I just realized that I haven’t been receiving any emails to my tristan at bloggingbookshelf dot com email address (including the contact form) for the past week and a half. So if you’ve sent me something and I haven’t gotten back to you, that’s why. Sorry!! I just fixed it and it should be working now.

I’m not a very social person. I work well alone and I enjoy it, so I’ve long been avoiding Meetups, conferences, seminars, and the like. I knew they were great ways to meet and connect with like-minded people, but I didn’t care. They’re just not my scene.

I decided to abandon my solitary ways this past weekend when I attended and spoke at Podcamp SLC.

 

The topic of my presentation was How to Get Your Blog Noticed in a Crowded Niche (which I’ll be turning into a blog post or ebook and posting to the blog here sometime in the near future). It was well received, and I met some really great people. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience and I’m glad I went.

Below are 7 lessons I learned from attending and speaking at the event. Hopefully these lessons will be beneficial to you; if not, at least I’ve got these notes in writing and they’ll be beneficial to my future self :)

1. I do in fact need business cards

One of the most painful things I experienced was having to answer the question, “How can we get in touch with you?” by saying, “Uh… Go to BloggingBookshelf.com. My information is all there.” How lame is that?

So sometime soon I’m going to get myself some business cards that have my name, blog name and URL, Twitter account, and Facebook profile information on them. I talk with people every day about my blog, and I’m a little bit puzzled that I haven’t gotten business cards made up yet. Every person I talk to is a potential reader, client, customer, friend, and/or partner. Not having those relationships because I forget what someone’s blog is (or they forget mine) is pretty lame.

So yes, business cards are on the to-do list in the near future.

I know some people have said that they just use Twitter as a business card; as soon as they meet someone, they pull out their smart phone and follow the person on Twitter or add them to a list. Whatever. I still want a real business card from someone.

2. Next time, I’ll brand my presentation better

If I ever present again, I’m going to put my name and Twitter handle as a footer on the bottom of every slide. If someone isn’t paying attention when I first start the presentation, or if someone comes in late, or if someone doesn’t hear me when I mention my name or my blog name, I want them to still be able to find me.

I don’t know if someone had this problem with me (I did mention my blog several times), but I had this problem when listening to the other speakers.

3. I need to be better at remembering people’s names

I’m really bad at remembering people’s names. This is something I’ve always, always been terrible with. Note to self: Work on this! Pay attention, Tristan. Get your head in the game, man.

4. We’re fun people

My roommate came with me to the conference, and he’s pretty new to the whole blogging thing. As we were driving back home, he said something along the lines of, “You know… Bloggers are really cool.”

And it’s true. Everyone who blogs/podcasts/whatever has something to say to the world. We’re interesting people. We have good ideas, and we enjoy hearing new ones. We like talking about what we’re passionate about, and I especially like talking to someone who’s as passionate about this stuff as I am.

Everyone I met was really cool. We’re all doing what we love, and that enthusiasm is contagious and palpable.

5. I still have a lot to learn

I’m really good at blogging, and I know a lot about it. But there’s still a ton that I don’t know. I realized I don’t know much about corporate blogging, for example. And then there’s all sorts of stuff related to podcasting, video, and product marketing that I don’t know about.

One presentation I went to was all about the Wishlist Member software. It’s software you can use to create membership sites, premium podcasts, etc. I thought it was fascinating. It’s the software I’ll be using for my very-soon-to-come product, and there’s just so much cool stuff it can do!

To me, this is incredibly exciting. I love learning new things, and one of the reasons I love blogging is because everything you do is educational. You always learn something.

6. I’m going to be more socially proactive before the next meeting/conference

The night before the conference, Nicole followed me on Twitter. She’d seen on the Podcamp schedule that I’d be presenting the next day, and she said something along the lines of, “Looking forward to your presentation tomorrow!” A short Twitter conversation ensued and when we met the next day, it was super easy to start talking to each other.

So the next time I go to one of these things, I’m going to try beforehand to make as many connections with people as possible. Not only will it be easier to start talking to people, but I’ll be able to see who in particular I want to establish a relationship with.

7. I’m going to work on my presentation sooner

I did my whole presentation the day before. The whole week I was slightly stressed out about it. I should have just started working on the stupid thing earlier in the week. That way I could have gone through my presentation more (as it is I went through the whole thing twice before I actually gave it). Some people might not need to practice much, but I’m not a very good speaker and I need all the help I can get.

Final words

So will I be going to more of these things in the future? Yeah, probably. It was fun. I got to meet some really interesting and smart people that I’ll continue to interact with in the future. I got more Twitter followers and some new RSS and newsletter subscribers. I learned some new things (don’t fall asleep next to your laptop because the power supply could overheat and give you third degree burns). I got to share my love of blogging with other people and hopefully give them some great ideas that they can apply immediately to their own blogging.

It was a success.

  • Have you ever attended some sort of conference or networking event for your niche? If so, how many (or how often)? If not, why not?
  • What tips would you give to the first-time conference-goer?
  • What tips would you give to presenters?
  • Do you have any desire to attend and/or present at one of these events?