21 Things I Learned at BlogHer Food 2013

I had such a great time at BlogHer Food in Austin last weekend. It was almost an overwhelming few days. There was so much to say, do, see, and hear that I found myself a little insane and brain dead by my Monday morning flight.

BHF

I learned so much at this conference – but not all of it are blogging tips. Sure, I learned a lot of those, and I’m sharing some with you right here today. But I also learned a lot about networking, bloggers, and how to attend a conference, so I thought I’d share some of them with you!

21 things i learned

1. Make sure you have a posse at the conference. Even if it’s just one other blogger you know well from online, even if you don’t room together. Have someone you know you can hang with, unless you’re one of those super outgoing people. Otherwise, the conference will seem very cliquey. It is anyway, but if you have your own people to hang with, who cares?

BlogHerFood2013053

Aimee, Trish, Sarah, Hayley, me, Jocelyn, Ashton, Ashley, Chandra

2. Create Twitter lists (either through Twitter or Hootsuite) of brands that you work with (so you can reply or RT them) and for brands you want to work with. If you want to work for a brand, you need to reply and RT them to get them to know who you are.

3. Pinterest: if you want your pin description to auto-populate for people, add the description to the Title AND Alt Title (and description, if you have it – I don’t) fields. In WordPress,  you do this by clicking on the photo in your post and filling in the boxes. It used to work for just the title, which has been my problem recently. Now I know it needs to be both Title and Alt title!

photo edit pinterest

4. You’re gonna need a tote to carry your chargers, phone, notepad, and essentials. I used my I Heart KICMount tote bag. I also used my KICMount water bottle throughout the conference. I’ve been talking about KICMount for awhile now, and I really, really love the product. The company is family owned and you really need to love them too! Check out KICMount for their magical ability to make an iPad magnetic!

blogherfood kicmount

5. Avocados are everywhere in Austin. On food, and on me. As you know, I was part of the AFM Pit Crew, refueling and resupplying bloggers as needed. It was fun to talk to people even more about my love of all things Avocado…and eat as many of them as I could. Check out Avocados from Mexico for all sorts of avocado info!

bhf afmpitcrew

6. Never put your iPhone in a tote bag with a bottle of water.

7. If you ever happen to be in Austin and need an Apple Store, may I suggest the one at the Barton Creek Mall just a few miles outside of downtown? Matt can help you get a new iPhone so fast, you’ll be back in time for the afternoon sessions.

8. Have an awesome travel partner and roomie.

bhf hayley

That’s Hayley, but you already knew that. :)

9. Bringing a tote bag for swag is not necessary. You’ll leave with approximately 1,234 of them from sponsors.

blogherfood tote swag

10. Those super comfortable shoes? After three days of standing and walking, they won’t be so comfy anymore. Bring bandaids to cover the blisters, bruises, and cuts.

11. Bring your media kit, and staple a business card to each one. Hand them out like candy in sponsor alley.

12. Get the business cards of the sponsors you give your media cards too. Write them an email when you get home if you really are interested in working with them.

13. When posting to your Facebook page, don’t just post links. Ask questions, share funny sayings or other photos. Try to get a feel for what your followers want. If you post too much – your reach will actually go down.

14. When you do post a link to your Facebook page, post a vertical photo and use a shortlink (like bitly) so you can track clicks.

15. Learn to schmooze before you go. *This is something I need to learn.* My interactions went something like this: I hand media kit, say a little spiel, they accept it say thanks, and then there’s this horrible awkward silence where I assume jokes are not appropriate, so I just smiled and waved.

16. Yes, you really can fit 9 people in a minivan. I got to get really cozy with Kristin, Camille, and Elyse of the Six Sisters.

blogherfood 6 sisters

16. Reorganize your pinboards on your pinterest profile. But your boards, and the ones you want people to see, up front. Put seasonal boards first, and make sure your photo is the cover photo of the board.

