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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!

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.

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.

13 Ways to Make Sure You Get Your Money’s Worth from Your Next Conference

conference session Have you ever been to an industry conference where you ponied up as much as a thousand dollars or more and the conference really sucked? Can I tell you something? Now, this may sting a little bit so do yourself a favor and strap on your big boy or girl pants and get ready. If it sucked, it was all your fault.

I know, I know. You didn’t book the speakers or schedule the keynotes. You weren’t in charge of the venue. You didn’t choose the subject matter. In fact, other than buying a ticket and showing up with your iPad and your fired up Twitter account, you had nothing to do with it, right?

Exactly my point.

I don’t care how much it cost you, how many people were there, where it was located, what venue it was in, who was speaking or what company it was run by. The success of that event for you is in direct proportion with the effort you put into it.

Here are the facts. You are thrown into a room with speakers that are oozing value and want to share it with you. Attendees that are there to learn are also scouring the place looking to meet new people within their industry. Vendors are paying a lot of money for a mere few minutes of your time just to show you what they do.

There are opportunities everywhere. If you missed them, you blew it.

But you don’t have to blow it next time. That’s what this article is about. It’s 13 of the best little bits of advice I have to give you to make sure your next conference is an overwhelming success. Whether I am there as an attendee or a speaker this is the mindset I have when I walk into that room. And this is why I always leave with more value than anyone else there. It works. Trust me.

1. Bring 25 Business Cards with You Each Day

No more. No less. I know this goes against conventional wisdom which states that you should bring two for every person within a 25 mile radius of the convention hall. Don’t. If you bring a lot of cards you are going to want to give them all out. That’s when you become that guy. You know that guy. The one handing out business cards as if he was dealing blackjack. Nobody likes that guy. Nobody respects that guy. And nobody remembers that guy. By bringing only 25 cards you are forced to seek out and create 25 quality relationships throughout each day. That means spending more than just a few minutes with someone. It means really discovering who they are. It means telling them something interesting about yourself instead of attempting to sell them. This is called building a relationship. Wouldn’t you rather have 25 new friends instead of 1,000 less business cards?

2. Eat Lunch in the Conference Center

I don’t care if you bring your lunch or go out and get something and bring it back. There is no eating outside of the convention center. Even if it’s a nice day. You aren’t likely to find a small empty table with one chair or a quiet corner that nobody else knows about inside which means you are going to have to sit with a bunch of strangers. It’s a great opportunity to stretch outside of your comfort zone and build a few new relationships.

3. Be Friends with the Ushers that Check You in at the Door.

You know those folks that stand in front of the door to check you in to each track? Well, believe it or not they are human beings! And they have cool stuff like feelings and personalities! Get to know each of them…sincerely. Be nice to them. Joke around with them. Have a little fun with them. Make them smile. The benefit? You will meet some nice people. And there may be a time or two where you are let in early or allowed into a sold out track while everyone else is turned away. Hey, friends hook each other up. Just be sincere. Like most people, they can smell a skunk a mile away.

4. Sit in the Front Row

If this were a concert you would knock over women and children to get to the front row. Yet at a conference, you tend to find the “safe” seat. The one towards the back with easy access to the exit. Instead, force yourself to sit in the front row for each track. Sitting in the front row assures that you aren’t going to drift into lala land, check your e-mail, play Angry Birds or partake in a host of other attention stealers while the speaker is talking. You have no choice but to be totally present. An active listener. You know…the reason you came here in the first place.

5. Clear Your Entire Schedule for the Week

A lot of stuff goes on during the week of the conference. Parties, keynotes and various after hours hangouts are as much a part of the conference as the tracks themselves. I once missed a really good keynote and networking party because I booked a speaking engagement well after the last track not realizing there would be some cool after hours stuff going on. I missed out. Trust me, it’s better to just clear your entire schedule and make room for anything that might come along.

