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How to Promote Yourself (and Your Blog) at a Conference

Posted By Darren Rowse 21st of March 2008 Blog Promotion, Video Posts 57

Conferences can be a prime space for bloggers to recruit new readers. Last week at SXSWi it was fascinating to watch hundreds of bloggers attempt to standout from the crowd, network and develop fruitful relationships with others there. In this video I point out 5 of the better tips and strategies that I saw:

  • Unique Business Cards
  • Elevator Pitches that Solve Problems
  • Utilize Your Badge
  • Interview People that You Meet
  • Do something Out of the Box
  • Watch this video also on Youtube.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. I would also suggest

    – Participate to as many BarCamps as possible. BarCamps are open to all, rely on the Internet and wikis (Where you can present your blog), are participative therefore networking is the basis not the result

    – Propose a BarCamp in your area. For all of the above reasons, but when you collaborate to organize it’s even more fun and you can talk about you more

    – If you see someone you are interested in talking to just go and talk, do not wait or hesitate. working with conferences I see that this is one of the biggest issues preventing networking. sometimes it happens to salespeople as well. Remember that we are social animals and we need to connect.



  2. One thing I did to promote my blog, The Boomer Chronicles, was to come up with a decent question to ask during the Q&A session of every panel I attended. I began my introducing myself using my name and the name of my blog. That way, the audience in attendance heard about my blog, and I became a part of the ‘permanent record’ of the conference, as most sessions were videotaped.

  3. I always go looking for interesting business cards. I once got one made of sponge. :)

    A quick tip for those who decide to create a unique business card. Make sure that when the card is complete, it can still fit in to an average credit card slot of a wallet or the average business card holder. If it doesn’t fit in these, chances are it will get thrown away no matter how good, funny or unusual it is.

    Darren, I’m wondering if you can remember any examples of the problem solving in the elevator pitches? I was waiting for an example, then bam, you went on to the next point. :)

  4. Yes, out of the box stuff works well… though my number one tip is take an interest in other people.

    Think if it like ‘linking out’ from your blog…

    – Ask them about them
    – Ask about their product
    – Ask for information
    – They will ask “what do you do?”
    – You can give a short, polite run down
    – Take their interest forward if they want or part with a card

    Its all about taking an interest in others to get your foot in the door rather than coming up and barging in.

    Or out of the box stuff is good… like walking around with a see through box and some cool toy or electronic item inside that people can see. Ask them if they want it… they say yes, you say can you tell me a bit about you and give me a card… again this helps start a conversation and you can give them a card too etc.

    Then be sure to follow up with an email the next day. Explain who “won” the item in the box, and subtly link off to your site with a more detailed post or for them to find out who it was.

    Plenty of other ideas, but the basics are the same each time ;)

    David G

  5. Probably the best video yet. Great information, to the point and although it’s almost 6 minutes long, it feels as if it’s only 3 minutes.

  6. You write WordPress like “WordPress” on your business card? With a small ‘p’??? Not cool man.

  7. Good stuff Darren.
    But how out of the box can you be to stand out before your labeled as crazy.

  8. Darren, this is real useful.
    Usually when I go for seminars, I only have 1 objective which is to learn. Networking is secondary but I think it is important and fun too! :)
    Thanks for yet another insight.

  9. Great information, thanks!

    Now I just need to get to some conferences. :-)

    @Niklas Kunkel: A little crazy is what it takes to be unique! Ok, thats just my opinion but it seems like the ones that always hit the big ideas are the ones that went far enough to be viewed as a little crazy. :-)

  10. Niklas, being labeled as crazy me be the best promotion there is. :)

  11. @ Ai Ling ONG – Yeah right learning comes first but i would say a little bit of socializing and networking during the breaks and post event gives you great oppurtunities to know

    1. personal experiences of individuals
    2. help connect with like minded people
    3. get ideas
    4. finally de-stress…. else what’s the party for ?

  12. If you thought the accordion was something, wait until you see the bag pipes!

  13. I love the idea of really using your business card as a mini promo of what you can do (whether that’s writing or design).

    We have some cards for our lesbian/bi women’s web magazine which have a mini ‘how gay are you’ quiz on the back. We’ve found that it’s a really great hook as it gives a sense of what we do, plus it provides an extra reason to go to the site as that’s where we publish the answers.

    Btw this is the first problogger video post I’ve watched! (usually can’t be bothered with the buffering and the time it takes to watch, but the bulletpoint teasers got me).

  14. Great video post! I’m planning a Trip to Paris for a event hosted by Blizzard, the company making the game which my Blog is based upon.

    The event called the Paris world wide invitational is basically like a conference.

  15. So the 5th item is actually “think outside of the squeezebox.” Or when you don’t bring your own:

    Great meeting you there, Darren.

  16. We think your video post is great but we do think it’s interesting that you have the ability to post in the future!! (March 21st!) :-D

  17. Ah ha! Silly us….. you’re in Australia! :)

  18. Thanks Darren! I am planning on going to the Blogher Conference and I will be using these tips. Especially interviewing the people you meet.

    I just went to a Baby Expo and interviewed major companies for our upcoming videos. I was able to get their personal email addresses, so I could let them know when their video was posted. They also became interested in my site, because some of them are looking for ways to promote their products on the web. One company wanted to link to me on their company’s blog.

    Does anyone have any great interviewing tips?

  19. Creative business cards are a must-have at any networking event/seminar etc. ! One nifty technique is to include helpful niche/data information the back of the cards (all that whitespace would go to waste otherwise!).

    This is one time it’s helpful to have a library repository on your site with an easy-to-remember link – include it on the back of your cards and people have a reason to keep them/look at them in the future.