17. Not all bloggers are as they seem. Don’t go into it with any preconceived notions about anyone. I like to think I’m pretty true to how I am online – quirky but shy. In fact, I often wonder if my shyness comes off badly – because I am SO bad at small talk. But just because you’ve emailed/FB’d/Tweeted with someone online, do not assume they will know who you are. Also, the people you may think aren’t going to be receptive to hanging out might be. The ones you thought would be…might not.

One blogger who is amazing? Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.

blogherfood ree

She was being mobbed for photos and being talked to left and right. But she still was so gracious, sweet, and actually talked to people. As in looked at them while talking, not the whole glance-over-your-shoulder thing to see if someone better is coming. I have a total newfound respect for her, and her shoes. They were amazing.

This is a text conversation I had with my husband after meeting her:

blogherfood text

Just like a husband to actually ask if she knew me. ;)

18. Bring a duffel bag or a second suitcase in your luggage. I did carry-on on the way to Austin. I had to buy a duffel bag to get all my swag home. My entire roller bag was filled.

blogherfood swag

19. Instagram and tweet as much as possible. You never know who you meet that will start following you. And brands ARE watching that hashtag, you can bet on it.

20. The Whole Foods store in Austin is amazing. It’s the flagship store and now when I go to my local Whole Foods, it just won’t be the same. It’s actually got restaurants inside. I bought dinner there and it was seriously the best meal I had in Austin.

bhf whole foods

Then I spent $19.82 on dessert. I’m not kidding.

And Whole Foods? DOES tweet back. So tag them when you talk about them.

21. If you go, have fun. Don’t stress. Soak up every minute. Then come home ready to implement all you’ve learned!

I’d like to say a special thanks to KICMount and Avocados from Mexico for making my trip to BlogHer Food 2013 possible.

And to Hayley, for putting up with my travel…issues. :)

Happy Saturday!

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Comments

  1. Ive read and seen like 20+ posts about the event in the past few days and yours by far and away, is the most helpful and so many things are dead on!
    Like having a homey b/c you never know who will be cliquey and having that one person to have your back is key.

    Pin boards, organizing, photo of yourself, putting the recipe description in the regular field and then the alt field, yep, knew all that or was doing it. For once I’m doing something right :)

    I met Ree at Big Potluck and she is gracious, kind, and does look you in the eye and I too have the utmost respect for her. Even if someone doesn’t eat the same way she or have the style of cooking as she does, as a human being AND as a business woman, she is just top-shelf!

  2. Sounds like so much fun!!
    Tieghan recently posted..Butterscotch Milkshakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot FudgeMy Profile

  3. Thanks for this post. I have thought about attending a conference someday. I desperately need help on some of the blogging tips, but was worried I wouldn’t know anyone. So I will have to work on connecting more with people and hopefully someday can make it!
    Marci Johnson recently posted..Thirty One Cookies… well it was more like 36 cookies to be exact…My Profile

  4. My husband would’ve asked the same thing! Men!

  5. Haha…did she know you? Funny question :) Loved reading your recap – so much useful info. I struggle with small talk too…such a challenge! So fun to have a buddy to travel with!
    Becca @ Crumbs and Chaos recently posted..Strawberry Croissant French ToastMy Profile

  6. These are some wonderful tips! Thanks so much for posting them! I’ve never gone to a blog conference, but maybe one day I will. It sounds like a lot of fun.
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted..Power Foods FridayMy Profile

  7. What fun you must have had. One day, I hope I can join in, XOXO

  8. What’s included in a media kit? Thanks for presenting real information! Glad you had fun!

  9. Loved your recap…great memories! So nice meeting you in Austin! Have a great weekend!!
    Cathy Pollak @ Noble Pig recently posted..Cheesy Kimchi Butter-Ranch BreadMy Profile

  10. So sorry I missed it! I cna’t wait to meet you. Maybe next year! :) And uh “Never put your iPhone in a tote bag with a bottle of water.” OUCH! :(
    Katrina @ In Katrina’s Kitchen recently posted..Fresh Fruit and Yogurt CupcakesMy Profile

