Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Events: What Makes A Great Blogger Event?

Very Valentines Event

One of the many perks of blogging is to receive invites to branded blogging events. Personally, I absolutely love these events having been invited to a few myself and the opportunity to create and execute branded events professionally in my previous job.

Blogger events provide you with unique opportunities and according to a recently conducted Twitter poll, bloggers mostly enjoy networking (43%) and meeting the brand (23%). Events can make you feel “special” as they are highly exclusive and London events, in particular, are usually great nights out and a lot of fun!

Speaking from a brands perspective, events are a key to working with wider influencer networks and let the brand connect with their audience on a very personal and interactive level through an immersive experience. An event can also position the brand as an expert in their field by telling stories and creating engaging experiences to bring their message, products and services across. After all, what counts most to bloggers is a great event atmosphere (75%), followed by structure (12%), venue (8%) and an influential guest speaker (5%).

Having been invited to the Very.co.uk Valentines Press event last week, I would like to share in today’s post my 10 ingredients for a successful blogger event to create a memorable experience for a lasting long-term momentum.

 1. Guest List & Welcome

Inviting the right people is crucial to ensure the maximum outcome for potential coverage. A food blogger is most likely not as engaged at a fashion event as a fashion blogger. Therefore it is vital that the right bloggers are targeted and invited to come along to the evening. A community specialist or professional outreacher for influencer marketing is the right person to do the job as often they are bloggers themselves and know a lot of people – so when they call their blogging friends to come along, you can be sure they will! However, the downside is that community specialists tend to invite the same 10 people for every event, which is not optimal for SEO purposes and also upsets a lot of bloggers in the community. Therefore source afresh every time to ensure a good mix up and diversity.

Once you have your guest list ready, be positive and engaged when welcoming your guests at the entrance door. Provide all your staff with name badges as first impressions count. They set the right tone for a great atmosphere for your event which is the most important element for bloggers (75%).

2. Have a Coat Room

This is such a small thing but with big effects: bloggers love to dress up and to show off their fabulous OOTDs and that’s not possible if you don’t have a coat room for leaving their stuff somewhere save. Many bloggers work full time or have been on an events marathon, have travelled from afar or have gone shopping beforehand. Having our heavy DSLR cameras, phones and business cards at the ready, thick coats and bags are very obstructive and can cause stress. Not to mention if the venue is overly heated! To make sure your guests are relaxed, offer them a place to store their belongings safely so they can focus and fully immerse themselves into the event. 

Very Valentines event overview
curvy kate display at very valentines event

3. Professional Photography

Although only 2% of bloggers admitted that photography opportunities are not that appealing to them, you shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of a professional photographer on site. This ensures perfect visuals which can be shared on Social Media and also with the bloggers after the event. This has a huge benefit as it takes off the stress for the bloggers to take pictures themselves and instead, they can fully focus on networking. Often events are held in dimly lit environments which is a nightmare to shoot and pictures turn out grainy and dark. A professional photographer brings tripods, flashes and filters and can cover your event effortlessly with great quality imagery. Further, it allows a quicker turn-around for the blogger to produce content as half of the job has already been done. The PR ladies from Very kindly shared the photography from the night with me so all pictures for this post have been provided by Very.co.uk

blogger taking pictures at very valentines event

4. Food

Most events are held in the evening to ensure the maximum turn-up for the event as many of us work full-time - meaning the food served at the event is our dinner and therefore a vital part of your event's success. No one likes to be hangry plus small bites and canapes look cute and offer another opportunity to take pictures and motivate shares on Social Media. Everyone loves a goat’s cheese snack ball or sharing cute cupcake pictures. Plus food gets people talking, which is a great icebreaker at events where you'll meet a lot of new faces and don’t know anyone yet.

