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Attendee & Speaker Tips

How to Get the Most out of New Media Expo


antonio centeno

Editor’s note: Big THANK YOU to Antonio Centeno, one of our NMX 2014 speakers, for writing this guide to NMX based on his past experiences. Feel free to add your own tips with a comment below. Are you new to NMX? We’ll be having a New Attendee Orientation on Saturday for everyone who wants to learn more about getting the most out of NMX.

New Media Expo 2014 is only two weeks away.

Are you ready to get the most out of it?

If you’ve got a business that you’re hoping to promote or attract interest to while you’re at the New Media Expo, start the groundwork immediately. Don’t wait until the last minute — start you preparation now, so that by January you’re way ahead of the game.

1. Craft Your Elevator Pitch

Just what do you have to offer that other people at NMX will want to hear about?

Whatever it is, learn to say it in 30 seconds.  Yeah – you want to keep it short and to the point. Your “elevator pitch” is a quick summary to quickly determine if people are interested in hearing more or not.  It’s not your life story!

These are the pieces I include in mine:

  • Name
  • A statement  of a problem that the person you’re meeting will agree with and clearly understand
  • How you solve that problem

My Example:

Hi, I’m Antonio.  You know how most men have no clue when it comes to dressing sharp?

Most people at this point agree – in fact they often state they have this problem themselves or their husband/brother/boyfriend does.

Well, I help men dress better by creating practical videos and articles that show them why style matters.  I use Science and my background as a former US Marine to show men how a strong personal presentation can help them achieve more both professionally and personally.

This type of pitch is VERY effective because it involves the person you just spoke with and therefore is much more memorable.  They may not need my services – but they’ll remember me and that makes me very referable.

Don’t try to improvise; practice your pitch ahead of time and then write it down.  Rehearse it and make small improvements here or there depending on people’s reactions and what naturally feels right to you during delivery.

Remember that an active networker is going to meet upwards of fifty people each day at NMX. Develop a pitch that gives them something to remember you by. You want to look professional, practiced, and referable — someone who can’t help you personally may know someone else who’d be interested in hearing your pitch, if it’s a good, memorable pitch.

And yes, hand ’em your business card after you’ve properly introduced yourself and ALWAYS ask them about their business/reason for being there.

2. Dress Sharp

Most of the businesses represented at NMX are online businesses. The people behind them might only have one or two face-to-face meetings with their customers every year.

That means that you’ve only got one or two opportunities to fix an image in people’s minds that goes with your brand name.

Don’t believe the line that the tech industry doesn’t care about appearances. Entrepreneurs may not care if you wear a tie or not, but how we dress matters.  This is especially true when we’re meeting people for the first time – we’re human beings, and we take mental shortcuts and classify others based off how they appear.

For men – dark jeans and a classic sports jacket work well; so do light gray slacks and a blazer if you want to look a little more conservative.   At the very least wear a crisply ironed dress shirt with grey/navy/khaki slacks and dress shoes.

For the ladies – dress in a manner that befits the message you’re looking to send.  Are you and up and coming professional looking to raise awareness of your social media firm?  Keep the jewelry and accessories to a minimum but spice up the black suit with a pair of fun shoes.  Skirts are perfect for Vegas, but bring two pairs of leggings (just in case) and if you’re wearing heels consider a change of flats for the second part of the day (you’ll be walking a lot).

Take the time to think about the image you want to project — and to find the clothes that do it.

3. Use a Packing List

Don’t rely on memory the night before the Expo. Pack from a list, not from your head.

It only takes one small slip-up to sabotage yourself. Forgetting your business cards or the power cord for your phone or laptop can result in, at best, an added delay and inconvenience while you run around Las Vegas searching for a replacement — and at worst, could result in you meeting less people, or leaving a worse impression with the people you do meet.

Create a list for yourself that includes everything you’re going to need:

  • clothing for the full three days — plan specific outfits and pack them!
  • electronics — your phone, your laptop, and all the peripherals
  • analog networking tools — business cards, pens, and a small notebook
  • travel supplies — snacks, a book, whatever

Make a list for yourself. Don’t rely on someone else’s pre-printed checklist (their needs might not be the same as yours), and don’t try to pack without a list. Jet pilots and astronauts use long, detailed checklists for a reason — and so should you.

4. Research Other Guests

Is there someone at NMX that you specifically want to talk to?

Check the schedule ahead of time to see who you’re interested in. Then spend time browsing their websites, checking them out on Twitter and Facebook, and so on, learning how they like to do business and interact with fans or customers.

If you’re hoping to approach a speaker, remember that right after their speech or presentation is the worst possible time to do it. They’re going to be tired, and they’ll be swamped with 15 other people vying for their time.

A better tactic is to build a relationship ahead of time.   Comment on their posts.  Interact with them on Twitter or Facebook.  Build an online friendship – then mention you’ll be at NMX and leverage this warm online relationship into a real face-to-face one.

If you can’t get in touch with the person you’re interested in, see who they are talking to — it might be easier for you to connect with their inner circle.  Form real friendships, and they’ll help get you in touch at a later date.

