SLIDER

What Makes A Great Blogger Event?

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

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.

Branded Blogger Events Are Still Very Popular And Important For The Industry


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. Have A Guest List & A Warm Welcome For Your Blogger Event


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. Provide A Coat Room For Your Guests


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 Take Off The Pressure For Bloggers


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. Offer Food At Your Blogger Event


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. Make Sure You Display Your Brands Social Media Handles Clearly & Visibly


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. Create An Engaging & Fun Blogger Event With Activities & Stellar Atmosphere


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 Your Blogger Event Where It Is 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 Throughout Your Blogger Event


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. A DJ Makes Every Blogger Event Feel Exclusive And Luxurious


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. Be Generous With Your Goody Bag For Your Blogger Event


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 about 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.

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time,  
Carolin

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

Dancing On Ice

Sunday, 21 January 2018

ice skating wifa skates blog review

Happy New Year, how is 2018 treating you so far? Please accept my apologies for not posting in so long but last year ended with a few unexpected life changes and I had to take off some time from London and blogging.

Whilst I spend some time at home in Germany, I’ve rediscovered one of my oldest hobbies - figure ice skating. It’s one of my hobbies, which actually stayed with me for many years. As a child and later teenager, I was very fickle with sports and I changed my mind so many times. I did bowling, swimming, taekwondo and even attempted ballet but nothing fascinated and engaged me as much and for as long as figure ice skating has.

The winters from my childhood were usually pretty cold and the nearby lakes and the town moat would freeze so all children would go skating sooner or later – I miss the afternoons on the ice playing with friends until it got dark at 4pm. We would play chase or hockey. 

However, I didn’t always have ice skates as they were very hard to get in Germany in the early 2000s. At first, I used to have strap blades to tie to my shoes, but those weren’t a great deal. My first pair of ice skates were then bought at a local sports shop but the shoes weren’t of great quality. 

The faux leather was very baggy and didn’t provide much support for my ankle. The shoes weren’t insulated enough so my feet would regularly freeze and get numb which shouldn’t be the case with good ice skates. It took me 13 years to find my perfect pair and here is my story:

I Found The Perfect Ice Skates After A Year-Long Search


At the time I was ready to invest in some decent ice skates, shops who would sell professional skates were rare. Eventually, I found a very small outlet in Dresden, who would offer a fitting session and sell further accessories. The shop had a website and I was able to buy a few ice skate models from Wifa and Ri-Sport. 

The offer was overwhelming because I had never bought professional skates nor did I have any recommendations. These days you can buy bundles, so ice skate shoe and blade are already adjusted or you buy both parts separately. Then there’s also the option of buying shoes for beginners training or first jumps. However, I’ve never regretted my decision nor the long wait to have invested in professional ice skates. 

Wifa has a list of international shops and distributors on their website which is super helpful as I saw that there are now more shops in Germany and buying professional equipment is not as difficult as it was back in the days.

wifa ice skates review

Thermal-Dynamic Ice Skates Allow The Material To Warm Up And Form Itself Perfectly Around Your Feet


My pair is from Austrian skating specialist Wifa. The shoes are made of leather and they are thermal-dynamic meaning, once my feet get cosy and warm in the shoe through skating, the material forms itself around my feet. I’ve also seen sellers putting the shoe in a microwave and helping you to adjust the shoe in the shop these days – but at the time I got mine, I had to go skating nearly every day in order for the shoe to fully adjust to my feet. 

This is an essential process because the shoe needs to fully support your ankle (twisting can be fatal and may lead to serious injuries) yet at the same time the shoe shouldn’t clamp any artery. Your feet need to be warm and comfortable at all times and then ice skating will be an absolute joy!

Once I got the right combination, I also bought a specially designed carrier bag and skate guards which I can use when I leave the ice rink. Walking with sharpened blades on hard ground can be dangerous and also damage the blade permanently. 

Anyway, I got my shoes and I luckily lived in a town which had an ice rink, so I wasn’t dependant on cold winters and frozen lakes anymore. A regular training was exactly what I needed and the years 2009-2012 saw my pinnacle of ice skating training. I signed up for a course and once I had absorbed and internalised the basics, I was good to go on my own.

I’ve learnt mainly how to understand the physics of the glide, the process that’s happening during ice skating (basically with your weight and different shifts, you carve the u shaped sharpened blade into the ice surface. The ice in between the sharpened edges gets pressed together and produces a very small thermo-dynamic process, so the ice actually melts under the blade and allows you to glide). 

I would say I’m confident enough to try out turns, backward skating and pirouettes, but I’m still rubbish in crossings and changing between backwards and forwards effortlessly. Ice skating is one of these sports that requires a lot of legwork, balance and discipline – something that I value because no matter how often I may fall down, I always get up and try again. I found that once you’ve performed a figure or certain step correctly, it will become second nature and you won’t forget how to do it. Even after years, you’ll have that confidence.

figure ice skating backwards
what to wear for ice skating

What To Wear When You Go Ice Skating?


I find comfortable clothes the best and ideally, you can take off your coat. Though ice rinks are cold dance floors, you’ll easily get warm. I like wearing a pair of thick thermals or thermal leggings because they are flexible and comfortable and not a big deal if you rip them. 

A jumper is always a good idea but I’ve also seen skaters with thermal tops. Thick coats or anoraks are obstructive as you’ll feel trapped and can’t move around freely. A pair of gloves is advisable – falling down will happen and it’s not a nice feeling when you have cold and wet hands. I’ve ordered a specific pair of elastic skating gloves which come with in-built protectors from Wifa.

ice skating outfit
ice skating outfit and wifa skates review

Here's What I'm Wearing:

Christmas Penguin Jumper: £12 Primark (current AW17/18)
Black Leggings: £15 Pieces, via Vero Moda (current AW17/18)
Ice Skates Bundle: £350 Wifa
Black Coat: £35 Stradivarius (sale Aw15/16)
Protector Gloves: £30 Wifa, (permanent item)

Ice skating equipment is as any professional sports gear expensive: the gloves came around £30 and I paid for my first pair of Wifa skates a price of around £350 which makes my skates the most expensive pair of shoes I own. 

I have had them for nearly ten years now and you’ll never know, maybe one day I might become a professional ice skating princess. Skating in London might be a bit of a challenge as there are no ice rinks close to my home. The nearest one is in Alexandra Palace or Islington but I'll give it a try once and see how feasible timewise it is to go regularly skating here in the UK. 

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time, 
Carolin
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