Next weekend will see me head to Manchester for my fourth Blog On conference. In all my years of blogging it has to be my favourite of all the blogging conferences. One of the main reasons is that it’s held up north, but it’s also down to organiser Laura Seaton knowing exactly what makes a good conference.
Laura kicks off another Blog On, surrounded by some of the fantastic goodie bags
Not only is a it lovely friendly atmosphere in which to connect with loads of other bloggers, there are also fantastic opportunities to meet with brands and a great range of conference sessions that in the past have covered everything from time management and organisation through to styling photographs and getting to grips with WordPress.
For those people going along to their first Blog On one of their key questions is about what they need to bring with them. So as an old hand, here are my top tips for what to take with you.
What to wear?
Whatever you want. Seriously. Anything will do, just make sure you’re comfortable and not naked. Apparently Laura doesn’t want naked people there.
No one is going to judge you for what you’ve got on, although I’m yet to see anyone turn up in their pyjamas… At previous conferences I’ve seen people in everything from jeans and a tshirt through to amazing dresses. The September conference is Christmas themed and last year there was an array of brilliant Christmas jumpers, but it isn’t compulsory. What I would suggest though is a comfy pair of shoes on your feet. Although you’ll be sat down in the sessions you do still end up stood a fair bit talking to brands and other bloggers. I personally swear by Hotter shoes. They feel like slippers no matter how long you end up wearing them.
Do I really need a suitcase?
In a word – yes!
Blog On is know for having amazing goodie bags. And I mean AMAZING ones. You will honestly struggle to carry them home with you. That is why everyone recommends you come with an empty suitcase. Ideally one with wheels. And I’m not just talking about one the size you get to take as hand luggage. I’ve been taking one that would work for a week’s holiday and yet I’ve still needed to carry extra bags as well. Plenty of people turn up with large wheeled holdalls which seem to work well. You may feel daft turning up with it, but trust me – everyone does and it is necessary!
Just to prove that you never know what you might win at Blog On!
Do I need to take business cards?
As a blogger who wants to work wth brands business cards are incredibly useful. They’re also a great way of exchanging details with other bloggers that you want to stay in touch with, but they’re also fab to hand out to brands that you want to work with. Some brands may have competitions where they ask you to pop your card in a box or a bowl to win something, but they also help you look professional when talking to a brand. If you then go on to go to anything like the Toy Fair or other trade shows then you’ll certainly find them an essential thing to have.
When you talk to bloggers about business cards there is one company that the majority of people swear by – Moo. Not only is it a doddle to design your cards on their site (either using your own design or one of theirs) but their cards are also of wonderful quality, and always look really good. Use the link I’ve just included and you also get 20% off your first order!
Should I take anything else?
Over the day you will end up using your phone rather a lot for tweeting, posting photos to Instagram and updating Facebook, and the venue also provides free wifi for everyone attending Blog On. Luckily there are a load of plug sockets dotted around the venue and hence I always carry my amazing mu duo usb charger as it fits so perfectly in my handbag – see my video demo and review here. In general I use my iPhone so much when out and about these days that I’ve recently followed the advice of a couple of other bloggers and podcasters and invested in an Anker Power Bank so that I can charge my phone whenever I need – not just when I find a power socket.
At any blogging conference a notebook and (a working) pen are incredibly useful. Laura usually ensures that everyone gets one at the first session of the day, but I often find it helpful to take one with me so that I can scribble some stuff in it before I go. Things like a list of bloggers that I know are attending that I want to meet up with. Also, writing down the sessions that I plan to attend can stop you from faffing when suddenly faced with a decision about which room to go to next. I like being organised like that.
The final thing on the list is some cash. Everything is included in your conference ticket price, but another brilliant thing about Blog On is the sense of community that has built up around it and the fact that every year there is a tumble and raffle to raise money for a good cause that means something to bloggers. There are some amazing prizes up for grabs (yet another reason for needing that big suitcase that I mentioned before) and I definitely recommend bringing along some cash so that you can buy tickets. After all, you have to be in it to win it!
So, that’s my thoughts with three Blog On conferences under my belt. But is there anything I’ve forgotten???
Disclaimer: This post contains some Amazon and Moo affiliate links. If you buy through them not won’t cost you any more, but I will receive a percentage of what you spend. Other links included are not affiliate links.