I’m headed to Seattle this weekend to attend IFBC! This is the fourth or fifth food blogging conference I’ve attended, and my first time at IFBC – I can’t wait. Along the way I’ve picked up a few tips and learned a few lessons about how to attend a food blogger conference.
FINE-TUNE YOUR BLOG’S BRAND
- Make sure you’re consistent across every social media platform. This could include updating your profile pictures, ensuring your contact information is easily found, or simply removing content that no longer fits your brand.
- Practice (or create) your elevator pitch. Mine is this: “I blog about gluten-free California cuisine and the San Diego lifestyle.” If I have more time I add, “I write for women who love healthy recipes and coastal living.”
- Review the list of blog sponsors, and highlight three to five you’d like to speak to personally. Whether you want to learn more about their products because your blog is a niche/health blog, or you’re looking for someone to partner with in giveaways, knowing the facts of the companies you’re interested in is super important.
- Find/print your business cards, and make sure they’re up to date!
MAKE SURE YOU’RE TECH READY
- Spend some time reviewing the IFBC attendees, liking them across social media and introducing yourself via Facebook. This is a great way to put names to faces/blogs before you meet in person!
- Flag or virtually file every IFBC email you’ve received, from your flight and hotel reservations, to your Sur La Table confirmation (yay!!), to any meetings you’ve set up. That way, you can quickly find important info without scrolling through zillions of emails.
- Bookmark the conference agenda, attendee and sponsor pages so you can quickly access anything you might need without having to do a search first.
- From your iPhone to your iPad to your laptop, be sure all of your social media, blogging and email accounts are set up. For me that meant updating the WordPress app on my iPad, and resetting a few passwords here and there to make sure every device can be accessed without having to input my info.
- Charge your devices and bring your chargers. You don’t want to be the gal asking to borrow a charger, right?! I wrap washi tape on my Apple chargers so I know my husband won’t walk off with them at home. This is also a great way to find your charger in your bag.
- Upload movies or books to your iPad or Kindle, especially if you’re facing a long flight or like to unwind at night with a good book. I just downloaded “The Kitchen House” – my book club’s pick for October. I also have “The Cairo Affair” in case my mood swings to spy thrillers.
DON’T FORGET TO BE ANALOG
- Smart phones are great for pulling up flight and hotel reservations, but for me, nothing beats a print-out of my confirmations.
- Bring along a favorite notebook and a few pens in case your laptop dies.
- Confirm all of your travel information. For example, I learned earlier this week that I had booked my Friday flight for 8:30PM, not 8:30AM. And as a disclaimer, I’ve booked travel online for years, so, no, it wasn’t me being inept, just trying to do too many things at once! Luckily I found a great flight on Southwest and I’m all set. But lesson learned, for sure.
- Print out the agenda and map out the sessions you want to attend. Again, I get that you can get all this info on your phone, but it’s way easier to have it right in front of you.
- I love to dress up for these conferences: heels, fun jewelry, lots of color, the works. I try on entire outfits, including shoes and jewelry, before packing. That way, I won’t have any surprises. I also plan an extra outfit, especially when tasting food and wine (you never know when you’re going to get a spot on your favorite blouse).
- For short trips, try to get away with a single roll-on suitcase and carry-on bag. If you’re worried about not getting all of your makeup and other liquids into a single bag, know that you’re typically allowed a second medical bag, which is where I stash my saline, contact lenses, and so on. (But don’t take my word for it, check the TSA website to be sure.)
- Limit your devices, if you can. Since you’re most likely hauling a big camera along, you might want to reconsider the iPad AND the Kindle AND the laptop.
- Unpack the moment you get into your hotel room, even if you’ve got someplace to go. I know this sounds OCD, but it’s so much easier to get ready in a hurry when you know where everything is.
So there you have it! My tips and tricks on how to prepare for a food blogging conference. I hope to meet you this weekend at IFBC in Seattle!
Disclaimer: I am attending the conference on a reduced blogger rate that requires three posts about the conference. Post image provided by IFBC.