Last week I wrote this post about Advice You May Not Hear Too Often . That post left me super energized and going all gaga for written content. You see, I am a Community Specialist by day – full-time! – so I thought: Why not sharing some of my knowledge with you?
Starting today I’d like to introduce Blog Labs: a new monthly blog series that will tackle social media topics, advice, and – of course – blogging.
Today’s topic – Plan Your Next Blogging Adventure – will be divided in 3 posts (yeah, get ready!). By the end of this journey you’ll be a total conference pro! Let’s get started.
PART ONE: Create a Plan.
With so many networking events happening in so many destinations – selecting and planning for the perfect one can be quite tricky! Worry not my amigo, here are 5 easy tips to help you plan wisely:
1. Create a Budget: list all possible travel expenses, including: airplane ticket, hotel, meals, the cost of the conference, etc. A rough number will do. To help you with this (sometimes daunting) task, you can use these handy apps:
- Budgeting / Money tracking: Piggie (free) and Left To Spend ($0.99).
- Hotel / Flights: Hipmunk (free, my fave!), Kayak Pro ($0.99), and airbnb (free).
- City Guides (to check prices in restaurants, transportation, etc): Wallpaper City Guide ($2.99), Trip Advisor (free), and Guide Pal (free).
2. Do Your Research: Find as many relevant events as you can. National and international. Don’t go for the “cool” factor – remember this is a business trip and you must make the most out of it. Think of it as oranges – which one is going to yield the most juice? You don’t wanna end up spending lots of money on a shriveled piece of fruit that will leave you thirsty!
Now, here’s a little list of 2013 events for bloggers:
- SXSW 2013
- Social Media Marketing World
- Alt Summit NY and SF
- Craftcation Conference
- Meet The Blogger Amsterdam
- The Hive Berlin
- Social Media Week
- Food Bloggers of Canada Conference
- TBEX for New Media and Travel Bloggers
- BlogHer ’13
- Circles Conference
Wowza. Take your time to sift through those. If you decide to rob a bank to attend them all, gimme a shout – I can help you carry some bags!
Tip: Check the schedule! Read about the speakers, visit their blogs, even tweet at them in advance. Also, most conferences have image galleries from previous years – browse through them and check the crowd, are you feeling it?
3. Check your timing: Is it too soon? Do you have enough time to budget? Give yourself at least 2-3 months to plan ahead. Things to consider:
- Airplane ticket prices depending on the season
- Are there any events happening at the same time? Kill two birds with one stone! Or as I like to say: eat two tacos with one mouth.
- Can you ask for the time off at work? Or, could you swap shifts with someone?
4. Buy Your Ticket!: Now that you have your plan ready, go get that hot conference ticket! Some of these events will sell out in minutes, so again, don’t take too long to organize your trip or you’ll end up with a stellar budget but no place to go (and your polka dot sweater will be very, very sad).
If you can’t put it on your credit card, ask a friend! Reserve your spot as soon as possible – the rest can be figured out later. Worst-case scenario: if you can’t make it, sell your ticket.
5. Add the Extras: Do you need new business cards? Do you have a proper suitcase? Ay mami! So many details to take care of. Ok, don’t fret. Here’s a list of conference essentials that will set you for success:
- Small suitcase to carry yo shiz (most airlines charge around $25 per bag so pack lightly, not like me: diva style).
- Extra purse or backpack to carry yo shiz at the conference
- Camera to take photos of everyone’s shiz (you can use your phone if it’s good enough)
- Notebooks and pens to document that shiz
- Business cards (quintessential for success!) to network and shiz
- Swag (if you own a shop) to impress them with yo shiz
- Babysitter, dog whisperer, etc. All those peeps that need to get paid to take care of yo shiz
- Your elevator pitch to sell yo shiz (free of charge, but time consuming if you don’t have it)
Temp Gym membership for traveling…uh. Fuck that.
I recommend using Any.Do to schedule little reminders and to-do lists, that way you won’t forget any details or ideas.
There you have it. Hope this little guide helps you plan your next blogging adventure! If you have any other events that you’d like to share (or any tips not mentioned on this post) please, leave a comment below to share it with the community.
Next in the series: PART TWO – How To Find Potential Sponsors For Your Adventure