. . . or anywhere really.
I heard overwhelming feedback from attendees that brands seemed unprepared (or unwilling) for the conversations that they were having in the BlogHer’11 expo hall.
If you are a brand or an agency, here are some of the questions you should come prepared to answer:
Why are you here?
It’s the question humanity has been asking itself from the beginning of time, but BlogHer is not the time that you should be asking it. Brands seemed unprepared or unfocused on a core objective. Is your goal to sample product or build relationships?
How can I work with you?
Do you have actionable information for bloggers regarding how they can work with you in the future? What are the next steps when the expo hall doors are closed and everyone has gone home? What is your follow up plan?
What are you working on?
What’s coming down the pipe for your brand in the next 6 months to a year? Do you have anything worth talking about? How will you be working with bloggers and integrating social media into those campaigns? Do you have any clear cut projects that you can talk about?
What other brands do you work with?
If you are an agency or sending an agency representative, bloggers want to know what other clients they are working with. Bloggers are looking for opportunities to work with you.
How can I get in touch with you?
This one should be easy enough right? You are here in the expo hall because you want to connect. Not enough cards, using the BlogHer app for the contact information, or not wanting to hand out business cards at all are just a handful of the complaints that are heard echoing from the expo hall.
This is pretty basic stuff. Which is why it stirs up so much frustration when these simple touch points become difficult.
I think the overarching problem is a mixture of a few things:
- Brands an bloggers goals seem to be misaligned. Bloggers really want to work together with brands on a campaign level at some point and some brands seem solely interested in product sampling.
- Brands are sending agency representatives that don’t fully understand the vision and strategy of their company. If a brand is using an agency there should still be a direct brand representative present at an event like this.
- Brands aren’t thinking through their long term strategy when it comes to building relationships with bloggers. It’s nice to shoot your product out with a canon all over the expo floor – but then what?
Don’t get me wrong. Bloggers bring their own bag of mixed nuts to the table that a brand has to deal with. In that sea of faces you’ve got varying levels of business savvy, influence and stability. And a lot of bloggers need to ask themselves the same questions that I outlined above for brands.
The bottom line is that a brand needs to be prepared for that mixed bag. Whether a blogger just wants to pimp you for free stuff or they are looking for ways to work with you in the long term, you need a plan of action – or ultimately you are just wasting your time and money setting up shop.