What I Learned from BlogHer ‘10

Yes, I am still recovering from BlogHer ’10 in NYC.  As a blogger first and marketer second, I have known about BlogHer for years, so I could not miss the chance to be part of  the conference now that it was conveniently in my backyard.  As an internet marketer, it was very good to send someone from the office to observe how the brands interacted with the 2500 women bloggers at the conference. I was thrilled to be the sacrificial lamb.

After surviving both Sparklecorn and Cheeseburger parties, I have regrouped and have begun to think about the brands we represent at DragonSearch and what we can do next year.  Blogher’11 will take place at the San Diego Convention Center in California, and my chances of attending will be much greater if I go wearing my marketer hat!  I like California, so with this handy guide, I can make suggestions to some of our bigger accounts about how to appeal to the hoards of Bloggers at BlogHer.

It’s ALL About Parties and Swag

Companies that offer some sponsorship to Blogher also get listed on the site itself and promoted depending on the involvement level, so that’s a nice bonus overall. In order to get the ladies away from the endless conversations, you had better be a brand with some tempting treats  or a really good DJ.

Blogher Exhibit Booths

Brands have the opportunity to have a booth in the “Swag” Exhibit halls during the two day conference. Acquiring Swag (free product giveaways) is  one of the major draws of Blogher attendees, so pretty much ALL attendees make their way through the hall at least once. Booths can range in size form a simple basic booth to a major installation depending on the brand investment.

Costs incurred:

  • Booth pricing: you would need to contact Blogher officials for actual pricing, but it was quoted by one of the merchants that a booth cost as much as “a small car–new car”
  • Attendee Costs: people will be needed to man the booth: typically two to three people who, it seems, would also have to pay the “sponsored rate” of attendees at $598.00 There were some booths that served two purposes. For example, the non profit Bloganthropy.org was partnered with Correll dolls. Correll supplied the funding to share the booth with Bloganthropy as well as the dolls to give away, while the nonprofit  provided the staffing.
  • Booth Décor:  This depends on the corporate investment, signage, and printed materials to the full installations.  We know these things tend to cost a lot.
  • Giveaways: Giveaways range from the simple (cards, a few free drawings to enter based on business cards drops or Twitter promotions) to some serious free swag.
    • Bags: Very popular. The large branded bags are often used to hold the swag throughout the conference. For example: White House/ Black Market had beautiful canvas branded bags that were the largest given away; hence they were seen all over.  T-shirts made exclusively for BlogHer attendees also got a lot a wear in the event and one can assume after as well.
    • Games and Quizzes:   Additional giveaway opportunities can be based on attendees performing specific tasks: for instance, actual products could be on hand and attendees could also have a chance to win a gift cards. Repeat activities tend to generate interest.
    • Branding opportunities: Booths had various branding opportunities such as giving away free pictures of attendees against the  background.  For example, Ebay Fashion  took pictures  and then uploaded them all into the BlogHer group Flickr page for additional branding!
    • Celebrities: Celebrity appearances garnished a lot of attention. For example; Bruce Jenner was representing Tropicana at BlogHer ‘10.  The Jimmy Dean “Sun” was also in attendance as was the Pillsbury Dough Boy, Ronald MacDonald,  and the Energizer Bunny.
    • Sweepstakes: having one huge drawing  for anything also garnishes attention.
    • Follow-up: Capturing the event through photography or video allows for use after the conference is over with and can help maintain momentum and give attendees the opportunity to self promote through tagging on Facebook, or inclusion in their own blogs as Ebay Fashion did.

Exhibit Booth Pros: High visibility, contact retention and email capture based on opt in sign up or business card drops.

Exhibit Booth Cons: Higher Costs, lots of completion for attendee attention ( smaller booth=less attention), very loud and hard to talk to people in the exhibit space.

BlogHer Sponsored Suites:

Brands also have a chance to sponsor “suites’ in the hotel that are dedicated to the brand.

For instance: Clorox had a suite. They had been following and building relationships with Mommy bloggers of school age children some time before BlogHer and the brand reps were actually hugging bloggers that the “knew” . The bloggers were not only invited to the suite for swag and gifts, but went to see the reps.

Costs incurred:

  • Suite pricing: would need to contact Blogher officials for actual pricing, but it basically was a hotel suite plus the BlogHer costs.
  • Attendee Costs: people will be needed to man the suite: typically two to three people who, it seems, would also have to pay the “sponsored rate” of attendees at $598.00
  • Booth Décor:  Again, depending on the corporate investment, signage, and printed materials to the full installations of the S’mores folks from Hershey’s.  Some suites were fairly simple and just looked like a hotel room. Others (like the Hershey’s S’mores suite) were fully decked out to resemble some other destination!
  • Food: Some suites offered some kind of refreshments to those who came in, but those typically were the ones that did not have other types of swag to offer
  • Giveaways: All of the above mentioned booth giveaways can be incorporated at the suite level as well
  • Store Tours: arrangements could be made to bus attendees to locations for an exclusive store tour and shopping event with coupons or gift cards.  This could be done in conjunction with an off site party ( see below)

Suite Pros: Maybe slightly lowered costs? High visibility though individual call outs for limited suites,  higher “qualifier” rate of attendees, better and more quiet space to personally connect with bloggers

Suite Cons: Slightly lower visibility than what you would have with the exhibit hall setting

BlogHer Off Site Parties:

Along with sponsoring an onsite blogger parties ( which are quite expensive!), smaller off –site parties can be hosted  and are more “exclusive”. The two rules for these parties to date are: Any such event should not be held during conference hours and you may not use the BlogHer room block to secure a room in which to host the party. This might change as we come closer to the actual event.

The offsite parties were held in a range of locations, including a glorious Penthouse for Hallmark’s Christmas in July and Martha Stewart’s Headquarters.   Invites were handed out to some BlogHer attendees before the event and allowed them to promote the parties on their own websites as well. Others were promoted via word of mouth, or through exclusive invitations.  The party could be posted throughout the individual blog posts of attending bloggers, on Facebook , on Twitter and of course, Blogher. Blogher attendees would be required to RSVP to the event, and promote it on their own social media sites.

Off-site Pros: Lower costs, more exclusivity  so higher “qualifier” rate of attendees, better and more controllable space to personally connect with bloggers, actual get shoppers into store.

Off-Site Cons: Lower visibility than BlogHer promotions; have to cater something in the way of food and fun besides shopping, incurring additional costs.

In closing, any and all of the above mentioned ideas can be incorporated or combined together in almost any way. Of course, additional ideas can be developed over time. It would be good, however, to be thinking about the possibilities and plan accordingly for any brand that wants to make an impression with the women ( and men) of Blogher 2011.  The size of Blogher seems to be doubling from year to year ( 1,400 in 2009, 2,500 in 2010 and then sold out) and people have already started registering and planning for next year. Be prepared, because BlogHer is powerful!

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 and is filed under Blogging, Content Marketing.

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