I just got home from attending my 2nd Haven Conference – a blogger conference held in Atlanta for DIY/decor bloggers. I wanted to share my blog conference tips and a recap of my wonderful trip with you! These might not be the standard conference advice you hear all the time – but I am hoping they are helpful and you can use these tips on your next blog conference trip!
5 Blog Conference Tips You Might Not Know
This was my 2nd year attending Haven and dare I say it was even better than the first! I learned SO much and laughed SO hard. It was exhausting but so rewarding. I felt inspired, connected, validated, and uplifted from the classes I attended and people I met. My heart is so full but my business brain is a little overloaded. I wanna do ALL the things!!! I’ll get there slowly but surely, ha!
I wanted to give my own spin on advice for attending a blog conference – these are things that I noticed aren’t being talked about a lot, but I thought would be helpful! These tips are from my own perspective – so they might be different for each person – but wanted to share in case some of you think like me too. Read below my 5 Blog Conference Tips You Might Not Know.
BLOG CONFERENCE TIP #1: Skip Classes and Sessions
OK – let me explain this one! It’s not exactly what you think.
When you check into the conference, you will get a schedule with all the classes, lunch sessions, meetups, and events for the conference. It’s so exciting seeing everything you can attend! There’s basically an event to attend for every minute of every hour of the day!
One myth I believed my first year was that I needed to attend EVERY class and EVERY extra session, party, meetup, etc. etc. or I would miss out on something very important. There’s so much to learn and so many experts to learn from – I wanted to hear it all and soak it all up!
While this is super helpful that the conference team sets up so many events for us to attend, it can be incredibly exhausting trying to go to them all. There is so much great information but if you are already at max capacity for retaining information that day, it might be best to escape to a quiet place, relax and take a breather and skip whatever session is next.
My advice is this: focus on the classes you REALLY want to learn about and spend your mental and physical energy on those. After taking one of my classes, I felt I needed to digest everything I just learned and was super excited to tell Bryan about all this new wealth of knowledge I just retained, which was during a competitive diablo 2 tournament where I was trying to score d2 items with everyone else at the same time). So instead of going to my mentor meeting, I found a corner to myself for 30 minutes to call Bryan and tell him all about this amazing class. I even spent that time messaging back and forth with the instructor of the class and made some notes for a game plan to implement when I got back home.
Also, if you know you are going to have a long night ahead with a brand dinner or other event (and need to be on your best A-game) it can be helpful to skip the last event of the day to get mentally prepared and ready for the night.
I don’t mean for this tip to be a bash on the conference events/classes – I find the events to be super helpful! But also know that every session, every speaker, every meetup isn’t mandatory. Or may not be the best fit for everyone. You paid for the conference, so it’s worth it to get the most out of it – and also know your limits and what to focus on that will be the most beneficial for your business (and your sanity).
BLOG CONFERENCE TIP #2: Dress Your Brand
This is probably different for everyone based on what type of brand you have – but my next tip is to dress my brand when attending conferences and work related events.
What does dress your brand mean?
I’ve been told that my feed’s aesthetic (specifically Instagram) is happy, colorful and cheerful. So I like to think about these characteristics when picking out my outfits for conferences! I believe it helps other brands and fellow bloggers know who you are and be able to identify you if you have the same look as your branded content.
Sometimes I think I might be silly and overthinking it – but a conversation I had withJodie from The Design Twins helped me feel validated in this belief. (If you don’t know Jodie and Julie from The Design Twins – they are the real deal in the Home Decor Instagram Community! They are the sweetest and kindest people, and they share amazing tips on growing in the Instagram decor world).
At the welcome reception I was introduced to Jodie by a friend of mine, and while we were talking she pulled up my Instagram account and commented on how bright and colorful and happy it was – specifically the hot pink stock tank pool! A minute or so later in our conversation, she complimented my skirt I was wearing – which was also bright, colorful and happy. I casually mentioned how when I saw the skirt, I thought it would be the perfect outfit for the event because it felt like “me” and represented my brand. She instantly agreed! She said, Why do you think me and Julie always dress the same? It’s our brand! We want to represent that! 🙂
BLOG CONFERENCE TIP #3: Stay Off-Site!
Last year was my first year attending the Haven Conference. I didn’t know very many people attending, and on a whim I reached out to an Instagram friend of mine to see if she needed a roommate – and she said yes! We stayed at the hotel where the conference was held. We shared 1 room with 4 women total – with 2 beds and 1 bathroom. It was so fun but it also super crowded.
This year we decided to try out staying off-site from the hotel. We had the opportunity to stay in a gorgeous airbnb hosted by Hedgewood Homes, a boutique nightly rental company in Atlanta. We felt so privileged getting to stay here during the conference. If you missed my tour of Hedgewood Home – The Manse , I saved it in my Instagram Haven Conf Highlights!
There’s definitely positives and negatives about staying at the hotel vs. staying off-site. We were a little lost the first day not knowing our way around the hotel, and there’s not a place of your own to escape to when you need a break. But we felt that staying at our own place with three separate bedrooms and bathrooms was worth it!
We had 6 people staying at our airbnb and we had such a fun time together laughing and connecting with one another (mostly laughing!). Having this separate space to gather together and talk about our day was my favorite part of the trip!!
BLOG CONFERENCE TIP #4 Plan Your Brand Visit
At the Haven Conference, there are lots of brands that have booths setup around the conference rooms for you to talk to and introduce yourself. Try to be strategic with your brand visit, but don’t stress too much! Talk to the brands when you can, and don’ t feel like you need to go to them all. I like to look at the list of brands ahead of time, and highlight who I want to talk to and what conversation I want to have with them.
Another tip is to take photos of the items in their booth that they are wanting to promote in the upcoming quarter. This will help you remember what items they are focusing on right now for influencer partnerships!
BLOG CONFERENCE TIP #5: Follow-up!
We are told in our mentor groups over and over how important it is to follow up with the brands we talk to! When you get home from the conference, you need to send emails and reach out to the brands you want to work with. There’s usually multiple brand reps in the booth and usually only one name on the business card, so while I’m in the booth I like to write down all the brand reps names that I talked to. This way I can remember everyone’s names and mention them directly in my follow up emails.
Something that doesn’t get mentioned as much is not to just follow up with brands – also follow up with your instructors and fellow bloggers too. One of my instructors gave out her email address to the class so we could ask her questions later on. It’s also a great idea to follow up with other bloggers that you met at the conference too! Send them a direct message on Instagram, comment on their photos, sign up for their blog newsletter. Make the connections that you made at Haven last longer than just the conference!
I hope these tips are helpful if you are planning on attending a blog conference in the future!
What do y’all wanna know about Haven or attending a blog conference? Ask me anything in the comments!