.

Swag isn’t something that every blogger needs or should bring, but if you want to stand out and your budget allows it, it’s a great way to stand out from the crowd.

5. Business Cards

Business cards may seem to be archaic in the age of Facebook and Twitter, but when you are meeting people face to face in large numbers, they are very handy.

Be sure to make them attractive and interesting. Also, make sure they have all the relevant information including Twitter, Facebook and other accounts you want people to follow you at. Business cards, especially for bloggers are not just name, company, address, phone, etc.

If you aren’t sure how many to bring, it is better to have too many than too few. For most people who aren’t being very pushy with their cards, a run of 500 will be enough for several conferences but if you plan to be giving them out aggressively or putting large stacks on card tables (which most conferences have), be prepared with more.

Do this even if you don’t have anything to sell or to pitch, it’s just a great way to give your contact information to someone that you meet.

4. An Elevator Pitch

The term “Elevator Pitch” refers to a short, usually under a minute, description of what you or your site is about. it’s designed to let you describe what you do while riding up or down the elevator with someone who might be interested.

Ideally, your pitch should be very brief and be able to convey what makes you and your site unique. Anyone who hears it should know what you are about and why they should remember you after the conference.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to write and rehearse one, even if your conference doesn’t have elevators as most meetings at large events are very fleeting in nature.

3. A Nametag Holder

Yes, most conferences provide these, but you’re going to want to bring your own. A name tag holder at most conferences becomes much more than just a means of displaying your name but also becomes something of an additional pocket. Regular conference goers put business cards, ticket stubs and other necessities in their name tag holder rather than in their regular pockets, purse or bag.

The other problem is that most conferences, understandably, do not spend a great deal of money on their name tag holders and, as a result, they often break or otherwise fall off. Going to the store and buying a solid one can be a huge help and aid you in keeping track of both your name tag and whatever else you find is best to put in there.

2. Camera and Laptop

At a conference you’re going to be mobile so having a really good smartphone (Blackberry, iPhone, Palm Pre, etc.) and a decent laptop is crucial. Not only so you can be blogging, Twittering and otherwise talking about what’s going on at the conference, but so that you can record notes during talks, take photos, preserve contact information and generally take in everything you see.

Personally, I tend to favor my phone more than my laptop for most things but like keeping at least a small netbook nearby for anything that requires significant amounts of typing.

Not having good equipment causes you to miss great opportunities and not be able to retain as much information. If you want to get the most for your time and money, it is best to come ready to learn and record.

1. Your Courage

The most important part of any conference is networking. You are there to meet people so you need to prepare yourself to start talking to otherwise perfect strangers. This isn’t easy, even for people who are otherwise very sociable, so it warrants taking a few moments to practice.

Get used to talking to people when you’re out and about. Talk to people when you are waiting in line at the grocery store or while you’re waiting for public transportation. Starting up a conversation with random people is an important part of any conference and it is important that you know how to do so before you get there are a convention with hundreds of people is no place to learn.

The good news is that most of conferences are extremely friendly in nature. I’ve never been to a conference where I felt that people were rude or angry, though I may just be fortunate in that regard. Still, being surrounded by so many people you don’t know can be very intimidating, especially when trying to initiate 1 on 1 conversations.

Start today and by the time you go to the event, you should be in good shape.

Bottom Line

This is just a short list of some of the things bloggers should or must bring to every conference they go to, I’m eager to hear from you all what I left off this list. Let’s see if we can make this one a top ten.

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Advanced Blogging Tip: Have a Poor Link Memory

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I create oodles of content daily. One tip to being prolific is to have a poor link memory. I forget what I published content-wise and link-wise to keep publishing content frequently. Do you know how most bloggers publish one blog post, include a link to a product and/or service, and keep checking the post again and again, to see how the link performs as far as clicks and conversions and sales and profits and money? I never do that. I have no time and energy to check how my links perform because I have a terrible link memory. I am always on to the next piece of content to create and the next link to place and the next person to help because I have a poor link memory. I forget links. This works perfectly for me; makes me super duper prolific.

Most bloggers attach to and cling to particular business links. What happens if you attach to a link? You give attention and energy to checking the link again and again instead of creating more content from a generous, prolific energy. How can you appear to be all over your niche if you check links regularly throughout the day and if you are not creating helpful, new pieces of content? You cannot be super successful if you are not prolific and you cannot be super prolific unless you have a poor link memory. Be generous, abundant and detached by forgetting links you place in posts; especially links pointing to business opportunities.

I link to my blogging course quite a bit but never get attached to any one link or blog post or guest post through which I link to it. Why? I have more fish to fry. I have more content to create and more bloggers to bond with and more folks to help and more bloggers to connect with and heck, after converting 50 more of my eBooks to paperback, I will have over 200 products about on Amazon, under the Blogging From Paradise umbrella. That is a lot of products to promote! We need to have a poor link memory to forget the prior link we promoted so we can move forward and promote more links, more content and greater blogging success. Envision yourself having an abundant mindset. What happens if you do not feel like anything seems short, scarce or running out? Being prolific is what happens. Being generous is easier if you are not burdened by any link to promote, to review and to assess regularly. I am not opposed to scanning metrics if doing so feels good and relaxing but most bloggers never take the time to assess their genuine feelings when it comes to how they feel promoting links.

