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Top 10 Things We Learned at BlogHer 2013

Blogging . . . It's Complicated

Presumably you came to BlogHer to achieve a specific goal: higher traffic, meeting your online fans/friends, learning a new skill, to get inspired, connecting with brands or one of the other zillion things that can happen during BlogHer. At the same time, many moms in attendance talked about how blogging was personal. After having kids, some of the mom bloggers felt like themselves for the first time after they set up their .com and started delving into online communities. It was a way to have "me" time and hear "me too!" while in the midst of new parenthood.

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You Can Stand Out in the Crowd

Walking into a convention with 5,000+ bloggers can be intimidating. You might think that your blog is unique until you find someone from another state doing the same thing. What you learn at BlogHer, however, is that your voice is unique, your POV is unique, and your experience is unique. Now, you just have to show your audience what that looks like, and connect with readers who want to hear what parenting twins in Alaska is all about. And those twin moms in Michigan can do their own wacky thing.

Women Are a Talkative Bunch

Even the most timid BlogHer attendee surely made some new friends last weekend in Chicago. It's impossible not to be social at this 5,000 person blogging event. Whether it was striking up a conversation on the very long shuttle bus ride, or finding yourself waiting in line a long time for the next available massage, there are plenty of opportunities to connect. If you walked away from either of those interactions without a business card, or a new Twitter follower, you must have been traveling with people who already follow you on Twitter. Which is fab too. Meeting your online friends in person is a great reason to go to BlogHer.

There's an Expert For Everything

From the podcast guru to the music education mom, you can find someone who specializes in just about everything in the world. You really haven't done BlogHer right until you've discussed colonoscopies with a stranger, or bedbug prevention with a social media expert who is also an expert in . . . bedbug prevention.

Never Judge a Blogger By Her Twitter Followers

This year's 49 followers could be next year's Voice of the Year. If you're a Twitter follower snob you're going to miss out on meeting an amazing woman and blogger. Don't play that, and open your feed to the newbies.

Every now and then you've go to step outside of the WiFi zone and take a breath.

The Ladies Love Starbucks

This one you probably knew before, but after witnessing wicked line-ups outside the convention center Starbucks when literally, there is free coffee a few feet away, you realize how much we cling to our 'bucks.

You Don't Need That Much Free Stuff

It is possible to go home with hundreds and hundreds of dollars of swag. In fact, most of us probably paid that extra fee for "heavy" luggage on our return trips. But do you really need five bottles of moisturizer? Sure it's a thrill, but realistically, you're going to wind up tossing that in the trash after repeatedly moving it out of the way to get to the actual stuff you use in your bathroom cabinet.

Sometimes You've Got to Unplug

It's easy to stay on your smartphone when you're not talking to another blogger about how she got her book deal. Heck, it's easy to stay on your smartphone while you're talking to another blogger. But in order to take in everything, and not get overwhelmed by all of the information, every now and then you've go to step outside of the WiFi zone and take a breath. Some of the best moments come when you're taking a boat ride away from the convention center, or a long walk in the host city just to explore.

Women Really Do Rule the World

While we're still struggling to close that pay wage gap, and no one seems to realize there's a thing called paternity leave in America, it is clear that women make the major (and very minor) purchasing decisions in our households. At least, if the BlogHer Expo is an indication, and I do believe it is. From Dodge giving away $45,000 towards one of their vehicles, to the staggering amounts of swag any BlogHer attendee could walk away with, these brands want us ladies to know all about their business. And hopefully, convert a few thousand of us to ditching our iPhones and picking up a Galaxy; putting down our Pepsi in favor of Coca-Cola, or remembering why we love that Pillsbury Doughboy so much.

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Okay, So It is a Little Bit of a Vacation

Not to discount the incredible amount of business that takes place at BlogHer—because it is happening in every expo booth, panel, corner of the conference room and private party—but BlogHer is a time for the ladies to kick back and only focus on themselves for a minute. Unless you brought your brood with you (and some do!) attendees have the freedom to dine out without a sitter, or sleep in, or just hang out with friends without the daily to-do list. It's a mini-vacation from the day-to-day, even if you're hustling for business. After getting an SEO education from that nice lady on the shuttle bus you can feel free to hit the hot tub knowing you've kicked some blogging butt for the day. That doesn't happen at home.

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