This post is sponsored by SheKnows Media.
If you’re following me on Snapchat (if you’re not, you should – we have lots of fun over there! my username is @maebad) then you know this past weekend I was lucky enough to attend BlogHer 2016 right here in Los Angeles! This was my first time attending the social media and blogging conference, so I wanted to share my experiences at the conference, what I learned, and some tips if you’ll be attending in years to come! Grab a coffee and get ready, this is going to be a long one!
First things first, my recommendations on how to prepare:
1. Register early and join the Facebook group for attendees. There is lots of valuable information there! So much networking goes on before the actual event even happens. I arranged to meet up with Gwen from The LA Girl and identified brands that I wanted to connect with.
2. Print business cards. Even if you don’t have a blog already or you’re not sure what to print, just make some classic calling cards. It’s so helpful for quickly passing along your information plus it gives you credibility!
3. Download the app and prepare your schedule. But be flexible. Take a look at the schedule and have an idea of what sessions you want to attend. BlogHer has a great app that helps with scheduling. But also remember that things will change, you might connect with someone fabulous and want to attend a different session together. But it’s a good idea to have a working base for your schedule and go from there.
4. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. There are all kinds of outfits and styles on display at BlogHer. Do you. Wear what makes you feel comfortable. Of course you want to be put together and professional because you will be meeting with brands, but also just remember to stay true to your style. And honestly, no one is really going to remember what you were wearing. If all else fails, stick to neutrals and black. Throw a blazer over a comfy tee with some jeans. That’s always my default business casual outfit.
Alright, now that my tips for preparation are out of the way, let’s talk about the conference itself. This year it was held at the J.W. Mariott at LA Live. As I mentioned this was my first time attending so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was the typical conference setup. Registration desk, then an exhibit hall, breakout sessions in various rooms and sponsor suites. Standard stuff.
At the exhibit hall, I got to interact with some really great brands! For me, it was a matter of quality over quantity. I honestly did expect a few more exhibitor booths than what were there, but like I said the ones that I met with were awesome!
First up, I went to the Best Buy booth. Freddie Prinze Jr was there! Remember him?! That was obviously one of the highlights. I’ve always admired how he deals with the spotlight and his celebrity status. He was signing autographs of his new cookbook. He was warm and friendly and really engaged with everyone. Just in case you missed it on my Snapchat, here’s a peek of him:
As a tech lover, I enjoyed the Best Buy booth because they were showing off super slim laptops and they had charging stations for those of us who were already at 18% by 1pm. #guilty
Second, I visited the Bai booth. I always see this brand at grocery stores but had never tried it so I was super excited that they had plenty of cold cans of the beverage available for everyone. And it was my favorite flavor — blood orange! Plus it was sparkling with just the right amount of frizz. The marketing team at Bai created a really great experience, with random acts of kindness that you could choose from. And then had a super cute typewriter! I loved it.
I also made it a point to visit the Merck for Mothers booth. Even though I’m not a mother yet, I was really touched by the experience. They had created a wall where you could write messages to your children or your mother. I loved reading all the sweet notes.
I visited several other booths, but I also loved my experience at the Knock Knock booth. If you’re a stationery lover, then you know Knock Knock for their adorable paper products. They’re coming out with more books and lots of other great designs. Stay tuned, I’m super excited to be working with them soon!! Yay!
So, I know you all want to hear about Kim Kardashian and what I thought about her keynote. I was truly impressed. However you feel about Kim and her behavior in the spotlight, one thing is for certain — she is a powerful business woman! I know she has a team working for her but at the end of the day she is still responsible. She has built a brand around her name! This is powerful marketing. She was very well spoken! She didn’t sound ditzy. She was still true to herself but she presented in a professional manner as well. I was very impressed! She’s an amazing entrepreneur and business woman and I wish her all the continued success in building her empire!
Sheryl Crow was also amazing! She was very down-to-earth and relatable. She spoke more about women’s health and taking care of ourselves. She also mentioned the book The Four Agreements — which I love! If you haven’t heard about it, I definitely recommend you check it out. Basically the Four Agreements are: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, always do your best. So powerful, right? They seem simple but if we could all implement these four things into our daily lives – both personally and professionally – imagine all the success and happiness we would have. So I loved that she spoke about that.
Alright, here is where I wish BlogHer would have stepped up their game a bit. I know that I shouldn’t complain because I basically received a bunch of free gifts. But the swag bags left a lot to be desired. Garnier was a big sponsor so I loved that they included shampoo, conditioner and their micellar water which I have been wanting to try forever. That was great! But the other products weren’t that exciting. For a conference that huge and well-established, I expected a more substantial gift bag.
But overall, I had a wonderful experience. I’ve been asked a lot if I would recommend this conference. Honestly, I don’t know if I will attend again. As far as the material and the information presented, I feel that was definitely for bloggers who are just starting out. I think it was pretty basic knowledge that most experienced bloggers already know. The most valuable part for me was meeting companies (again, there weren’t a lot there I wanted to meet with but the ones I did connect with were great) and networking. I made some great connections. So as far as recommending the conference, I think everyone should attend at least once to get a feel for it and have the experience. If you’re just starting out, I think it’s a great resource!
I hope this was helpful information for you all! Let me know in the comments below, if you’ve been to BlogHer and what you experience was like. Any other preparation tips we should know about? What did you learn from the conference? Keep the conversation going!
I also vlogged while I was there so check out my YouTube channel soon where I’ll be posting a closer look at what I got up to! Plus more from Kim Kardashian’s keynote speech and a look inside the gift bags! xo
Note: I teamed up with BlogHer to write a sponsored post about my experience at the conference. But as always, I only share my honest opinions! I can’t be bought. More disclaimers below! 😉 xoxoxo
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SheKnows Media and BlogHer16 Conference. The opinions and text are all mine.