So, we’re approaching the end of the annual 2013 BlogHer conference. You’ve got a stack of business cards from bloggers and brands that have swamped your hotel desk, you have huge bags of swag, and your head is swimming with a combination inspiration, new knowledge, and amazing possibilities.
This year marks my sixth BlogHer conference, but I remember that very first one where I only knew people from their blogs and maybe their Twitter photos (not everyone used Twitter in 2008, believe it or not!). I eagerly took every card offered, and then when I got home I did something that is still paying dividends for me professionally now: I set aside a day, and then I sat down with the stack of cards and I emailed every single person I’d met, thanking them for their kindness at the conference. Then I went and bookmarked all of their blogs, and started reading them.
As the years and conferences have gone by, I added in taking a moment to like their Facebook page and try to find them to connect on LinkedIn as well (and again, this is still paying dividends today). Now I don’t collect quite as many business cards thanks to already knowing so many folks, so I don’t need to set aside a whole day but I still have a stack of cards that I plan to sit down with once I’m home.
I learned something from this process; first, not everyone will email you back. There’s a million reasons they might not remember who you are, they might be feeling some post-conference overwhelmed emotions (this can happen; all that extroverted connecting can cause you to want to go home and crawl back into your shell), or they may simply just read it and say, “oh, so nice!” but not reply. But most of them do remember, and when you connect with them again, whether it’s at another conference or on Twitter, they will remember and you might be able to build on that connection.
Today, of course, a huge aspect of BlogHer isn’t just meeting the other bloggers it’s also about making professional connections with brand representatives that you want to work with. With these folks you can use the same tactics, but I’d add this caveat: initially, don’t send an email with a pitch. A simple “nice to meet you” email is plenty at first. Remember, they have to go back to work and process the data they’ve collected, sort their own collection of business cards, and they have to compile large reports about the success of the work they did while they were here. I feel safe in saying that while they are being inundated with emails asking about sponsored posts or products to review right away post conference, you don’t want your pitch lost in the shuffle.
Instead, wait a week or two. Consider your pitch carefully; don’t just say “Let’s work together on something!” Instead, give them a specific suggestion such as, “I’d love to review your product on my blog, it’s a great fit for my back-to-school post series!” or “I’m taking sponsored posts on in the month of September, and I think I could really bring a unique perspective by using _______ angle in writing about your product.” Just use a few short sentences, attach your media kit or a few short stats about who you are, and remind them that you met them at BlogHer.
Trust me, you’ll get a much better response.
As for the swag? Keep it or recycle it. Write about it, or don’t write about it. I find it easiest to simply highlight a few of the sponsors I liked the best, but that’s just me. Other folks love to break it down with pictures to really help folks get a sense of what we were lucky enough to get exposed to here at BlogHer it’s totally up to you! But I would suggest only taking home what you really believe you’ll use.
Good luck with processing all this info! Wasn’t it a great conference? I hope you had a wonderful time and came home feeling empowered. I know I did.