Blog World New York: The Ultimate Survival Guide

blogworld new york guideBlog World is a great event. I had the opportunity attend my first Blog World (in Los Angeles) in November of last year and I got a lot out of the event from both the business and personal perspectives. What I learned though, is that without proper (and early) planning, most of us will not really take advantage of all of the opportunities that Blog World New York presents.

So, let’s talk about how to make Blog World New York (or any other conference for that matter) a success for you!

 

Before the Conference

One of the biggest mistakes I made for Blog World LA was not taking enough advantage of the pre-conference networking and of not doing enough advance planning.  Luckily I still got a ton out of the event, including getting some interviews, meeting some amazing people, writing up blog posts that helped quite a few people, and getting my photography featured on blogs or social media sites around the web.

So how can you use pre-planning to your advantage?

Take Advantage of pre-event social media opportunities

There is a lot of activity on social media leading up to the event. You have opportunities to connect with people, to be updated on events and opportunities and to learn from or meet some of the speakers. Here are some of the ways you can get more connected on social media.

Official Blog World Social Media

  • Blog World social networking forum (you get access once you register)
  • Blog World Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest
  • Blog World Twitter chats (#BWEchat) leading up to the event
  • Know, Follow and Use the Blog World NY Hashtag (#BWENY)
  • Follow the Blog World staff on Twitter: @blogworld, @blogworldexpo, @dave_blogworld, @alison_boyer, @nikkikatz, @debng (and more…)

Unofficial Blog World Conversations and Resources

  • Connect with people who are going (find them via the resources above or via the hashtag)
  • Connect with or learn more about the speakers
  • Sign up for unofficial attendee lists that people post (Note: Put your name and Twitter handle in the comments if you’re attending BlogWorld New York and want to connect with other attendees)
  • Look for unofficial events planned around the conference

Determine your conference goals

Determine your main goals for the conference. Are you there to learn? If so, are there specific things you want to take away? Are you there to promote your business? Are you there to make new connections? Obviously, most of us do a combination of these things, but determine what you most want to get out of the event and plan your activities around this.

Based on those goals, what advance planning do you need? I’ll talk about some of that below.

Find out who’s going to be there

One of the basic things you should start to do in advance is to find out who’s going to be attending or speaking at the event. Are key partners or customers going to be there? Are thought leaders that you want to connect with going to be there? How about other “kindred spirits” or people in your industry?

You can use the list on the Blog World site to find out about the speakers. Connecting via social media as discussed above will help you find out who else is going.

Are you doing interviews or having meetings?

If so, try to set these up in advance. You’ll find that while you’re there, it’s very hard to opportunistically meet people for an interview. The further in advance you set it up, the better. You may want to set times just before or after the conference if possible.

Get your equipment in place

One of the things I discovered is that trying to find specialized video and sound equipment at the last minute is not easy – even in a big city like LA or New York. If you’re doing interviews, blogging, photography or video, make sure you have your equipment in place. Some ideas:

Blog World New York Supplies

Get your equipment in place early!

  • Video camera
  • Microphone
  • DSLR camera
  • Zoom lens
  • Tripod
  • Voice recorder (for back-up recording of interviews)
  • Laptop
  • Smart phone (for Tweets/Social Media)
  • Backpack (for equipment and swag)
  • Notepad
  • Chargers and cords for all

Optimize your timing and logistics

Take advantage of pre-conference events (and book your flights accordingly)

If you want to interview people or go to pre-event parties or get-togethers, consider getting there a day early or leaving a day later. For example, last year I found out about several events taking place the day and night before Blog World LA (for example, Darren Rowse was participating in the LA photo walk last year and inviting people to join him). Unfortunately I already had other plans but next time I would leave some flexibility to network in a more relaxed environment.

Book your hotels early

Book early to get the best rates and location close to the event or that has a shuttle. Use the Blog World recommended hotels, your hotel points, or other means to get the best deal.

Upon Arrival / During the Conference

Figure out the events, shuttles and timing

Just before the conference, make sure you know the timing of the various events (official and unofficial). Make sure you know when the shuttles leave that first morning of Day 1 and where it leaves from. Plan to go early for Day 1 so you don’t miss part of the first presentation due to transportation and check-in delays.

Also, check out the map so you have a feel for the event space and where all the different activities are taking place. The last thing you want to be doing is rushing around trying to figure out where you’re going.

