I am very excited! Last year I missed attending BlogHer 2012 in New York because my 20 year class reunion cruise was the same weekend. Yes, missing it was totally worth it! This year BlogHer is back in Chicago! Even though I live in the area, I have decided to stay downtown to minimize the stress and commuting. I live over an hour from the downtown area. By the time I pay for gas (currently $4.05/gallon), and parking in the downtown area for several days (ridiculous) I might as well have a room. I have events Tuesday – Sunday. YIKES! Taking the train is an option. However, it is not really feasible for a couple of reasons. One of those is that some of the events end pretty late at night. I am not comfortable taking the train back and forth by myself. The other is that I will likely be carrying quite a bit of stuff after spending a couple of days at that conference. I got lucky and got an awesome roommate for the stay. Actually, I got 2 awesome roommates for different times. 🙂
If you have never attended a blogging conference you may wonder what the heck it entails. There have been articles written about all the fun we have. Yes, we do have fun. However, I think there is a thought from some that blogging conferences are just one big party. So, what really goes on? There is plenty of business and seriousness that goes on as well.
Of course there is the conference itself. The purpose is to share knowledge. There are sessions surrounding blogging and the business that comes from it. I have spoken at several conferences. I love sharing what I have learned with others. And I love learning new things. There is always more to learn. You can learn the secrets to great blog design, how to write great posts, photography as it relates to blogging, how to turn your blog into a business, turning your blog into a book, and much more. There are keynote sessions, Voices of the Year, and many other things to listen to. You will learn, laugh, and even cry.
The Expo Hall
The expo hall is definitely not a place to miss. Brands come from all over to get their products and services in front of the eyes of thousands of bloggers that will write, tweet, and talk about them. Many long lasting brand/blogger relationships can be created this way. And yes, the brands do pass out goodies. There are tech companies, fashion companies, shoe companies, auto companies, and baby companies to name a few. If you are looking to connect with some awesome companies to extend your blogging reach, definitely take the time to walk through.
The Conference Parties
The BlogHer conference has several official conference parties planned that attendees can take part in as long as they have a conference pass, or a party pass. Some of the parties include some Tribe UP parties like Queerosphere and the Multi-Culti Extravaganza. There is the People's Party, Cheeseburgher, and more.
Some companies take advantage of the fact that there will be thousands of bloggers at a conference as a chance to create a more memorable experience for bloggers that they want to work with. They choose to hold off-site functions to create relationships with bloggers in a more intimate setting. This could be breakfast, dinner, lunch a cocktail party, or a plant tour. In the case of Chicago, this year some of us are being treated to a boat tour and yoga in the park.
One of the biggest, most fun things that go on at conferences is the networking. Yes, you can connect with brands during events and the expo hall, but for a lot the most exciting part is seeing your fellow bloggers that you may not have seen since the year before. Or meeting blogger friends for the first time. I now have friends that I consider real friends that I may have originally met on Twitter or Facebook, met in person at a blogging conference or media junket and we connected. I love that about social media!
Are you coming to Blogher in Chicago? If so, leave me a comment! I have a few things going on. I would love to connect. 🙂