5. Schedule and Prioritize

What are the most important things for you to get out of the conference?

There are probably two or three presentations that are really important to you, but most of the value lies in meetings and chat. Spend a little extra cash to get the presentation recordings if you’re really interested in them. Plan on spending the rest of your time meeting and greeting – this is the part of NMX that can’t be done except in Vegas!

Also, leave plenty of flex time for impromptu meetings and try to schedule some sit-downs with the people you’re most interested in. They’ll remember a planned meeting that they set time aside for more than an elevator pitch with a total stranger.

In conclusion – spending a few hours planning your NMX trip is going to have a very high return on investment.  You’re spending quite a bit of time and money to attend – get the most bang out of your buck by showing up prepared for success.

Making the Most out of NMX: Las Vegas Travel Tips for Attendees


Las Vegas can be a daunting city to visit, especially if it is the first time you have been there. There are so many possibilities and things to do. I wanted to share my advice and tips on the city with everyone visiting for New Media Expo.

I have visited Las Vegas often, and love the city. People think I am crazy as visit for two weeks at a time. This has meant that I have had time to explore and try out what the city has to offer. I have a number of podcasts with advice and tips that could help you plan for making the most of your time in the city I wanted to share with NMX attendees.

These are:

  • 24 Must-do Things in and around Las Vegas

In this podcast episode, I talk about things to do on The Strip, Downtown, and further afield, as well as the best places to shop. This guide works you through the things to do from one side of town to the other in order you come across them.

Save the link to listen later.
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

  • Tips for Travellers Visiting Las Vegas

This is one of my most popular podcasts I have ever done. In the podcast I give a history of the city and then tips and advice on getting the most out of the city including best ways to get around , shows and more.

Save the link to listen later.
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

If you prefer to read rather than listen, check out my Tips for Travellers Las Vegas blog post. See you all in Vegas!

5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Conferences (Sponsored Post)


NMX blog post_Sept_Kelly and Milutin You’ve booked the tickets. You’ve found a place to sleep. You’ve broken every single piggy bank you’ve ever owned and paid the registration fee (or registered early and got a really good deal, because why waste perfectly good piggy banks?).  And now the day has finally come – The Much Anticipated Conference is finally here, and you’re off, with your phone, laptop, tablet, chargers and friendship bracelets tucked away in your backpack.

But let’s face it: conferences can be a rather chaotic affair. As frequent and avid conference goers, we’ve put together a list of tips that may help you get the very best out of the event:

1. Plan ahead

One does not simply walk into Mordor. Similarly, one does not simply walk into a conference without a solid game plan – including, but not limited to, all the places that sell food that can pass for lunch. With all the great keynote speeches to hear, sessions to attend, people to meet and booths to visit, there will hardly be room for a three-course meal. So pull out that conference agenda, and mark away! Pick some favorites and a few backups – it’ll be as easy as choosing which college to attend (by which we mean, there may be tears).

2. Be flexible

You’ve picked out the three sessions you’d physically fight people to attend – but you lost, or the speakers cancelled last minute. Now what? This is when your backups come in handy: some of the best sessions we’ve attended were completely spontaneous calls that featured an awesome audience and a speaker who is a part time blogging messiah, and part-time stand-up comedian. We’ve loved him so much that we invited him to speak at our own conference. See how that works?

3. Check out those booths

Things that can happen if you ignore those conference booths: a cute baby animal dies. Or, somewhat more likely, the people who are ridiculously passionate about their work (and may have flown over 4,000 miles to be there) don’t get to pass on that enthusiasm to you, which is totally your loss, dude. Not only can you score awesome freebies, you can also find unexpected business opportunities: we’ve been known to interview bloggers that use .me, feature them on our blog and social media channels, and give them the extra exposure they deserve! So check out those booths.

4. Bring business cards. Bring more.

If done right, conferences are usually 70% learning, 30% networking and 100% fun. I just made those numbers up, but jokes aside – while you’ll no doubt be inspired by the speeches you hear and the stuff you learn, don’t hesitate to share it with all the awesome people around you! And in these Days of Digital, don’t forget that business cards (especially neat ones with your headshot on the back) can go a long way in nurturing the new relationships you’ve created.

5. Follow up!

You’ve met ALL THE PEOPLE. Now what? Easy: as soon as you sleep of the post-conference excitement, go through those business cards and shoot everyone an email. This step is especially important for potential business partners – remind them where you’ve met, perhaps what you’ve discussed and where you’d like to go from there. Including a personal comment will always get you brownie points – we get tons of these emails after sponsoring conferences, and the ones that stand out are from people that paid attention to my (slight) obsession with chocolate, or the fact that our company is based in Montenegro, population: 620,000.

With this cheat-sheet in hand, you’re guaranteed to have a fun, memorable and productive event.  We’re also looking forward to hearing your voice: what tips, if any, would you add? What are some of your favorite ways of approaching people or businesses? Lastly, what’s the best memory from a conference that you’d like to share with the Internet?

