Planning an event can be a herculean task, with about a million things to worry about, from budgeting to booking speakers to marketing and more! There’s probably no way to make it a completely stress-free endeavour, but there are definitely ways to make it a little easier.
You can start by answering this simple question: have you invited bloggers to cover your event yet?
If not, you should seriously consider it!
Inviting bloggers boasts several advantages, including extra promotion of and valuable trust-building. Respected industry bloggers are regulars at conferences, expos, and summits; many marketers have caught on and are welcoming them with open arms.
Advantages of having a blogger to an event –
- Enriching the event – You can count on bloggers to be active participants in the event because they need to get as much information as possible to bring back to their readers.
- Exposure to new audience – Through your blogger guests will a new target market you may not thought of before.
- Brand awareness – It’s always good to increase your brand awareness, the influencers you choose will likely have a sizeable following that will become newly aware of your brand.
Bloggers are here to stay. They are in demand because they build and keep relationships with their followers. You want to make sure they are happy and genuinely invite them to relevant events. Treat them like you would the morning news anchor or your local TV host. You never know what can come of a great relationship with a blogger.
5 Tips for Getting Bloggers to Attend and Write About Your Event
When it comes to event coverage, inviting bloggers is a brilliant way to extend the reach and create publicity. But how do you reach out to a blogger in the first place and how do you secure that much needed media coverage?
1. Send a personal invitation.
No blogger will appreciate receiving a press release or a media alert for a event, without an invitation. It’s usually regarded as offensive to ask bloggers to cover an event that they aren’t invited to. Instead, use the opportunity to reach out and get to know and meet your favourite bloggers.
Bloggers are busy so it’s wise to start by sending a RSVP. Professional PR’s even send a creative RSVP in the post well ahead, to create excitement and to ensure the bloggers attention. This should be followed by a personal email, with the invitation attached, preferably 10-14 days ahead of the event. Another reminder in the days leading up to the day is always good as well.
2. Give incentive to attend.
Upon receiving the invitation the blogger will immediately be thinking what’s in it for me? The blogger will be interested in how attending your event or writing about your company is going to benefit them or their readers. Incentives a blogger will be looking for could include;
- Gift Bag. This is a unique chance, often missed out on by many PR’s, to bring the bloggers attention to some of the brands they represent or brands the company they work for would like to be associated with. A personalised and thoughtful Gift Bag may even result in a stand alone blog post.
- Giveaway. Offer a giveaway product related to the event to use in a contest for the blogger’s readers. Some popular bloggers will be charging the brand for the work involved in hosting the giveaway.
- Free travel. If you are hosting your event away from easy transport links, make sure you are setting up a taxi service or a shuttle bus. Be prepared to cover the bloggers travel expenses.
- Appearance fee. With some high profile bloggers you must expect to pay a fee for them to pop in at your event. These bloggers tend to have agents who will be negotiating the fee on their behalf.
Worth mentioning when we talk about giving incentives for bloggers to attend your events… Rather than sourcing out bloggers with a large following, look for bloggers who are passionate about your brand. Not only is a coverage more likely but a write up by a blogger, who was really happy to be invited to and truly enjoyed your event, will probably also be a more genuine one and therefor more valuable to your brand.
3. Offer Partnership
If a blogger regard him or herself as a partner of the brand they are much more inclined to support and attend your event.
Bloggers are always on the look out for brand partnerships that reflect the aesthetic of what they’re doing. There are several ways in which you can partner with a blogger. To give you some ideas…
- To become a Brand Ambassador. Offer the blogger to become a Brand Ambassador. A brand ambassador is a person who represents a brand in a positive light and by doing so helps to increase brand awareness and sales. The Brand Ambassador is either hired with a fee, given free products or discounts throughout the period as acting as a Brand Ambassador. As a Brand Ambassador the blogger will be much more inclined to attend and promote your company or brand event’s.
- Be part of a Bloggers Collective. It’s become popular among companies and brands to create a Bloggers Collective, to choose a group of their favourite bloggers that they would like to work with. The Bloggers in the Collective will always be invited to events, receive pre-views and products and consequently create content and raise awareness.
- Offer to Advertise. Most bloggers main income is from advertisement on their blog. Offer to advertise and the blogger will be much more inclined to attend and promote your company or brand event’s.
The first step to partner with a blogger is to find out who you would like to work with. An invitation to an event is a great way to get in touch and to introduce yourself. Make it no secret that you read their blog and love what they do and use the opportunity when you meet to toss around some ideas for future collaborations.
4. Give access to assets
Communication, communication, communication. This is the key to earn media coverage. It can be a good thing to prep the bloggers before they arrive. Include information on the event experience already in the invite, on what they can expect to see, do and who they will meet.
Then make your event ‘Instagram worthy’. You’ve spent time planning, inviting and making your favourite bloggers attend, who will all be arriving fully equipped with digital cameras and smart phones in hand. Make sure the event venue is tidy and beautiful, with lots of special details ready to be photographed. When done successfully, you’ll have several bloggers live posting on Social Media, from your event.
Always follow up and give access to high quality photographs, press releases etc. shortly after the event, when everything is still fresh. Do not automate this follow up, unless you keep track of and only send a follow up with links and assets to the attendees. To be receiving a ‘it was lovely to see you last night’ email after an event you unfortunately couldn’t attend is not a good idea if you are looking to secure coverage. On the other hand, if you keep track and rather send an email with ‘we missed you’ there’s still a chance to earn coverage, if you also give access to assets from the event.
5. Coverage isn’t a right, it’s a privilege.
A blogger attending your event doesn’t automatically result in coverage. If you are surprised (or disappointed) a blogger did not cover your event after she or he attended and seemingly had a good time, reach out and ask what you can do differently to earn it next time. Instead of deleting the blogger from your press list and banning him or her from all your future events…
If you do get coverage, email the blogger to say thank you to show appreciation. Share the coverage on social media and on a media coverage page on the company’s website, preferably with a link to the coverage. By doing this you will not only share the event and publicity it received but also entice the blogger to attend future events and do more coverage for your brand or company.