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:

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 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!