10 Tips You Didn’t Know About Attending NMX and Other Conferences


attending a conference

I’ve been working with NMX for about three years now, and it amazes me the behind-the-scenes info I’ve learned in that time. In order to make your next conference experience go a little more smoothly, I put together this blog post to share some of the secrets I’ve learned. I hope to see you at NMX 2014 putting these tips into effect! (Register for NMX here.)

Dave talking to Rob

1. Our hands are often tied…but it can’t hurt to ask. Talk to us!

If you have a creative idea or a request, always reach out to the conference staff. Often, the answer you’ll get is no, but don’t mistake this for being ignored. Conferences centers have rules. Budget can be limiting. We have to consider staffing and insurance and a million other little things that most people never realize is part of planning a conference. (Our Operations Director Dani is definitely the unsung hero of NMX for all the moving parts she handles!)

But it can’t hurt to ask. We want to say yes to you! If you don’t ask, the answer will be no for sure.

me sponsor at nmx

2. You can get special perks by name-dropping with our sponsors and exhibitors.

Often, our sponsors and exhibitors will offer special deals to our conference attendees. The same is true at other conferences as well. All you have to do is ask. Be polite about it, but recognize that YOU are their target market, and they want to make you happy so you tell others about whatever product or service they have to offer.

For example, let’s say that you’re speaking to an exhibitor who sells a premium WordPress plugin. You might say, “I’d love to test this out. Would you be willing to give me a free trial once I get home?” Or let’s say that you’re having dinner at a club sponsoring one of the parties. When you get there, you could ask, “Do you have any specials for conference attendees?” The worst you can get is a no, and often the answer will be yes!

email from NMX

3. Want the best info and opportunities? You gotta be on the mailing list.

We make announcements and offers via our social accounts and here on the blog, but it’s pretty easy to miss that kind of thing in the stream. Want to make sure you don’t miss a deadline, discount, or opportunity? Get on our mailing list. (See the sidebar.) This is true of most conferences.

rick talking at nmx

4. Approach us when you have issues. Tell us about problems at the show or immediately afterward.

Like every conference out there, we always do our absolute best to constantly improve the show. All year long, we’re working on it. If you want a lot of attention to a specific problem, however, the best time to mention it is during the show itself if you see one of us in the hall and can discreetly pull us aside to mention it or immediately after the show in a private conversation. After each NMX, we get together as a staff to talk about how things went and what we can do better, and this is prime time for problem-solving for us. Sometimes, by the time we know about a problem with a show one year, it is too late to fix it for the next year. Sooner is better!


5. Say hello to staff and doors will open.

We want to help you! I can’t speak for every conference and tradeshow, but NMX was founded on the idea of helping the new media community and industry on a whole. And you, individually, are part of that, no matter what your experience level. We often come across opportunities for bloggers, podcasters, and other content creators, and when people ask us for recommendations, we can’t give them your name if we’ve never met you. For example, just the other week someone asked me for recommendations on hiring a writer and the list I gave her of people to contact were all NMXers.

So say hi when you see us in the halls. We’re not too busy for you. It’s our business to get to know every single attendee. We want to introduce you to others so you can make business deals, work together, and both grow your businesses.

asking a question

6. If you want to meet an A-lister, have a question ready.

The absolute best way to meet an A-lister, especially if you want him/her to remember you, is to have an intelligent question ready to go for after the session. You can sometimes meet these people in the halls, on the show floor, or in the new media lounge (our conference workspace), but don’t count on it. Once, I watched Darren Rowse of Problogger try to walk to the next session and her literally was stopped by people every 3 feet. I don’t think he ever made it! Is he going to remember all of the people he met? Probably not. But if you remind an A-lister, “I was the one who asked you about…” they will be more likely to recall you. Jot down some questions as you’re listening to presentations and run to the mic when the session is over.

show floor 3

7. Time on the show floor can lead to amazing business deals.

I’ve already written about how the show floor can change your life, but it’s worth mention again here. Don’t miss out on the opportunities a tradeshow expo hall gives you. At times, this is even more valuable than networking with other attendees in the halls.

one of our sponsors

8. When you’re pushy, people notice and they try to avoid dealing with you.

The picture above is featuring one of our past sponsors instead of picturing guilty parties! If you’ve been part of this community for any amount of time, you know the people I’m talking about. If you’re new…well, you’ll find out pretty quickly!

I’m naturally introverted and even a little shy, so I’m perhaps a little more sensitive to pushy people than others who might be more extroverted. It’s a fine line. You want to be heard, but you also need to avoid being rude.

