Blissdom Tips: Top Ten {Tuesday}

It’s that time again—Blissdom is right around the corner. For all you non-bloggy readers, that’s one of the big (and more centrally located) blogging conferences! This will be my 3rd year attending. And I promised myself I wouldn’t post a billion and a half times about Blissdom because for all you non-bloggers, I know it seems like a trekkie convention or something. Then I realized, probably most of my blog feels like a strange convention of sorts. So, whatever, we’re going with it.

The last day or two I’ve been following the hashtag (#blissdom) on twitter and reading what everyone has to say about the conference. And suddenly I realized, “ACK! Blissdom is mere DAYS away!”. Suddenly, it was all I could think about. I thought about the first time I went to Blissdom {alone} and what I was thinking and how blogging has changed…or at least how my blog has changed. And I decided to do a Blissdom-centric post for you today. From one semi-qualified-old-timer to you:

My Top Ten Tips For Surviving Blissdom and Getting The Most Out of a Blogging Conference

1. Make a Date

blissdomMe and Amy. Blissdom 10.
Playing with PhotoBooth on my MacBook.

Last year I made a date with Amy from The Finer Things In Life. I had recently discovered her blog and was taken by it. She’s organized, articulate and personable. I knew she saw blogging as a part-time job, but also thinks motherhood is her first and full-time job, too. I needed HER advice. So, we sat down (on the stairs, no less) of the lobby and talked blogging. A few other bloggers joined us and it was *my* best part of the weekend. I learned a lot, heard REAL conversations and formed friendships.

Do it! Email a blogger you admire. Make a date. That conversation might be worth your ticket price.

2. Wear YOUR Clothes

Everyone freaks when they go to a conference or special event–WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO WEAR? If you’re like me you don’t have a lot of variety in your wardrobe. I wear jeans and a basic shirt every single day. I’m not very interesting.

But when I try too hard to be interesting and wear something I’ve never worn before I end up 1) feeling uncomfortable all day because I’m not used to the shoes, the hat, the scarf or the dress. And I’m wondering if people are wondering why I look like I dressed in another person’s closet. 2) thinking about my clothes more than what’s going on around me.

This year, I’ll admit, I have to buy some new shoes. You know I have shoe issues anyway. But besides that? I’m going to wear stuff I LIKE TO WEAR! I want to focus on feeling great and meeting people. Not worrying about my clothes!

Need some specific clothes advice? Try Simple Mom and Musings of a Housewife. They’ve got some great (and more fashionable) insight.

3. Unplug (a little)

Blissdom 2010 Day 2fabu photo by mooshinindy

I’m all for letting your non-blogging friends and non-blissdom-attending friends know what’s going on while you’re at the conference. I’m all for tweeting someone I’m physically sitting right next to. Suzannah and I could be in the Olympics for texting each other while in the same room. But at one level you need to experience the conference for yourself, too.

I remember watching a man on the Small World ride at Disney. He took a video of the entire ride. And I thought to myself, “Did this man actually experience the classic Small World ride through a 2″ video screen?” It’s not worth it. Set down the camera, the Flip, the iPhone and the laptop. This is the one time your ONLINE friends are your IN REAL LIFE friends. Take that opportunity.

And don’t worry, you’ll find 5000 pictures of you after the conference–most taken by people you don’t even know. (I promise. It happened to me. And I may have stolen a few pics of others, too…)

4. Get It Right

The first year I went to Blissdom I sat in on a I-want-to-write-a-book-one-day session. Because a long time ago, before my blog, I did want to write a book. But in the middle of that session I realized, “Writing a book? Not interested.” And I should have walked into the other room and hit up the “Blogging for Basics” or whatever the other session was.

If you sit down in a session and realize it’s not what you thought–move! You’ve paid money. This is your chance to listen in on some great bloggy inspiration. Take it. Don’t stay seated because you’re afraid someone might see you leave. It’s ok. They are all wondering what amazing place you’re going to.

5. Ask Hard Questions

@makeandtakes & smoky @oohamanda

Marie and Me. Blissdom 10.

Last year, I sat on the floor of an Opryland ballroom while Marie from Make and Takes sat in a chair beside me. I asked her specific and serious questions about traffic, about why she posts what she does and how I could be more like her. <insert brown nosing here> I have admired Marie’s blog from the first second I laid eyes on it. She’s in a niche similar to Impress Your Kids. She seems to be always advancing and getting new ideas, breaking new ground and doing MORE with her blog. So, I asked her for help.

Did she laugh at me? Brush me off like a silly child? No. She talked to me. She gave me advice. Gave me some tips.

I could have been too embarrassed to talk to her. I could have been intimidated because her blog is so much bigger and better than mine. And I would have missed out on some good info. (And a great friendship!)

6. Don’t Hide

Everyone hides behind pretty blog designs, a nice profile picture and their twitter follower numbers. But guess what? There is more to social media influence than what you see on a blog or on twitter or on facebook.

