This past weekend I attended my 5th BlogHer conference in San Jose. Overall, I had a great experience as always. Sure, things have changed over the years- but I live in the moment and not in the memory of the last one. My system to being successful during BlogHer is Outreach, Networking, and Research. In in no way do I depend upon BlogHer to provide me my experience. They create the environment and provide us with the tools for greatness, but the conference can’t be everything to everyone. Despite not being able to be everything it is still the #1 conference for bloggers. So instead of complaining, I choose to be an agent of change and positivity.
My favorite aspect was reconnecting with my sisters and brothers in blogging. I am an only child, and aside from my church have never been a part of any groups or organizations. So with that being said, I try and make the most out of engaging with the other bloggers. I genuinely enjoy the experience and like summer camp, feel sad when it is time to leave.
Now here is where the road to positivity gets rocky: I am not a swag whore! When I attend conferences with expo halls I go to each vendor in attempts to learn about their brand and tell them a little about me. I think this is where BlogHer organizers slightly miss the mark since most bloggers want to see brands that are open to working with them through their blog. On the expo floor it should be three types of vendors:
1. Blogger Tools: Vendors talking about items pertinent to the business of blogging such as hosting, cameras, smartphones, computers, tablets, video equipment (lighting kids, lenses, etc), clothing brands, GoPro, coffee, travel services/ destinations, food brands, prescription eye wear to protect from monitor strain, office furniture, ergonomically chairs, spill proof wine glasses, etc. Things that relate to bloggers, you understand?
2. Blogger Headhunters: So if you go onto LinkedIn there are tons of brands looking to work with Social Media experts. Not every brand is looking for a Brand Ambassador, but there are brands looking to hire Social Influencers and run their company blog. Social Media Job Fair?!
3. Blogger Partnerships: Brands looking to work with brands.
I understand that conferences are a business, but blogging is also a business. I don’t understand why period products, or washers and dryers had a place on the conference floor unless they are targeting health and wellness or interior design bloggers and looking to bring on Brand Ambassadors. There should be a reminder to brands that this is a Blogging Conference and not a sales/trade show.
There was the good and the bad. Let’s start with the great…
Host Gator: I feel as if I had the best conversation with them. Not only did they have people in the booth that actually work at HOST GATOR, they were both friendly and knowledgeable. I hope that everyone had the same experience as me. I walked up and started telling them about my server horror stories, lolll. Guess What? They gave me blogging tips (wayyyy more valuable than swag), and I gave them tips on engaging with bloggers. I felt like it was a really cool experience, and it was actually my best interaction on the floor as it applied to being a blogger.
Scrub Bubbles: Best preconference experience. Their Social Media Team was really on it! Also, I talked the PR rep into making a video, lolll. Check out the video below. Ok this wasn’t really fair as our family is a huge fan of Scrubbing Bubbles and we use it a minimum of three times per week. I enjoyed my interaction with the entire SC Johnson booth.
Sonic: Loved the enthusiasm from the reps in their booth. They accommodated my request for a “suicide”, and the fact that they knew what it was, was super cool. If they decide to make another BlogHer appearance, they should come up with props and special lighting for the food bloggers to take pictures for Social Media amplification. That would be the best free advertising, EVER!
Chucky Cheese: Kudos to them for actually being in attendance to speak with bloggers regarding possible collaborations. Even though the brand doesn’t fall under my niche, the fact that they are blogger friendly prompts me to take my little cousins there for fun time.
San Jose Tourism: I believe this was the first time that I’ve seen a tourism board have a booth during BlogHer, and I think that was fantastic –Especially for the travel bloggers! I hope that BlogHer reaches out to all of the tourism boards moving forward.
WordPress: I felt so bad for them when they were over shadowed by the line to see Khloe Kardashian blocked people from entering in their booth. WordPress, the rock star of the blogging community, was there offering help to those having issues with their platform. I think this was so cool of them, and I hope that they come back to BlogHer as a speaker.
Hairfinity: YIKES! I will save my comments for the post conference BlogHer feedback form.
The Period Cup- Ummmm this would have been a better fit at a health and fitness conference. It is so weird discussing periods in a non-medical setting. However, the reps were friendly.
Yoplait- was that like a mini focus group? I like Yoplait plain yogurt, but it was awkward when I chose the Chobani Greek yogurt. Reps were also friendly, and good social media follow up!
Next Issue- Hmmm we are at a blogging conference and they were promoting magazines?! Doesn’t matter if they were downloadable… not sure this was a fit.
For the brands that didn’t make my Good, Bad, Awkward list… it’s not a bad thing, they just didn’t make an impression on me.
Well… I think that if BlogHer is going to have a cash board during the conference parties they could allow brands to come in and sponsor the parties, or reach out for liquor sponsors. This way attendees can get a non-hotel room space. Security kept complaining about the noise, but the room was so hot the door needed to be opened to let air in. I did enjoy the interactions. My group ended up going downstairs and buying drinks from the bar.
The McDonald’s party was amazing. Open sangria bar and Rev Run… who can beat that? I am so glad to see McDs back this year, and I hope that they continue to sponsor. McD is the BEST when it comes to blogger engagement, and they can teach a thing or two to other brands.
Eppa Sangria hosted an event on the first day which set the tone for the rest of the weekend. A lot of the mentors and newbies were able to meet for the first time, and break the ice. I really enjoyed my time here, all of the reps were friendly.
U.S. Cellular hosted a luncheon which led to some great blogger engagement during the event. I had a great time, and the food was excellent…. actually the best during the entire conference! The only thing that would have made it better was winning a tablet, lolll
I think BlogHer should have a professional track for businesses. They can learn how to work with bloggers, incorporate social media into their marketing strategy, and strengthening their existing channels. VidCon uses this model, and I believe it could mean more revenue for the BlogHer brand.
#BlogHer14 is awesome! Nothing was so off that it would stop me from attending next year.