It Finally Happened – I’m Going To BlogHer This Year!
I began my blogging journey in 2005, which makes this my 12th year as a blogger! I did have some random breaks from blogging due to medical issues, so in reality 9 years.
Special Thank You To BlogHer And She Knows Media For Putting Together This Incredible Blogging Event.
I heard about BlogHer long ago, I was still living near my hometown of Boston; So like 9 years ago.
I’ve always wanted to go… it was always too far and at the time, I didn’t just have my own children in my care and or custody. I was helping out a couple of moms and took their children in while they got their life back on track.
Fast forward to years later…. I Am Going! I have only been to one other blogger conference, so at least I have an idea of the jist of attending one.
PS: This is going to be a long post because it tells my story starting from the beginning so it has event info plus things I experienced, learning curves etc.
BlogHer is a much bigger event and honestly even for me…. intimidating! I do not even know what I’m up against honestly.
It isn’t just a conference for me
- I’m On Display To Potential Clients
- I’m Learning New Skills
- I’m Updating Older Skills
- Meeting Over 100 New People In 2.5 Days – Talk About Speed Dating!
- Everything About Me Is Being Watched
As much of a Social Butterfly they say I am, being at an event with over 2,000 attendees is a pretty intimidating crowd!
Why I’ve Been Wanting To Attend BlogHer
I watch their hashtag #blogher mostly around event times, as much as I can. It’s kind of watching from bird’s eye view…. intently observing all the buzzing around everyone is doing.
Over the years, I have seen lots of great feedback and of course some not so great. Can’t please everyone and I don’t ever expect every being to be pleased by everything 😂.
I heard of so many women saying how great the event was. They learned various things. Some introverts made plans to come together and made it a point to connect while at the event. Their experiences sounded like some things I wanted to acheive for myself.
It was only a month away from The Event when I saw such an opportunity that seemed to laso me and reel me in… next thing I know…
- I received the golden rare free ticket to BlogHer! I want to truly Thank You Amandalyn From She Knows Media For Blessing Me With The Golden Ticket.
So I was in shock, didn’t believe it. In my entire life that I know of, it was shocking because nothing in my life has been handed to me, ever.
Due to shock, excitement, amazement and multiple emotions, I wasted like a whole week! I didn’t do anything, though that week we did have four doctors appointments so maybe I was just completely sidetracked.
Then it all hit me…
- What Will I Wear – I will need 3 Hire Me Outfits That Are Comfortable. And They Need To Be Flexible To Fit My Milk Pumping Or Breastfeeding Needs.
- What Is My Goal
- What ROI Do I Want From This
- What Do I Want To Convey To Potential Clients
- What Specific And Special Offer Can A Client Immediately Take Action On
- I Need Business Card or Mini Goody Bags That Show The Experience Of What They Can Expect Upon Hiring Me
- What Is The BlogHer Swag and Goodies Like? Since This Is What I Do As My Business – Goody Bag Marketing
I had to slow my gears down, almost to a halt. Otherwise, it would hinder me further from preparing for such a major “Hire Me” event.
The BlogHer Conference Is Three Events In One
Connection – Connecting with like minded people. The majority of the attendees are other bloggers. No, I do not find them as competitors at all. In fact, we are and should be #blogcolleagues working together as a team.
I will get to meet many bloggers, maybe even some that I’ve followed their blogs or we have been connected in some other way.
Having #blogcolleagues is always great because as a team, you will work together helping one another meet their goals and achieve as much ROI as possible. I hope to put some faces to blogs and just overall enjoy the company of being connected with bloggers.
Learning and Improving – There are lots of great sessions that are lined up to help us with very specific topics.
These workshops are a way to learn a new skill, update a current skill and improve your overall abilities.
BlogHer has a variety of “sessions” really workshops to choose from. The variety also allows for a new blogger or a seasoned blogger to benefit from them. Especially in the ever-changing world of digital media.
I’m still mulling over which ones would give me the kick-start I need or the actionable steps I can use to implement right away. So I’ve been hanging out in the BlogHer app going over everything.
I really hope to follow each of the Twitter streams for each workshop since I can’t physically attend them all. I’m happy and super grateful 🙏🏽 that there are live tweeters on hand getting us crucial and valuable information in minute chunks of info 😉.
