I recently attended my first ever blogging event – a Travel Massive meet-up in London. I had an amazing time and met lots of cool people working in travel; from flight companies, to travel bloggers like myself. I had no idea what to expect and I definitely learnt a few things. I’ve put this article together to highlight a few top tips and let you know the mistakes I made – so hopefully you won’t do the same!
TOP TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST BLOGGING EVENT
TAKE BUSINESS CARDS
Even if you don’t think of your blog as a ‘business’, having business cards can be a great networking tool. I knew I would need to get some made up for future PR meetings etc, but it hadn’t crossed my mind to get some for the blogging event. Mistake numero uno! At these events, the best way to network and create new contacts is to have a business card handy. I spoke to around 20-25 people at the event; despite having a pretty good memory, there was no way I was going to remember all their names and websites. After the event, you can use your handy collection of business cards to check out everyone else’s sites and follow up any connections by saying Hello on Twitter or Facebook.
At the event I attended, there were also competition giveaways that involved everyone putting their business cards into a fishbowl. A card was pulled out at random and the winner got a brand new Osprey rucksack! Luckily for me, Sam from Cheapflights was kind enough to give me one of her cards so I could scribble my name and website over the top. It meant I could enter the competition – but it didn’t look very professional!
People associate you with your blog – no matter how casual the event, if you turn up wearing a spandex bodysuit or an ‘I heart bitches’ t-shirt, people may not take you (or your blog!) seriously. If you are trying to make money from your blog, you need to treat all events as business meetings – you never know who you may bump in to!
TALK TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s important to make the most of your time at the event so try and chat to as many new faces as possible. I spoke to around 20-25 people at my event out of about 100… It sounds a lot but I think I could have done better in four hours! I ended up spending quite a lot of time with the same groups of people; I could have at least said hello and swapped cards with a few others.
DON’T GET DRUNK!
At this event, we were lucky enough to have a free bar for the first couple of hours. When everyone started arriving at 6pm, my first-day-nerves kicked in and I ordered myself a beer for a bit of Dutch courage! Not realising quite how thirsty I was, my empty pint glass was soon refilled… On my next trip to the bar I was told that the only booze left was wine, so I left armed with a large white wine spritzer. Wine gets me particularly bamboozled and I hadn’t eaten since midday at this point, so it wasn’t a great combination! Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t slurring my words or falling all over the place, but I definitely talked the ear off a few people… Whoops, sorry guys! At future events, I would definitely make sure I eat something first or take a snack, and stick to soft drinks. After all, it’s important to create a great impression at events like this. You don’t want to be all over Twitter the next day as the person who face-planted the floor or threw up on themselves….
ALWAYS FOLLOW UP CONNECTIONS
As I mentioned above, I would definitely advise taking business cards with you so that you can easily provide people with your blog name and contact details. The morning after the event, I woke up with a wad of business cards in my handbag from everyone I had chatted to the night before. As I was staying at a friend’s house and had a busy weekend planned, I wasn’t able to sit down and go through everything until almost a week later. By this point, I had already received a few emails and tweets from bloggers and companies saying how it was lovely to meet me, and that I should stay in touch. Ideally, with companies, you want to get in there first. Showing that you are professional, keen and proactive is a great sign for companies that may be considering working with bloggers. The same may even apply to bloggers themselves – for example, some may be considering collaborating with others. You may make a first great impression, but if you don’t follow it up afterwards, you aren’t going to be particularly memorable.
MAKE SURE YOU GO WITH LOTS OF ENERGY
Although a lot of fun, these events are also exhausting! Talking non-stop for four hours is pretty tiring. You also find yourself repeating the same few lines over and over again as everyone you chat to will want to know the same things. ‘What is it you do’? ‘Oh, you’re a blogger.. cool! What’s your blog about?’… ‘Where are you going next?’..’How long have you been blogging for?’….. It was great to chat to so many people but I had serious jaw ache and a sore throat the next day!
LEAVE ON A POSITIVE NOTE
The night was going so successfully, that I completely lost track of time. I was staying with a friend (the other side of London) and had to get back to her place before 11pm. I was so engrossed in conversation that when I looked at my watch, it was already past 10pm… I quickly grabbed all my stuff (including a suitcase as I’d come straight from work!) and sprinted to Kings Cross station. Unfortunately this meant I wasn’t able to stay until the end, or say goodbye to anyone. For future events, I would leave enough time to say goodbye to everyone I’ve spoken with. You want to try and leave on a positive note, ensuring that you have made a great impression!
Thanks for reading my top tips for your first blogging event, I hope they prove useful 🙂