How to get to those blogger events, and common misconceptions about them.
This post is a trimmed down version of an article I wrote for my Mom Spark Media members. I wanted to share some ideas here, too, because I felt it provided a nice follow-up to my “What is Your Mom Blogger Status?” post that I published a year and a half ago. (wow, has it really been that long?)
Since my last post, I’ve been to several events sponsored by brands. (Betty Crocker, EA Sports, Gatorade, Orlando Travel Board & eBay to name a few) I have learned that invites can happen in several different ways, and these days, it is less about popularity. (aka high traffic numbers)
WHAT IS THE MAGIC FORMULA?
It’s who you know. I have attended several blogging conferences over the last couple of years, so I have met and worked with a LOT of bloggers and brands. Since I have developed these relationships, I am often recommended for opportunities, which reinforces what I always say about the importance of making relationships with other bloggers and meeting brands at conferences. Not only will you receive an awesome friend (many of my very best friends are bloggers) or future contact, but you may also receive a cool opportunity along the way, especially if they trust your work ethic.
It’s from doing something for free with a brand. Yup, it’s true. I’ve done favors for brands in the past and scored a cool opp out of it. Always value yourself and work, but don’t always assume that a favor won’t turn into something awesome. Many times they do. Brands often remember your generosity.
Sometimes it’s completely random or based on your blog niche. I’ve been invited to events by brands that I had zero relationship with, but they found me while researching blogs. Sometimes, they are specifically looking for a niche, as well. For example, if you’re invited to something like Betty Crocker, you’re more likely to get an invite if you post recipes, and so on.
Sometimes it’s your numbers. Yes, some brands are all about the blogger who has the biggest Twitter following or the most subscribers. It’s true. They may consider this the best return on investment, and let’s face it, it is quite an investment to cover expenses for 20 bloggers or so.
Contrary to popular belief, these events are not relaxing vacations. Yes, your travel and expenses are paid for, but you are offering feedback and consulting to brands, which is WORK. Days are often long and packed full of meetings, round table-type discussions, feedback sessions, and learning a tremendous amount about a brand’s history and products. I thrive on learning about brands and business, so I find these events interesting, but it’s not for everyone. Most people on the outside of these events only see the free food/hotel/flight, but there is so much more to it than that.
Saying that, there is often downtime that you can use to either spend time alone (how often do moms get to do that?) or with other bloggers. With the eBay event, they scheduled a spa session for us ladies at the very end of the event so that we could finally relax. It was lovely, but this is very rare at events.
Your normal schedule will be disturbed. Typically, blogger events are scheduled during the week, which puts any mom into a frenzy trying to schedule babysitters and after school pick up. When I go out of town, it’s a major event, and not always easy. (especially being a SAHM)
You may be out some money. Some brands are fabulous at covering incidentals like babysitting fees, luggage fees, and shuttle fare, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, you may find yourself actually paying out of pocket on incidentals, so make sure it’s worth it. I always ask beforehand so I can make an educated decision.
So, there you have it! If you have any questions and tips you would like to share, please leave a comment below. In addition, if you are interested in a mom blogger network for support, blogging courses and opportunities, I recommend joining ours at Mom Spark Media. Good luck on getting that first invite!