Some of the learning sessions included these topics
- Trends To Capture
- Working With Brands
- What Brands Really Want And Looking For
- Best Practices
- Video And Live Broadcasting
There were so many great topics they touched on, all are very important to know about. Plus all the special events that have their own set of great topics they were talking about.
On The Spot Interviews – Not really, but pretty close! Though it is a light and fun event, I have to remember that all eyes are on each of us. Observing and analyzing what we are doing. Forming decisions about if we are the right fit to work with.
From the moment we clicked confirm you are attending, you are automatically entered into this Potential Pool.
Brands have a team in place already researching each of us to understand us more. Our background, what we do, how we do it, reactions, how we communicate and conduct ourselves overall is on complete display.
Thank You to each of the brands who came out to meet us, check us out and sponsor such a great event.
The second we enter the conference they are observing. Before your big toe touches the Expo floor they are watching your body language, how you approach others and they are looking forward to having their ideal blogger approach their booth.
I would love to go to each booth, to show my appreciation and gratitude for them coming out and meeting us. Even if it’s not the right fit for either of us. I have done many vendor events and it truly is lots of work from the planning to the follow-up of being a vendor or sponsor for events. Especially the day of, the labor that goes into it all. So since I’ve been on the other side of the booth, I always like to at least approach them and show some type of support for them.
Four Weeks Until BlogHer Begins
I begin putting together everything I need to get the most out of the whole experience.
Since I only have four weeks, I need to get started this week to prepare.
- Blog Conference Supply Checklist
- Blog Conference Action Plan
- Short Form Pitch and Longer Form Pitch
- Wardrobe And Accessories
Three Weeks Left To Prepare For BlogHer Conference
So I am already behind my preparations for the conference. Though it’s a slight set back, I won’t let it stop me. Last week it was hectic with four doctors appointments, so I was side tracked mostly.
I sat down and now have my supply list, my outline, my ROI expectations, and I’ve already got an offer for immediate action.
I didn’t have any designs or content for business cards, so I finally put something together and got my cards ordered. I was cutting it really close, they have an arrival date on the 20th 😱!
In case you’re wondering why I don’t already have business cards readily available…
I try to have my Goody Bags speak for themselves to show people what it is I offer, as an end result instead of the outside appearances.
With only four weeks to the event, though my designer could have put something design-wise together for me. It was really the funds for ordering Goody Bag items that held me back this time. I can’t feel bad, we used lots of funds to pay for our 4 day long stay at The Hilton Resort July 4TH week!
So at least I got some business cards made, not the greatest probably, let me know your thoughts on these last minute cards.
I began to go over the conference schedule to think about which workshops are best for me. But as I looked at it all, anxiety began to really hit me; not necessarily attending the event but….
My anxiety is worse this week as I’m desperately trying to figure out what to do with my toddler. He is very high needs, has horrible separation anxiety and is a very hyper 2 years old. I’m scrambling trying to figure out what to do with him. It did cross my mind to pass up my ticket 😭 but then I snapped out of that!
I told myself, this is the one and only opportunity to attend the BlogHer event and he is two years old. He can handle two days not totally without me, but having periods of separation from me. It will be great for us both.
So I’ll look for toddler-friendly things that dad can do with a 2-year-old, a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old around the hotel. It hopefully won’t be hard, after all, Orlando is filled with stuff to do! I think the hardest would be what is toddler-friendly that won’t bore the older boys 😂.
- So three weeks before event date means really settling down on final plans!
Two Weeks To Go – The Excitement, The Buzz, The Preparation Continues
Thank You BlogHer Team!
Not only have you impressed me with all the moving parts you have successfully completed already …. you added on more great things.
Huge 🤗 and 👍 To Your Team
Some of the struggles with my toddler have been lifted. BlogHer heard about our needs and concerns from other breastfeeding moms like myself that they have created a Lactation Station! I am excited to see it and I know I will use it, whether I’d be pumping milk or dad brings him to me for a nursing session or two.
I’m still his lifeline, literally. It’s not really a matter of, to feed him more foods and give him a few cups of milk. My son has feeding issues and is currently in a status of Failure To Thrive. So having him nearby just in case is crucial to him.
