What To Do After A Blogging Conference: 6 Steps to Ensure Success
Blogging conferences are becoming increasingly more popular within the digital world, and have really become an integral part of the growth to a digital entrepreneur’s business. It’s a time when us bloggers can step away from the computers and cameras and come face-to-face with other people to network and learn vital information for our businesses.
The Women in Travel Summit just came to a close last week and it got me thinking... There is so much incredible information to learn and people to meet that it can become extremely overwhelming. How can you manage the stress in a positive way and be sure that you are making the most of your time at the conference?
I’ve been to enough conferences now--and even suffered through that information overwhelm--that I’ve learned the secret recipe to post-conference success. With these steps, I can assure that you’ll be making the most of your time, absorbing all of the information, putting everything to good use, and staying in touch with the people you interacted with. Keep this guide handy for your next conference!
Unless you are an extreme extrovert, networking conferences can be extremely exhausting and overwhelming. You're meeting new people, getting business contacts, learning new information... It's a lot to handle! It can take a lot of energy to constantly be "on" throughout the conference, and you need to give your body time to decompress and relax afterwards.
It's important to allow yourself at least 1 evening (or day, morning, afternoon, whatever you want!) to kick back and chill post-conference. It basically lets the juices in your head marinate, if you will, and you'll feel much more refreshed and ready to go once you allow yourself to decompress a little bit. For example, if a conference ends in the afternoon, I will usually go home and order food, have a glass of wine, and maybe cuddle up on the couch with some Netflix for the evening. That way, I can just chill out and be ready to hit the ground running in the morning. It's so important to listen to your body and let it relax!
2. Organize your business cards/contacts
Once you've decompressed, open up your bag and pull out all of the business cards and contacts that you collected throughout the conference. If you're thinking ahead, you've probably already organized them all in the same spot so they aren't scattered amongst your things. *I learned this the hard way and now I bring a small ziplock bag to put all of the cards I collect so I don't lose any!
Organize your new contacts however you prefer--in a binder, on excel, in a rolodex, etc.--and maybe even start making little notes about each interaction you had. Maybe you talked to Sally about a sponsorship opportunity and you remembered that you spoke about her 2 daughters. Those are nice little things to include and remember if you want (definitely not necessary though). Start creating a small to-do list from your new contacts so that you know who you need to contact for what and save it for later.
3. Organize your notes
Now that you're in the organizing mood, start going through your notes you took over the weekend. If you attended some awesome lectures, seminars, or sessions, maybe you have some killer notes that you want to review. Organize those notes however you prefer--in excel, Google Drive, etc.--and feel free to reach out to your peers and do a note swap!
All of this organizing is leading up to something big--I promise!
4. Create an action item list
Here we go! Now that you're all organized--your business cards and contacts are in place, your notes are looking good, and everything is feeling right--it's time to put all of this into action. You're going to create a nice, neat, and compartmentalized action item list. Choose your preferred method of how you want to draft up this to-do list. I love physically writing it down, but a lot of people like digitally creating lists. Whatever works!
For all of those new contacts you neatly organized, you're going to create a column of all the follow-ups you need to do (i.e. Thank You's, sponsorship deals, intros, scheduling, etc.) and put due dates next to them. Robin Sharma once told me, "If it doesn't get scheduled, it doesn't get done." So schedule it into your calendar so you can get it done!
Once you're done combing through your contacts, look at the notes you put together to draft another action column. There's usually a reason why you took those notes. Are you trying to rebrand and create a better message for your audience? Are you starting to dabble in video content? Are you implementing some new writing skills? Look at the common theme amongst your notes to figure out what you are trying to accomplish. From there, create a detailed and very specific action item list for those things you want to accomplish (you can even create multiple columns if you need). The more detailed, the better! And don't forget to include deadlines to hold yourself accountable!
Now that you have your handy action item list, it's time to execute. You've included deadlines and due dates for everything you want to do, so you're already halfway there! Just follow through on the things that you promised yourself and execute every column on your list. You can do it!
6. Stay in touch
Staying in touch with people that you met at these conferences is one of the best parts of attending a blogging conference. It's so important to maintain these relationships because you never know what could happen down the road! Business opportunities could arise, new friendships could blossom, or maybe you could be traveling to a new city and someone you met at the conference lives there and could give you great advice (or a place to sleep!). Plus, it's so easy to stay in touch now with social media. Lots of conferences even have private Facebook groups that you can join before attending so you can connect with people that way. Whichever method you prefer to stay in touch, just make sure you do so.
What are your favorite networking conferences? Do you use similar methods to ensure post-conference success? Comment below with your opinions!