After 2 years I finally made it to blogher! I have always heard about the clothes, the shoes, the swag, the parties, and the networking and wanted to experience it for myself…

photo collage from blogher 11

So this is what I learned…

1. Virtual friends really are real “blood and bones.” So many of my friends who do not have blogs or tweet just do not understand that support can come from anywhere even your computer… in your pj’s or sweats at all hours of the day or night. And meeting these buddies in real life is a real “hoot!” So you can go alone… and come home with 20+ new friends that you will continue to chat with daily. *waving to Allie from RamblingsofaWAHM.com and Francesca from thesitsgirls.com, and Mary from wiredmoms.com, and my new friends Melissa and Jyl from momitforward.com, and Carissa from goodncrazy.com, and so many others!

2. Next year I will “do” the conference much differently! I think like anything it takes a year (or more) to “master” the conference. However, when it comes to the EXPO next year I will take an initial spin around the floor and see who/what is there and then I will return after I figure out which brands I have alliances with be it being a special needs mom, or someone on a wellness makeover, or a lifestyle writer and look through the eyes of each. I did this just a smidge this year.

3. The “off site parties” are MUCH more than good loot! I am sure there are many bloggers who run to those parties for the swag bags but again, this is where a lot of initial relationships are made with the PR agents that work with the various brands. Just getting to know them and giving my “elevator pitch” is key to establishing an ongoing relationship… I keep coming back to this… relationships… That is what a lot of blogher or any convention is about…building relationships!

4. The on site parties… be ready to have a great time! And please next year leave your migraine at home! Uhhh

5. Comfy shoes are a must!! Walking and walking and sitting and then some more walking, did I mention I walked? Need I say more? (note to self next year carry flip flops in bag)

6. Take your time and go through the conference session program… I sat through a few sessions which I already knew what they were talking about hoping that there would be more “meat” to it; we all know “content is king!” and we should be writing daily, this is where I felt a little kick in the tush.. So you know I am working on my editorial calendar and getting daily posts up. Next year I might consider going to Pathfinder Day as it was more niche focused, however like the regular sessions I heard mixed reviews… so just take it for what it is worth and if a session isn’t working for you politely see what is on your list and move on…

7. Take an hour or so for “down time.” There were points in the conference where I felt like I was on “overload” aside from unfortunately carrying my monthly migraine with me, my brain actually hurt. So to taking an hour or so to just sit outside or have an informal lunch with a friend or two is a must!

8. Stay at the closest hotel, if you can! I was fortunate to stay at the Marriott which was next door to the convention center but heard about ladies staying blocks away and with all the walking you do already, although it was exercise, it was exhausting, and if you wanted to sit down for a break it would have been hard to do it at a hotel which wasn’t close.

9. I gave myself an extra day to chill out before flying back out across the country, if you can do it; it was a great way to evaluate everything with a “clear” mind.

10. Have fun! Don’t beat yourself up for NOT getting to everything! It would be impossible to do, enjoy each moment and try and meet 1 or 2 new buddies who you will be happy to see next year! Just like camp!