How Brands and Bloggers can work together at Blogging Conferences

The Expo Booth

For anyone going to BlogHer this year, there are great posts about what to expect, what to wear and what to do. This post contains none of that.

I am unfashionable, don’t get invited to private parties, and I wander around in awe at the sheer size of the conference space. So I wouldn’t follow me to a particular spot, unless you are up for walking in circles.

The point of the post is about the sponsors at the expo. They are numerious at BlogHer. The vast expo hall will blow your mind when you enter it, and the number of brand representatives that value your time and input is even greater.

While the sponsors significantly cover the cost of the conference pass, as well as the food, they are not doing it out of goodwill. (Though it is good.) They are doing it because they want to be there and connect with a large audience of fantastic Bloggers. A brilliant marketing strategy that many companies are catching onto.

You’ll find most of the BlogHer sponsors are promoting a new product, a new launch, or a new brand. They do so at BlogHer because there is measurable ROI (Return on Investment). The number of sponsors appears to grow every year because the connections Brands make with Bloggers attending BlogHer spreads to the social media channels rapidly, and numerously, in the weeks and months following BlogHer.

Yet, there are some tips, for Brands and Bloggers alike, to maximize and enhance the rapid fire relationship formed in the conference booths, which can extend beyond the conference.


  • Have GOOD business cards. At a minimum, the card should have your name, blog name, blog url, twitter handle, email address and what the blog is about. Bonus for additional contact information and a headshot on your card. This way the brand can actually know who you are, what you do and how to contact you. I’m still amazed many people don’t have this vital information on their blogging business cards.
  • Drop your business card. There are going to be a lot of people, but at least leaving your business card at a booth will show the Brand that you are interested and they have the opportunity to follow up with you after BlogHer if they have your business card, (see point number one).
  • Engage in the person and not the swag. Trust me, I get it. I am always wondering what free product I can walk away with to review or giveaway, but try to not look ‘swagreedy’ and chat with the rep. Ask them why there are there and what you can do to help.
  • Be respectful of time and space. Be respectful of the brand representative’s time, as they do want to meet many Bloggers just as you want to meet with many brands. On a side note, if you are chatting with your best new Blogger buddy, try to have conversations outside and away from the booth so that there is space for other Bloggers to enter.
  • Balance social media with socialization. I love to tweet and post in my social media channels about what I am doing, what is going on, who I am meeting, and what I have learned throughout the conference. Yet, the other benefit of BlogHer is meeting people – be it Bloggers or Brands. So put down the smartphone on occasion and look around. There is cool stuff to see.
  • Don’t judge. There are some big name Bloggers at BlogHer, and there are Blogger newbies. Each are valuable as part of your marketing and social media strategy. Trust me, I will remember if you snub me in favor of a big name. While I may respect them too, I won’t respect you as a consumer or as a Blogger. As we have seen, negative publicity can be a lot worse.
  • Send the right people. I remember meeting a diaper company at a conference. They had college interns representing the brand and they had no idea what parents face. They may be social media rising stars, but no one wanted to talk to them because of the perception that they could not know anything about real life use of diapers. It also felt like the brand did not value Bloggers.
  • Have good giveaways. BlogHer is not about pens, but you don’t have to be handing out $100 gift cards either. One company had large, nice quality bags with their logo on it. Everyone wanted one (big bag to carry around all of the swag) and the company got on-the-floor advertising. Another brand had blinking rings (definitely noticeable) and, of course, everyone wanted one so there was great traffic at the booth.
  • Followup and Followback. If I am tweeting about you during the conference, follow me back. Obviously, I’m a fan you should engage. Also followup up after the conference with me if I left you my business card. I may be a key blogger in your upcoming campaign. It also establishes a better connection that could even influence my role as a consumer and not just as a Blogger.

All in all, have a fun. Enjoy the people you meet and remember that, whether you are a Blogger or Brand, be professional; it reflects on all of us outside of the Blogosphere.

{Check out my other post on the Do’s & Don’ts of Swag.}


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  1. Barefoot Liz says:

    I’d like to go to a BlogHer conference but only if it were local to me. Hope you have fun. Learn things! (and then blog about it.) 😀

  2. They move around every year as you know. The usually announce next year’s location at the conference so it will be interesting to see! If anyone ever wants to see all the conferences available, check out:
    Will pass along tips for sure!!

  3. Kim- Mommycosm says:

    Great advice!!

  4. Great post Charlene! I have a feeling that I will be walking around in circles, unfashionably, along side you. But this does inspire me to walk more purposefully!

  5. Great advice! This is my 1st BlogHer and I’m excited and feeling slightly overwhelmed.

  6. I am attending BlogHer for the first time this year and really appreciate this post. Thank you.

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