As the blogging community continues to grow and thrive (contrary to recent happenings, the billion dollar influencer marketing industry bubble is NOT busting), more and more brands + businesses are hosting events + product activations. For influencers, this means getting an invite will become a lot more competitive, and more than ever, you need to be on your A-Game if you want to stay in the loop. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to get invited to a ton of events (both local + out of state), so I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned over the years to help me “get on the list”. To be clear: if you’re getting into blogging just to try and get free *ish, that’s wack and brands will be able to figure out your MO in no time, but if you’re a blogger that truly enjoys connecting with businesses through their branded experiences, keep these tips in mind when it comes to event coverage.
At last year’s Blogger Meetup at Saddle Creek
1). Actually cover the events that you attend
When it comes to event coverage, it’s no longer about you. It’s about the brand/business that’s hosting the event. Yes, it’s cute to show that you’re in the space, but how many selfies can you take before it gets redundant? When businesses invite bloggers out, it’s because they want access to your audience and for you to share why you too should visit, shop with, or try their service. It’s not an unreasonable expectation, so make sure that you share your experience with your audience (whether through your blog or your social media channels). Focus on whatever they’re launching/celebrating, but also share the decor, industry friends, and just other cool ish while you’re there. Your goal should be to make your audience feel like they’re there with you.
2). Tag/Link To The Brand and Use Hashtags
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen a blogger post about an event in their instastories and have no clue wtf they were doing/what is was for. Yes, it takes a little more work, but tagging your hosts and using special hashtags for the event not only lets the business/brand know that you were actually there (and possibly reshare your posts to their audience), but hashtags also help people outside of your current audience see your content. When you first arrive to an event, find out if they have anything special that they’re using for it, and also verify that you have their correct social media handle. Every time I attend events I make sure that I do this and I always gain a few followers and get more engagement on those posts overall. It’s a win win for everyone.
3). Share events that aren’t influencer related
Whether you are trying a restaurant out for the first time, or going on vacation somewhere, take a little time to show things that aren’t influencer related with your audience. When I first started blogging, I would share these types of things on my blog (and now even more on my Instagram), which helped put me on the radar of local businesses when they were looking to invite “media” outlets out to their events. Don’t do anything that feels fake or forced, but if you genuinely enjoy sharing events with your audience, brands will know that you’re someone to invite.
4). Show up to events on time
Things happen, and sometimes you may have to show up a little late, but try to get to an event as early as possible (and let your contact know when you’re running extremely behind). While some events are very casual and you’ll be mingling for the most part, sometimes there are tours, demonstrations and other time sensitive activities happening, so be respectful and get there on time. Most times, businesses are limited with how many invitations that they can send out, so if you’re a blogger that’s perpetually late or constantly a no show to events, eventually you may get taken off of lists and replaced with a blogger that actually wants to be there because inviting you will be viewed as a waste of time. It’s nothing personal, just business, so make sure that you show up to those events that you RSVP for.
5). Remember that it’s fun, but still meant to be work
Businesses aren’t inviting you to events just for the hell of it. Yes, they think you’re cute, but they’re also inviting you because they like how you handle event coverage and expect for you to do your part when you get there. Every event has KPIs in place, whether it’s some sort of financial gain because you’re shopping, brand awareness/amplification to your audience or some type of USG (User Generated Content). Have fun for sure, but also take pics/videos and share while you’re there because it IS a form of work.
Following the tips above will allow you to not only have fun at events (and entertain your audience), but also help you to build relationships with brands and businesses that you could potentially work with down the line.