What makes a winning blogger event?
Blogger events offer brands an opportunity to activate creatively, influencer networks. However, putting on a blogger event is not the same as a press event, and agencies would be wise to note the difference.
I remember the dawn of blogger events in Australia. The year was 2010 and some mummy bloggers were being chauffeured around Sydney in limos, drinking champagne and from the looks of things, having a fabulous time! What stood out to me was that I had to dig around to find out who the hosting brand was, as there were no brand-related tweets. I was stunned when, day and weeks passed after the event, and not a single blog post was forthcoming.
If the brand doesn’t get covered then what’s the point?
Watching blogger events take place in 2015 and the number of limos involved has drastically decreased, while the outcomes often haven’t improved. These events generate limited social mentions, little engagement from social communities and even fewer organic blog posts.
And so my question remains: if you don’t get talked about, then what’s the point?
The main mistake being made by made in this arena is that blogger events are being run as though they were press events. Beautifully crafted and with every effort invested, a press styled event does not deliver the best outcomes when working with bloggers.
In addition to connecting with social influencers, blogger events allow brands to tap directly into their online audiences live from the event, but doing this well is not as easy as getting bloggers together into one room.
Moreover, marketers and PRs face some big hurdles including high ‘no show’ and last minute cancellation levels and established bloggers who decline to attend. In writing this post I had one established blogger with a highly coveted “mummy” audience say to me, “I get so many event invites I could go to a different one each day, but I’ve stopped going – they are just too boring.”
Far from giving up on these activities, the industry needs to pivot the approach taken to them. It is possible to see up to 60% of bloggers attending events provide post-event coverage, and the events themselves receive at least 100 social mentions reaching hundreds of thousands of followers – we do.
To run a successful blogger event you need to do these three things
Understand what bloggers want from an event:
- Firstly, bloggers love events because they are a chance to connect in person with each other and bond over their shared passion. Make sure your event allows for this and integrates social sharing opportunities that bloggers will be excited to participate in, with each other!
- Bloggers also love face time with the hosting brand – they are interested in meeting the people behind the brand, they want to hear the brand story and find where their place in sharing it lies. Make sure there are enough brand reps in attendance and that they are primed and eager, to chat with attending bloggers.
- Bloggers also like to feel that their time spent in attending the event is acknowledged – they give their time freely to attend, and it needs to be respected.
Avoid these major mistakes:
- Making it a sit-down information event. While you will need to get everyone listening at some point during the event, it should feel like a social gathering, not a conference.
- Putting too much emphasis on making it a spectacularly themed event, when what bloggers want is for the content to be engaging, fun and shareable.
- Focusing solely on the people in the room. Bloggers have large social media followings built around their brand. These communities can be activated via an event in a way that often doesn’t happen with journalists whose social accounts tend to be more personal. Most brands and agencies miss the opportunity to do this.
- Not putting enough preparation into a post-event strategy, and budget.
Re-evaluate where you put your spend.
- $20,000 seems to be the starting point for many agencies and brands in theming an event.
- We have run events with venue and theming costs of less than $5,000 (for some not for profits, event costs have been lower than $3,000). These events have been highly successful in engaging attendees and their audiences.
- Theming does not matter nearly as much to bloggers as being genuinely engaged in your story – keep your budget for partnerships and post event activations.
Top Tips for Blogger Event Success
Image Credit: Whats On 4
- Choose one hashtag (yes, only one!) and make sure you check that is not ‘taken’ before you settle on it.
- Make everything shareable – from the name tags to the food to your presentation; this doesn’t have to be flashy, just fun and interesting.
- Use your social media channels to follow and engage with invited bloggers – and don’t wait until the hour of the event to start.
- Choose a venue with easy (and preferably free) parking.
- Be generous, but clever, about providing product to bloggers.
- If you are running an event geared at parent bloggers, make sure you run a child-friendly event (not just a ‘kids welcome’ scenario and definitely not a ‘no-kids’ event). If in doubt, talk to a parent about what would make an event workable for them with young kids – even better ask the bloggers you plan to invite! There is nothing more off-putting as a parenting blogger than being invited to an event by someone who has given no consideration to your daily life and chosen a time right in the middle of school pick up/drop off or ‘witching hour’.
Blogger events are everywhere, yet they remain an untapped opportunity for creative and smart influencer marketing. Providing multiple touch points for consumers, they are fun and inviting and make people want to find out more. For brands who are struggling to achieve cut through in this saturated industry a blogger event is a perfect opportunity for you to get noticed – just don’t forget to have fun with it.