Top 10 Tips on Planning a Blogger Event

georgina coatesBlog post written by Georgina Coates who is Senior Digital Strategist at UK based, integrated communications agency Kindred. Follow George on Twitter @GeorgieC and catch her own social media thoughts at: What’s a Girl to Do?

Working in both PR and digital comms I have been involved with a number of blogger relations campaigns throughout the years. The most recent one I’ve been involved with has been for one of my clients, ‘make mine Milk’, where we invited mummy (and, not to be forgotten daddy) bloggers down to the London School of Coffee for a morning of Barista training and low fat semi-skimmed milk discussion.

After chatting to many of the attendees about how they liked being approached by PRs, plus some of their worst PR fails, I thought it would be useful to pull together a quick synopsis of some of insights I garnered as well as some of my other top tips on putting together a blogger event:

1. Put on an experience – bloggers are always looking for fresh, interesting (but relevant!) experiences to inspire their writing. From a PR point of view an event should be about provoking discussion and debate around the product/service you drawing attention to rather then some tenuous association. Think about:
a) Why would someone want to take time out of their busy schedule to attend my event / why would it be of relevance?
b) What do I want to get out of the event on behalf of my client?

2. Think about location – it may sound obvious but this will have the biggest impact on whether people can attend. Being city centric is not always necessary as long as transport details are clear and straight forward to follow.

3. If in doubt, sense check – there is absolutely no harm in sense checking logistics with a couple of target bloggers if you want to double check on timings and/or location. In fact this may throw up some other considerations you may not have already thought about (eg: child care, wifi/internet access, natural lighting).

4. Cover all transport costs – blogging for many is a hobby and therefore any costs incurred are not tax deductable. If you are expecting a blogger to travel to an event, you must expect to cover these costs.

5. It’s about relationship building and not ‘can you cover my story’ – working with bloggers should be about collaboration, sharing and developing ideas using their experiences/expertise of specific topic area (parenting, gadgets, green issues, food etc…). Rather then thinking about these as relationships being based on coverage, the focus should be on gathering insights and using those to inform parts of your planning. Coverage should follow if you are providing an experience which is fun, informative and thought provoking.

6. Incorporate a Twitter hashtag – using a hashtag on your invite can really help news of your event spread. Many bloggers are well networked in their particular fields and will share details of your event if:
a) They can’t attend and want to pass their invited onto someone else.
b) Want to check who else is going (in some cases to share transport).

7. Think about networks – as p.5, are there other places online where bloggers of a similar specialism are frequenting? For instance, in the UK there is Blogger.ed – a site based on forums created by a mummy blogger for other mummy bloggers and PRs wanting to reach out to them. These could be great channels to seed invites and/or sense check event suggestions.

8. Content, content, content – ensure that your event is full of interesting stimuli that encourages taking photography and video content. Not only does this generally make this a more engaging event but it also makes it easier for bloggers to write up their experiences in a way that is more engaging for their own users.

9. Goody Bags – always a fan of having something to take away after an event (!) this is a nice additional touch that should include some fun take away bits and pieces but most importantly, information on your campaign and any additional content your bloggers could require. Remember though to think creatively – what would they like to see in a goody bag? What would grab their attention and remind them of the experience you’d put on for them? Who could they potentially share the content of the bag with?

10. Stay in touch – Post event it is integral that you stay in touch. An occasional email would not go amiss if a particular blogger had expressed an interest in keeping up to date with your campaign but Twitter is also a great way to keep the connection going by replying to Tweets and retweeting interesting blog posts.

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!