I thought it might be good to refresh and re-surface my Blogging Etiquette series from early 2013. This one is especially pertinent with BlogHer 2014 less than 2 weeks away.
The world of blogging can open the door to wonderful opportunities and can create real and lasting friendships. Bloggers make up a society of sorts. Like any society, bloggers have “classes”, with some doing it for a hobby, some as a business and a ton in between. The world of blogging also has a lot of unspoken rules, aside from the spoken ones provided by the FTC. In this Blogger Etiquette Series, we’ll learn many of the unspoken rules of blogging and how to NOT break those rules.
Blogging conferences can be wonderful events. They’re great for networking, meeting new people and building your blog. They do, however, invite many situations that can be quite awkward. Knowing how to act in certain situations can be tough for first-timers. Many times, people don’t mean to break unwritten rules, it just happens. Let’s jump right in and lay down some etiquette for blog conferences.
When it comes to swag…
Boy could I go on for a long time here. Let me just say that when it comes to swag, be gracious, not greedy. Nobody owes you a dang thing. Take what they give you, but don’t bring Mrs. Grabby Hands to the conference. If a business wants you to have something, you’ll know it. They will offer it to you. Nothing makes you look worse than being greedy about swag. Would you rather have that new set of baby bottles or a lasting relationship with an awesome brand?
How to walk away…
This one can be tricky. You’ve just met a really cool blogger, or an awesome brand representative and they love to talk, but you’re here to meet hundreds of people, not to make one new friend or to connect with one company. So what do you do? Find a point of interest around that you can gesture toward and say something to the effect of “I’m going to go check out that Clorox booth”. In a real pinch? Simply just excuse yourself to the restroom – they’re not going to follow you there! It’s a tricky situation, but you can gracefully get out of it.
When it comes to speakers…
Listen. You know how in grade school, it was cool to whisper and chat when the teacher was teaching? Maybe in high school too, but the fun wore off. The in college, it was just annoying. You are trying (and paying) to learn and it is distracting. Well, at a conference, it is the most annoying thing ever. Plain and simple: shut up and listen. You’re paying to be there, more importantly, those around you are paying to be there, and paying to hear what this person has to say. So the last thing anyone wants to hear is you whispering or chatting with your buddy next to you.
Keep your questions on task and don’t ask weird questions. There isn’t much worse than one person asking a million pointless questions during a limited time Q&A session. The moral of the story here is to respect the time and money others (and you) are sacrificing to be there.
When it comes to brands…
Have your information ready. Be honest with your stats, your reach and what you can do for the company. Be sure and listen and express interest in a brand’s goals when it comes to working with bloggers. Also be honest about your expectations. If talks progress to you two working together, keep the communications two-way and honest. The point here is forming long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships, not trying to get as many sponsored post opportunities as possible in a weekend.
When it comes to parties…
That first drink? Good idea. It’ll loosen you up a bit. That 2nd one? Might be okay. The 3rd one? Pushing it. The 4th one? Bad idea. Every one after that? Very bad idea! Unless you’re promoting an alcoholic beverage review site, a hangover cure blog or a party company, you probably don’t want to be slurring words out of your whiskey-breath ridden mouth.
There are two words that you should strive to get people to use when describing you and your conference self. Class and grace. If you leave with those two things in tact, you’ve done a fine job.
See this post for Tips for Making the Most of Blog Conferences.