6. Schedule Your Sessions One Day in Advance

The night before the first day, read through every track on the schedule. You can usually find them posted on the conference website. If not, get there at least an hour early. Pick the top two tracks you want to attend in each time slot for the first day only. Put them on your calendar by adding a 1 for your first choice and a 2 for your second. Make sure you include the track name, speaker and room number as well. If for some reason you either don’t like the track, it was cancelled or the room is full, head over to your second choice. At the end of the day just repeat by creating your schedule for the next day. Just be sure to only schedule one day at a time in case you catch a new speaker or subject matter that you now want to check out the next day.

7. Be the First to Ask a Question

Most tracks end in a Q&A session which tends to result in a blown opportunity for a majority of the room. I don’t get it. The speaker is likely someone that you have been hounding on Twitter for months in an attempt to get their attention and yet now that you have it the little voice in your head tells you not to get up and ask. Don’t listen. Being the first to ask a question gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself not only to the speaker but to a room full of like-minded people. If that doesn’t sell you, this might. A speaker’s biggest fear is that uncomfortable silence that comes after asking for questions and no one jumps out of their chair. A lot of speakers tend to reward those brave souls that step up first by giving away copies of their book or free admission into their programs. Free stuff is awesome.

8. Seek Out the People Running the Conference

Get to know the people behind the curtain. They are usually pretty awesome. Sometimes not, but in my experience, pretty awesome covers it. The reason I am writing this post is because I got to know a few of the people that ran BlogWorld and grew to really like them. I get the feeling that I’m one of their favorite people in the whole wide world as well. (The previous statement cannot be confirmed or denied at this time.) The only thing I would caution you with here is not to get to know them with the expectation of getting something in return. Life doesn’t work that way. Get to know them because they are cool people with a cool job. If you get some insight or a foot in the door along the way make sure that it is because they recognized that you have a lot of value to offer. Not because you’re a suck-up.

9. Don’t Tweet During the Tracks

I know this is not a very popular one. Sorry. I’ve watched too many people come to these things and stare at their Twitter screen waiting for the speaker to say something profound. And then spend the next few minutes trying to figure out a clever way to cram it into 140 characters. Ultimately they end up missing a bunch of other stuff that gets said in the meantime. Stop. Take good notes instead. Write down the good quotes and then during a break you can Tweet away. Sure, you may not be as timely as some others but more importantly you didn’t miss anything. Ultimately that’s what counts! Your Tweet only lasts for a few minutes. The knowledge you pick up by actually paying attention can last a heck of a lot longer.

10. Follow Each Speaker on Twitter

After each track, make sure you are following the speaker on Twitter and give them a shout out. Thank them by pointing out one solid thing that you picked up from them. First, it’s a nice thing to do. The speaker likes to know that they have reached their audience. Second, it’s a good way to get on their radar. Bonus points if you asked them a question during the Q&A so they recognize you when you Tweet them!

11. Visit and Speak with Every Single Vendor

The majority of these conferences have an area set aside for vendors to have a booth and pitch their wares. Most of us tend to stop by the booths with the best swag. But you’re not most people. Not anymore. Rather than just roaming around and stopping at one or two vendors, start at the beginning and visit each one. Don’t stop until you have talked to every single vendor. It will give you a chance to see what other companies are doing. Who knows, you might even find some synergy with a company that you normally would never have come across. Heck, you might even meet some cool people. And if all else fails, you’ll end up with a new wardrobe of free t-shirts and squeezy balls with someone else’s logo on it.

12. Get Yourself Interviewed

Often times you will see folks with cameras or podcasts looking to interview speakers and attendees. Pretty much anyone with half of a personality. Do whatever you can to get in front of them to be interviewed. I know, you aren’t camera material. Even more reason to get out there. It’s a great opportunity to practice being interviewed. It may even turn into a good promo piece for you! Free promotion! And who is going to turn down free promotion!?!?

13. Shut Off Any Work Related Stuff

Leading up to the conference make sure that you have any necessary systems in place that allow you to leave work behind for a few days. Don’t waste the time in between tracks distracted by work related e-mail or calls unless it’s an emergency. That time should be spent networking, visiting the vendors, going to the book signings, talking to speakers, meeting the people running the conference and all of the other stuff we have been talking about up until now. It’s a great opportunity and it’s only around for a few short days. Use your time wisely.