Blog World New York Speakers

The directory, your faithful companion

When you get to the conference

  • Check in right away
  • Get the Wifi password
  • Figure out the first presentation you’re going to
  • If you want to shoot pictures or video, sit up front
  • If you need a cord, make sure you get a spot early

Network both strategically and opportunistically

The conference will fly by, so you may not want to just let things fall into place. If you had plans to connect with specific people, make sure you make arrangements to meet them. Or if it’s a speaker, figure out where/when they’re speaking. The few minutes before or after they speak can be a good time to quickly connect (but don’t distract or nag them)!

Also, take the opportunity to meet your neighbors at presentations or people at your tables over meals or breaks. I’ve met some great people via these chance meetings.

Pick topics based on your goals

Go to topics that will best meet your goals. If you’re writing up posts about the event in order to increase visibility for your blog, you may want to steer towards the hot topics or speakers (or the ones that your audience cares the most about or could learn the most from). If you’re trying to learn specific things to help your business, make sure you pick the topics and speakers that can help you meet those goals. Don’t get swayed by the popular topics if they’re not going to help you move forward.

Learn about new products, services and tools

Use the exhibit hall with various vendors as an opportunity to learn about new products that may be able to help your business. Also, consider these companies as potential partners. Do they take guest posts on their blogs? Are there other ways you can work together? You’ll also be able to collect plenty of swag items, trial memberships or discounts here – you should see several opportunities to win an iPad (I haven’t won one yet…).

Do some interviews

If one of your goals is to get an interview, keep trying to set that up (obviously the best is if you reach out to them before Blog World). Be respectful of people’s time though. If they can’t fit in an interview or are not willing to do an impromptu one, be understanding. Perhaps they can do one later via Skype or phone. Don’t consider this the only opportunity to interview them.

Here’s an interview I did with the Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi at Blog World LA:

Write your blog posts

One way to get your blog noticed is to write up a blog post based on one of the presentations or keynotes that you got a lot out of. Or you can write a post about the entire conference or highlights from it. I’m not a big fan of live-blogging myself, but you can always do that as well, if that’s your thing. My favorite style is to take good notes and then write up the post quickly afterward (usually that night) while it’s still fresh.

Here are two posts I wrote from last year’s event:

Collect physical and digital “artifacts”

One of the ways I like to make my posts stand out is by getting pictures, video and items (that I can photograph later) to make the event come alive. Consider what artifacts you can collect to spice up your coverage. In fact, a few of my pictures ended up on other blogs and social media pages. A couple of examples:

Share via social media

During the presentations, you can share lessons learned, pictures or other details on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. When you Tweet, don’t forget to use the conference hashtag! This is a way to get noticed by other attendees or by the BlogWorld team.

Participate in the extracurricular activities

There are a lot of BlogWorld sponsored events or events sponsored by other companies. These can include things like breakfasts, cocktail hours and dinners. Be on the lookout for notifications from Blog World or from some of the sponsors or other companies (e.g. Social Media Examiner had a breakfast last year).

After the Conference

After the conference ends, take advantage of the connections and lessons that you gained from the conference. Also, make sure to get your own content out and shared!

Get your blog posts out

You have to get your blog posts, videos or pictures posted and shared within the first few days of the close of the conference. That’s when people still have that “conference buzz” and when people are collecting links of articles about the conference and promoting them.

Make sure to alert the conference organizers and people mentioned that you’ve written a post that includes them.

Peter Shankman BlogWorld Speech Article

When you get your content out, make sure to let your subjects know so they can share too...

Connect with other bloggers who have written about the event

Link to their posts, share them on social media and comment on them. This is a great way to make connections with other bloggers.

Solidify your new connections

Follow the social media profiles of those people you met. Share their good content, schedule those interviews or meetings and follow through with any commitments. Do you have joint venture opportunities to pursue? How about guest blogging opportunities?

Put your new strategies into your planning process

I’m sure you’ve picked up a lot of new strategies, ideas and tools that can help your business. If you don’t put them into your planning, many of these will go by the wayside. So, make sure you document the key items you’ll focus on and put them into your plan.

Take advantage of the Virtual Ticket

Whether you’re attending or not, consider getting the Virtual Ticket (so you can watch the event online, on demand). There are a lot of great presentations that you weren’t able to attend, so this is a great way to watch those online. Also, if you want to go back through any of the ones you did attend and learned a lot from, this is a great way to review those key points or strategies.

Are you going?

Will you make Blog World New York this year or get the Virtual Ticket? A little tip… you can still write winning blog posts about a keynote or presentation even if you don’t attend it. Anyway, look out for me there!

What did I miss?

I’m sure I missed a lot of great tips for getting the most out of Blog World New York.
What would you add?

Are you attending Blog World New York? If so, put your Name and Twitter @name in the comments section if you want to connect with other attendees.

 

Related posts:

Comments

  1. I have to say… i stumbled across this post by accident, actually was looking for something relevant to my own blog but it just gave me some great ideas for promotion!

