Since I was so late to the party (hello TWO WEEKS after the conference), I was totally going to skip a Blissdom recap. But then I felt like, what kind of blogger am I?! I mean I can’t even blog about a blogging conference?!
That’s just sad.
So here it is, my recap…
- It’s Very Southern: It’s true what they say about the South, the women are very put together. Not that that’s a bad thing. But if you are a bit of a slumpy housewife who is still working the rock and roll look at 37, you might feel a bit out of place. Most people were working the Preacher’s Wife look like it was going out of style: long tousled hair, bright capri jeans, perfect white shirts, bubble necklaces, and flashy bags. If you’re headed down South to get your bliss on, step it up a notch.
- Get Your God On: Many of the speakers, authors, etc had a Christian tone to their message. It wasn’t enough to turn me off, and you probably won’t notice if you’re religious. But if you are a heathen like me, be prepared for some religiousity.
- Go With Friends: A lot of people go to Blissdom every year and there are groups running around squeeing and laughing. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is super friendly, but you might want to pack up a couple of fellow bloggers so you have some built in pals. And it’s a great conference to attend with friends because there was lots of free time to hang out with them.
- Attend the Keynotes: I often skip the keynotes at conferences. Too often they are full of self promoters giving canned speeches. But at Blissdom I found the keynotes to be the best part of the conference. It helped that I hadn’t heard Scott Stratten or Jon Acuff speak before (I’m sure some of their speeches were part of their standard talk file.) But even if I had, you could feel the enthusiasm and engagement from everyone of the speeches.
- The Handmade Market is Awesome: Sure, I saw people talking about how great the vendors were but I kind of brushed it off and didn’t plan for the market in my budget. Boy I wish I had. There were SO MANY things I would have loved to buy.
- Take Time for the Sponsors: Wow, the sponsors at Blissdom really went all out. Across the board, I felt like they did a great job of creating experiences for attendees. Even the sponsors that weren’t looking to work with bloggers directly had tons of blog fodder in their booths. You could have filled up an editorial calendar with the information available.
- Enjoy the Hotel: The Gaylord is Blissdom’s go to hotel and while I didn’t attend any of the ones in Nashville, I had my socks knocked off by the service and amenities at the Gaylord (besides the outrageous parking!) Every employee I encountered was eager to help and the hotel itself was a destination with its own water park and nightclub. Plus they had five restaurants to chose from.
- Talk to the Speakers: One of the stand out things about Blissdom was how available the speakers were. They were on twitter answering questions; hanging around after their sessions ended to talk to participants; handing out worksheets with contact information. As a conference veteran, I can tell you that this is rarely the case. Take advantage.
- Bring Some Wine: Alcohol is usually in wide supply at blogging conferences. Not so at Blissdom where there was one drink ticket for a three hour party. Pre-game it.
- Come With an Open Mind: People build up Blissdom to be OMG!AMAZEBALLS! and if you go in with the idea that it is GOING TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE you are going to be disappointed. Like any other conference, it is what you make of it. So go in ready for the hard work that comes after hearing the speeches and meeting the brands. You will make tons of connections but it is up to you to make those connections count.