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When You Sponsor a Conference: Top Five Tips for Brands

by Fadra Nally on July 26, 2012

PepsiCo "Women, The 5G Network" at BlogHer10 Hilton New York

Creative Commons License Nakeva Corothers via Compfight

Last week, as I was jumping all over bloggers about their behavior in regards to conferences, brands, and swag, I linked to a post about what brands can expect after BlogHer. In fact, after I wrote that post last year, many of those brands visited my site and read the post. And one brand, in particular, contacted me and we chatted over the phone about what went right and what went wrong.

So I thought turnabout was fair play.

I’m not in any position to lecture brands about how to manage their presence at a conference. But I am in a position to tell you what bloggers talk about behind the scenes. We talk about cool products and fun booths and displays. And we also talk about the brand representatives and more importantly, the brand experience.

Instead of waiting to attend the largest women’s blogging conference of the year (BlogHer12) and then coming back to write about what brands could have done differently, I thought I’d share a few pieces of advice in advance for brands that plan to be in attendance.

1. Know your personnel.

I’ve been on the trade show circuit as both a vendor and an attendee. The booths that are most appealing are those that have people that know their stuff. They know the company and the products and they’re prepared to talk about both.

If you have PR reps manning the booth, make sure they fully represent your brand. If you have booth models, well, we’re women bloggers. We really don’t need booth models.

2. Have some personality.

One things that bloggers are not lacking is personality. We love to engage people both online and off. Have a real conversation. And don’t complain about how hungover you are or how tired you are. We know that we’re all there to have fun but during the day, we try to stay professional. And some of us even try at night too.

3. Be prepared to answer this question.

“How do you work with bloggers?”

We love learning about new and innovative products and companies but that doesn’t always translate into free PR for you. Most of us are looking for ways in which we can form mutually beneficial partnerships.

4. Give direction.

When we walk into your booth, we want to be pitched. Tell us what’s going on, who you are (if it’s not entirely obvious), what you’re highlighting this year, and what you’re offering (if anything). Otherwise, we might look like a deer in highlights and end up simply walking away.

5. Be upfront about the swag.

Yes, there will be swag hags. There will be people that have no interest in what you have to say and simply care what you’re giving away. If it’s up for grabs, give it away. But don’t assume that about everyone. Be sure to engage us and tell us more in addition to loading us up with the stuff.

With that said, I’ve already downloaded my BlogHer app and checked off the sponsors I hope to visit and actually have a conversation with. And I hope they’re doing the same.

  • suki

    Great post, Fadra! Both of them. :) I’m really looking forward to the whole event! 

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