  20. I’ll be attending SOBcon ’08 this May (Liz Strauss, Chris Brogan, Chris Garrett, and Brian Clark, among others, will be there). I enjoyed your observations of what was effective for you. I had some ideas of my own for what I was going to do to promote myself at SOBcon (can’t tell right now… shhh), but these were very helpful. In particular, I like the idea solving a problem in your “elevator” pitch.

  21. I’ve just realized that I have elevator pitch that solves problem!

    Thanks, Darren.

  22. Creative clothing – something nice and professional or even a great t-shirt or polo shirt with your logo, that always catches my eye.

  23. Standing out is what it takes in our digital age of repetitiveness!

  24. Darren,

    These are excellent observations. How about switching out the lanyard that they give you with one of your own? You can have them printed with your website going around it in a bold color.

    If you have the budget for it, you could hand out t-shirts, pens etc. with your blog on it. When you meet people you could hand it to them.


  25. Great stuff Darren, I haven’t got to a show yet related with a blog but…I agree that unique business cards do stand out.

  26. Great ideas. Humor and creativity is surely a great tool for any blogger. I guess that goes without saying, but these specific examples definitely help spark the imagination.

  27. This post was featured in today’s Daily Blog Summary–a daily summary of the top 50 Make Money Blogging blogs.

  28. I have found unique business cards to be one of the most effective ways at getting people to take 10 seconds to study your card, instead of just instantly pocketing it. My current card is the standard size but ‘vertical’ orientation – my next one will be not quite square, but slightly shorter, and probably still vertical.

  29. Hi Darren,
    Great ideas for getting the most from a conference. You absolutely need a competitive edge to not only get attention, but to gain interest.

    The next step that if often overlooked is providing for a connection beyond the one you’ve made at the event.


  30. Right on point Darren.

    You must stand out and network.

    Tall, dark and handsome doesn’t cut it anymore. Lucky me.

    The Masked Millionaire

  31. I always have some creative t-shirts made up. I take a hundred or so and wear them the whole show (variety of colors not the same shirt the whole show) and invariably people ask me if I have any more and I give the out. By the end of the show I’ve got lots of people walking around wearing my billboard.

  32. Great tips! A lot of times I get shy and don’t want to bother people, but the whole interview with the camera thing stood out. I never thought about how it would play on other blogger’s vanity. Excellent point.

  33. Hey Darren – whats up man! First off wanted to say your blog rocks…I learn a ton from it all the time!

    Question – I’m thinking about launching some video content, along side my daily blog. I’m thinking maybe a weekly summary video of my blog posts for the week.

    Also was thinking since I don’t have much resources to put into doing a really nice video, I was thinking an audio really would do the trick – but I have a hunch I’ll get more bang for my buck out of video.


    Thanks man!

  34. That’s a great way to create a buzz.

  35. The most fascinating point of this post to me is the reader love for the business card suggestion.

    While business cards are one of the more popular marketing solutions people come to PRstore for, most of our clients prefer a conventional route. It’s tough to get people to embrace the untraditional.

    I can’t tell you how often we hear, “Here’s what my competitor does…we want something like that.” I thought the goal of business was to stand out, not blend in?!?!

    The best tip, though, in my mind, is the suggestion of interviewing people. You forgot the obvious benefit Darren: Hours worth of ready-to-go, value-added, link-generating blog & podcast content!

  36. I’ll be the first to admit that, personally, my number one reason to attend photographic (my business) trade shows is networking. In fact, most of my business, not including my blog, is generated by networking.
    — Dave

  37. I have magnetic business cards, I still get emails and phone calls a year on from giving them out because people put them on there fridges etc..

  38. Were you having a party or did you have the TV on when you made the video?

  39. And yes, that was a joke, I know what it was.

  40. Denise says: 03/22/2008 at 2:03 am

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful information. I have to say that whenever I get an email that you’ve posted, I have to wait until I really have time to review it, rather than just skim it. You always have such a wealth of useful information and new bloggers like myself really benefit from it.

    Thanks for what you do!
    Blessings from Above –

  41. Great tips Darren, I will keep them in mind if I go to a conference.

  42. I have my “standard” business cards. Then I went ahead and created some business cards particularly for my LinkedIn account. I particularly fond of LinkedIn because it’s clean and professional and pretty spam free!

  43. What is a Conference Pertaning to Computer Nomenclature Encounter as suspected Where When How would one Attend or obtain Invitation

  44. Thanks for this video! I’ve thought about promoting my blog at conventions/expo/conferences in my niche and this helps a lot! :)

  45. Thank you for posting again a very informative article…Til your next post

  46. Darren, great stuff, I could not make this conference as I am in the middle of chemo for my Ovarian Cancer. This is my first good week since January 16th and I think I’m on a strong road to recovery. This grandma still has rock and roll in her blood. so thanks for the window into the conference. I hope when chemo finishes in July of this year…I’ll be able to plan a conference and meet you. Meanwhile, I live vicariously through your experiences..

    Thanks for the tips.

    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram

    currently looking like a bald eagle…

  47. Many people contain their advertising to online but the fact is advertising can be done anywhere. On tv, billboards, speaking about it. Offline advertising generally won’t give you a huge increase in traffic but it will have an affect.

  48. Great Tips Darren.

    I personally agree strongly with:

    1) Special Namecards – thou i have none of such yet
    2) Good Elevator Speech – that has solution to problems

    Will work on my Namecard asap. Thanks


  49. interesting video. a business card talking about the creation of the business card?

    stop trying to beat me!

    Bloog Blog Cherry

  50. Thanks a lot for the video. It is probably the best one yet. It is loaded with information and I greatly appreciate it.

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