When you’re pushy, people notice. They’ll attempt to avoid you. There are certain people who I see at networking receptions that make me turn on my heels because I know they’re going to pitch me, complain about minute details that are out of my control, and guilt-trip me into doing them favors. It’s not just me. Trust me, if you’re pushy, entire communities will mention this when you’re not around and try to avoid you. Be someone who gives more often than takes.

meeting dana white

9. Stick around after the keynote and you can meet amazing people.

After a keynote, people typically stream out of the hall or ballroom. Whenever I attend a conference, NMX or otherwise, I make a beeline in the other direction. Sometimes keynoters are whisked away by their “people.” But other, they hang out on stage for at least ten minutes or so to shake hands and take pictures. If you head to the doors after hearing a keynote from someone you really enjoyed, you’re going the wrong direction. At the very least, going to the stage could help you meet staff members who may be able to get you an interview with the keynoter in the greenroom. See point number 1 – it never hurts to ask!

networking reception

10. Attending official events makes the entire event possible.

Lastly, if you like a conference, make a point to show up at official events. They make it possible for the conference to happen again next year, while unofficial events that happen at the same time hurt the conference.

How? Well, most conferences’ official events (like parties or networking receptions) are sponsored. If attendance is low because people are going to an unofficial event that’s happening at the same time, the sponsor doesn’t get as much value, and they will be less likely to sponsor again. Without sponsors, a conference can’t exist. On the other hand, if official event attendance is higher, the sponsor will be more likely to come back or even pay more money the next year because they got such great value.

The better sponsors a conference has, the more money we have to invest back in the show. More money equals better keynoters, special events and perks for attendees, better venues, and lower ticket prices. So skip that unofficial event and at least make an appearance at the official events when possible, and if you have a good time, mention the sponsor on your blog, podcast, or social accounts to say thank you for hosting.

I hope you’ll use the above tips the next time you attend a conference, and I especially hope to see you putting these tips into practice at NMX 2014. What questions do you have about our show or conferences in general? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer!

5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned at NMX


new media lounge at nmx

You might suspect that I’m biased when I say that NMX is the best conference in the world. But I can honestly say that I would attend this conference even if I didn’t work for the company. The networking is great. The show floor helps my business. But more than anything, I love NMX for the education.

I’ve been blogging since 2006, and I highly disagree with advanced bloggers who say there’s only beginner content at NMX. Even in some of the 101-sessions, I end up learning new tips because this industry is changing so quickly. However, there are a few MAJOR lessons that stick out in my mind. Life-changing lessons, even. Today, I want to share with you what I’ve learned.

(And Pssst…did you know NMX 2014 tickets are available? Learn more here.)

Lesson #1: Not every piece of advice is right for every person.

At my first NMX (BlogWorld back then), I took notes at an alarming rate. Each session was filled with tips and tricks that I needed to implement on my blog immediately. I walked away from many sessions feeling like a failure. Why wasn’t I putting more effort into Facebook? Why didn’t I write more list posts? Why didn’t I have an ebook to sell? Why did I have no plans to start a podcast? Why did I ignore my site design? Why…

You get the picture.

But what I came to realize is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. What’s important is that you’re prioritizing and testing all advice so you do the things that are most important for you.

Even more importantly, two pieces of advice can be in direct opposition of one another and still both be correct. I walked into one session where I was told that I absolutely need to have pop-ups on my blog because they convert well. I walked into a session immediately afterward where the speaker said pop-ups are horrible. That specific debate still rages on, and you shouldn’t fall on one side of the debate or the other just because someone else makes a case for it. Do your own testing, because your results could be very different from someone else’s results.

Lesson #2: Education means nothing without an implementation plan.

Conferences are simultaneously exhausting and inspiring. In the past, I would get home with a notebook full of great tips…and implement none of them.

I’ve found that if I truly want to make the most of NMX, I need to have a plan for getting the ball rolling after the conference. So now, on the plane ride home, I prioritize everything I’ve learned. During my first week back, I try my best to follow up with as many people as possible by organizing my collected business cards, and then I make every effort to implement the top three things I learned at the conference.

Lesson #3: Techniques and tips aren’t manipulative. People are.

Let’s say two people attend the same NMX session and learn the same tip for driving traffic. The way one person uses that tip could be very white hate while the way another person uses that tip could be extremely black hat.

Rarely are tips manipulative. It’s all how you use the advice for your own needs.

At NMX we try our very best to ensure that “black hat” people never speak at our conference, but there’s a lot of gray area. What one person considers a scam, the next person might consider to be fine. So, when you’re attending a session at NMX or at any conference for that matter, realize that you can still get value from a specific tip even if you don’t agree with exactly what the speaker does.

Lesson #4: Personal growth is reflected in business growth.

Some big-name bloggers have not seen their blogs grow in the past few years. They still have huge blogs, but their traffic/conversions are no better than the year before, while a smaller blogger might have seen tremendous growth, even though (s)he still has a lower traffic numbers.Who is the real winner? The small blogger, in my opinion.

At conferences, do you hang out with the same people or do you expand you horizons and meet new people at networking receptions? Do you skip sessions unless a friend is speaking or do you attend sessions from new people who have something interesting to teach you? Do you visit the show floor to learn about new products and tools or do you stick with what you’ve always used without examining new possibilities?

If you’re not growing as a person by admitting faults, it’s hard to grow as a business or content creator. This lack of personal growth is clearly visible at conferences. Some people choose to fully immerse themselves in the conference and learn all they can from everyone, while others do not.

