Attending BlogHer was a bit self-indulgent. I got to spend three days with my peers soaking in their talent and energy and learning about how to throw a great event. For all of you who want to a.) attend blogging events b.) execute blogging events or c.) market to moms at blogging events read on...
Lessons learned about throwing a great blogging event:
Location, location, location. Picking a location that requires travel is tricky if you are hosting in conjunction with a conference. Any "off-site" events should be easy to find, have parking accommodated or provide a free shuttle to and from. If you are planning off-site, make sure the location is compelling. The Kellog's breakfast I attended did everything right. They offered free shuttles, a stunning view of Manhattan (see photo on the right) and ran the event professionally. Otherwise stick to locations within walking distance.
Remind me...but not too often. One event sent me no fewer than ten emails prior to the event. This was a overkill. When you get 100 emails a day, every extra notification matters. Yes, it is ok to send 1-2 reminders with last minute details and specifics, but more than that and you get annoying.
Give me a reason to attend. Swag alone won't get me to your event. I want to get content for my blog or make great connections. You need: a great speaker or a new piece of information (ideally both). The Ralph Lauren event was held at corporate headquarters--a gorgeous mahogany room. David Lauren, heir to the throne and a senior executive, made the presentation. This was compelling enough, but then he gave us scoop about a new marketing program for children. Bloggers love being the first to know anything!
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Share your Message Wisely. Andrea from Savvy Sassy Moms threw a great party for Ciao Bella gelato. While I like ice cream, I was more eager to connect with West Coast bloggers that I rarely see. Andrea did a superb job introducing me to her posse and then took only a few moments to talk about her sponsors. I appreciate that she didn't give a lengthy speech, but she did tell me a bit about all of the brands at the party. Giving a long powerpoint presentation about your brand is likely to turn off bloggers--make it interactive and fun.
Swag is Good...in moderation. Bloggers adore getting treated well and finding extraordinary gifts, experiences, etc to write about. We don't need more notepads, pens or mouse pads. One great gift is much better than a bag of $#^&. Also don't overwhelm us. If it's an event involving families, realize we likely had strollers and diaper bags to contend with and won't have a free hand. The best bet? Send a thank you gift home or offer to ship the swag directly. Quality over quantity. One of my favorite treats from BlogHer? A donation card for $20 from Loews Hotel. I got to make a donation to a school sports program. So much better than another coffee mug.
Give the Bloggers an Introduction. If you've got time, introduce the bloggers. We don't always know each other and some of us can be shy. Making introductions helps us match names and faces. It's better and more social than name tags.
Bigger is not always better. The event I co-hosted at Hair Rules in NYC had about 40 bloggers come and get hair styling and a peek at the iCandy strollers. Keeping it small allowed me to spend time with just about everyone that attended. Some of the larger events didn't afford moms the ability to make good connections.
Feed us well. We all love a free lunch, but seriously, if I see another cupcake in the next month it'll make my tummy churn. We need to find a new universal blogger treat. Macaroons anyone?
What's your feedback? What's the best event you attended and why? What do you look for when you rsvp?
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