I will have more personal commentary about BlogHer — including how I see the community evolving — on Snapshot Chronicles sometime over the weekend. Here on Marketing Roadmaps, I am going to explore what brands can learn from BlogHer 2010.
In this post and the one that follows, I’ll share my perspective based on what I experienced: the good, the bad and the ugly. Over the weekend, I am privileged to have guest posts from Meagan Francis from The Happiest Mom and Elizabeth, the one only and original Busy Mom, with some advice for marketers on how to reach them effectively.
If you have thoughts for marketers/about marketing to bloggers that don’t quite fit your blog, I am more than happy to host you here. Email me at sgetgood (at) getgood (dot) com. My only request is that you provide specifics so that marketers who are interested in getting it right when engaging with customers in social media can learn from your thoughts and experiences. The marketers who aren’t interested in doing it right don’t read this blog so don’t worry about them. If you’d rather write it on your blog, send me the link and I’ll include it in a round-up.
First, some general observations about the good. As I noted in my pre-BlogHer post, only official BlogHer events and sponsors had space at the Hilton. This worked like a charm on the most important level — people who weren’t attending the special, invite only events from non-sponsors didn’t have them thrust in their face at every turn. And the official sponsors got their due.
The downside, of course, was that numerous off-site events pulled people away from the Hilton and the conference sessions far more than I would like. I don’t have a problem with extra events scheduled the day before or after the conference, or the evenings. That is typical for any conference, and shows that BlogHer has truly grown up to be a major player in the blogging world.
However, I do not think it’s smart to hold your off-site events during the conference sessions. Especially the keynote sessions. In particular, an offsite Scholastic brand event held Saturday morning at the same time as the four international scholarship recipients, some of whom were at personal risk for speaking, shared their stories with the BlogHer audience, did not go over well with many in the community.
This is the ugly, and here are some of the comments from Twitter about it:
Shannon also wrote a beautiful post about all that BlogHer 10 meant to her, and while there was far more good than ugly, there were some strong words about holding events that conflict with the conference schedule:
“I’ve come away from BlogHer 2010 with a lot. I’ve come away angry as hell at a corporation for having such disrespect as to hold gatherings to shill their wares to bloggers while women in another building were literally risking their lives to tell those bloggers how their words were changing the world. “
Go read her post. Read the comments too. I’ll wait.
The lesson for marketers – check the schedule before you schedule your event.
There really wasn’t a lot of bad in terms of marketing this year. The new personal sponsorship guidelines meant you weren’t accosted by someone thrusting a sample in your face at every turn.
However, watching the Twitter stream and reading the post-BlogHer reports I can’t help thinking , it’s too much. There’s just so much going on across a 3-4 day span that I’m afraid it starts to become a blur.
I understand the opportunistic strategy of scheduling events when your target market is already gathered, so you don’t have to pay for travel. But how much information can humans really absorb? How much marketing budget was squandered last week throwing big events that are a blur the week (if not the day) after?
I think a lot. An awful lot.
My advice is to think carefully about what you want to achieve at a conference like BlogHer. Start with the official sponsorship opportunities. If one of those fits your objectives, you are supporting the organization as well as your own objectives, and that’s a dual win.
Then think about what your audience really needs. Is it one more party that they have to squeeze in or is a free limo service to the airport on arrival and departure day more meaningful? Or perhaps a smaller sightseeing event that really gives people an opportunity to speak with each other? How can you broaden your reach — beyond who you already know — to new influencers that you’ll want to know.
In my next post, I’ll cover two influencer relations campaigns that I think hit the mark: Gap’s #gapmagic outreach to BlogHer speakers and the trip to Ellis Island sponsored by Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project. Full disclosure: I participated in both, and have known the PR people for both Gap and Liberty Mutual for more than a year.
That’s why I opened the emails. But not why I think the programs worked.
Stay tuned. More tomorrow.
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