Every May conference season kicks off with flare. For the last two years I have been attending Mom 2. o summit. It’s always a great start to conference season. After that, a string of social media and digital media conferences pop up across North America. There’s Travel Bloggers Expo (TBEX), which takes place several different locations each year, Blogher and Bloggy Bash, VidCon, Food Bloggers Conference, Blog Podium, Type A Parent, and eventually Blissdom Canada which is usually October. It is possible for bloggers to find themselves racing from one conference to the next, from May to October. Organized bloggers, photographers and digital media professionals need tools that make conference season effective and productive. These are my five essentials for conference season.
Five Essentials for Conference Season:
1. Business Cards. My favourite partner for beautiful and professional business cards is Minted. This year I had dozens of Minted business cards from the last batch and I went to Bloggy Bash in New York City and handed out every last one. I didn’t expect that I would go through as many as I did. I easily handed out 200. I came back completely empty and in fact I missed about 15 brands or people towards the end of the conference. Don’t get caught like that. So I returned home and promptly ordered a brand new set and design from Minted. Minted is super fast and they have great service. Plus these cards are gorgeous quality. Business cards aren’t the only thing Minted does, and in fact they have business post cards, Christmas cards, New Year’s cards, personalized art prints and a slew of baby cards. But it’s the business stationery that keeps me coming back. I think Minted has some of the best business cards available on line. Oh, sure, there are some other sites that make cards cheaply, but you get what you pay for and Minted is worth every penny.
2. A business casual wardrobe. See the cute little orange sleeveless dress I bought? (collage above) It was about $90 at Laura Petites. I have a handful of stores I like and rely on, and I buy a few key pieces each season. They are always relatively affordable and they are always dressy but neat. Bloggers are often photographed and they need to look professional. Plus a social media conference is all about the networking. Sometimes that’s networking with other bloggers and sometimes it’s connecting with big name brands. I dress to feel good and to help me portray confidence when I am building and selling my site and my consulting services. That doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes. I have. Like flying all day in Lululemons and finding myself at a garden party feeling awkward. (Lesson learned.)
3. A power purse or powerful branded laptop bag: I find that I communicate professionalism and confidence more so when I am carrying a serious purse. The first year that I had my consulting business after I had a certain level of income and I had reached several goals for myself personally and professionally I bought I gorgeous Red Coach bag. I felt great carrying it and I still do. Now I buy a new one every year. This year I bought a Kate Spade bag big enough to hold a tablet and some extras if needed. It worked beautifully.
4. An elevator pitch. This is the one or two sentence pitch you have down by heart every time you meet someone new who says – so tell me about your business. Practice it and change it as needed over the years. But make sure it’s short and to the point. You should be able to say it in an elevator between floors.
5. A game plan. It took me a couple of years to get this down but now I assess the brands and the workshops and other agenda items and I devise a plan before I get there. What is my goal going in? Do I need a new social media consulting business client? Do I need five new brands? Which brands do I need or want to attend to? Am I just there to reconnect with friends and enjoy myself? Am I sightseeing? Am I coming home with a couple of new clients immediately? Do I need to focus hard on the workshops about video? Do I need to find 5 new US bloggers in the a certain age group? Do I need a combination of the above? Have a goal going in and you are far more likely to leave feeling satisfied.
What’s your conference secret weapon?
I am grateful to work with Minted periodically for my business needs. I received business cards for this post. My opinion is all my own.