  11. madgevt says:

    you had way to much fun without me……

  12. Great recap and tips! I love that your hubby knew who the Pioneer Woman was. Mine would just respond back “Who’s that white woman?” :P
    chris (whatiruninto) recently posted..Friday Five 6.14.13: Father’s Day MemoriesMy Profile

  13. Dorothy, this is the BEST recap I have seen…I learned SO much, and I cannot wait to go to a conferences,although I am the WORST at small talk and meeting new people

  14. Ooooh how much fun! Thanks for sharing all the tips too :D

    Lucky duck got to room with Hayley :P

  15. Awesome tips – thanks!
    Jenn@eatcakefordinner recently posted..Chicken, Bacon, Ham, Asparagus and Cheddar Parmesan PastaMy Profile

  16. You were an awesome roomie! No issues whatsoever. Quiet as a mouse AND we both wake up at the same time — I mean, how perfect could that be?! I had so much fun with you, roomie/BFF! And I love your list. Next time, definitely bringing less media kits (I can’t believe I had my dad print out 100 lol) and MORE room to carry stuff home!
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel recently posted..Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie BombsMy Profile

  17. Great tips! Especially about the Whole Foods. ;) Now I want to go to Austin, just to see it (and buy desserts too)!
    Amy recently posted..Food Photo Composition: Depth of FieldMy Profile

  18. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. I look forward to attending one day.
    Zainab| Blahnik Baker recently posted..Strawberry Lemonade CupcakesMy Profile

  19. Well I might be a little biased but I am absolutely sure that Our Posse was the best Clique of the trip! = )
    It was a wonderful trip and we did learn soooo much! Most of it from each other and not as much from the sessions. Can’t wait to do it again!
    Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen recently posted..What I learned at BlogHer Food and Why You Should Go Next YearMy Profile

  20. Oh my word, I’m terrible with small talk, I feel your pain! Ha ha, I love all of these tips, thanks for sharing. I’m dying to go to the conference next year so I’m so glad to learn these little pointers before then!

  21. Oh my gosh Dorothy thank you for sharing your experience with us. I’m going to my first big girl conference in Feb. with Six Sisters Stuff. I too have a small talk issue. I suck at it and feel so awkward. I’m already nervous. :) !Sheryl @ Lady Behind The Curtain~

  22. Would you mind sharing how you found companies to sponsor your trip to the conference? I’d love to know how to do that, so I could attend.
    Beth @ Hungry Happenings recently posted..Edible Crown Cupcake Wrappers to Celebrate Dads this Father’s DayMy Profile

    • Hi Beth – I can’t speak for Dorothy, but I know of several other bloggers that personally emailed the companies, explaining their blog stats and offering to promote the brand/company somehow in return. Just a tip :)
      Good luck!
      Sarah @ Miss Candiquik recently posted..S’more GrahamwichesMy Profile

    • I think the best way is to work up a plan for what you’ll do for what amount of money. Then email companies you think would be a great fit for you and your blog. You can offer posts, logos on business cards, or even hosting a party at the event. Just figure out what you’re comfortable with! :)

  23. Sounds like you had an amazing time :)
    Love those avocado earrings!

  24. Best roundup/ review I’ve read so far!! Thank you!!
    Shiloh Barkley recently posted..Chocolate Espresso TartMy Profile

  25. Kristen says:

    The weekend was such a blur… I wish we would have had the chance to chat and hang out!
    Love your recap!

