Thursday, July 25, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 27 - A BlogHer Pre-Conference Guide

Since this is my first year attending BlogHer, I've definitely gone through the newbie confusion.  BlogHer is a huge conference, and there are a lot of in's and out's to learn as a first-timer.  While I'm headed into Chicago for the conference, I thought I'd leave you with a few pre-written words of advice that helped ease my way into BlogHer just in case you decide to join the fun next year!

The first tip is to plan in advance.  If you decide to go to the conference early, you can score an early bird rate {typically in the months of September or November, I believe} that costs less than half of the full conference ticket fee.  I believe the early bird tickets this year cost somewhere around $200, while the full conference tickets were around $400 just before the conference {if subsidized by corporate sponsors only - if a blogger has a preference for ethical reasons not to be subsidized by corporate sponsors they may choose a pass just over $600}.  So, the early bird does really get the worm here.

If you're unable to plan in advance, but still want to take advantage of the low rate - try to score a used ticket last minute.  There are many bloggers on the BlogHer site trying to sell a ticket they may no longer use, and if you're observant - you may be able to snatch one up that was purchased at the early bird rate.  {Just an FYI though, I believe tickets can be transferred to another person up to a month before the conference with no fee incurred - but if it's the month of the conference you'll have to pay a ticket transfer fee around $25.}

The next tip is to bunk up.  Not only will rooming with a few other bloggers save you a ton of cash, but it will also build your relationships with your cohort of bloggers.  As I've mentioned before, this year I'll be rooming with a few of my friends - Nicole, Kate, & MJ.  I'm so amazingly excited to be able to hang out with a few of my very close friends at the same time as being able to participate in this experience.  And - as I mentioned - it is literally saving me hundreds of dollars by doing so.

Another tip is to connect.  One really helpful trick I found prior to attending the conference was to find Facebook groups of other people going to BlogHer as well.  In these groups, I was able to ask questions about the conference, logistics, parties, etc.  It was also really nice to hear other people's questions.  There were questions posted about parking, hotel accommodations, dress code, meals, and pretty much any other possible topic you can think of related to BlogHer.  Having a large group of people who had been to the conference before was extremely helpful to me.

In order to keep informed - make sure that you're following the BlogHer official conference updates, either through email or on the BlogHer site.  As the conference nears closer, they'll post updates as to any changes to the conference {like how this year some of the session were initially intended to be located at the Sheraton, but were then moved to McCormick Place in order to eliminate the need to take a shuttle back and forth between sessions}.  There are often really important updates that you'll miss if you're not actually following the BlogHer posts!

The BlogHer 13 app

And last but not least, one of the best ways I've found to keep organized this year before the conference was to download the BlogHer13 app for my smart phone.  The app has a ton of great functions, including being able to plan your own schedule in their calendar - which includes the ability to link up with friends and view their sessions side by side to yours.  It also includes definitions of all the sessions, a photo gallery, maps, and a twitter feed of the #BlogHer hashtag, just to name a few!  This app is definitely a necessary part of the conference-going experience for me.

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