I’m also excited about the BlogHer Newbie Breakfast. Since it is my first event with them it will be helpful to attend the newbie breakfast. Hopefully partnering up with a few other newbies like a “Buddy System” will help each of us out.
I’m continuing to go over the schedule using the BlogHer app, it’s extremely helpful. And we can add blogger friends and set up an appointment to meet with specific brands that have availability. I think I’ve pretty much narrowed down my tentative schedule and action plan 👩🏽💻.
This week was also pretty cool, BlogHer has what are called Special Events. They aren’t open to everyone, they are limited to space too.
So they do what is called open call. This is where they open the tickets for a short time and you have to be faster than lightening ⚡️to possibly grab a ticket!
I got into one Special Event, I did try to get into another but wasn’t fast enough. I mean these things fill up no exaggeration…. within 10 seconds!
Special Events are great to get into, but they can also cut into your time in a workshop and or any Expo Time. So it’s best to really only go for one or two of them so that you’re not spreading yourself thinly or missing out on training or even a few minutes with the sponsors.
Last Week Before The Big Event
This is it! In just a few days I will be in Orlando at BlogHer 17. I mean Orlando is only one and a half hours from me, but still.
It is crunch time for me. I have to do lots of things still! I don’t even know what to wear, not even a hint!
I got an email this morning saying my business cards are arriving, so no need to worry about those anymore.
I have to go through each of my blogs to see what I can do to improve them and get some more content published of course. I literally have like 1,000+ drafts, waiting to be finished and published. I’m hoping that this conference helps me release those drafts and gets them published because them sitting in draft mode, it isn’t helping me!
Why aren’t they published? Well, it’s more about insecurities, time, motivation that comes and goes in waves and multiple other reasons.
This is exactly why I really need to be attending events for blogger events.
- My goal is within 90 days after attending BlogHer that I will have published 60 blog stories and add 60 others into the scheduled to publish queue.
Yes, on each of my blogs. That would be a total of 200 blog stories total!
I have the content ready, they just need editing, image creation, and some need videos too.
My Blogging Bold Goal Challenge: In The Next 90 Days, I will Publish 60 Blog Entries On At Least 3 Of My Niche Blogs.
I know that after attending the conference I will have more resources to help me achieve this goal.
I will absorb new things to implement to help me reach the milestones I have planned out for myself.
Thursday Opening Day Of BlogHer 17
I made plans to arrive in Orlando around noon. The plan was to meet up with some bloggers that are in a few blogging Facebook groups I am in. However, that didn’t happen, due to family, it just didn’t happen… In fact I was quite late arriving at the actual event too! I was super upset because I planned all these things and wasn’t able to fulfill them. I arrived at 5PM.
I got to sit in and listen to the ending of the kickoff keynote before the expo hall opened up.
Checking Into BlogHer ’17
When I arrived it was easy and smooth checking into the event. Parking isn’t what I thought it was, so big lesson there. Walking into the Hilton felt great, I followed the signs to the event itself. It is like BlogHer took up an entire floor! It was massive, lots of people, the rooms were so full many were standing up!
Checking in was easy, I just gave my name and information, was checked in and got my lovely BlogHer badge, what do you think? Next year, I will be sure to make mine a little more catchy, maybe even ask an intriguing open-ended question to get people asking and talking.
Then I was directed to pick up my scavenger hunt sheet and other information we needed. The scavenger hunt and networking sheets were fun, though I wish I knew more about how the networking sheet worked, I was just collecting stickers and didn’t know how to get stickers for certain activities they had there. I also arrived late and it seems that if you have early and on time that you were given stickers to pass out to others along the way.
Then it was onto the goodies section, my favorite part. I am always excited to see how a brand communicates their messages and offerings through the types of swag they give, I hate that word by the way, which is why my business name is Goody Bag Marketing lol. Many times you can tell if and how a brand or company knows how to grab a customer’s attention just be what they use as their goody items. So off I went to grab those lovely goodies!
When I arrived keynote speakers Cecile and Chelsea talking about empowering women to grab hold of their super powers and allow themselves to shine. They were great to listen to and I loved what they had to say. Especially when it comes to us women being in total control of ourselves, our health and not letting others dictate what we do with our own bodies.
