Blogging conferences are a great place to reach out to gathered influencers. Sponsoring a conference may seem out of reach for smaller brands and businesses, but there are all sorts of opportunities for getting your name heard at conferences like Blissdom, any of the BlogHer events, Mom 2.0 Summit or Dad 2.0.
I asked Jennifer Powell, lead for sponsorship at Blissdom Canada about what they look for in sponsors
1) Why do you consider a blogging conference a great opportunity for a sponsor?
Traditional advertising is facing an uphill battle as B to C conversations are declining in their effectiveness. People are savvy to marketing campaigns and their expected outcomes and want more of a C to C conversation. Bloggers are a fabulous way for a brand to connect more authentically within the marketplace. Many bloggers have developed personal brands that reflect like-minded habits to the people who read their posts. They help brands as ambassadors, product testers, feedback for research and development, promotional or contest messaging amplifiers, and establishing brand loyalty in a world that has become fickle in their brand associations.
2) Are there opportunities for smaller businesses as well as the big ones?
Yes, we have a number of opportunities for small business at Blissdom Canada. New this year we have introduced the Handmade Marketplace, an area for Canadian artisans to display and sell their wares to Blissdom Canada attendees and the general public. We are providing a Start-Up Suite which will offer up a series of Start-Ups whose budgets are limited but have great conversations to have in terms of future forward products and we have a number of sponsor options that allow for small business to get connected with this audience. As Canadian entrepreneurs ourselves, we are open to looking at unique ways to integrate all levels of business into the conference.
3) In your experience, what has gotten the best reaction from bloggers in terms of what sponsors have offered?
Best reactions we have seen are when GM created a Road Rally to adventure around Toronto in their vehicles. Attendees were tasked with a series of stops and actions to complete before arriving at the Welcome reception, they also created a “Recharge” lounge experience that gave attendees a chance to sit and relax while charging up their electronics. Other notables was Canadian Lentils bringing in Chef Michael Smith for a photo opp and demonstrating a Lentil Cookie Challenge pitting flour vs. lentils in the recipe. Microsoft connected by having a Kinect Xbox Dance off welcome party, Christine McGee surprised people at Registration by handing out pillows, Kraft outfitted an entire kitchen in their space and Starbucks created a mini store within their booth. All of these saw a TON of social media love and for very good reason. (We hit 53 million impressions with over 15,000 tweets and trended in Canada before the start of the conference till well past with the excursions on the Sunday).
4) What has surprised you by getting a good or bad reaction?
The only bad reaction was a brand with a beautiful opportunity to talk about a very successful and well-known campaign. Instead they didn’t think about the audience, talking AT the attendees instead of with them. Blissdom is a great opportunity to develop relationships between brands and bloggers and this activation missed the chance to really engage this group.
4) Are there different levels of sponsorship based on what kind of exposure a certain kind of business may be looking for?
Yes there are many levels of sponsors at Blissdom Canada and we also like working creatively with brands to figure out the best engagement in the most organic way. If there is interest in a sponsor package, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another thing smaller brands can consider for sponsoring at a conference is sponsoring an individual blogger. As these bloggers make connections they will be mentioning the brand that got them there. Many bloggers also offer free advertising, they’ll wear shirts with the company name or hand out product samples as they network.
Brands can look around, find a conference aimed at their target audience and start making connections.