If you’re interested in blogging in any capacity and you’re not going to BlogWorld Expo, you’re missing out. It’s a lot of smart people in one place, and a lot of opportunities for you to make important contacts and connections. But you have to prepare, if you want to get something out of the experience. Here are 9 ways to rock your experience at BlogWorld Expo.
1 – Do Your Homework
Before the event, search Twitter for people talking about going. Make a list of people you definitely want to meet. If you’re not sure who they are, read a few blog posts. Ask Google who they are. Make plans to meet them the first day, if you can. Time passes fast and weird at events like this.
2 – Bring Three Good Questions
You get out of these events what you put into them. Spend a half hour or so thinking through some good questions. Don’t you dare show up with “how can I improve my blogging?” Show up with, “I’m interested in understanding more about affiliate marketing but I’ve always thought it was a bit scammy. Am I wrong? I sure would love to make a few extra bucks.” That’s something to dig into. Find someone like Nalts or Steve Garfield and ask them how their use of video has changed over the last year, and where they’re headed in 2011.
3 – Bring Business Cards
I’m personally a bit burned out about business cards. The problem, most times, is that we exchange them without any real next business steps in mind. My thinking on cards has 3 parts:
- Exchange cards only if you intend to do further business. If you just want to follow each other, that’s something else.
- Ask for their card, if you need it. That means you can get back to them, whereas handing over your card means you have to wait for them to get to you.
- Do NOT go home and add that person to your mailing list.
4 – Plan Your Path Ahead of Time
Lots of people meander. They go where the tweets take them. They go to this or that party. I’ll admit that I’m good for a meander. But if you’re spending good money (yours or your company’s) to be there, take a moment and peruse the schedule of events. And as for the parties, it’s great to get out and socialize. It’s less useful to get out and get blotto so that you can barely attend the next day. It’s not pretty, and we all have cameras.
5 – Go Off-Topic
Another great opportunity you might miss is the chance to attend something that doesn’t relate directly to what you do. Here’s a hint: it’s called an echo chamber because we’re all in it saying the same thing. Visit someone else’s echo chamber and see what you can learn from it. Try at least one event or speech from someone else’s track.
6 – Meet the Up and Comers
Everyone wants to meet the “big names” or whatever, but you’ll get so much more mileage out of meeting fellow up-and-comers. The best people I meet at these events are people you’ve not yet heard of, but who are doing amazing things. Or maybe you know their name, but don’t consider them to be the best thing since sliced bread. Meet those people, and people like Glenda Watson Hyatt (I told you back in 2008 to meet her – have you? Although, technically, she’s not an up-and-comer any more. Glenda’s big time.)
7 – Make Some Media
One opportunity most people forget about is the chance to make some media. Don’t shoot interviews with just the big names. Get together and collaborate. One of my favorite random collaborations was the Always Be Charging site from another event. I think things like that – spontaneous creativity – are worth their weight in gold. Plus, I wished I’d thought of ABC.
8 – Thank the Organizers
If you haven’t met Rick Calvert and/or the rest of his team who put on BlogWorld Expo, make sure you stop them very briefly in the hall and thank them for the event. They put their heart and soul into it every year. They do it for you. Believe me, though there’s some money being made, there are 1000 headaches to each dollar earned, so give them a little love.
9 – Finish Strong
When you get home, do your contacts and follow-up right after you kiss your family hello and treat them to a great meal. Write back to the people whose cards you took. Drop a line. Upload your photos and tag them. Get that video edited. Write that blog post you totally delayed writing because you enjoyed yourself too much at slots.
BlogWorld Expo is a Great Event
Have a good year at BlogWorld Expo and do what you can to rock the event. There’s a great mix of celebrities (the kind from the TV and movies), as well as industry leaders, but mostly, there are amazing people and great relationships to be had. I hope you find it one of your best events of the year.