I really shouldn’t be writing this. It’s only going to make things harder for me as a blogger moving forward. But the biggest thing I’ve learned about bloggers is that they love to share. Heck, it’s almost impossible not to want to share actually. Bloggers, on average, are just incredibly nice people.
Last weekend, I attended BlogHer 12 in NYC. It was my first blogging conference so I had no idea what to expect. I certainly knew I’d be in the minority, being a Him at a Her conference. And I sure was. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t worth going. Far from it.
In fact, I’m here to tell all you Daddy Bloggers out there that you should do whatever you can to get your butt out to Chicago for next year’s BlogHer 13. Here’s why:
Spread the Word
My blog is only a few months old. I’ve been doing all sorts of things to increase traffic and gain more regular followers. It’s a slow process, but a rewarding one. But handing out a few hundred business cards to strangers is a fantastic way to garner new eyeballs on your blog in a super short period of time. Having business cards is crucial. I spent maybe $25 to get 250 made over at Vistaprint. Best money I ever spent. My cards were double sided, with the front containing basic info in a fun way and the back showing a huge photo of me in a Captain America costume. That elicited a lot of laughs and made me memorable. Perfect for follow up emails.
Meet other Bloggers
I sadly didn’t get to do this as much as I wanted to but I did get to spend time with a few bloggers I’ve become friendly with online. Meeting Colleen from Shibley Smiles in person was my one goal for the show and I succeeded. Colleen’s been like my blogging mentor for over a year now and taught me soooo much about bloggers, the blogging community, and blogging in general. I wish we could’ve spent more than a few minutes together since I owe her a few dozen drinks. She’s as incredibly awesome in person as she is on her blog and via email. And her smile is just as genuine.
I also bumped into Penelope from Penelope’s Oasis and got to meet her two adorabble kids and husband. Sorry, Joe, you’re not really all that adorable, but you are a great guy! I must’ve spent 20 minutes or so talking to them (Okay, mostly to Penelope’s husband) about video games, comic books and blogging. It was so awesome to finally meet someone in person who you only know from online. Penelope’s as sweet in person as she is in her own Oasis.
Next year if I’m lucky to make it to , I definitely need to plan much more in advance to meet up with all my blogging friends. It just helps strengthen the connection you already have with people. I guess you could say it just makes everything “more real.”
Make PR Connections
The main reason I was personally attending Blog Her, though, was to meet the brands. My goal going into the conference was to spread the word about Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy, and try to hook up with as many appropriate brands as I could in the hopes of securing reviews, giveaways, and more. I’m also a freelance writer, so any health or tech-related type brands could work well with my writing too. For the most part, I think I hit 95% of all tables in the Exhibit Hall. There may’ve been all of 3 or 4 that I just didn’t visit.
I can justify hitting up the KISS booth to see what artificial nails, nail polish, and styling gadgets they have, solely because I also run JoeShopping, and could potentially work with them there. But I drew the line at the booths discussing women and their “heavy periods.” Since coming back from the show, I’ve followed up with a few dozen PR reps to continue building relationships. Being a Daddy Blogger definitely gave me a little bit of an edge in most cases. Many of them were real happy to see me and say they don’t work with too many daddy bloggers, only because they don’t know of that many. It was really awesome hooking up with Bowflex, Gorton’s Seafood, Logitech, Verizon, Best Buy, Samsung, Carbonite, and more! I’m really looking forward to working with all of them in the future.
All conferences have their fair share of free swag and contests. Drop your business card in a fishbowl and win… something. Blog Her’s no different and I actually was pumped to win a $100 Best Buy Gift Card from the super-nice folks over at the Best Buy booth! I’m really pushing to win the awesome exercise equipment that Bowflex was giving away too, but as I haven’t heard from them yet, I”m doubtful I won. Not to mention the insanely super cool mega prize package from Samsung, who had an incredible booth, showing off their amazing SMART products. (Can you tell I’m really impressed with Samsung? Hint hint: Maybe they need a friendly daddy blogger to be their blog ambassador? Just saying.)
The first floor of the show had a few places offering coffee samples and I even had my very first Jamba Juice. Real tasty! And their freshly squeezed orange juice was exactly what was needed first thing in the morning. Dannon offered samples of their Greek yogurt (pretty tasty), but my favorite was the Kikoman booth. I had way too much fun over there, especially when I tried the Soy Sauce ice cream. My first reaction was, “Uh, what did I just put in my mouth?” It wasn’t great, but wasn’t gross either. After a few more licks, I leaned towards the “yummy” side of things. It tasted somewhat like a coffee-flavored ice cream with a strong caramel-type flavor.
Once I made it to the second floor of Blog Her, though, I was home. That’s thanks to the huge Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farms mega booth with loads of free samples. I must’ve downed a half dozen sausage sandwiches before I even blinked. (Thanks for lunch, guys!) And the Hillshire gang really stepped things up with a bevvy of kielbosas, cooked right in front of you, along with peppers, onions, and more, all laid out on a bed of rice. I felt like I was at a wedding reception!
If you couldn’t guess already, Blog Her is just a ton of fun. You can go in all serious-like and get whatever info you need, or you can just let loose completely and have a blast seeing everything, playing with new toys, eating great food samples, and having fantastic conversations with bloggers from all over the country. I can’t speak for any of the speeches or panels, as I spent the entire time just walking around the Expo Hall and hanging out in the various company suites (Hershey’s and Hot Wheels being my two favorites!).
Clearly, there’s a TON to do during the show, as well as even more networking potential at all the evening parties and events. I took in a tremendous amount during my first year, and really hope I can make it out to Chicago next year to take on even more. I tip my hat to the Blog Her crew for a great show, and my only suggestion for next year is to make it even bigger with more (and new) brands attending.
Now, who wants to sponsor a super-friendly daddy blogger from New York?