Lesson #5: It’s important to ask for help.

We are nothing without one another.

I have a hard time asking people for help. I always feel like I’m imposing, and my mind is constantly yelling at me, “So-and-so doesn’t want to help you! What’s in it for them? Stop bothering people!”

Those are my insecurities talking. The fact of the matter is, if you’re a good, helpful person, people will be happy to help you as well. You just have to ask. Conferences like NMX are great for connecting with others and asking for any kind of help you might need.

That’s not to say you should plan out how you can use people. Make genuine connections, rather than only giving the time of day to people who can help you in some way. Just don’t be afraid to ask people for advice, interviews, guest posts, help connecting you with their friends, and other favors, as long as you can do so in a no-pressure way.

Remember always: You get what you give. Be helpful to others and that karma will circle back around when you’re the person in need.

I hope you’ll join us at NMX 2014, which is going to be a great show filled with even more life-changing lessons. Have you been to NMX (or BlogWorld) in the past? What are the most important lessons you’ve learned? Leave a comment!


Doing NMX 2014 on a Tight Budget


nmx on a tight budget

NMX is a show that will pay for itself if you use your time in Vegas to network and learn as much as possible. I’ve made several business deals, built valuable relationships with a-listers, found new readers for my blog, and more at past NMX/BlogWorld events. In my mind, there are very few good reasons to miss this event if you’re serious about your online content or business.

Still, one of the most common excuses I hear is this:

I’m on a tight budget this year. I’d like to be there, but NMX is just not financially possible for me.

If you’re motivated, however, I do believe that your budget should not be a hurdle. Today’s post is all about attending the show, even if you don’t think you have the money for traveling or conferences.

Step One: Buy your ticket right now.

A lot of people put off buying a ticket because they’re unsure if they can afford to attend or not. Here’s the thing: the longer you wait to decide if you can afford it, the less likely you’ll be able to afford it.

Commit. Buy your ticket right now at the early bird price. Not only will you save money on the actual price of the ticket, but you’ll also flip that switch in your brain. You’re committed to attending. No more “thinking about it.” Now you can focus on making it happen.

If you are still a little wary about buying a ticket this early, keep in mind that tickets can be transferred if you end up not being able to go. Check out our Attendee Terms & Conditions for more information.

Buying your ticket right now has another benefit – it allows you to spread out the money you spend as much as possible. In December, are you really going to be able to afford a ticket to the conference, hotel, plane ticket, etc. all at once? If you’re not a good saver, getting one of those things out of the way now allows you to think of attending NMX as more like a multi-part payment plan, where you pay for things a little at a time between now and January. In fact, that’s my next step!

Step Two: Create a payment plan for yourself.

Make a list of all the things you need to pay for in order to attend NMX. And I mean everything, from your hotel booking to your meals to the checked baggage fee. Estimate the price of each item as closely as possible.

Then, come up with a plan to pay off those things one at a time. Check things off your list one by one.

Think about your life and schedule bigger items during months when you don’t have as many other expenses. For example, if your budget is tight, you probably don’t want to buy your plane ticket the same month your child’s birthday.

But do try to put some money toward your trip every single month or even with every single paycheck. For example, maybe you only have $20 to spend this month because you had a number of other life expenses as well. Buy yourself a $20 gift card to Starbucks to use for breakfast during the trip. You can also just put the money into a special savings account, but I don’t have a ton of willpower. If you’re like me, buying gift cards to use during the trip is better than putting money into an account where it can tempt me to be used for other purchases.

Step Three: Allow your loved ones to help.

If your loved ones are anything like mine, they always ask what you want for your birthday or for Christmas. It’s a little awkward because I’m fine with just a hug and a card, but they want to give me something. Often, I end up with stuff I don’t really need.

This year, make it known that you’d rather have an investment in your business than a new sweater. If everyone pitches in with a $20 gift card to your hotel of choice or your favorite booking site, you can cross “accommodations” off your list of things to buy. You can also ask people to gift “services” for when you’re gone. For example, maybe for your birthday, your sister agrees to watch your children while you’re in Las Vegas.

It doesn’t have to always be a gift. You could trade with your loved ones as well. For example, maybe your drive your cousin to the airport for her next business trip in exchange for driving you to the airport when you leave for NMX. Or maybe your walk your neighbor’s dog while they’re on vacation this summer in exchange for the same while you’re at NMX.

Step Four: Land Some Sponsors

Easier said than done, right?

Actually, I fully believe that one of the biggest reasons some people don’t have sponsors when they attend conferences is that they don’t ask for them. If you’re proactive in finding sponsors, it might be easier than you think! It’s about more than just a blanket beg for sponsors on Twitter or your blog. That rarely works. It’s important to be strategic about it.

Start by looking for people who have sponsored or exhibited at events like NMX in the past or who are actively involved with your niche’s community by sponsoring blog posts, podcasts, giveaways, etc. They don’t have to be brands you’ve worked with in the past. It’s okay to “cold call” potential sponsors if they’re a good fit for your needs.

