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How to Partner with Brands to Host Events

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carol cain Looking for a unique way to monetize your blog? Tap into your influence! Brands are looking for bloggers who can host events, and one of our 2014 speakers, Carol Cain, has experience doing this. She was generous enough to share some of her tips and experiences working with brands to host events. Check out her advice:

I first started hosting events early in my blogging career, but after I had established myself as a local expert in my city (New York). I was able to leverage my experience and knowledge of the city as a destination and partner with attractions who wanted to reach out to a larger audience, in the most effective way possible. I would partner with local businesses and host Twitter parties and small media gatherings that would deliver the exposure they wanted, but also introduced them to a new group of influencers.

One of my most successful events was a brunch I hosted at the end of a blogging conference, off property, at a Loew’s Hotel in NYC. I partnered with RedPointPR, who represented the hotel at the time and also with Chevy/GM, who offered transportation to guests from the conference site to the event site. That event not only connected media with brands, exposed them to the hotel executives and provided everyone with a networking opportunity, but also reached an audience of over half a million on Twitter. Not to mention, the event was beautifully done.

The key has always been to choose the correct brand image and message as it relates to my own brand and message, over the money.

I also add value to my brand and influence by connecting businesses with opportunities that are not a good fit [for me], with bloggers and media who would be a better fit through references. I don’t make any money doing this, but it adds value in that is continues to support my role as a “expert” for lack of a better word in the space. Part of building a reliable brand and trusted reputation in a way that would bring financial opportunities is not totally wrapped around oneself. A valuable blogger is also one who can serve as a resource and connector to others. This also requires careful consideration, as these referrals are based on trust and confidence in delivery.

Thanks for the advice, Carol! Here are a few more tips for successfully hosting brand events:

  • Make sure you’re not breaking any rules. Often, brands want to host networking receptions and cocktail parties in conjunction with other events, like conference and trade shows. If this is the case, make sure you’re following event rules about outboarding. Don’t jeopardize your relationship with the event to work with a brand that is breaking these rules.
  • Set expectations before the event. It goes without saying that you should have a clear contract with the brand that outlines everything you will be doing before, during, and after the event. But also go a little further and have a conversation about expectations down to the last detail. What are the client’s goals? What do they hope to see from you? Why are they working with you instead of another influencer? For example, your contract might say that you’re going to tweet during the event. Are they expected pre-scheduled tweets so you can spend more time talking to guests? Are they expecting you to tweet pictures? Are they expecting you to use a certain hashtag?
  • Have a backup plan. With live events, nothing ever goes off without a hitch. What if your guest of honor misses his/her connecting flight and doesn’t make it? What if it is snowed out? What if the venue has a problem and cancels the day before? The list of what-ifs is never ending, and you don’t want to pay (or rather…not get paid) for circumstances that are out of your control. Make sure there is a backup plan discussed for postponed or cancelled events so you aren’t left standing without any options.

Have you ever hosted an event in conjunction with a brand? What are your best tips for making sure it goes smoothly?

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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