Welcome to the most colorful place on earth! I attended Alt Summit 2018 in Palm Springs, Ca with my bestie blogger pal Kara of Whimsy Soul. While in these photos it may look like all we did was take fun photos at The Saguaro Hotel and hang by the pool, in actuality we worked really hard and stayed on our grind for the better part of 5 days!
If you are unfamiliar with the concept behind Alt Summit, it's known as the top-notch conference for creative entrepreneurs and trendy social media influencers. The schedule is packed with lectures, workshops and networking gatherings all tailored to the blogger and creative industry. As an attendee, if you plan ahead and stay focused on your goals, the knowledge and confidence you gain can help you take leaps and bounds with your business.
Top 10 Pro Tips to Slay at Alt Summit
1. Getting Your Alt Summit Tickets - I cannot stress this enough, tickets go VERY FAST. When the link goes live, the conference will sell out within 2 hours or less! Make sure you are subscribed to the newsletter and are checking your emails frequently. Always read through the entire email from top to bottom because often times sponsored content is at the top and very pertinent logistical info is at the bottom. Make sure you are sitting in front of your computer when they announce when the tickets are going live.
2. Plan Your Itinerary Before You Arrive - A couple weeks before your arrival date, Alt Summit will email out the schedule with all the speakers, workshops and events happening at the conference. We made a spreadsheet with a separate tab for each day of the conference. We listed out all of our top picks for each day and it gave us a clear game plan each morning. Having this spredsheet really helped to keep us on track to maximize our time.
3. Set Your Intentions - It's very important to clearly define your goals before Alt Summit begins and write down the steps your going to take to achieve them. It's very easy to get lost in the shuffle and later realize afterwards that you didn't fully follow-through on them.
Achievable goals for creative conferences could be:
Network with sponsors and book a paid gig.
Network with other bloggers and expand your circle. Set a goal of business cards to collect.
Learn specific new skills in social media, email marketing, photography, negotiating with brands, etc.
Establish a new growth strategy for site traffic and social media.
Gather information to solve a problem you've been experiencing. Consult with the industry experts.
4. Arrive Early - We arrived in Palm Springs one day before the conference began to scope out the scene, do some sightseeing in Palm Springs and get our bearings before the madness began. It really helped us feel prepared to tackle our busy schedule.
5. Business Cards - I remember when I went to my first creative conference several years ago, I had no idea that "cool business cards" were a thing. I quickly learned that as a blogger you need to have killer business cards and you trade them with everyone. Make sure they're easy to reach and hand them out like candy, all the while collecting as many as you can from both brands and attendees. These cards will be crucial for your follow-up. I use Moo.com for easy to design templates and printing.
6. Dress to Impress - Think of the best outfits to represent your brand and rock it! I have seen some amazing styles at creative conferences, it's the best people watching! Having a fabulous outfit can really break the ice when meeting new people, my gal Kara calls it "peacocking". Your goal is to be memorable and for brands and attendees to associate your in-person persona with your company.
7. Practice Your Elevator Pitch - You will be meeting many people very quickly, it's important to be able to sum up what you do in one concise sentence. Make sure you hit the most relevant points such as your specialty or niche, the city where you are based and what you are currently working on. The goal is to capture their interest and then you can always expand on it in conversation. Make sure to also ask what they do and reciprocate. Find something in common to spark a more in-depth conversation to make deeper connection.
8. Re-Group and Adjust - At about the half-way point of the conference, take some quiet time to reflect and make sure you're still on track with your goals. Do you notice areas for improvement in your strategy? Do you need to change your goals and pivot? You may also just need some alone time to re-charge your battery and find a sense of calm to come back strong. Remember, this is a marathon and not a quick race.
9. Engage with the Conference - Find out as soon as you can what the social media accounts and hashtags will be for the key players. If you know them before the conference begins even better! Make sure to post daily on social media and tag them in all relevant posts. Be specific about what you love, take high quality photos, share your experiences on Instagram stories, etc. Your goal is to get them to share your content on their channels and to make a positive impression. You never know, it could open up some great opportunities for you in the future!
10. Follow-Up - After the conference ends, take the weekend to decompress and then get back on the grind. Go through the business cards you collected and start connecting with both the brands and attendees. Write thank you emails, write a comment or send a message on Instagram, pitch a proposal on how you can work together, etc. Personalize each email and mention something specific you liked about them or their brand.
Bonus tip! You may have heard rumors about the free stuff you get at conferences and it's true! Make sure you leave room in your luggage for all the new goodies you'll be taking home. This is especially true if you are flying!
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