Next, put together some packages. What will the sponsor get in exchange for paying your way? Think about smaller packages, not just “pay for the entire trip” deals. For example, maybe you agree to wear their t-shirt during the conference one day in exchange for the price of a ticket. Or maybe your write some posts for their blog and give them ad space on your sidebar in exchange for your hotel room.

Don’t just think about what you need. A potential sponsor will say no if the deal doesn’t give them anything of value. Try to see things from the brand’s point of view. Are they going to get a good return on their investment?

Also, especially if you’re new, consider approaching more established bloggers, podcasters, and video producers who might be attending the show. Some people will happily pay to bring along an assistant for the week. You’ll get to attend and they’ll have someone to help them take notes, write posts, network, etc.

Step Five: Cut Your Costs

Lastly, think about some ways you can cut costs on your trip. Luckily, this is definitely possible in Vegas, which caters to tourists and travelers.

  • Do some research to find the best food deals. Some casinos have super affordable options.
  • Share a cab to the hotel with other NMXers who have flights arriving at the same time.
  • Watch for Vegas flight and hotel deals – most booking sites run them from time to time.
  • Consider driving instead of flying if you live within a few hundred miles (and if gas/parking is less expensive).
  • Pack just a carry-on instead of checking a bag.
  • Arrive early on the morning of the first day or leave after the keynote on the last day to avoid extra nights at the hotel.
  • Pack some snacks instead of paying for overpriced (and often unhealthy) food at kiosks or vending machines.

Get creative. I once went to Disney with less than $100 (after buying tickets) in my pocket for an entire week. If you put your mind to things, you can travel on a very tight budget.

Bonus Step: Plan to Make Your Money Back

The great thing about NMX is that you will see a return on your investment if you’re smart about things. Go into the show fully prepared (tips on that here). Make sure you make it to the sessions that will best help you grow and make more money, and have a plan for networking and visiting the show floor. That way the cost of NMX will be more than justified.

10 Reasons You Should Start Thinking About Your NMX Speaking Proposal NOW


NMX 2013 is a wrap, and even though it may seem like you have an entire year before you have to start thinking about the next show, if you have aspirations to speak, you really should start thinking about it today. And here’s why:

Reason #1: We open the proposal submission form as soon as we can.

Even though the next NMX is a long time off, we open the proposal form well before the event. So in actuality, it won’t be long before you can submit your ideas! And we make decisions early. Every year, tons of people wait until the last day to submit their proposals, but the fact of the matter is that the first round of speakers is often decided before the submission deadline. So if you apply early, you’ll have less competition.

Reason #2: Thinking about your proposed topic now helps you work toward that goal all year.

Right now, you are probably qualified to speak about several different topics. However, you’re more likely to be accepted as a speaker if you become a true expert in a single topic. When you speak at NMX, you aren’t speaking to a bunch of 101-level students or business owners who’ve never used Twitter before (at least in most cases). You’re speaking to people who live and breathe new media. If you spend the next several months really beefing up your knowledge and practical experience in the area that most interests you, you’ll be much more qualified to speak.

Reason #3: You’ll have time to review 2013 sessions.

Right now, our 2013 sessions are available at NMX University. If you become a premium member, you’ll have access to all of this content, and you can not only learn a thing or two (or three or a hundred…), but you can also get a feel for the type of sessions proposals we accept. It also means you can avoid submitting a topic that was covered in detail at the last event. Some topics lend themselves well to sessions year after year, but you’ll really wow us if you submit a really fresh idea that we haven’t heard before. In addition, when you check out these sessions, it is pretty apparent which ones were most successful and why – and that’s something you can keep in mind when submitting your proposal.

Reason #4: You have time to develop your session.

The very best sessions every year are those which have been well planned. Most public speakers will tell you that they aren’t just naturally better at speaking. They practice over and over and over. So thinking about your topic now allows you to work out the kinks by practicing at home in front of the mirror or even to smaller, local groups. That way, by the time NMX rolls around, you’ll be a much better speaker. And if you don’t get accepted? Don’t sweat it – you can always record a video for your blog or do a webinar, so the presentation won’t go to waste.

Reason #5: Good ideas take time.

Your first session idea probably isn’t the best idea you have in you. Coming up with good ideas takes time, and inspiration is something that can happen out of the blue. We want the very best at NMX, and by starting the brainstorming process now and keeping it in the back of your mind while waiting for the submission form to open, you can make sure that you’re proposing your very best ideas, not your very first ideas.

Reason #6: You can test ideas with small pieces of content.

Wondering if people will really be interested in your idea? Test with a small piece of content: a blog post, a video, or a podcast. If people are going nuts for more, you have a great presentation idea that just needs to be developed beyond the kernel of information you gave away. If you hear crickets, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Reason #7: You’ll have time to expand and develop a product.

