- Does the venue lend itself to really connecting with brands and professional opportunities?
- Is it all a giant sorority party where the mean girls run everything?
- Were the break-outs worthwhile?
- Were you overwhelmed?
- Are you glad you went?
Tip #1: Establish Your Tribe in Advance
First up, there is no way I would have enjoyed BlogHer without my "tribe." While it is true that I have spent 40 years mastering the persona of an extrovert, I am a covert introvert. Large groups, loud music, and too much going on at once freaks me out and sends me into sensory overload. I end up rocking and singing Mary Had a Little Lamb to cope. Yet Shannon, Jeanette, Kari, and Jennifer propped me up, pointed me in the right direction, and made the conference a thousand times more fun and inviting than if I had gone it alone.
|My tribe was HOT.|
Tip #2: Get Your Nails Done
It seems to be mandatory. I don't think they even let you in if you don't.
|My boys, or I as I refer to them, "My In-House IT Department." This was taken right around the time when the nice pedicure lady went to battle with my feet.|
Tip #3: For Business Opportunities, Stick with Brands You Truly Love
I seriously had no problem whatsoever gushing over brands and products I use and adore. I believe it is very hard to "fake" interest in something you know nothing about, so I spent a lot of time on the Expo floor connecting with brands, collecting cards, and having meaningful dialogue with companies who receive much of my family's disposable income. Credibility matters.
|I totally skipped the organic, uber-healthy booths. This is me we're talking about.|
Tip #4: Speaking of Credibility....Celebrities Make You Wait
For those who know me, it is an established fact that I am not dazzled by celebrity. In fact, most celebrities annoy me. Despite this, I still love musical theatre and was looking forward to hearing Queen Latifah ("Mama Morton" in the movie Chicago) host the Voices of the Year keynote during the conference. My cyber-sister Shannon was being honored. I was excited, that is, until Queen Latifah was an hour late. Now to be fair, I often run several minutes late for carpool and the orthodontist. But keeping so many people waiting during a conference that was so tightly choreographed soured me. At the end of the day, I was far more interested in hearing the talented readings from the honorees, which sadly I had to cut short because of my own crammed docket. I am probably a dying breed in this regard, but being late is a venial sin in my book. Ten Hail Marys for everyone.
Tip #5: Work on Your "I Know YOU!" Face
I'm so bad at this. Wonderful, warm, and talented women came over to say hello and I SUCK at recognizing people. Making matters worse? The name badges hung right around people's navels. Being 6' fall, I practically had to bend myself in half in order to perform a "casual" glance at someone's badge. I apologize to all those I may have offended. Or inadvertently felt up. I seriously have facial amnesia. It's a disease. Ask Brad Pitt.
|I call this one "What everyone looks like to Marianne." Photographer Kari called it "The Blair Witch Cab Ride."|
Tip #6: Be Open to Fun
The too-cool-for-school crowd is not going to fare well at BlogHer. With my own appreciation for the Theatre of the Absurd, I had a blast spinning giant wheels trying to win vibrators and free nuts. I loved hanging with the Pillsbury Doughboy and playing a drinking game of "How Many Times Are They Gonna Say 'Amazing Women' this session?" The ladies I approached and chatted with were the ones who were laughing. There was a LOT of laughing at BlogHer because there are a LOT of funny women. Find these gals and the conference will rock.
|I seriously won a vibrator. More on that another day...|
|I love a man in a suit.|
|YES. I POKED HIM.|
Tip #7: Pack an Extra Bag
The swag is out of control. Enough Said.
Tip #8: Lose the Cute Shoes
Three hours into Day #1, nary a soul was sporting fancy heels. Flip flops and gym shoes reign supreme at BlogHer.
Tip #9: Find a Session that Fits
I started out a little disappointed in some of the session options, but I definitely understood that monetizing one's blog, writing better, and improving one's technological skills are pretty hot topics amongst the blogger set. I suppose I just was not in the mood to be reminded that I suck at technology and I end too many sentences in prepositions. Yet my disappointment faded when I discovered that the NFL was sponsoring a session on female fans and traumatic brain injury. As the mother of boys, and a sports enthusiast, it was like the session was made just for me. The panel was phenomenal, comprised of NFL Foundation chairman, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth (a specialist on brain injury) and several other knowledgeable women. I learned so much and cannot thank BlogHer and the NFL enough for this presentation.
|Favorite line from Mrs. Anderson: "They used to think NFL merchandising for women was simply 'shrink it & pink it,' but not anymore!"|
Tip #10: Don't Be Afraid of Quiet Time
I am the kind of person who cannot stay on Disney grounds when we visit Florida. Sure, part of the reason is I'm cheap. But the other explanation is I go into system overload. Thanks to an emergency outing to Pizano's Pizza with my roomie Jenny and Shannon, I had an hour to reset my brain and central nervous system. It was exactly what I needed.
All in all, I had a great time at BlogHer '13. I would definitely encourage those who have asked me about it to come and join my tribe. Just like everything else in life, it's the people you remember most.
Ok. Back to unpacking all this flippin' swag. I seriously have 10 bottles of Trojan Lubricant.
Catch ya at BlogHer 2014!