The easy part is done. Now comes the hard part. Actually doing it. Regardless of whether you are a newbie or an old pro at attending conferences, I challenge you to take each of these on and see what kind of results you get at your next conference.

Do you have any tips that help make the conferences you attend a big success? If so, leave them in the comments below and let’s keep the conversation going!

How to Rock an Event….Even When You’re Not There


Don't be sad if you're left home alone - rock that conference anyway!

This past week, many of my friends were in Las Vegas for CES…or, at least, wishing they were. It happens to all of us – a major event happens and we get left behind while others in our industry attend and tweet about what a fabulous time they’re having. They blog about keynotes we don’t get to hear and post pictures of parties we don’t get to see. But the worst part is that it feels like every other blog in your niche is getting a ton of traffic as readers flock to their event posts while you’re stuck regurgitating second-hand news.

But do you want to know a secret? You can totally rock an event…even when you’re not there.

Attending an event is always the best-case scenario. It’s just not always possible, for whatever reason: money, time, family responsibilities…so let’s take a look at a few ways you can be one of the cool kids, even if you’re at home!

Capitalizing on Non-Event Industry News

Everyone at an event is focused on reporting news happening there. That doesn’t mean the rest of the world goes on hold, though. When something happens in the industry outside of the speakers and announcements at the actual event, bloggers who are actually at the event typically don’t cover it or even know about it. They’re too busy. That gives you the chance to corner the market on traffic!

For example, the night before CES started, Leo Laporte was denied access to a tech event and the PR company involved made fools of themselves on Twitter and Facebook. While this was slightly related to CES, since it was a related event, everyone was jet-lagged from flying into Vegas or attending pre-CES parties. I even waited to post my story the next day, and I was still one of the only people who wrote about it. As a result, I got a lot of search engine traffic and a fair about of shares on that post.

Direct Readers to Bloggers Who Are There

One of the really fantastic posts Julie wrote about CES, even though she wasn’t there, was a mini-directory of members of the BlogWorld community who are attending CES. If you’re interested in following news about the event, this gives you a list of people tweeting about it, and if you’re attending the event too, it’s a great way to connect with others.

The point is that even if you aren’t attending an event, you can be helpful and relevant. It’s just like every other topic you cover – be as helpful as possible to your readers, and they’ll come back for more (and tell their friends to visit too).

Create Post Round-Ups

Often, many people who attend events blog about the same things – a cool product that was the hit of the show, a fascinating keynote, or an interesting announcement. You can report on the news, but since you aren’t there, you can’t give readers a first-hand opinion. What you can do, however, is create a post round-up of all the bloggers who are discussing the topic in question. That way, people who are looking for information about, for example, a specific new technology being shown at CES, can use your round-up to find posts they’ll want to read.

Whether you attend a conference or not, if you write about it, let the community manager or social media manager know about your posts. Conference organizes love to read what people have to say about their event, and often, they’ll even help promote your posts or respond to your questions.

One More Day of BWELA 2011: How to Rock It


Today, thousands of bloggers, brand ambassadors, social media professionals, internet marketers, and all-around good people will come together one last time in (this year at least) for a finally day of networking and learning. BlogWorld LA 2011 is winding down, though I hate to use that phrase. It’s actually winding up; although we’ll all soon be boarding planes and jumping into cars to go back to our separate lives, we’re leaving with more ideas – and friends – than ever. It’s a good feeling, right?

So on this, the last day of BlogWorld (until next year at least), how can you totally rock it?

  • Take pictures.

You never get home and think “Woah, I took way too many pictures.” You can always delete the ones you don’t want! Several times, however, I’ve come home from events wishing that I would have remembered to pull out my camera. You’ve probably seen some awesome professional photographers roaming the event, but don’t rely on them to capture the images that mean the most to you. Snap pictures with the new friends you meet, the speakers you adore, the expo floor…anything and everything. You won’t regret having those pictures as memories.

  • Attend sessions.