I have recently added to my feedreader some women I’ve never ever heard mentioned on twitter. Some girls that I don’t even think have a facebook page. But they inspire me! They motivate me and they INFLUENCE me. If they were going to be at Blissdom, I’d want to pick their brains. I’d want to know more about how they craft their blog’s schedule, posts and community.

And guess what? YOU ARE THAT PERSON TO SOMEONE. There’s someone thinking, “I can’t wait to meet <insert your name here>.” And if you are too new for someone to anticipate your arrival, there will be someone who will say, “I am so glad I got to meet <insert your name here> while I was at Blissdom.” Your influence goes beyond knowing the right time to post on facebook or the best way to get a re-tweet. Your gifts and talents will shine when you let them!

7. Bloggy Cards

*my* bloggy business cards

Yup. As weird as it sounds, bloggers like to exchange cards. Get some. Pass ‘em out. Collect ‘em. Then you can stuff them in your computer bag and forget about them for three weeks until you clean it out and realize you never even looked at them then you’ll start looking through all of them and get lost on everyone’s blog and it will be like Blissdom all over again. Not that I’ve ever done that.

8. Chill Out

It’s ok if you are late to the cocktail party. It’s ok if you don’t get to meet every single person you wanted to. It’s ok if you miss that picture with so-and-so. It’s ok if you catch out early to decompress and call your kids. It’s ok to sit down with a pen and paper and make some notes about your blog.

Make Blissdom about what YOU need for your blog, not what the published schedule says!

9. BE BIG

I would say a lot (not most, but a lot) of bloggers are more comfortable behind their keyboard than in front of it. So, just use that knowledge and be the sparkling person you are online. Say the funny zinger out loud. Walk right up to someone they same way you’d confidently send a tweet.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned (and not followed through on) in blogging is that if you put yourself out there–you will be seen as an expert. If you start a conversation in the elevator or confidently walk into a conversation, you will get a good response.

You place yourself out on your blog everyday. Bare. Give yourself the freedom to do the same thing in the only group of people who actually understand what that means.

10. Find ME.

me. blissdom 2010.
believe me, I will not be looking this glam.

secret agent mama worked her photog magic on this one.

Seriously! I wanna meet you! Tell me you’ve (even partially) read one of my posts. Mention you may recognize my twitter handle. Just say “hi!”. I’ll be at the Wisdom Workshops on Wednesday (with my good in real life friend, Kathy from House of Hills) and I will be sporting this FABU belt from Blood:Water Belt.

anthropologie

I’m part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Belt and I am one of THREE people that will be wearing this same belt at Blissdom. Like the EXACT same one! We each paid for the belt–$28 which was donated to Blood:Water to supply clean water in Africa. I am SO excited to share this belt with everyone at Blissdom. If you’d like to take a gander at it, please come find me. If you’d like to wear the belt yourself, please join the Sisterhood!

BONUS: My “Get Your Blog Ready for Blissdom and Beyond: Tips from Top Bloggers” series for your perusal. It’s bliss*tastic:

Week 1: Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife: To Niche Or Not To Niche
Week 2: Christine from Boston Mamas: Niche and Beyond
Week 3: Andrea from MommySnacks: Limitations (or not) of a Niche
Week 4: Amy from Finer Things In Life: Building Your Blog Readership
Week 5: Marie from Make and Takes: Submitting Your Tutorials, Recipes & How To Posts

Will you be at Blissdom? Have you been to a blogging conference before? What tips do you have for us?

:: :: ::

Wanna join our Top Ten {Tuesday} fun? Don’t be intimidated by my long-windedness! Your list can be about whatever you’d like and however long you like—as long as there are 10 of ‘em! Just WRITE a great post, then LINK back to me so others can play, PASTE the url to your post below and then start LOVIN’ on the rest of the participants by clicking, reading, commenting, stumbling, tweeting and liking their posts!

Comments

  1. Wonderful post! So true to everything I was thinking and not verbalizing. So your on my list of people I gotta meet. Although I will prob be too intimidated by your gorgeous-ness. If you see a spikey redhead lurking that will be me trying to get up my nerve to say “hi”:)
    Thanks again for the awesome post. Hope too see ya soon!

  2. I’m coming! I’ve lurked around your blog since your trip to the DR w/ World Vision. I don’t have a lot of conference experience, I’ve just been to Relevant. (I roomed with Jessica Turner.)

    Would love to meet you!

  3. And now, I wish all over again that I was going to be at Blissdom. Maybe next year. Have a great time!

  4. great post, Amanda!
    Hope we can have a real conversation, not just me interrupting you to introduce myself :)
    I’ll be looking forward to your sparlkly smile and THE BELT!
    BLESSINGS!

  5. I do wish that I was going to Blissdom this year…I have never been because it is during the same weekend that my son does a production in school and I can’t miss that. Priorities!

  6. i so needed this post!!! thanks so much. i’m so excited and nervous (though i hope it doesn’t show) about blissdom! hope to meet you there…i will be looking for you:))))

    xo
    melissa

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  9. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

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