  26. Wow. How thrilling. I’d love to go sometime. Maybe I could talk my sister into going but we live on the East Coast and it would be a major trip. Thanks for sharing the fun!! Linda

  27. What an awesome recap girl!!! I am so happy that we finally go to meet in person…next time (and there will be a next time) let’s make sure we chat a whole lot more! i am so proud of you for getting that pic with Ree. I was way too tongue tied to even ask :-)
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..BlogHer Food Conference WeekendMy Profile

  28. Looks like the conference was so much fun! It’s so awesome you got to meet the Pioneer Woman herself. I’ve seen a few other bloggers who attended, and I have to say you all were very lucky to have gotten the chance to go,
    Tenns recently posted..Birch Box June RevealMy Profile

  29. Wow, it sounds so amazing. I wish I could experience something like that someday. Alas… Thanks for sharing for us to experience vicariously.
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 recently posted..Cowboy Spaghetti for DadMy Profile

  30. Thanks for all of the great tips! I’m attending the Blogher conference in Chicago in July. This will be my first conference so I’m a little nervous and not quite sure what to expect. Originally I was going by myself, but now another blogger friend will be joining me :)
    dawn@joyfulscribblings recently posted..Pillow CoversMy Profile

  31. Thanks for the tips- very useful and things I didn’t know before. Hopefully the next blogherfood will be a bit closer.

  32. awesome trip and pics!

  33. omg. YOUR PHONE!!!!
    Ashton recently posted..Skinny Saturday ReportMy Profile

  34. Dorothy, thanks for this post. I’m bookmarking it for when I go to my next event. I love the way you integrated the fun and biz stuff in your post…and the pictures! Fun! Glad you went and thank you for sharing! It makes me hungry for my next event :)
    Melissa recently posted..Is Baking Therapy?My Profile

  35. Sounds like a blast! I’d love to go to a blog conference someday and I’m sure Austin was wonderful…

    Some people you can just tell are sweethearts. Like Ree. Never met her, but I just know! You know?
    Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen recently posted..Greek Pizza with Cauliflower Crust (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free)My Profile

  36. I loved reading all you wrote, I wanted to go SOOO Bad!
    It is a goal of mine to make it there next year! I would love to find out
    just how you went about getting sponsors for the Conference.?~ That way I can
    implement them now for next year! :)

    • Thanks Lark! To find sponsors, you just need to pick some companies that would work best for your blog. Put together a letter introducing yourself and the conference, and why you should be sponsored. Include what you would do for them (posts, logos on business cards, etc.) Once they come back for some discussion, have packages ready (cost/what they get for the money). I need to get started for BYBC next February!

  37. What great advice, thank you! Sounds like it was awesome! I had no idea about it, wish I had! Maybe next year :)
    Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar recently posted..No Bake Nutella, Peanut Butter and Marshmallow PieMy Profile

  38. what an awesome recap!! It was great to meet you, hopefully the whole ‘posse’ will be reunited at another conference soon! :)
    Sarah @ Miss Candiquik recently posted..S’more GrahamwichesMy Profile

  39. What a wonderful post…I learned many of the same things at FBF and just wrote a post on how I stink at schmoozing, too. Hope to meet you in person one day!!
    Liz recently posted..Cheese and Tomato Galette #TuesdayswithDorieMy Profile

  40. Such a great overview of the conference and love your tips too. I loved all the sway too and had I not driven I would have had to BUY a new suitcase because mine was packed tight otherwise. Bummed that we were not able to connect in person but perhaps it will happen again someday!
    Brenda @ Meal Planning Magic recently posted..Get Healthy, Give Hope With Produce For KidsMy Profile

  41. Shekinah says:

    Hey Dorothy, It didn’t really strike me when I read this post in June but now it did and Ree Drummond is really amazing. She is so sweet and she replies to tweets too :). She wished me for my upcoming wedding. *totally in awe*

  42. Dorothy, loved the review! As a new-ish blogger, would this type of conference be too advanced or helpful? With your positive experience, are you planning to go again? Lastly, if you didn’t have a sponsor, would you still go?

    • I think that the sessions are geared toward the first few years of blogging, so it’s definitely advisable! Plus, tons of brands and lots of networking. It’s also intimidating, but find some friends to go with and it’ll be awesome! I’m going to Miami in May without a sponsor, as of now. I want to just enjoy it!

  43. Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.

    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, very good blog!
    Taxis in watford recently posted..Taxis in watfordMy Profile

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