Bloggers get invited to lots of events – they are a good way about getting a brand message out to a large audience. If you imagine the average blogger can have anywhere between 2,000-50,000 followers across social networks. If you get between 10 and 20 of them tweeting using your hashtag, about your product, you can get a large ‘reach’ for the cost of the event.
There are some bloggers that will go to the opening of an envelope spend the whole time tweeting about it. Then write some bollocks post about how AMAZING the event was, and sing the praises of the brand. The praise amount is usually directly proportional to the value of the ‘goody bag’.
I’m trying to be selective to what I attend now – I don’t mean that in a diva-ish way. I have to think to myself –
Does it interest me?
Bottom line is, if it’s not interesting to me – I can’t write about it. I can’t fake interest enough to put 300 words together in rubbish. The words just don’t flow, so it’s pointless me going for me, and the brand in question.
Increasingly, a brand won’t offer to pay for travel costs for bloggers. Strangely, it’s usually if they’ve got a ‘top blogger’ or ‘celeb’ as part of the event – I bet they didn’t have to pay to get there! Anyway – I digress slightly. Not having travel paid isn’t the end of the world, I can usually get into and around London for £20. A £20 expense on my part could generate much more in social and site traffic.
Sometimes though, I feel like I’ve wasted my money.
Some events are just a bit poor. Badly organised, no real flow, or point to them – heck, sometimes PR folk can’t be bothered to think of a hashtag. If you don’t care about your event – don’t expect me to. I’ve been to loads where the PRs don’t even interact with their ‘guests’ – they just skulk on their phones. Tweeting about how much fun everyone is having.
If I’m not being given anything to write about (I don’t mean in monetary / goody bag value), I can’t write about it. If I’ve paid out of my own pocket, and don’t have any kind of stimulation. I won’t write about it. It’s that simple.
With the best will in the world, it’s not always the fault of the PR. They are usually restricted by tight budgets, and need tangible ‘results’ for that budget. If you’re not inspiring people to write, you won’t get any results – other than a few polite tweets on the night.
What can be done?
Maybe sack off the ‘event’ completely – spend the budget on getting product out there. Some of the things I’ve written about most have been random parcels from PR folk. It’s not all about the event, if you want people to write about your ‘thing’ – get it out there!
If an event is the way to go – then flipping go for it! Throw everything you can at it, product, venue, food and drink – have fun with your bloggers and the results, both at the time, and after will be outstanding. It’s pretty easy to get a hashtag trending with the right group of drunken bloggers in a room.
I am good friends with so many PR folk, plenty of them ‘get’ how it works, and can put on amazing events that really chime with those they’ve invited. Others, will just do the bare minimum – and where they are doing the bare minimum – so will I, and that, dear PR is why I’ve not written about your event.