The Ins & Outs of Events
In the past week, I've spoken with a lot of bloggers on a topic that has been weighing on their minds. The topic du jour is events for bloggers. If you've been blogging for a while and your site is receiving lots of traffic, you have probably been on the receiving end of several invitations to attend events. These events range from conventions to events in your area to online teleseminars. When all you're trying to do is blog, how can you make sense of the events that are right for you?
Well, as someone who hosts events for moms, I've had a lot of time to reflect on the events that work, the ones that don't, the ones that moms love and the ones we can do without. So here's an overview and if you have a story to share, please send it my way.
INTIMATE GATHERINGS: Some of my favorite gatherings are the ones where I am invited to a breakfast or lunch with a limited number of bloggers in attendance. After I was invited to a breakfast sponsored by Subway, I got the chance to finally meet Katja Presnal and we've been friends ever since. What I loved about that breakfast was that Subway wanted to hear from the bloggers - getting a sense of what would interest our respective communities. When a company reaches out to you at the beginning of their campaign, it's pretty cool to be on the ground floor of helping them shape their media and marketing plans. If they want you to participate in a focus group, you should also ask for compensation. Time is worth money - consider yourself a social media consultant and do not let them take advantage of your expertise.
EXPERIENCES THAT YOU KNOW YOU'LL LOVE: If you're invited to an event where you're totally going to have a great time along with other fun bloggers, there really is no downside if you have time in your day to swing by. Some of my favorite experiences (thanks Nintendo, Disney, Glamour and Suave) have taken place because I've accepted invites to events for products and services I would love to try and feature on my blog. Plus, some of my favorite bloggers attend these events too, so it gives me a chance to catch up with friends. When I produce events, I always plan them with bloggers in mind - giving writers plenty of time to network while attending an event that will be enjoyable and entertaining at the same time. One of my favorite event hosts is Barbara Jones at One2One Network, a former music executive who knows how to combine fabulous workshops with amazing entertainment.
NETWORKING EVENTS: While there seem to be meet-ups, tweet-ups and conventions taking place all the time, your time is valuable. Pick the meet-ups that make sense for you. And since conventions can be pricey - speak to blogger friends about the events that truly made the best use of their time. If you're looking to learn about blogging, enhance visibility to your site and meet new people, then Blogher or Blissdom might be great for you. If you're already an expert blogger, then you should either be a speaker at these events or you might want to try smaller gatherings where you can connect with other like-minded women who might offer great insight or leads to help you build your platform.
ONLINE EVENTS: Since my expertise is media, I usually participate in Twitter's Journchat every Monday night. These events are spearheaded by PR guru Sarah Evans (follow her on twiiter at #prsarahevans). I love seeing the comments and questions fly and for me, I find it incredibly valuable to get a sense from journalists and publicists about what pitches work and which fall flat on their face. For moms, there are plenty of parties going on each week. Twittermoms hosts wine tasting events, Resourceful Mommy hosts Sitewarming Parties with tons of giveaways and Katja Presnal offers chats and in person meet-ups on mastering Social Media. I'm not saying you should be online all day but determine the chat that suits your interests best and attend when you can.
Bottom line - your time is valuable and while it would be great to say yes to every invitation you receive - you should be selective and decide which events will truly interest you and make for great material on your blog or lead to a valuable networking opportunity.
If you have a story to share about a positive event experience, then send us your comments today!