BlogHer 2012 is over. I can hardly believe it. It’s kinda like that morning after Christmas day feeling that you get. Where you were so excited, the moment was fantastic but the next day you’re kinda feeling like now what? Or at least that’s me this morning. With this being my very first BlogHer, it was definitely a learning experience. And I wanted to share some of the highlights with you, some of the frustrations and some of my favorite moments! If you were there and we didn’t get to connect, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you weren’t, I’d like to be able to share a little piece of he conference with you!
BlogHer 2012 was in what I personally feel was a great location – New York City! I haven’t been to NYC in a good 12 years so I was so excited to make the trip and the city itself didn’t disappoint! From Shopping trips to Subway rides to dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai, the city in itself was everything I could have hoped for and more! And while the cab drivers could have avoided Times Square on a busy Friday night, the Big Apple hosted BlogHer well!
You all know I’m a people person so probably one of my favorite things at this conference was connecting with my bloggy online friends in the real world! Getting to hang with the likes of Meagan from Sunshine and Sippy Cups, Mickey from A Helicopter Mom, Linette from The Kid’s Fun Review, Angela from About a Mom, Olfa from Our Family World, Amber from Parent Palace and Dusty from As Mom Sees It was a truly amazing experience. And though fun was had the whole time, I learned so much about how to improve my blog from listening to them! This was the heart of this event in my eyes – sitting down face to face with your fellow bloggers and getting to pick their brains and hear what works for them and what doesn’t. It was a chance to connect on a deeper level and to develop lasting friendships with people who understand what you do and to me, that was really priceless! I miss them already!
I had heard so much about the events going into BlogHer that I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew that I wanted to connect with some of my favorite companies on a deeper level and I really got to do that at some of the events! While the entire three days seems like a big whirlwind of running from one thing to the next, it was very evident that several of the brands really value bloggers and want to work hard to develop lasting relationships with them! There were several events that really stood out. Here were the top ones in my book:
The National Geographic Kids Tea
This was a fabulous event that really allowed a group of bloggers to sit down with the staff of National Geographic Kids and find out more about what National Geographic Kids is doing and where they want to go. They gave a very clear vision of the role that bloggers can play in that growth and also were very receptive to our opinions and ideas! We were able to see new products, test out new apps and even take pictures and add animal ears. It was a very hands on, well executed two hour event that provided tons of information and left an amazing feeling and great respect for National Geographic Kids with me!
The Southwest SuperFly Party
This intimate gathering in Bryant Park was a great event! While I would have liked to see brand representatives there to provide more information about the airline itself, the organization of the event was fabulous! It was outside where you could enjoy the NYC surroundings and the food was great! But what was fabulous was the chance to sit down in a smaller setting with some of my personal mentors! We had the chance to chat with the superfabulous founder of CEO of Mom Central, Stacy DeBroff to talk about building relationships with brands and why the connection with the brand is so important! She was a wealth of knowledge and all of the times I’ve had the chance to talk to her, I walk away feeling inspired and ready to change the world, one blog post at a time! Then there was some time with one of my favorite ladies, Courtney Velasquez from Social Fabric who is just about one of the sweetest people I have ever met! It was such great fun to meet her face to face and have a little girl time walking the streets of NYC with her after the SuperFly event!
The Tend Event
Thrown at the Dashing Diva Nail Salon in Chelsea on Thursday night, this event was a great way to sit back, relax and get ready for the conference! It provided a small setting to connect with other Tend publishers and was a great way to break the ice and develop new friendships that would stick for the rest of the conference! Tend really did a great job on making a fun environment where socialization and getting to know each other was key! Not to mention that they hit the nail on the head with the need for a little pre-conference pampering! Well done Tend!
The Hasbro Event
This was one of my favorite events from the whole conference (and now, it’s not just because I got to dance with a Kreo Transformer – although that did help). Hasbro did a fantastic job of setting up an event where fun and networking went hand in hand. There were tons of representatives there to show you the toys, games to play and great food and music! I really had a great time and this event and walked away loving Hasbro even more than I did before!
Some of the sponsors of this event really went out of their way and did amazing things to showcase their brands. We all know that branding is about how you present yourself and two companies stood out in particular with the way that they ensured a memorable impression of their brand!
The Hershey’s S’mores Suite
Chocolate. Marshmallows. Graham Crackers. Need I say more? This suite was one that left a memory and made me love Hershey’s even more. While you learned about the brand, you could make your own S’more over a portable campfire! The entire room was set up like an outdoor camp out and was just adorably cute!
The Disney Jr Breakfast
Feeling like we were in the happiest place on earth for breakfast was a highlight of my trip. Disney Jr re-introduced us to kid favorite shows, gave us a sneak peak of what’s to come and showed us why Disney will always be at the heart of children and adults! They brought in characters and honestly, for a moment, I felt like a kid again! But on top of feeling like a kid, this was a great way to show parents what wonderful things Disney Jr has in store both for children and adults alike!
The Changes I Would Make
While BlogHer was a fantastic and memorable event, there are a few changes that I would have made and would be remiss if I didn’t mention them case you use this post to gauge your interest of attending next year in Chicago. This is a HUGE conference – almost too big in my opinion. I did not feel like there was the room needed for 5,000 plus people and was not able to get into several of the key speaker events because they rooms were not big enough. Also, a few of the company representatives did not seem really interested in connecting and instead wanted to give your coupons. I found myself asking a few to tell me about their products and got the response of coupons stuffed in my hands.
BlogHer is all about connecting and to me, some of the connections were missing. As you can see from above, the smaller events stood out as my favorites because I was able to get a feel for companies and what their vision is. And I definitely think coupons are nice but I was at this event to discover if there were partnership opportunities with companies in the future – ways for me to help promote their brands and share with all of you the amazing things that they do and products that they create. And I did feel some of that was missing.
So, to finish off my recap, if you’re considering BlogHer, here are a few things that I learned that may help you in the future!
– Know that you’re just not going to get to everything. There are so many events, so many brands and so much to do. So prioritize and don’t feel bad that you can’t do it all! Nobody can!
– Be patient! Lots of people generally mean long lines and waiting. Frustrated comments to not help people! If you have to stand in a long line, use it as a chance to get to know those around you – you may just meet your next best friend:-)
– Wear comfy Shoes! As I sit here this morning with very ugly feet, my advice is bring some comfortable shoes! You will be walking! LOTS! So make sure you are up for it. Pack bandaids, socks, whatever you need to be able to hoof it out! As I personally learned, cute doesn’t always mean comfy – especially not on the streets of NYC!
– Be selective in your swag! I saw so many bloggers who wanted one of everything. You’re not going to get to take it all home and getting stuff just to get it is not a great idea. In fact, you may keep someone else that was truly interested from getting something they really wanted. Take a look at what brands you really love, what products you really enjoy, and then prioritize. Yes, there is nothing wrong with getting something new – in fact, I picked up several items I have been anxious to try! But if you don’t have kids, getting kids items is probably not a great idea. Just like if you don’t have pets, the pet items aren’t for you. Trust me when I tell you, dragging it all home will make you take into account the items that you’re likely to use and write about!
– Remember that it’s about relationships! Build relationships while you’re there. Step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. That is why you attend these events – to build relationships! So don’t be shy!
I hope you had a great time at BlogHer 2012 if you attended and I hope this gives you a glimpse into what to expect if you are thinking of attending next year! It was a wonderful three days. A crazy three days. A tiring three days. But some that I would not trade for the world!
Until next year, BlogHer!