I do. I am ruthless in assessing, observing, embracing and moving along my energies because watching your energy is the key to blogging success. Blogging from abundance, relaxation and trust leads to success while blogging from fear, scarcity, tension and anxiety leads to failure.

Which road do you prefer to take?

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How to Get Over the Fear Nobody Will Buy Your Product

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Ship. Publish.

Promote the heck out of the product. Unearth fears. Feel fears. See fears come true. Release fears. Sell your product. More and more folks buy your product only if you face, feel and release fears aligned with the product. If you hold the fears ya ain’t selling the product. Even if you publish a blogging product – like my blogging course – and sell it for a little bit you will not generate big sales until you fail enough to finally feel fears triggered by failure. Feeling fears clears fears which clears resistance which helps you inspire more people to buy the product.

Getting over this fear is messy. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete loser? Nope. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete fraud, or huckster, or embarrassed or ashamed? Nope. You hate trying so hard and then, no freaking people buy the course you promoted 10,000 times but doing so and feeling fears triggered simply makes it easy to promote the product, because feeling and getting over the fear makes you promote the product like you breathe. Being in that space, plenty of people see the product and more folks buy the product.

I promoted my blogging course to the tune of 8,000 page views before someone bought it. 8000 page views was nothing. I had to clear fear-resistance during the 8,000 page views to show the world how fun, freeing and inspired this course was. Fear cleared, more people bought it at 10 times the initial price versus the initial cheapy price. Raising the price ten fold? Yep; another fear for me to conquer. But I did it, and far more people bought it at $350 than at $36. See how funny fear works? You fear something, refuse to feel the fear, and struggle. But feeling the fear and doing it anyway leads to increasing success. Buy the course for a fun, entertaining, inspired blogging guide. Tis the season for celebration and joy and love and fun, helpful blogging courses.

I have no tips for nudging into fear save meditating and doing yoga frequently. Following each habit expands your awareness which helps you become intimately aware of your fears, so you can feel fears and release fears. Feels rough but this is part of the blogging journey if you want to get over the fear of selling your stuff. Hey; do you want to hurt people, mislead people or lie to people with your blogging product? No? Then just sell the thing already. Ship it. Publish it. Fear is so insidious. Fear makes you do what you do not want to do, if you trust fear. Fear causes you to tune into an alternate, illusory universe, where nothing is true and everything is lies, smoke and mirrors. Do you really want to take that road? I did not think so.

All I can do is be a cheerleader. You need to be the athlete on the court, not the fan on the sidelines. Get on the court. Publish your product. Promote your product. You will eventually face, feel and release all the fears you need to release to become a successful blogger and to sell your product successfully, too. Get in the game. People will buy your product when you get clear on it.

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Pro Blogging Tip: Release Expectations

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Ouch.

Am I asking you to be a Blogging Buddha? Nope. Not really. No one save enlightened beings completely releases expectations but us mere mortals clinging some to a worldly life can largely release expectations, to become successful and to enjoy the blogging journey. 10 minutes ago, I checked my email. I received a few. I clearly make it difficult to get in touch with me through email because I want to give most attention and energy to building a passive income empire. Every second I spend in email, I could be spending creating content and building connections. Knowing this, it feels good to receive few emails because it helps me scale and move forward from an abundant energy.

Unfortunately, most bloggers have heavy expectations when it comes to receiving email. Bloggers expect a chock filled inbox, with all types of clients, Paypal payments and sponsored post deals. What happens if you get 3 emails daily, all responses to comments? Your expectations not being met levels you, depressing you, making you sad, sapping your energy. If you expect some sweet outcome and reality is not delivering you the outcome to fulfill the expectation, you eventually lose your blogging motivation and quit. Or you make the massive mistake of quitting after seeing your expectations fall short, then, you begin blogging again, quit again after expectations are unfulfilled, and you suffer through this vicious cycle until you fail and quit for good.

Release expectations. Begin blogging with an intent to live your dreams but let go the anchor of expectation because either you feel hopeless after not getting what you expected or you feel average when expectations line up or you feel super high and excited after exceeding expectations, leading to an imminent crash after your emotions settle down. Expectations are anchors, pulling you down, holding you back, preventing meteoric blogging growth. I expect little to nothing blogging-wise because my day is about having fun helping people to blog successfully. I cannot go wrong whether I sell a copy of my blogging course or not because I have no expectations; I just promote the course in a seeming billion places (coming soon) and leave things at that.

If anything, allow a little part of yourself to desire some expectation but make it tiny. Why? If the expectation does not come true quickly, you will keep blogging from an energetic, relaxed, abundant vibe, positioning yourself to succeed. Harboring wee expectations means you remain unstirred if the expectations do not manifest; no crushed, hopeless feeling. Meanwhile, most bloggers with grand, wild expectations often slam into tons of resistance because no spectacular dream comes through and manifest overnight. Living your dream life through blogging requires years and thousands upon thousands of hours of generous service.

Blog for an absolute love of blogging. Be passionate about the blogging process. Release largely on outcomes because weighing yourself down with expectations slows you down. Imagine desiring big blogging bucks only to see an empty inbox for the next 3 months? 90 plus days, zero dollars. After the 90th day, most bloggers quit blogging for good, because they came up so short on their expectations, being frustrated, disgusted, and tired of wasting their time.

Fall in love with the process – not outcomes – to fuel yourself for your blogging journey.

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