Apr 8, 2013

BlogHer '13 in Chicago, Will YOU Be There?

Last year I attended BlogHer for the second year in a row. I had an amazing time in San Diego in 2011 and when they announced the 2012 location was New York City, a place I really wanted to go, I knew instantly I was going to go again. But as I planned for BlogHer12 I planned to skip BlogHer13 because while I loved every minute (well maybe not every minute, waiting for elevators could be annoying) I wanted to check out some of the other blogging conferences. But then BAM is in Chicago and well, I can't NOT go.  How can I not make the time to hit the town, MY town with bloggers from all over the county.  So again, I'm planning for an amazing weekend of connecting with bloggers and brands. 
If BlogHer13 is your first conference, you'll want to know that it is NOT to early to be planning your trip to get the most out of the weekend for you and your blog.  Last year I wrote a post about my tips for Blogher
I'd like to add a few things to that. 
First for my local friends, do NOT commute.  Yes, its expensive to stay downtown but if you share a room it's a manageable (and tax deductible) expense and I promise, you'll thank me for it later! 

Second, be you.  Sit down, figure out why you want to go to BlogHer and what you're hoping to get out of it. Do it NOW. And then don't let the Twitter chatter (#Blogher13 and #BlogHerNewbie for firstimers) sway you away from what YOU want.  There are going to THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people heading to this conference, there are mom bloggers, coupon/deal bloggers, travel bloggers and on and on.  Everyone is going to be there for a different reason.  Yes there will be swag hoarding.  (But mind you the best packer in the world is not going to get their expenses worth of swag so in my opinion, take what you'll really use and get something less tangible but more value with you.)  But if you walk away and can say you didn't get what you needed from BlogHer, you really will have no one to blame but yourself because its all there, you just have to be bold and get it.  If you want to learn, don't be swayed by events with free toys, I promise you won't learn there.  If you want to make brand connections, real lasting connections will not start with you filling a bag with 100 post in note pads when you enter their booth.  I'll let you in on a little secret.  The best connections aren't going to be made where you're expecting them. At least they haven't been for me.  One of the best connections I've made in two years of BlogHer was made by simply being nice and chatting with someone I didn't know while waiting for a movie premier.  We talked for sometime before I learned that she was an amazing connection at a sought after PR company based here in Chicago.  But I didn't make that connection by shoving a card in her face insisting she wanted to work with me.  I have this invaluable connections because we connected over a real conversation about REAL life. She liked my voice and when she visited my blog she found more of the same!
And if you want fun, well if that doesn't just hit you over the head, you must not have left your hotel room!  This is a professional conference for me but there is no shortage of fun.  From fabulous private events to the official parties and just hanging out in the lobby and hotel rooms connecting with other bloggers who GET what we do is the most energizing and exciting part of BlogHer for me.

My last note would be that as with everything in life, BlogHer isn't perfect.  If you chose to focus on the bad, you will find it for sure.  There aren't enough outlets, wi-fi has been a huge issue for me and there WILL be rude ass people.  But I think for most people it can be an amazing experience and the only reason I even say 'most' is that because those who really struggle with anxiety or self esteem issues have been known to have a horrible time.  With thousands of people in a big city, there WILL be stress, there will be unknowns.  If you KNOW that this will be hard for you, I would NOT start with BlogHer as your first conference.  If you KNOW you have self esteem issues and often feel left out, don't go without a built in band of friends because it WILL feel cliquey.  It's not that bloggers (well not all) are cliquey, its that we find our people and we enjoy them.  For the most part if we're huddled up and looking closed off its not cuz we ARE closed off its because we just love each other and this very limited time together so much that we cling to it, but don't be afraid to break in and introduce yourself, you never know when you're going to meet your new blogging BFF!!
As it gets closer I'll be putting together more info on Chicago and my recommendations for things to check out if you have time.  But whether you have Chicago or BlogHer questions, feel free to ask me or as always, hit up the twitter stream hashtag #BlogHer13


  1. I'm seriously considering going this year. I've never been to BlogHer and have always wanted to but it's not really been financially feasible. Being in Chicago this year (only 3.5 hours away) I'm really going to try to go. My ideal plan is to take the Amtrak, use a taxi, and find a hotel that's nearby. I look forward to reading your tips and ideas.

    1. Terra,
      I know many did the train in NYC last year. I haven't done Amtrak but I take Metra from the suburbs all the time and a cab from the train to a local hotel will probably run about $10/15 (including tip). Get roommates and lower the hotel price. If you can I always recommend being in the conference hotel so you can stay out late and not have to walk to another hotel alone. I know it's pricey but I'm not sure how much better you can do close by. I know people did stay a block or so away in NYC and some said it was fine, others had issue toting swag. But however you work it out, you should totally go. Its a really energizing experience to be with others who GET it!!


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