At NMX, we don’t allow informercial sessions. Selling from the stage is a big no-no, so we ask that all speakers only mention their own stuff when it is extremely relevant to the discussion. That said, the biggest benefit to NMX is the exposure. If you’re an NMX speaker, people will be looking you up, often on smart phones as you’re presenting, but also before and after the event. If you’re speaking about podcasting 101 and you happen to be selling a podcasting 101 training course on your site, you have the potential to make a lot of sales. So plan your session now, and then think about how you can turn this session into an expanded informational product to sell.

Reason #8: It gives you time to edit.

Writing a proposal early gives you time to ask your friends to review. We value good content above all else, but proofreading matters. If you’re anything like me, you’re horrible at picking out your own typos. When you wait until deadline to submit your proposal, you don’t have time to ask a friend to give it a once-over before you send it off.

Reason #9: You might see us at another event.

NMX staffers are constantly attending other events. If you’re waiting in a taxi line behind Rick or see Dave at a networking reception or notice another else from NMX, please say hello! We love to meet our community. And, if you have an idea in mind for a session, you can run it by us. You won’t get a yes or no on the spot (in most cases!), but you will get an honest opinion that can help you write the best proposal possible when the submission form opens.

Reason #10: You can use the time to become a bigger part of our community.

Again, content trumps all, but we’re always much happier to see names we recognize than people who pop up out of the blue. It means you’re really dedicated to this community and you’re less likely to flake, phone it in, or pitch your products from the stage. We like that. So join us on Facebook. Be part of the conversation on Twitter. Follow us on Pinterest and Google+ and LinkedIn – whichever social networks you like best. Engage and get to know the company and the individual staff members.

And of course, comment on our blog! 🙂 Today I want to know: what’s your biggest frustration or worry when applying to speak at NMX or other conferences? Weigh in now!

Afrobella’s Do’s and Don’ts of Conference Fashion


My path in life has always been creative and non-conventional, so when it comes to events that require a professional, reserved, business-like appearance, I feel completely at a loss. Professional I can do. Reserved and business-like? Corporate? Not so much. Even before I quit my job to blog full time, I worked in laid back, jeans-and-a-cute-top office environments.

When the dress code for an event asks for business formal or even business casual, I feel a flash of fear because I know my closet doesn’t contain anything that fits that description. I don’t fit into the professional fashion box, but I am frequently invited to, and asked to speak at professional events. I’ve had to find ways to rise to the occasion.

Here’s the thing about attending and participating in conferences – you are your own best representative. You want to look like you on a really good day. You want to make an immediately great first impression.

Here’s what this non-corporate blogger has learned along the way. Here are the do’s and don’ts of conference fashion:

Do be yourself.

The reason most people attend blogging conferences is to network. You’re there to meet, greet, and get to know people you’ve probably only seen as an avatar before. This isn’t the time to develop a new fashion persona or come as someone other than who you are. It IS the time to put your best face forward and let your unique personality shine.

Do rock a power blazer.

The easiest go-to conference outfit for men and women has to be the winning combination of a nice pair of pants (or jeans), a cool shirt and a sports coat or blazer. It gives you a tailored, professional, together kind of look. And blazer doesn’t have to mean boring. At conferences I love to wear what I call my “power blazers,” meaning a blazer in a color or pattern others might not wear. Just about everyone else can wear black. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone else in a bright orange or leopard print blazer.

Don’t be a walking billboard.

We’ve all seen this person at a conference – the one who’s wearing a tee shirt and a hat and everything but a blinking sign advertising their website, or the website of the brand who sponsored their trip. Too many logos and too much self-advertising can be a turnoff. When it comes to dressing the part, play it cool. You’ll make connections by actually connecting with people! Don’t be your own sandwich board.

Do dress like you plan to be photographed.  

This is what social media is all about, right? Every event must be chronicled for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and let’s not forget for the follow up event recap blog posts. You’ll probably be taking lots of photos, so dress accordingly. Think of adding a pop of color so you stand out!

Do consider comfort.

Many conferences are in large spaces, and at conference events there can be multiple venues, requiring fast paced walking from place to place. Ladies, now isn’t the time to don your sexiest sky high heels. It’s a time to consider the fact that you might be on your feet a lot and walking more than you plan to. Good sense and comfort should come first. Always.

Don’t overthink it or stress yourself out.

We’re all here to get to know each other, make some new connections, learn from each other and have FUN. Most of the time when I get all stressed out about what to wear, it turns out all my stress was in vain. Ladies if you find yourself in doubt, wear a simple dress, or your coolest blazer and pants combo, and make the look special and unique with your hair, jewelry and makeup. And never forget – the best accessory you can wear to a conference (or anywhere) is a bright, welcoming smile!

Editor’s Note: Want to hear more from Afrobella (a.k.a. Patrice Yursik) and see what she wears to NMX this month? Be sure to come see her session, “How To Actually Grow A BIG Brand And Community With Just A Simple Blog.”

Photo Credit: Bigstock

6 Things an NMX Veteran is Doing to Prepare for the Event


After months of preparation, it’s almost time for the New Media Expo event in Las Vegas. I know that the show management folks have been working hard, exhibitors have been preparing thier displays and products, and my fellow speakers have been crafting their presentations.