Friday, First Full Day Of Intense Blogging Information
Friday started off not so great already for me. I totally missed the newbie breakfast! I didn’t even arrive until 10AM, and on the way to the event, I made sure to listen to my favorite music to improve my mood. An hour and a half later, I arrived, in a great mood, ready to go.
My mood, unfortunately, did slightly change because upon arriving, there was no valet parking, they stopped doing valet for the day – At Ten AM. This was devastating and for a person like me, this can be such a huge deal breaker. See, Friday night I had such a horrible parking experience.
So I drove to the top of the parking garage, put on a couple of mood-boosting songs and then got out to let the sun settle on me to recollect myself.
I then went into the event, the expo hall was open and it was almost lunch time. With all the fiasco of the morning, I hadn’t eaten yet, as a diabetic, this is not good. So I ate before anything haha.
It was quite upsetting that I allowed myself to totally miss the entire morning’s happenings. It wasn’t totally my fault, my family didn’t help either. I also didn’t lay my foot down, I just get so overwhelmed and just submit… I am working on that.
So, anyways off I go into the amazing BlogHer Event. Mind-blown, it was so amazing just to be there first of all. Watching all the other bloggers walking around, connecting, and just having fun was so enlightening to see. Though I have been blogging for a long while, I really have not put myself out there at all.
It is interesting to people watch for me. You easily spot niche bloggers such as the fashion bloggers, oh they look so beautiful, runway ready and just so put together! They make you just want to go right up to them and say “Hey, help me dress better!”.
The energy from everyone is amazing to absorb. The staff, volunteers, sponsors and other attendees when combined is such a great feeling and environment to be inside of. I highly recommend you give it a try, especially if you are a shy person.
The sessions are so full of positive energy it is electrifying! The information that is given by the speakers and sponsors is something that you would not get to experience outside of such an event.
Saturday – I could not make it on Saturday, I was extremely upset about that! I intended and planned the day all out. Then when I learned I couldn’t go, it was so hard to swallow and accept. My sitter could no longer stay with my toddler for the day. I did contact a BlogHer team member because I tried so hard to go on Saturday; I was confused because I saw some say kids were free and others say only certain ages paid. I needed clarifications before anything can be decided on.
However even though Yaidan is only 2 years old, I needed to buy a ticket for him to attend. This was a huge devastation and what set me back because I could no longer attend Saturday’s events. His ticket would have been $50, and that is money I never planned for, didn’t have extra of and it also makes no sense to pay for a 2-year-old to attend an event that he will not be benefiting from…. He can’t even talk, never mind blog.
For the record, before anyone says it is only $50… Parking is another $30, plus he would need to eat, have snacks, and just a last minute thing when not planned is not easy to do. We are already staying from July 2nd – July 5th at the same exact hotel, The Hilton Resort so I needed to keep this in mind as that $100 may be needed during our stay at the hotel that week. When you are a family of seven, you have to be really mindful of money management.
The Positive Aspects Of Attending BlogHer
Attending BlogHer is and can be life changing for some of us. It can make a stagnant blogger go home and lay out their blog business plans and begin implementing things they have learned right away…. This two and a half-day event can literally catapult your blogging journey from a level zero station to a level twenty station.
I truly encourage you and urge you to make your own Bold Blog Goal like I have; Let me restate it….
In The Next 90 Days, I will Publish 60 Blog Entries On At Least 3 Of My Niche Blogs
I have already sat down and begun to list out blog topics and add content for my parenting blog, so far I have 208 topics! That is just a small example of what results can happen just by attending an event to move your business ahead.
This is exactly what it means to attend such an incredible event like BlogHer. It makes you stop, meditate, contemplate and look all around you. During one of the keynotes, I can’t remember which one, sorry.. But the message surely does stick….
Go Back Home And Figure Out If My Blog(s) Add More Value Or Adds Clutter To Everyone Involved.
When I first heard this, I was taken back and at first, it struck a negative cord with me. But as I thought about it more, I actually understood and realized what it means. I really agree with it! It really needed to be stated. I needed to hear it, as we all do.
