Earlier today, Nikki wrote a really great post about planning, prioritizing, and preparing when you head off to BlogWorld or any other type of event.
Insert my geek jealousy that she went to Comic Con here.
Anyway, I wanted to build on her ideas a little in regards to actually blogging live from a conference. As I told ya’ll yesterday, this will be my first year at BlogWorld, and I’m a little nervous about attending. This is not my first conference, though, and from a remote blogging standpoint, I think I’m an old pro. This aspect of attending a conference takes it’s own planning, prioritizing, and preparing.
The number one thing you should find out is whether or not there will be WiFi at the conference center. This information may not be readily available on the conference website, but it is often listed on the press page. If you qualify as a member of the press, you should absolutely sign up to go under a press pass. Even if you don’t mind paying for an attendee badge, members of the press often have a press-only room for working, as well as access to interview spaces and sound-proof rooms for podcasting. Conferences also often have staff on hand to help members of the press set up interviews and other opportunities.
Do not wait until you get there to tell them that you’re press. At most conferences, there is a strict deadline to register for a press badge.
Another aspect of planning – set up interviews before you go with the people you really want to see. That way they’re not only prepared for your interview, but there’s no chance of them being too busy for you and turning you down. Try to be courtesy of their time and flexible when scheduling, especially for celebrities at the event who are meeting with tons of other people too.
This part is tricky. Yes, you want to attend the conference and see all the cool stuff there is to see, but as a blogger, you also have the duty to report on what is most interesting to your readers, not just what you enjoy. For example, at BlogWorld, you may want to see Speaker A talk about monetizing your blog at the same time Speaker B is running a high-profile panel directly covering your blog’s niche. Which should you attend? I can’t make that decision for you, but I will say that if you never consider your readers while at an event, you probably shouldn’t worry about blogging from it at all.
You also need to prioritize your time during the day to give yourself time to work if you intend to blog from the event. Yes, you may really want to go to the bar after a long day at the conference, but it is more important to upload pictures to your blog or sit down to edit a video you shot. I’m not trying to kill all your fun – promise! Just be aware that if you want to blog from an event, you need to schedule time for work.
This is a biggy. When you’re blogging from an event, here are some of the main things you can do to prepare:
- Bring a good bag for carrying your laptop and other equipment. It will be a long day if you have to lug something around and your shoulder hurts.
- Make sure you have charger batteries for all your equipment and bring your chargers with you to ensure you don’t run low.
- Bring a back-up camera if you can. I can’t tell you how many cameras get set down somewhere and forgotten or stolen at events. Having an extra back at your room is a lifesaver.
- Mark all of your equipment with your name and number. Like I said, cameras and other equipment get set down when you’re talking to someone and it’s easy to just walk away. People who find your equipment need a way to contact you.
- Find out where the local WiFi hotspots are located in case the connecting at the conference center or your hotel isn’t as good as you thought. You can at least get a few posts done at Starbucks during the evening.
- Find out where the local RadioShack (or comparable store) is located in case you need to pick up anything while in town.
- If you have a smartphone, download apps for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites so you can connect to people on the go without giving out your cell number to everyone you meet.
Conferences in any niche take a lot out of you, so don’t forget to also plan, prioritize, and prepare for the day you get home. Plan no work so you can sleep. Prioritize sleep before other things on your schedule. Prepare for being super tired but not being able to sleep because you’re thinking about all the stuff you just say.
Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. Comic Con is her Mecca.
Image (c) Allison Boyer/Binge Gamer