It’s been awhile since my last, “You Go, Girl”, “Just Do You, Boo” post, but with BlogHer12 fast approaching, it’s evident to me that it’s time for another one. Over the past week, my heart has been breaking to watch many bloggers slowly lose themselves over the possibility of receiving an invitation to a private party or event at BlogHer.
To those of you who aren’t familiar with BlogHer, it’s a huge blogging conference that is held annually. Bloggers from all over the world come together to learn to be better bloggers, socialize, and be inspired by others. Because the event is so large, and so many bloggers are going to be in attendance, it’s convenient for brands to travel where the conference is and host events as part of their marketing strategies. These events are generally invitation-only, and, according to the bloggers going nuts my Twitter timeline, this week must have been when invitations really started going out.
Before I go on, let me fully disclose that I have been invited to a few private events, so this post is not coming from a place of bitterness or jealousy. Also, I do plan to attend some of the events that I’ve been invited to, so I’m not trying to be sanctimonious, or anti-brand. I’ve just been witnessing the online esteem of some of my fellow bloggers plummet as more and more events are announced, and I can’t sit idly by and let that happen.
Whether or not you get invited to a private event does not determine the validity of your work as a blogger.
I get it. It feels good to know that someone on the “outside” has you on their radar. That they have seen your Wordless Wednesday post, or maybe were impressed with the recipe you developed with the pictures you were so proud of, or that they view you as an “influencer” with so much power and clout that they want you to have them on your radar. It makes sense, it really does. Let’s just keep it real, for a second, though, shall we? All of the folks getting invitations to these private events, all of these “elite influencers” aren’t necessarily bloggers that you would pick if you were in a position to choose bloggers, are they? Some of the people that I have witnessed boasting sharing the most about their invitations are bloggers that have taken other people’s writing and passed it off as their own, writers with posts that are filled with misspellings and grammatical errors, and folks with writing that is as bland as a piece of toast. Who knows how they got on “the” list? Who cares?
If I knew how to get on a list, I’d tell you. Since I can’t tell you that, let me share what I know about what usually doesn’t get you on the list. Begging. We are all so above the “@XYZBrand Please invite me to your event!”, and “Congrats on the @XYZBrand event invite! I didn’t get one. Sad puppy dog face.” Remember that you are writers, content creators, brand marketers, social media experts…you don’t have to beg for invites. As a matter of fact, if you don’t get any invites, you can create your own meet up with some of your favorite bloggers! Get drinks together at the hotel bar, or organize a group dinner. Just because a brand isn’t involved (or paying for it) doesn’t make it any less fabulous. Side note: As a grown woman, the “sad puppy dog face” is probably giving the opposite effect of what you hope to achieve by using it. I’m just saying.
Look, I don’t profess to be an expert on brand/blogger relationships, but, based on what I see, there doesn’t seem to be a formula that shows that an invitation to a private event at BlogHer equals a lucrative campaign down the line. (Because that’s why folks are clamoring to get to these parties, right? Because, it’s totally not about the swag, right?) It seems to me that what happens after BlogHer is what really counts. Following up with the connections that you made (brands and bloggers), continuing to create great content, and determining your worth, so that when you do get with a brand representative, you know exactly what you can offer, and what you would like in return will be a lot more beneficial to you down the line than sitting in the corner with a cocktail at an event that you are attending as a plus one.
Here’s the thing. If you bought a pass to BlogHer, you do have party invites. There are quite a few official parties that are open to anyone with a conference pass, and from what I hear, they are off the chain! Sparklecorn and CheesburgHer are legendary, and I’m so sure the Come as You Are party co-hosted by Aiming Low is going to be crazy. Oh, and if you want the ultimate swag, make sure you go to the Voices of the Year event. Apparently, everyone always leaves with tears and filled with inspiration. Like, what brand do you think is going to offer swag like that?
Seriously, Friends, don’t keep worrying about the places you aren’t going to be. Stop refreshing your email looking for invitations, and start planning for the definite fun that you’re going to have when you get to New York in a couple of weeks. Remember, it’s a conference, and there are going to be lots of folks there running workshops and sessions who are willing to help you to get to the next level in your blogging career. And for that, there’s no invitation needed.