It made me think about WHY do I want to even blog? What do I want to happen as a result of me blogging? Who is going to be affected whether it is a negative or positive experience for all involved? I will continue to think about it as I go back and tweak my blog business plans and strategy, it is actually quite critical for me to do so.
This is another plus to attend BlogHer, it helps you get back to basics and acknowledging the very livelihood of why we are here. What exactly is our responsibility as a blogger?
To give a bullet-pointed view of the positives of attending BlogHer
- Actionable Tasks To Do Right Away
The other positive parts of attending such an event are the ability to connect with celebrities and other people that are in certain positions that make it almost impossible to rub elbows with them on a regular day.
- For example, it isn’t every day that you get to sit there in total awe, drooling, and soaking in the powerful words from such powerful female figures such as Serena Williams and Chelsea Clinton!!
Hearing from each of the speakers though is seriously just an incredible opportunity and experience. It is hard to describe other than the euphoric state of mind you get into. With adrenaline, endorphin, and serotonin just running wild all at once, it is such an experience that you must go through yourself, so I really hope to see you there next year!
How The BlogHer And She Knows Media Team Helped Attendees
There are hundreds of moving parts going on all at once for any event. And when you are putting together an event to accommodate over 2,000 people, well you really need a team that works as a team to help every moving part do its job as seamlessly as possible.
The communication that is given to us as an attendee is far better than what I have experienced in past events of any kind. Honestly, there has only been one other event that has great communications with their attendees, and it also happens to be another blogger event haha!
There was a small part that I think for myself was missed, and I may be in the minority, but hopefully not haha. Once the adrenaline wears down, I can possibly pinpoint the parts I missed something that actually was communicated to us and I greatly missed it that caused me to have such an experience.
However, overall the Facebook group truly helped with staying in contact and having direct access to key team members for communication purposes. They responded and acted quickly as they could! They handled things pretty seamlessly as well. I am really impressed with how the team worked to ensure that over 2,00 attendees got as much as they needed.
Did they have some issues, sure of course! What event has absolutely nothing go wrong with it? Not one person can name an event lol. However it is all in how things are handled and we do have to keep in mind that not everything can be fixed. There are some things that are not at the hands of the event coordinators. I do think that event coordinators should at least know about such struggles attendees had and try to see about various solutions for the next time, that is all they can do ;).
The Negative Aspects Of Attending BlogHer
For me, the event is not long enough, I know crazy to say huh. With so much going on, there isn’t enough time to do it all. Though I know the longer events would be more money, so that is a drawback. And I know I wouldn’t want them to take anything away just because it isn’t long enough.
There really isn’t that many negatives that I have found, I know it was only my first BlogHer event… But I really got lots out of the event, even though I did miss like half of what was going on.
A drawback can be for some the sheer amount of people that attend. Like I said earlier, it is intimidating being around a crowd of 2,000 people. One thing is that the event space really helped space us all out tough.
What I Would Do Differently
More Time To Prepare – I wished I had more time to prepare! See, I first saw tickets available I believe in the beginning of the year. I totally missed the early bird offerings. Then forgot about it and then I really began seeing the buzz floating around and thought darn… there went my chance to attend BlogHer.
Until I was given the rare chance to not only attend BlogHer but I got in for free! So I am truly thankful for the entire opportunity. I needed more time to prepare in general and I do believe that having a mentor and or business coach just for events such as this is truly important. It is one thing I am going to look into for sure!
I needed more time to prepare in general and I do believe that having a mentor and or business coach just for events such as this is truly important. It is one thing I am going to look into for sure!
Have A Backup Plan – The incident with both my parking troubles and the last minute sitter backing out were such a huge devastation. The parking issue was more annoying, inconvenient as well as costly and I wished I had more information about the parking situation so I could have planned better.
Since I had already planned for a sitter, I didn’t plan for the possibility of having to bring a 2-year-old along with me. It takes time and preparations to plan on bringing a toddler to such an event. I don’t use sitters at all, so it would not have crossed my mind to have that backup plan.
Stick To Plans – I had made plans to meet up with some bloggers ahead of time and I wanted to mingle afterward too. But my family didn’t help make that possible, I know being with my toddler can be such a handful but still plus I truly wanted to stay close to the hotel because I know that there are super opportunities to mingle with event attendees as well as anyone else that is a part of the event.