5. Social Media

Bloggers love to show where they are and what they are up to. An invite to an exclusive event will be right up their street and they will share lots of pictures from the night, meeting maybe their best blogging friends, the product displays or the cute cupcake arrangements. One of the first questions you may get asked is “What’s the Wifi password?”. This is crucial life-saving information for a blogger as we live online 24/7 and being connected to the internet and available to our audience is part of our job. At every event, you should make sure to have a strong Wifi network with easy access to join. Hand out cards with your brands Social Media accounts and make sure they are easy to find and to follow. Boux Avenue who showcased their sexy lingerie that night handed out heart-shaped cards with all of their Social Media account handles. This was so useful as I was able to take it away with me and check them out at a later time. A specific hashtag for the event ensures accurate documentation of the night and is easier for tracking later in Sysomos. If you’d like to have a look at the hashtag from the Very event night search for #VeryValentines.

Dorina underwear display at very event
atmosphere at very valentines event
freya underwear

6. The Event Itself

There are a couple of different blogger event types which I’ve covered in Blogging Events – Are They Worth It? which have different structures and purposes. However, the core of any event has to be to showcase products and let influencer experience the brand and its service. This can be either done through different activities or networking to engage your guests. I’ve been to events before where there was absolutely nothing to do bar networking with other bloggers which was a bit boring. Activities such as a fashion show, brand gifting, a manicure bar or even photo booths are great ways to engage influencers. The more you offer on the night, the more people will talk about it, stay longer and the event will provide them with valuable content ideas. The Very Valentine’s event focused on Valentine’s gifts for her which included mostly sexy lingerie so brands such as Ann Summers, Boux Avenue or Freya were present to chat with bloggers. ChloBo showcased some of their stunning jewellery, there was a DJ and even a little fashion show, plus I met my friend Michaela and had a good catch up! Models walked up and down the venue which made the atmosphere feel very exclusive and buzzing.

bloggers networking at very valentines event
Michaela and I have a proper catch-up!

7. Personalise Where Possible

People love it when they are addressed by their name or get personalised goody bags. It shows that the brand is interested in the blogger as a person and not just in getting the coverage out of them. Events should therefore also be seen as an opportunity to build long-lasting relationships which are mutually beneficial.

8. Be Consistent With Your Branding

This goes without saying and Very did a fantastic job. The outside of the venue was decorated with large Very.co.uk banners so guests wouldn’t miss the entrance. The entrance hallway was decorated with branded balloons and in typical Very.co.uk pink light. It underlined the purpose of Valentine's Day and it felt very exclusive to walk down the entrance hall into the main room where models, brands and champagne were waiting for you. I can’t thank the PR ladies enough for having me on the night!

Very Valentines event branding

9. Have a DJ

Events are fun but they are also very cost intensive and not every brand can fork out for a DJ, but if you can please do! Having a live DJ performing is always so trendy and positions your brand as a brand who wants to invest in the best. Remember when I went to Cosmopolitans FashFest in 2015 and my fav DJane Krystal Roxx rotated the turntables? Dear me what a night it was! Krystal was not only totally rocking it with one dancefloor hit after another, but her energies and passion for house and electronic dance music brought a buzzing energy to the event atmosphere like I've never experienced before. Trust me a DJ can take your event to the absolute next level in terms of professionalism and it'll feel amazing for your guests. I’ve been to events where it was clear the brand worked on a tight budget and it showed. I know these are very little things but when it comes to throwing parties you shouldn’t be saving at the wrong ends. For the night, Very hired the talented Cassyette who brought the event to life.

Very Valentines Djane

10. A Goody Bag

Never underestimate the power of a great goody bag. 29% of my blogger followers said that goody bags are essential for the success of an event. The bag will decide if your event will stay memorable and provide further incentive for the blogger to cover it on their blog or not. After all, the goody bag is the only thing bloggers will take home from the event. I also see goody bags as a respectful sign to say "Thank You for your time and for coming" so they do matter to me and impact my decision whether or not I will write about the event. 

I’ve never had such a generous goody bag as I received from Very.co.uk, which was filled with a gorgeous Dorina clutch, a stunning ChloBo silver bracelet, Valentine’s Day tights, a Boux Avenue candle and so much more. I was so excited having taken home all these gorgeous goodies!

Very Valentines event chatting to freya brand team

There you go, these are my 10 ingredients for a successful blogger event and Very.co.uk did a wonderful job in delivering a great night. I hope you've enjoyed the post and I hope I might see you at the next blogger event.

Till next time,  
Carolin

*I was invited to the Very Valentines Event and all photography has been provided by Very.co.uk.
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