Jump in to my hypothetical world and let’s say you’re reading a blog post on a pair of jeans to buy. Do you trust and prefer the post that says “Green Girl Jeans sent me this pair of jeans and they look good on me—here is a picture.” Or the post that says “I flew out to Green Girl Jeans, learned about the ethical practices of their manufacturing process and got to try on 5 pairs and pick out which one I liked best.”
The well rounded posts that tell a story and a little bit of information about the brand always is more readable, sincere and trusted right? Behold the power of hosting blogger events and allowing bloggers to insert themselves in to the story of your brand…
I’ve seen this tactic used in small to huge brands and to make my point, I’ve curated these examples of blogger events done well to represent all areas of the brand size spectrum and a variety of industries.
Instead of sending bloggers a coupon for free pizza or even having pizza delivered to them, Pizza Hut hosted an extensive event for bloggers to promote their new 3 cheese stuffed crust pizza. In this article about the event in Forbes, their director of public relations explained “the more people know about our brand, the more reasons they have to become a greater fan of the brand.”
Pizza Hut didn’t just fly bloggers to Pizza Hut’s headquarters and stuff them full of their best pizza and give a presentation. They flew them to Austin, gave them a tour with their executive chef, took them to a BBQ dinner and took them to a party put on by MTV with an open bar. Of course in the midst of all the fun, they got an exclusive preview of Pizza Hut’s new pizza…
The focus of Pizza Hut’s event? THE BLOGGERS and showing them a good time in Austin, not Pizza Hut itself. What Pizza Hut did that we’re just now starting to see is “wining and dining” bloggers. Giving them something to write about other than just the pizza.
Give Kids the World
Nonprofit organization based in Florida, Give the Kids the World, provides free vacations to children with life threatening illnesses and their families. Last year, they decided to weave blogger relations in to their PR strategy and go all in with their outreach efforts by hosting an exclusive event for bloggers.
The need for blogger outreach became apparent when they realized that communicating details about their organization via Facebook meant they were constantly contacting the same people. Not to mention these same people were already aware of their organization.
So they hosted an event for 60 bloggers and invited them to the storybook-like resort where the bloggers had dinner with the kids and their families, learned more about Give Kids the World, took a tour of the facilities and were even entertained with a show.
According to PR manager, Mark Hoewing, the event was a phenomenal success and accrued over 60 posts and thousands of tweets. Mark said this event taught him “the importance of having bloggers at an on-site event when possible and the value in giving them a cause to make the trip and to make it worth their time.”
Mark also advised to make bloggers feel included in the brand. He did this by making “awareness angel” pins and giving them to all the bloggers who came to the event. He now addresses his network of bloggers as the awareness angels when he emails them for their advice and to help promote things that Give the Kid’s the World is doing.
Most importantly, Mark says, don’t make the event about YOU make it about THEM. The event should focus on how important the blogger is to your campaign and make them feel like part of the team.
Discovery Place is a large science museum in Charlotte North Carolina who credits bloggers for being part of the reason they are one of the most visited places in North Carolina.
Logan Stewart, former manager of marketing and public relations at Discovery Place wanted to appeal to the “mom blogger” niche in the area. Since visiting the museum is often a family event, Logan organized a “Bloggers Open House Event in February of last year that included local bloggers AND their children.
He researched parenting and family blogs and connected with them through Facebook and Twitter and had about 25 attend the event.
Discovery place offered a breakfast and while they hosted a 15 minute presentation for the bloggers, they had entertainment for the children. After the presentation the bloggers visited the museum and IMAX theatre for free.
Events like this one with bloggers as influencers is part of what makes Discovery Place continue to rank in the top ten most visited attractions in the entire state of North Carolina.
Lori Riviere of the The Riviere Agency, specializes in fashion, beauty and lifestyle marketing/PR and she strongly believes in blogger events and has used them successfully for her clients for several years.
One such success story is a blogger event she hosted with Touch Boutique in Miami to promote the clothing store’s grand opening. Lori hired 3 bloggers to judge an in-store style challenge where guests created an outfit from items at the store and posted the photos of their outfits on their social media channels with the hashtag #touchstylchallenge.
The bloggers promoted the event on their own networks giving the boutique and the style challenge coverage on big online outlets and local newspapers. The event generated such a huge buzz that Touch Boutique received calls from all over the country from people wanting to buy the outfits they saw on the various digital channels.
Based on Lori’s experience with Touch Boutique’s campaign and other blogger events that she has hosted she has some tips on working with bloggers for events:
- Make sure the event is exclusive and for bloggers only
- Provide food and beverages for them and even consider gift bags
- Be sure to have signage with your social media handles and hashtags displayed or easy to find
- Hire them to be a judge or a host at the event
- Lay out clear guidelines for what is expected on both sides and draft up an agreement that includes what their compensation will be
- Foster the personal relationship and invite them for a one-on-one experience before or after the event
Have you hosted any blogger events that you would like to share? Email me, tweet at me or share in the comments below, I’d love to hear about your experience!