"You're invited to join an exclusive group of bloggers for an all-expenses-paid trip to..."
I have received 6 e-mail invitations like that in the past year.
Guess how many events I attended? Zero. But it was not for lack of desire. I have either been pregnant and super sick (1st trimester), pregnant and super big (third trimester), or in that precarious postpartum state where your clothes don't fit and your baby nurses round the clock...for all of them! Perfect timing, right? That's okay. I know there will be more events in the future. I'm secretly hoping for events by Nordstrom, Apple, Home Depot, Lowe's, Google, Sony, and Toyota.
If you've been around the blogosphere for any length of time, you've probably taken note of the various mommy blogger events that big brands and PR agencies put together. Essentially, companies invite a small group of bloggers to their "headquarters" to tell them about their brand and - in essence - to encourage brand loyalty. The participants are not required to blog about anything or tell anyone about it (but, boy do they!).
Events are the way to go when it comes to marketing to moms, in my humble opinion. At an event, you get a mom's undivided attention - an opportunity to share your brand/product and to invite feedback. It's really a brilliant concept.
Disney, Sony, Hallmark, Pampers, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, and T.J. Maxx have all held events. And more and more brands are jumping on-board with this trend (which is very smart).
Here are a few tips for companies that would like to plan an event for mom bloggers:
1. Pick the right attendees. The best event planners carefully scour the blogosphere for the most influential, personable, and professional bloggers that fit their target audience. They pick individuals who stand out, people they would want to work with on a daily basis. If you need recommendations, just shoot me an e-mail and I will send you a list of 5-15 names of the brightest, most capable, and most fun bloggers that would be right for your brand.
I used a thumbnail of Stephanie Precourt of Adventures in Babywearing for this point because she gets invited to a lot of events...and for good reason! She is accomplished, amicable, and absolutely charming - and she has a loyal following of readers who are swayed by her opinion. That's the kind of mama you want on your team.
2. Think about her family/kids. Keep in mind that you are inviting moms and think about how you can make the event accommodating for her family. If you know that she has a nursing babe, invite her to bring the baby along. If you're inviting her to a family-friendly destination, offer to fly out the whole family. If you can't do that, send a special gift home for the mom's kids. These kind of efforts will make any mom's eyes dance and shine. Please her kids - and you'll please her. That's the way it goes.
3. Splurge on accommodations. Pick a nice place with fun amenities - a swimming pool, suite-style rooms, a walking path, etc. If possible, select a pedestrian-friendly location - a hotel where moms can walk right outside their doors and find shops, restaurants, and other fun venues.
4. Leave some opportunities for socializing and "down time." I know you want to maximize your moments with these mom mavens, but she'll appreciate a little down time too - time to mingle with the other bloggers, to blog, to read a book, to go for a swim, etc.
5. Give her an "experience." Information sessions are good (and can be very fun & productive). Interactive experiences are even better. Do you have a food-based company? Let her prepare some recipes with a chef in your test kitchen. Is your company all about fitness? Do fitness assessments or offer an early morning pilates class. Try to offer something for her to DO - and the whole event will be more memorable and "talk-worthy" as a result.
6. Give swag. Send her home with her bags full. Although these kind of events are fun, they also take time and take women away from their families. If you're not offering compensation for attendance, it's nice to provide her with some gifts for her participation.
7. Give her something to give away. As soon as a mom receives an invitation for an event, she's likely to tell the whole world about it through blogging and twittering and facebooking. How exciting would it be if she could host a contest to give something away to one of her readers after the event? That's extra press for you...and lots of fun for the mom blogger. Try it. You'll like it.
For more tips on reaching mom bloggers, read "Mom 3.0: Marketing WITH Today's Mothers by Leveraging New Media & Technology" by Maria Bailey.
I am also available as a consultant for planning events that are outa-this-world. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUR TURN: Bloggers - Have you attended any blogger events? If so, what did you think?