I wished I was more firm with myself and others and stuck with what I actually wanted to do… instead of what was easiest for others. I really wanted to rent some hotel stay, especially for Friday night through Sunday. However, with a previously planned trip to the same hotel as well as my husband being called into work half that week, it was way too much going on to do much of anything along those lines. So overall there were way too many moving parts on my end that were trying its hardest to prevent me from going altogether.
Some Things I Learned And Would Do Differently That Would Have Made It A Better Experience
Book Myself The Hotel Stay – This, in my opinion, is one of the crucial steps to such an event like this. It allows you more opportunities to connect without worries. Staying on the premisis is better because it is easier and way more convenient!
I drove for three hours in total each day I went, which was six hours total since I only went the frst two days. That six hours I could have spent in a way that is more beneficial to me. One of the sessions during BlogHer was about productivity….
Greatest example ever! Instead of using my time wisely to obtain an entire day’s worth of working, learning and connecting… Six hours of total wasted time – I was all by myself.. driving ugh! If I went all three days, that is a total of nine hours of driving time. Do you know the amount of things I could and should have been doing instead!
A side note about getting a room during a BlogHer event that I didn’t even know about until I saw others talking about it.
- Book your hotel stay at the hotel that BlogHer has room blocks for. They Give Extra Prizes And Swag To These Attendees!!!
Use Google Calendar – Ok, so BlogHer does have an app where you can go in and schedule your days out. However, unless I don’t know about this feature… There are no alerts or alarms or even a vibration to remind you when something is about to take place.
It is extremely easy to get side tracked and lose total track of time. If you are in the expo section there isn’t a way to tell time or see upfront when the next thing is happening, there aren’t any announcements. So I will use my Google calendar to make sure that I stay on track and can stick to the plans.
I had no idea when a session was about to start and by the time I remembered after chatting with one of the sponsors, well the session already started. The sessions fill up very quickly and I wouldn’t be able to get inside or be able to comfortably sit at a table to get fully enthralled in the information.
Transportation and Parking – If I had to do it all over again, I would have needed and wanted to know the transportation and parking situation. When I saw others talk about transportation, it seems now they were staying at the hotel… They were really talking about transportation to and from extracurricular activities that were going on outside of the BlogHer event, even though they were somewhat a part of the event haha.
So that was my mistake as I didn’t know or understand the parking and transportation situation. If I was booked to stay at the hotel, much of it would not have occurred.
Some things to know about the parking and transportation that would have been helpful to me:
- Park At Disney Springs And Grab A Carpool From Other Attendees Or An Uber
- Arrive Before Event Start to Grab Valet Parking; Grab a Meal or Drink From The Bar to Get Cheaper Parking (goes from $35 to just $7!). Valet May Close Down Due To At Capacity
- If Self Parking, There Are No Discounts
- Park On The 6th Floor, Easy To Remember and Find Your Car. (I walked around for45 minutes trying to remember where I actually parked)
Open Up Conversation Starters – I really wished that I wasn’t so pressed for time during the event. I went there on three missions… To check out brands to work with, to learn and improve and third to make connections.
I did my best trying to initiate some friendly conversations with other attendees. Most ofthem were happy to share some words with one another and I did run into a select few that weren’t so friendly. They didn’t seem shy or too much of an introvert, their facial expressions and body language was very stand-off’ish, not inviting at all or friendly.
I smiled lots and tried to have more of an open body language so that it would be easier to be approached by other bloggers and hopefully make some friends that understand my world.
My family sees and “knows” what I do, they just can’t and wont get it because they are not as immersed as I am. So I really wanted to make some real connections with some #blogcolleagues to grow into a meaningful community.
So if you would like to connect, I do have a Facebook group that I would love to connect with you there and help one another met our blogging – influencer goals together. #BlogColleagues Facebook Group
If we didn’t meet during the BlogHer17 event, I would love to make some conference connections and show off who was at the event. Checkout my Conference Connections post I have a few small offerings for free for you.
Do You Have A BlogHer Related Post? Add Its Link To The Linky So We Can Check Eachother Out.
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