Serious Chimping at BlogWorldHaving attended New Media Expo a few times previously (when it was known as BlogWorld), here’s what I suggest to attendees to help them prepare for an event like this:

  • Identify Sessions of Interest – check out the schedule of presentations for the event, and skim through the various options available. Read the descriptions and speaker bios for the ones that sound promising, and make a tentative plan of which sessions will be most helpful for you.
  • Connect with Those You Want to Meet – if there are speakers, exhibitors, or other attendees that you want to meet, hopefully you’ve already made some connection with them. Interact with them on Twitter, comment on their blog, or send them an email so that they can get to know you a bit.
  • Prepare Business Cards – you’ll want to make sure that you bring business cards to the event. As digital as we’ve become, a business card is still a great way to share contact information with someone new. Make sure that you have plenty of cards and that they make it into your suitcase.
  • Look at Parties – we’ve seen a few parties announced thus far, and as we get closer to the event we’ll probably hear of additional gatherings or meetups. Just like you’ve identified sessions of particular interest, figure out which parties are going to be on your roadmap to help you make connections.
  • Figure Out Your Non-Conference Life – while we’re in Las Vegas taking in the NMX goodness, the rest of the world will go on. You’re going to receive email. Folks will be coming to your blog looking for something to read. People will continue to buy your products and services. Have a plan in place so that “real life” will go on while you’re enjoying NMX. Perhaps this means pre-scheduling articles for your blog. You might need to dedicate some downtime at the conference for responding to email in a timely manner. If you have coworkers, make arrangements for them to handle things while you’re out of town.
  • Get Plenty of Rest and Arrive Healthy – most of your time at New Media Expo is probably going to be spent on the go, meeting others, listening to presentations, attending parties, or otherwise not resting. In the few days before the event, try to get plenty of sleep. Be sure that you’re eating well, and it wouldn’t hurt to take plenty of vitamin C.

What other tips or suggestions do you have for others who are getting ready for New Media Expo? Leave a comment below and share with us all!

How to Approach an A-Lister at NMX


Attending NMX gives you the unique opportunity to meet the people who inspire you. I’ll never forget being at my first conference and getting to thank the people who inspired me to become a blogger. That kind of in-person connection just can’t be beat.

But these kind of meet and greets can be a little awkward for some people. I’ve actually overheard conversations between fans and a-listers that were downright cringe-worthy. So if you’re planning on saying hello to your heroes at our next show (and you should!), keep these tips in mind:

  • Be respectful of others’ time.

Whether you’re saying hello in the hall or standing up to ask a question during one of the sessions, keep in mind that there are others hoping to snap a moment of attention from a-listers as well. Be respect of this and keep your conversation or question short, especially when others are waiting. After all, you can always follow up after the event. Once you’ve made that initial in-person connection, it’s a lot easier to get a response via email or social media.

  • Introduce yourself, but avoid being salesy.

I’ve seen people so excited to meet their hero that they forget to introduce themselves at all. But even worse, I’ve seen people who introduce themselves for a solid five minutes. It’s important to have an elevator pitch, but someone you’re meeting for the first time didn’t ask for it. If someone is interested in your site, they’ll let you know. Otherwise, stay away from the hard sale and definitely don’t walk up to someone business card in hand unless you have a clear reason for giving it to them or, of course, if they ask for it.

  • Don’t overdo the gushing.

It can be exciting to meet someone who inspires you, and while it’s fine to be complimentary, it’s not okay to gush too much. It makes the other person really uncomfortable if you overdo it, and it can even come off as insincere if you aren’t careful. So try to contain your excitement! After all, a-listers are just people like anyone else.

  • Be polite to others in the group as well.

One major faux pas I see is a fan walking up to an a-lister to say hello and completely ignoring the other people in the group. It’s impolite to interrupt a conversation, but if you can break into the group politely, which is often the case at networking parties when the atmosphere is more casual, don’t be so rude as to not introduce yourself to the entire group. At NMX, everyone is an a-lister in some respect, so you’ll miss out if you have tunnel vision. It also makes you come off as a snob to others in the group because you’re essentially saying that they aren’t important enough to talk to.

  • Save the ask for later.

Once you’ve made an in-person connection with another person, it’s much easier to ask them for favors. People who are inaccessible otherwise might be happy to give you an interview, publish a guest post, or otherwise help you out in some way. However, be careful not to ask for too much or put the other person on the spot. It’s extremely awkward for someone to be relentlessly asking you for favors the second you’ve met.

Lastly, always keep in mind that even people who have tons of fans are, at the core, just people. Don’t be so nervous to talk to someone that you avoid saying hello at all. There are a few divas out there, like in any industry, but the vast majority of people who attend NMX (especially our speakers) are extremely nice and welcoming. They love meeting fans and colleagues, so don’t be shy – say hi!

You can’t meet your heroes if you aren’t at the event! Make sure you register today to avoid missing this opportunity of a lifetime.

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