This is a guest contribution from Kelly Edwards.
If you’re a blogger, then there are many benefits that can be gained from getting out from behind the keyboard and attending real world events: from raising awareness, sourcing new talent, and increasing overall readership.
Of course, attending an event is an investment, particularly if you’re intending to travel and especially if you decide to present your blog via a stand – so you need to make it count.
Question One: Is this event the right fit for my blog?
In recent years the number of blogging events has increased dramatically and events like the Problogger Training Day are getting bigger and better every year.
If you’re part of a blogging community then it’s very likely that you’ll discover a regular event being held to encourage the platform to meet. There are also publicised blogging events for all keyboard junkies, complete with networking and talks to help bloggers hone their skills.
Meeting with fellow bloggers may be immediately tempting but if your end goal is to increase readership within a relevant audience then you need to ensure that the audience is there in the first place. If you write about a particular niche subject, then attending a very broad event might not gain your blog the meaningful attention you’re hoping for.
There are many niche blogging groups that hold networking events or meet ups. If your aim is to look for relevant bloggers to work with then this is a lucrative field to find those within your topic of interest.
Relevant events don’t necessarily come from blogging platforms, depending on your niche. Blogs can promote themselves at real-world exhibits to increase readership. This could include beauty blogs at skin care conventions, business blogs at their local business exhibitions, and literature blogs at art festivals. By looking out for events that are relevant to your blog and will be attended by people who will be interested in your blog’s message, then you are more likely to gain a return on investment by attending that exhibition.
Question Two: Is my blog memorable and branded?
Does your blog have a brand? Do you utilise that brand throughout your promotional advertisements? Are you preparing a stand or stall that takes advantage of your unique identity?
Creating a brand from your blog can seem like a complicated task if you’ve never given it thought before but if you’ve taken time over the appearance of your blog then you’re likely to already have the beginnings of a style that you feel represents it.
Spend a few hours considering how you would introduce someone to your blog in two sentences or less. Each person you meet at this event might be seeing dozens of other people so consider what you can say or do to firmly affix your blog in their mind.
If you’re intending to have your own stand then think about what you can offer attendees so that they can fully understand what your blog is about. This might involve a tablet or laptop so they can physically look at your blog, perhaps a clearly visible web address and encouragement for people to give your blog a look on their smart phones (if you intend to do this then ensure your blog has an attractive mobile template). Promotional displays announcing your blog, URL and brand can also announce your blog on your behalf, attracting more interest.
Question Three: How do I know if it was worth all this effort?
Prepare for your networking event or convention attendance by coming up with a series of goals that you hope to work towards. These can be entirely unique to your blog but here are some general behaviours that you will most likely want to track:
- People taking your business card
- People signing up for your newsletter (if you have one)
- People taking your flyers
- Business cards that you receive from relevant parties
You can also assess these factors at the end of the day and over the coming weeks/ months:
- New likes/followers on social media channels.
- Increase in views on your blog.
- New comments on your blog.
- Increase in subscriptions/ member sign ups/ followers on your blog.
Your goals for attending an event may differ greatly from other blogs and it’s important that you properly assess and track what you hope to gain from attending. Though ensuring you achieve a return on investment is more complex via a blog than for someone selling a product, it is essential to measure the effectiveness of event marketing for your blog’s brand. Which of these ROI’s would make the biggest difference to your blog?
When you tie all these steps together you should end up with an event that is relevant to your blog, an idea for how to brand your blog effectively and a variety of ideas regarding how to track conversions and increases in traffic. Of course, this is only the first step.
Getting your blog out into the real world for the first time is just the beginning and even the most well-planned event is likely to have snags, problems and at least a dozen lessons that you’ll learn for next time. Improvements never have to end and you’ll soon find yourself a well-oiled event machine, always primed and ready with business cards and your elevator pitch.
These steps are a great guideline but every blog is different, so jump in with both feet and start planning. Which step will be most important to you and what has this post revealed about your blogs needs? Feel free to tell us your story in the comments below!