    I’m quite new to the whole internet content phenomena and simply trying to share my knowledge and experience using a site built for me by some great guys.

    Thank you for the exceptional info – even more for giving me idea that might help me boost my readership!
    Stan Lambert recently posted..Government Takeover, How Real Is It?My Profile

  2. Hi Tom,
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with Blog World. I will also attend the event and your post has clarified what do I need to prepare for it.
    Hope to see you there. :)
    Tuan recently posted..4 Places To Look For Great Post IdeasMy Profile

  3. Hi Tom, sounds like Blog World is an exciting event for you. Cliff Ravenscraft announced on his podcast that next year’s event will be in Vegas right before CES! I think I’m going to save up some funds and attend that show instead of NYC. Right now I’m really looking forward to staying tuned for all the follow-up and live blogging that will be going on in June. I’m sure you are going to have a blast and get some great photo opps! Enjoy it.
    Ileane recently posted..How To Curate Content and Build Authority With Scoop.itMy Profile

  4. Hi Tom.
    Thanks for all the great tips. I’m going to be commuting in from New Jersey, which is not ideal for conferences, but I’m really looking forward to my first BlogWorld Expo. You’ve reminded me that I’d better do some planning. I’m joining the virtual conference that SME are doing in May (Social Media Success Summit), so I haven’t really been focused on this. Great reminders.

    Here’s another little tip from previous conferences. Bring a light sweater! In NY in June it can be extremely hot, but they usually air-condition conference rooms and restaurants like crazy.

    Sharyn
    Sharyn Sheldon recently posted..Time Management PLR Article PackMy Profile

  5. Glad I found this writeup. I’m going to BWNY for the first time. It’ll actually be my first ever conference so looking forward to it. This gave me a good overview of how to best prepare for it. Thanks!
    Benny recently posted..Get a P90X Life Lesson without breaking a sweatMy Profile

  6. There’s a lot of great stuff here… from experience, I’d like to add that MAKE SURE YOU ATTEND THE AFTERPARTIES. That’s where the real relationships are formed.

    This will be my 4th time speaking at BlogWorld. I’ll be speaking on “Responsive Design” and why it’s important, so please find me if you want to say hello.

  7. Hi Tom,
    Thank you for all the tips you mentioned here before going to a Blog World conference. I think one of the most simple but crucial thing to do during these conferences is to always bring with you your phone and some customized business cards to give out to those you would want to establish (either social, business, personal) relationships with.
    Sylvia recently posted..Med. students – now pay attentionMy Profile

  8. Hi,
    I am attending Blog World New York, next week.

    I am visiting from Mumbai, India. I am founder and Jt CEO of India’s largest social media agency, Social Wavelength. We are a 140 member team serving more than 60 top brands in India, as their official social media agency.

    I am looking forward to meet social media experts from the US to share experiences and best practice ideas for social media. I will also love to explore business synergies, if any.

    Do connect to me on email or on Twitter, pre-event, so we can meet up in person, at the event.

    – Sanjay

  9. Tom, this is a GREAT post! I’m speaking on two panels this year and this will really help me, especially as I’ve been under other deadlines and haven’t been very good about connecting until today. I am very excited!

    I do have one thing to add. It seems silly, but I’ve been to so many conferences where I’ve heard people say over and over, “I can’t believe I forgot my business cards!” or the other version, “I ran out.” Make a list (or by now, a pile in the corner!) of everything you want to remember to take with you. Pack waaaay more cards than you think you’ll need.

    I hope to meet you there!

    Katie

    PS My panels are 1 – More Traffic, More Authority, More Customers: Why All Bloggers Should Be Podcasting
    and 2 – Smart as a WIP: Success Secrets, Stupid Pitfalls, and Savvy Tactics of Women In Podcasting)
    Katie Davis recently posted..#98 – Your Questions Answered About Facebook Part 2My Profile

    • Katie,

      I completely agree with you. The earlier you plan the better. As I mentioned above, I was suddenly scrambling for a tripod and a better video camera but it was way, way to late by then! And business cards. Yep, need to be ordered well in advance and with plenty.

      I’ve had some personal matters come up that prevent me from heading out of town so I’m now participating via the virtual ticket this year! I guess the advantage is that I can listen to all of the presentations so won’t miss anything important. I’m definitely tuning in to yours because I’m launching a podcast (wine/restaurant marketing) in the next week! I need all the ideas I can get as I roll it out…

      Thanks for checking in here at Right Mix Mktg!
      Tom Treanor recently posted..Why I’m no longer monogamous with you, my dear (blog)My Profile