Get the best returns from your conference attendance this summer

08 May 2017

Get the best returns from your conference attendance this summer

Summer is almost here and that means conference season will soon be upon us. As well as being informative and fun (and offering great networking opportunities), conferences, conventions and such like are also great blogging opportunities, so here are three tips as to what preparation to do in order to make the most of them.

1. Think about what sort of blogging approach you are going to adopt

There are lots of ways you can turn conferences into blog material. You could live blog, you could post summaries of individual sessions, reviews of whole days or overarching themes and/or interviews with key figures (or attendees). You could even “just” curate content produced by other people.

If you head off to the conference without any clear plan, it can be very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and then find yourself struggling to produce any content, let alone high-quality content. Go in with a plan and some ideas on how you can adapt it if need be and you have a better chance of staying focused, particularly if you’re new on the scene.

2. Be clear on the rules/etiquette around recording sessions and using materials

By recording sessions, we mean in video or audio format, rather than taking your own notes. Many conferences will allow attendees to record sessions for their own use, but if you want to publish your recordings or reproduce them in any way, then it is highly advisable to check first if this is actually permitted. Some events prohibit recordings completely.

Likewise, any materials you are given are very likely to be under copyright, so you would need to get permission to reproduce or reuse them in their original form. You can, of course, use them as inspiration for your own original work.

3. Go appropriately equipped

It’s a good idea keep your phone for use as a phone. It may function (very well) as several other pieces of equipment and you may be tempted to use it to cover all of these bases so as to be able to travel light, but there are reasons not to do this. All smartphones are power-hungry and, even if you bring a portable charger with you (which we recommend), you may still find yourself desperately needing to charge at a vital moment and finding a free plug socket may be a challenge!

If you like to record a lot of audio, then a digital dictaphone can be a great, affordable investment. A point-and-shoot camera that takes AA batteries can take pictures that are perfectly suitable for blogs and even Instagram and you can take spare batteries with you. A tablet, possibly with an add-on keyboard, might be a better idea than a laptop as they tend to be lighter and have better battery life (are you noticing a common theme here?). Last but by no means least a notebook (of the paper sort) and pens can come in very handy to ensure you are prepped for success.