At BlogWorld, it is easy to get distracted in the halls and never make it to sessions. Networking is uber important, but try to sit in on some sessions today too. They’ve been pretty freaking amazing so far, and today’s are going to be great too. Even if you think you don’t need more education, I guarantee that you will walk away with new tips and tricks. Heck, I even saw Darren Rowse and John Chow attending sessions this weekend. If popular a-list bloggers can get value from our sessions, so can you.

  • Blog.

We get so busy with education and parties and awesomeness that most of us don’t actually blog while at BlogWorld. Don’t forget about your readers back home, though. I’m living proof that you can attend BlogWorld and keep your blog updated while there. You don’t have to write a 2000-word killer post. Just do a quick status update, report on one of the sessions you attended, post some pictures, etc. Or, at the very least, get some posts outlined as drafts so you can clean them and post them rather quickly when you get home.

  • Say hello to the BlogWorld staff.

We don’t bite; I promise! Everyone on the staff is super friendly and we roam the halls regularly. You can catch some of us in sessions (I intend to check out as many as possible tomorrow), and if all else fails, follow us on Twitter to find out where we are. We’ll all definitely be at the party afterward, so if you don’t see us during the day, hunt us down there!

  • Make plans with new friends and partners.

Saying “I’ll tweet you when I get home” or “we should definitely do a project together” is great, but it’s rare that people follow through. If you really want to make a lasting connection with people, make more solid plans before you leave. Set up a time to talk via Skype, come up with some tasks that you can both work on developing, or otherwise come up with a definite plan instead of just a wishy-washy “see you around the internets!”

BlogWorld may be coming to a close today, but there’s still time to enjoy the conference and the company. What are you doing today to totally rock it before you leave LA?

Overheard on #BWEchat: Conference Sponsorship Advice


This week at #BWEchat we covered the topic of conference sponsorship with our guest Kelby Carr (@typeamom). The discussion covered topics that ranged from why to have a sponsor to how to approach potential sponsors. I loved all the great tweets from Kelby and other participants.

Let’s take a look at some of the awesome advice, first from Kelby, then from other people at #BWEchat.

Awesome Advice from Kelby

  • I think there is a mix of things bloggers do in exchange for sponsorships. Some of it probably depends on what cos request
  • Very important to check what is allowed, read any guidelines, ask conference organizers if in doubt.
  • I think the ideal situation is when an official sponsor also sponsors bloggers to help. Such a win-win.
  • There are so many ways a blogger can support an official sponsor: help in booth, host party, be liaison to community
  • I do think most bloggers would agree ideal situation they pay their own way, but not always the reality.
  • I think, too, that the pitch to a company should be very professional, and give them a reason why. Other bloggers pitching too
  • And that gets to a very important point. Yes we network and have fun at cons. But be professional. Sponsored or not really.
  • I think you have to go with brands who you see are active in social media AND who are a perfect fit.

Awesome Advice from #BWEchat Participants

  • @AngEngland: I think it’s a nice partnership with brands and bloggers can work together to better a blogger + promote a brand
  • @chilihead: An issue I see w/sponsors is that bloggers don’t always see it as how they can benefit the co. Instead it’s scholarship
  • Also from @chilihead: If it’s true partnership, your proposal is about what you can do for company, not them sending you to a conference to better self.
  • @kirstenwright: The only way I would want sponsorship for a conference would be if it was a brand I really cared about (like my computer or car!)
  • @centsiblelife:I see some bloggers being sponsored who work w/ brand long-term, seems like a win-win. Blogger gets education, brand gets presence.
  • @phollows:If clothing [wearing it in exchange for sponsorship] won’t work for you, make suggestion that will help sponsor get noticed, spread message
  • @Elizabeth_N:use 2 believe sponsorships did not show ROI-I was wrong-very wrong!When executed properly sponsorship is hands down amazing return
  • @cebsilver:I go after ones [sponsors] I care about, engage, then they see how awesome I am and can’t help themselves.

Were you at #BWEchat? If so, feel free to share some of your favorite tweets of the night! If you weren’t there, we’d love for you to weigh in with your opinions – have you ever had a conference sponsor? What do you see as the pros and cons?

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