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.
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.
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.
How to Better Handle Blogging Obstacles
Take a breath.
Now, take a deep breath.
This, too, shall pass.
Every blogging obstacle dissolves into opportunity the moment you breathe, slow down and calm down. Nothing good happens fighting obstacles because your fighting gives attention to the obstacle, making the obstacle grow into something big and scary. But breathing deeply, feeling the fear fueling the obstacle, and letting go the fear-obstacle alerts you the transitory nature of the block, and how it passes into solution.
Better handle blogging obstacles by following a few tips.
1: Take a Deep Breath
Breathe. Take 1-5 deep, slow breaths. Breathing slows down your mind, thoughts and feelings. Slowing down everything allows you to be in the moment, to feel the fear fueling obstacles. Simple process but few bloggers take this step so obstacles appear to run wild.
Take a deep breath, now. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Breathing deeply and relaxing expands your awareness. Do you feel nervous now or anxious? Do you fear some obstacle related to time, and losing it? Breathing deeply allows you to be here and now, to feel fears fueling obstacles.
2: Feel the Fear
Fear fuels obstacles. What is a blogging obstacle but fear you cannot get past something? Imagine seeing the white screen of death on your blog. How would it feel? Scary? Why? You fear you cannot get past your blog being a white screen. Other fears cascade into mind; fear of losing readers, fear of losing money, fear of losing reputation, fear of being criticized.
Be with these fears. Feel the fears. You cannot solve obstacles being burdened by fear for you only see what appears to stop you, not solutions, being shackled by fear. Feel fear, release and proceed.
3: See the Opportunity
Opportunities plant themselves in obstacles. Imagine facing some pressing backoffice issue, tech-wise, blogging-wise. You received an opportunity to:
- learn more about tech, to solve the problem
- hire a web developer to solve the problem, outsourcing
- ask your readers and Facebook friends how to solve the problem, humbling yourself
Every blogging obstacle dissolves the moment you breathe deep, feel fears and relax, because opportunities arise in response to following these steps. Everything is abundance. Everything is opportunity. Fear is illusion so obstacles cannot be real.
4: Invest in a Resource
Do you always seem to be getting tripped up by blogging obstacles?
Buy my eBook:
Resources offer you complete guides to reference when times get tough. Minds race. Feelings fluctuate wildly. But breathing, feeling fear, seeing opportunities, and having a resource in your blogging library levels you out, calms you and helps you find solutions quickly.
Obstacles Are Not that Scary
Blogging obstacles are not that scary if you know to solve these mental blocks. Few bloggers put a strategy into place for handling blogging crisis so they panic, struggle and fight foolishly through resistance. Following a few steps alerts you: blogging is not so hard and facing obstacles need not be some endless nightmare creating hours, days or weeks of panic. You are a human, not a tree. Use your awareness, follow these steps and knife gracefully thru obstacles toward greater blogging success
3 Tips for Bonding with Blogging Influencers
Forget traditional influencer marketing. We want to go deeper.
Bloggers teach influencer marketing from a less genuine space sometimes. Imagine learning how to try to get someone to do something for you. Manipulation marketing. Fear-based marketing. Problems arise; spam folders become your landing spot. I observe a decent percentage of influencer marketing emails in my spam folder because fear-pitches get labeled as spam and become spam, 100% of the time.
What is the solution? Learn how to bond with blogging influencers.
I remember people who befriend me. I admire people who endorse me or promote me. I appreciate people who buy my course or eBooks. I love people who generously help me for months. Guess what? Bonding with established bloggers influences the influencers. I do stuff for dear blogging friends I do not do for anybody else. If a friend sends me a guest post and their writing is tight, I place it. Even if said post spans 1000 words or more – my minimum count is 600 – I place it without hesitating. Friends found my heart. Friends influenced me through kindness and generosity. I am largely putty in their blogging hands.
Instead of trying to manipulate a successful stranger, bond with a friend. Change your approach to influencer marketing. Make friends. Help without asking. In time, blogging bonds form organically. If you practice writing, the world becomes your oyster because influencers take you to new levels of success, without you even asking.
Follow these tips to bond with influencers.
1: Buy a Resource
The best way to bond with an influencer is to get inside their heads.
Influential bloggers had to influence influential bloggers on the way up to become influential. Invest in a resource like my influential blogger eBook to learn how influencers do it. Speak their language. Connect. Take their viewpoint. Learn how to be influential yourself.
