BlogHer Prep: Party Etiquette

I originally wrote this post for Mom Blog Magazine a few months back, but in light of all the BlogHer party planning going on I thought I’d reprint it here.  Never forget YOU are your brand.  So pack your most kick ass shoes and as many business cards as you can carry but don’t leave your manners on the plane…

Back in March an email from Yelp to its “elite” group of Yelpers was leaked to Gawker and caused quite a few laughs. It seems that many of these elite reviewers were behaving embarrassingly badly and Yelp felt the need to send this…

“Much to our chagrin, the staff at several events has commented on the fact that occasionally some members of the Elite Squad at meals can be likened to an Animal Planet feeding frenzy, as certain people descend on appetizers as though they have not eaten in weeks.”

They also scolded reviewers for auctioning off RSVPs, adding plus “fours” and not showing up after RSVP’ing yes. While this is certainly an extreme version of guests behaving badly at an event it does echo some of the stories I’ve heard lately about press junkets where bloggers have left their manners at the door.

When you are invited to an event you are representing yourself, your blog and any other outlets for which you write. If you’re being sponsored at a conference you are also representing a brand. The blogging business can feel very casual and chummy but make no mistake about it if you want to taken seriously you have to act the part. Here are some basic tips that may seem obvious but bear repeating:

  1. Don’t have that 3rd drink. Or maybe even the 2nd. You may think you are getting more charming with every sip you take but chances are you will be louder, sillier and less professional by the glass. This is a business event not a frat party.
  2. Don’t monopolize the host or sponsor. If someone is holding a junket or event they are doing so in order to meet and influence as many bloggers/press as possible. Let them. Make a good impression, engage them in genuine conversation and ask some good questions, then let them move on and follow up via email a few days later.
  3. RSVP either way. It is just common courtesy and good business. Unless the event invite is so egregious and insulting to you (which certainly does happen) you should email your response and let them know if you’re coming. PR reps work on many brands and often move companies, it behooves you to be polite and help them arrange their event as easily as possible.

Finally, if you want your blog to grow and more opportunities to come your way, act like it. If you don’t take yourself seriously no one else will.