Behind the Scenes of a Blogger Event: Blog Yorkshire
Blogger Events can be a great way for a brand to engage with the public in an informal setting and a brilliant opportunity to make new contacts and maintain existing relationships.
On Saturday 12th July, the first Blog Yorkshire event was held. A few of us from Search Laboratory headed down to represent our clients on the day. The event was a huge success and we met some lovely bloggers.
I interviewed one of the organisers, Faith, to get an insight into the ideas and aims of Blog Yorkshire and a look behind the scenes of what goes into planning a blogger event.
What is Blog Yorkshire all about?
We recognise that Yorkshire often gets overlooked by some brands when executing launch or promotional events. We also see that our region has a huge number of wonderful, diverse and talented bloggers. Both those things, coupled with a desire to build on a cohesive, supportive blogging community in the North, and give a network a solid identity, provide the basis of Blog Yorkshire.
Essentially, Blog Yorkshire is a network for bloggers to come together and share in experiential events; get to know each other and share knowledge. We also see Blog Yorkshire as a platform for brands to interact with a network of influential bloggers - but in a risk free environment.
In other words, we lay the events on, provide the theme; venue; agenda; event management - including bearing any initial costs and brands can just turn up, and share their message in a fun and creative environment.
How did the idea of Blog Yorkshire come about?
As I was launching my blog last year, I was surprised at the lack of structure or networks in the blogging community in Yorkshire. As a project manager by trade, it's in my nature to want to organise and get the best out of any situation, so as I stood speaking to a PR officer in a store, the idea just popped into my head.
From then it's taken almost a year to bring the idea to fruition. The kick-starter was meeting with Carrieanne (Blog Yorkshire co-founder), in a coffee shop, and offering to help her host a blogger meet. It became clear very quickly that we could use this event to initiate Blog Yorkshire, and the rest is history. Five weeks on we hosted a successful event in Leeds, and it's the first of many.
What were your experiences of planning the day? Is there anything you wish you would have known before planning?
This will sound terribly irritating, but it was easy to plan the day! I used to manage a music venue, and be an event co-ordinator in my twenties, so for me event planning is something I can now do in my sleep. That said, the fact Carrieanne did all the ground work, also made my role a doodle! She ran around booking the venue, securing all the items for the goody bags, creating the blog page, promoting the day with bloggers... A one-woman event-creating machine!
This time round I got off lightly, and my role was to liaise with PR companies and brands to secure stands for the event, and prizes for the raffle (oh, and a lot of running around on the day of the event to lay it out and make sure things were going to plan!). Regular meetings with Carrieanne made sure we stayed on course-and had a laugh while doing it!
In your opinion, what makes a good event?
I love events where everyone is included. It's often hard to get over that
initial nervousness when attending events, and sometimes a bit of a helping hand is needed. We broke the ice with some daft challenges to get everyone giggling, it's simple but it works.
I like a structure to a day; to know what's happening when.
Having set 'pieces' to an event really helps tick it along and create pockets of activity. In terms of blogger events where we want people to have fun, engage with brands and ideally write about it afterwards, these parts to the day (e.g. the Hunter wellie croquet that Country Attire hosted at Blog Yorkshire) create a good talking point for bloggers to feature in a post.
What do you think makes for a good relationship between blogger and brand?
I think an understanding of each other's agenda is important for a successful relationship. Let's face it, both bloggers and brands have targets in mind, so to acknowledge this and work to create mutually beneficial activity is important.
Overall, what have been the reactions following the event? Any particular highlights?
The reaction so far has been 100% positive. That's overwhelming for Carrieanne and I really. For a first event I'd always expect some teething problems, but overall it went smoothly! People have been so kind in their words and support for Blog Yorkshire - it's a fantastic start.
- Getting together with a group of like-minded bloggers and meeting new people
- Having fun with the cotton-ball, Quiz styling and wellie-croquet challenges!
- The gorgeous Dash Manis that Pastille beauty bar provided
- Having consultations with the lovely ESPA ladies; getting hair styled by Allertons and makeovers by Georgina Grogan
- All the amazing prizes that were raffled off for British Heart Foundation, the most talked about were the beautiful bags from Zatchels, Illamasqua set, Nuxe set and the Hunter boots!
Of course, everyone loved going home laden down with goody bags and treats.
Thank you so much to everyone who came, particularly the team from Search Labs, who worked extremely hard to make their stands and challenges extremely engaging on the day!
Faiths top tips:
For anyone wanting to host an event, there are some tips that I always follow:
- Have a vision for what you want the event to look and feel like for attendees and understand what you want to achieve from the day. This simple grounding ensures you stay on track.
- Create a project plan! There's that cheesy old saying 'fail to plan and you plan to fail'- and it's true. Go all technical with a super spreadsheet, or just keep lists. But make sure you know what you need, when it's needed by, how you're going to get it, how much it'll cost, and how much resource or time is needed to get it. As long as you have that detail, and keep track of what's complete, you can't go far wrong.