Thursday, January 4

Tips For Attending Blogging Events

In my six and a half years blogging and making videos, I've been to my fair share of events. Blogging events can come in a variety of styles or formats including PR Launches, Restaurant Reviews, Meetups, Talks, Trade Shows and many more. I've been to everything from the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, to my local Bournemouth Bloggers Brunch. As I'm writing this, I'm sat a five minute walk away from the venue for the Blogosphere Christmas Festival, where I'm speaking on a panel for the first time ever. Nervous, yes. (Update: it went great, I think! Huge thanks to Albertine for being a great host, and my fellow panelists featured above.) If you've been to a few, or never attended any Blogging Events before, then here are a few of my tips!

Prep Your Outfit
It's very odd, going from typing in your bedroom, to being in a room full of people who do the same thing as you, and it can certainly be nerve racking. Wearing clothes you love, that make you feel good, will help give you a little confidence boost. I like to prep my outfit about a week before, or at least have a rough idea of what I'm going to wear. This gives me enough time to purchase anything I'm not happy with. I often search the hashtag for the event (if there is one) to see if anyone has shared what they're wearing, or even pop a tweet out myself asking, to give me a good idea. Knowing the dress code can be challenging (unless it's specified, obviously), but 'Smart Casual' for most blogging events, is normally my go to. Having said that, the Blogosphere Christmas Festive was a real mix, and people wore whatever they liked, highlighting the amazing mix of personalities and styles amongst the community. My recommendation for what to wear, is always to just be comfortable in whatever works for you (comfy shoes are a must too), but the prep will save you lots of worry. Try your outfit on (in full, including shoes), the day before, so you can get up and spend more time on your makeup and hair (or sleeping, priorities), and less time throwing your wardrobe over your bed (trust me, I've done it on far too many occasions). If you're staying away for an event, pack a 'back up' outfit...just in case.

What To Bring
It doesn't matter what type of event I'm going to, I always bring the same things. Firstly, a bottle of water. It's important if you're on-the-go, travelling to and from your destination, or even whilst you're at the event, to stay hydrated. I've been to events where drinks weren't readily available, so I always bring my water. When it comes to makeup, I try to avoid carrying my whole makeup bag because it's heavy, although many of my friends do, so this one is a personal preference. However, I like to have my lipstick I'm wearing that day (for touch ups), a powder (in case I'm sweeeeatyyyyy, not a pretty look for photos), an eyebrow pencil (many smudgy disasters in the past) and a hand sanitiser. As it's a Blogging event, it's likely you'll have your camera with you, so be sure to charge up the battery the night before, clear your memory card and bring spares with you too. Many people like to bring business cards with them, always handy for connecting with other bloggers and PRs etc! Other bits which live in my handbag anyway include headphones (for the journey), my glasses, purse and travel/railcard.

Finding The Location
I hate being late, so I always allow an extra half an hour before the event starts, to arrive at the destination and locate the venue (even if I know where it is). Some events are tricky to find, especially in London, and I hate panicking and worrying I'm going to walk into a quiet room during a speech or something! As I'm usually early, I find a nearby coffee shop, go for a quick loo break (nerves before an event always make me want to pee!) and then I check the hashtag again to see who's going and if I recognise anyone. I often reply to people and say that I'm looking forward to seeing or meeting them too. If you've parked, be sure to add enough time on your parking, and set yourself an alarm on your phone when it's almost run out. (Trust me, I've chatted for England at events before and stayed much longer than I imagined, completely losing track of time). Similarly, do this if you've got a specific train to catch too.

Find A Buddy
Lots of people like to arrive with someone else, because it can be quite scary walking into a room full of people you don't know. I did the exact same at the Blogosphere Event, and I always worry I'm just going to stand in the middle of the room, aimlessly staring around me and not knowing what to do, so my nerves are normally at ease if I walk in with someone else. If it turns out you're alone, like I was, just embrace it! There is usually a host, or the PR representative, or someone in the same boat as you, waiting at the door, so say hello.

Be Open To Conversations
You're there to talk to people, have a good time, and make some connections. I met one of my best friends Dionne at an event years and years ago, and I imagine we'll remain friends for life. I've met bloggers at events who now take the time to retweet my new video or recommend me to others (and visa versa!). I've worked with brands who I introduced myself to at an event, then they remembered me when a campaign came up that I fit the brief for, so they used me. I've met a PR who worked for one brand, moved to a different company, but kept in touch with me, because I was open to having a quick conversation with them at the last event. Simple topics or saying things like "this looks great, how's it going so far?", or to a fellow blogger, "so how long have you been blogging for?", "have you travelled far today?" or "Hi, I'm Brogan. I'm by myself today so just wanted to say hello and introduce myself". I know it's hard, having the courage to pipe up a conversation, but try and be open and enjoy yourself. I've sometimes sat down with a drink, and some other bloggers have joined the area/table/bench/sofa, giving me the perfect window of opportunity to say hi.

The Social Media Balance
It's hard to find the balance, between being sociable, and updating your social media. I actually think it's really great content to publish a tweet or Instagram whilst you're at the event, and shows people you're stepping out your comfort zone, and being fully immersed in the event.  Take a few minutes out, update your Twitter to say you're having a great day, or pop a few photos on your Instagram Story. Don't miss sharing parts of the day in real time, as well as documenting for your blog post (if you're writing one) however, try not to get carried away with always being on your phone, or interrupting someone's conversation to do so.

Put Your Phone On Silent
It's not always the case, but you might find the host makes a quick speech, or you walk into a room with a panel or talk that's happening. There's nothing more embarrassing than your phone going off, so pop it on silent to avoid any distraction. 

Say Thank You
I've seen it before, where people go to events, and don't thank the host, brand, or even the blogger who organised the whole thing. It doesn't take a second to say thank you before you leave, and that you really enjoyed your day. It goes a long way, and makes you memorable to be invited back for future events too.

Follow Up Email or Tweet
If you didn't manage to catch the host at the event, drop a little email after to say thank you for having you. I tweeted Blogosphere and said how much I enjoyed my day, and I'm sure they really valued hearing so. I also went to a Bournemouth Bloggers Afternoon Tea before Christmas (photo above!) and I messaged the venue a thank you via Instagram DM (as I didn't have a contact), and then emailed the Blogger who hosted to say thanks too. Both replied with gratitude in return.

I think that's all my tips for now! If I happen to be at the same event as you in future, please be sure to say hello! Sometimes I find people recognise me from my videos, but I don't know them, so say hello to bloggers and YouTubers you read and watch, and let them know you enjoy their content because trust me, it's really rewarding and flattering to hear it from someone in person, and you might make a new pal in the process. Have fun!
© Brogan Tate | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig