I can’t help but look back, with two BlogHer Conferences under my belt, and wonder about the opportunities past, present and future.
Hushed talk of swag-a-holics and those only interested in attending to “connect with brands” take place across twitter, blogs, facebook groups and more. I personally was blown away to learn that some who attend BlogHer do not actually show up to or plan on attending any conference sponsored parties, sessions or events. To me this makes no sense at all.
I feel that if bloggers are truly interested in connecting with brands and working with them in the future, why are they looking everywhere but at their fellow bloggers? Do they not recognize that many of the women in attendance do represent brands, some even own their own brands, even though they’re not throwing a private party or hosting a booth at the expo hall?
I got an overwhelming feeling when visiting the brands at the Expo Hall this year, I felt they were exhausted, overstimulated and had that “Oh god, I don’t care if I ever see another female blogger in my life” look on their face. To me, not the best scenario to walk into when trying to make a lasting impression. After all, are the folks at the booths and at private parties actually in the position to make a connection with you? I think not.
Even if Joe Schmoe at XYZ booth was the CEO of that company, what sort of connection do you stand a chance of making when you’re the 3,426th woman to give him your card and make pleasantries? I don’t think many have any hope at making an impression.
You might be wondering, why would they be sponsoring then, if they’re not interested in making connections? Well, they’re sponsoring because in giving you free stuff, you’re likely to give a tweet or two about them, perhaps include them in a video response or blog post and multiplied by 2-3-4,000 bloggers, they’ve got a chance at getting some pretty great promotion by being a sponsor/vendor.
Real connections? These I feel were overlooked by many.
Real opportunities? These were the women sitting alone at lunch or breakfast, chatting with a few at a party or sitting next to you at a session. Sure, you might have thought that you’re not there to make friends, but in attempting to make connections with even the most unassuming person there, you stand the chance at becoming that brands next ambassador, obtaining a future review/giveaway, making an impression, and building a reputation for yourself.
There are many types of blogs, many BlogHer intentions and many goals. Free coupons, t-shirts, toys, makeup and re-usuable shopping bags…sure those are fun. But long term, will you be remembered by those who placed those items in your hand? Was it even their goal TO remember you?