When you discover how to be influential through my resource you in essence, learn how to influence, influencers, by bonding with these pros.
2: Spend a Few Months Giving Not Asking
Bloggers I remember, then befriend, spend at least a few months giving and not asking. Someone buys my course, publishes 10 comments on my blog, and retweets my posts 10 or 20 times during a 3 month period. These people pop up on my radar screen because they gave and asked for nothing. Bonds form. Friendships develop.
Retweet fellow bloggers. Help them. Feature fellow bloggers. Open your blog to guest posting. Guest post on other blogs. Comment genuinely on blogs. Buy products.
Ask for nothing, for at least 3-4 months. Allow friendships to form organically. Blogging friends help each other because blogging friends trust each other. Influential bloggers fall into this helping lot too, as you generously serve them, ask for nothing and polish your writing skills. I gained more endorsements from pros by being generous than through any other method. Help influential bloggers. Ask for nothing. Influential bloggers help you without you asking for a darn thing.
3: Never Rush the Process
Some blogger friend requested me on Facebook a few moments ago. I scanned my messages to see his business pitch in the “other” folder. He simply rushed the process of pitching an established blogger. I appreciate the friend request but pitching your business before generously helping me ensures I ignore all future messages. He rushed the process so I let him go.
Perhaps he smartens up and begins helping me generously without asking for anything. After a few months of helping me and asking for nothing, we bond. We become friends. From there, the opportunities are limitless. Even if I do not use his service, if he has skills and a reputable business model I can share his services with my readers.
Good things take some time. Never rush the bonding process.
Allow bonds to form organically to do influencer marketing right.
How Do Blogging and Fitness Relate?
I spend 3 hours daily honing my mental and physical fitness.
In truth, you can and will succeed online following simple fundamentals from a generous, detached energy. No need to be fit to go full time blogging. But if you feel bad because your body feels bad and your mind fears losing it all, have you succeeded? I do not believe so.
I wrote an eBook sharing my daily regimen to explain what many of you readers want to know: how do I do it all? I am no blogging god. I am just human. But I write and connect quite a bit. People wish to know how I wrote 100 plus eBooks in addition to all the other stuff I do while circling the globe. Well, blogging and fitness are 2 peas in a pod for me. Both play a big role if you desiring leveling up and feeling good predominantly as you enjoy the ride.
Blogging and Fitness
Let’s say you wake up on a Monday morning as a full time employee who blogs part time. Feeling terrible and dreading work, why write and publish a post? Too busy. Do it later. Put off the post until tonight. But you feel too tired that night. Repeat this cycle for 3 months. 90 days passed. Still no blog post. Why? You filled your mind with fear and pain. Manifesting as blogging loss, backburnering the post for 3 months indicates fear in mind. Why fear? 100% of the time, fear dominates minds of people who spend zero time on mental fitness, never meditating or doing deep yin yoga or observing their thoughts and feelings. Most of the time, these same folks dominated by their own fears never commit seriously to being physically fit through exercising.
Feel good by caring for your mind and body. Vibe higher than fears crippling most bloggers. Imagine the above scenario with one difference: you devote 1-2 hours daily exercising and raising your energy via mindset training. Devote 30 minutes to power walking and 30 minutes to deep yin yoga. On waking that Monday morning, either a blog post idea finds you and you write the post, or after a few uncomfortable moments and feelings, the idea flows to you and you write the post.
I cannot explain this process logically because it flows 100% emotionally, feelings-wise. Visualize yourself in moments you feel really good. All seems possible. Ideas flow to you. Opportunities flow to you. Why? Feeling good magnetizes you to freeing, success-promoting ideas. Being fit mentally and physically is the easiest way to feel good most of the time. Plus in those moments you feel bad mentally and physically, you face, feel and release the bad feelings, quickly, because you feel mentally and physically fit, predominantly.
Being fit naturally alerts you to the success-promoting idea of gratitude. Gratitude builds blogging success because seeing every penny of income, every blog comment and all interest in your blogging courses feels awesome to you. Feeling awesome inspires you to blog for years generously. Blogging generously for years makes you successful.
Corey at the Good Oil Marketing retweeted my blogging course recently. I feel grateful he spread the word for me considering he is a successful, high level marketer. I feel these feelings and build on my success because I feel grateful. I feel grateful because I trained my mind and body to feel good, through being fit daily, in order to tune into appreciation easily.
Be a successful blogger by being mentally and physically fit.
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