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BlogHer 2011

Attracting Attendees to Your Convention Booth

Ivory Soap at BlogHer

The BlogWorld team headed to BlogHer this past weekend, as you may have already read in my post about swag-grabbing. One of the things that really impressed me was how sponsors at this conference went above and beyond with their expo hall booths. If you’re considering exhibiting at BlogWorld Expo this fall (or any time in the future), this post is for you – take a look at just a few of the really cool exhibitors at BlogHer:

Ivory Soap at BlogHer
Ivory Soap didn’t actually have a booth at BlogHer (as far as I know – but I’m pretty sure I saw every booth there). What they did, though, was create something really cool that was sure to be photographed. I saw lots of people stop to take a picture of the soap sculpture, which was right by the door and registration desks. Every time someone posts a picture like the one here, it’s a mini advertisement for Ivory!

Twizzlers at BlogHer

Like Ivory, Twizzlers did something super different that made a great photo op. They actually had cool Twizzlers sculptures set up around the convention center and the hotel. Again, every picture like this is a miniature advertisement for Twizzlers.

Pepsi at BlogHer

Another great photo op was inside the expo hall itself – this one by Pepsi.

Tropicana at BlogHer

Tropicana not only had a visually appealing booth that used eye-catching colors, but they also attracted attendees by offering a free service – manicures. They were giving out free samples of their juice as well I believe, but unlike some of the other booths, which had expensive products for free, Tropicana didn’t have to spend much to purchase nail polish. And, while the girls got their nails done, it allowed the booth representatives to make a real connection with attendees while talking about Tropicana’s products.

Skinny Cow at BlogHer

At Skinny Cow’s booth, they did have free samples of their products, but like Tropicana, they also have a free service to give away – false eyelashes. This also gave reps the chance to talk to attendees about their products on a more personal level. Plus, people were crowding around the booth all weekend to see what was going on.

Sam's Club at BlogHer

Sam’s Club didn’t have a service they gave away or even products for our swag bags, but what they did have was an interactive booth where attendees could try on jewelry. The interactive aspect gave people something to do beyond just standing there while a company pitched their products.

Pringles at BlogHer

Who doesn’t love (and notice) a giant blow-up Pringle man? Yes, there really was someone in that costume, hence the out-of-costume girl also in the picture – she was leading him around since he really couldn’t see very well. Goofy stuff always attracts attendees to your booth.

Carpet One at BlogHer

I had never heard of Carpet One before, but after visiting their Spill Bar at BlogHer, I won’t forget it. Their carpet is stain resistant, and when you sat down at the bar, they let you mix a cocktail and spill it on a sample of carpet to see how stain-proof it really is. Demoing your products is a great way to get people to not only visit your booth, but to actually remember you.

Kudos at BlogHer

The lesson you can learn from the Kudos booth is this: hire great people to man your booth. Of course, three guys dressed up like construction workers is perfect for a female-centric conference, but beyond being super cute, the guys were really engaging and spoke about the product well. Plus, like the Pringles guy, the dressed up workers were goofy, so it attracted attendees.

Samsung at BlogHer

Samsung was smart and not only gave attendees the opportunity to check out their newest products, but they also hosted the recharging station. It was something a lot of the bloggers there really needed, and even those without laptops and phones to change took the opportunity to sit down on one of their couches for a few minutes. Be useful to attendees and they’ll appreciate what you’re providing (and it gives you the chance to talk about your company).

The Knorr booth was cool because they actually set up a stage and did cooking demonstrations where attendees were invited to participate. They had samples of their products available to taste as well as to take home, and the benches gave people a place to sit and watch the demos. Their booth was also very visually appealing.

So what is the take-away message? If you’re exhibiting at BlogWorld Expo or any other conference, some things to keep in mind include:

  • Think about creating some kind of display that is a photo op
  • Try to give people something to do while you pitch your products to keep them in your booth longer – interaction is key
  • Swag is awesome, but giving away a “service” that people want or need works well too
  • Hire people who can represent your company well
  • Goofy is good – attract attention by doing something different
  • Demoing products works well, especially if people can get involved
  • Make your booth visually appealing

Be creative with your booth ideas! Beyond buying your actual spot, you don’t have to spend tons of money on your exhibit – just think outside the box a little. Talk to the conference sales team – most are beyond happy to accommodate your ideas, no matter how creative.

LG Text Ed Program “Schools” Bloggers at BlogHer 2011


For those of you who attended BlogHer 2011 in San Diego this weekend, you may have had the chance to be “schooled” by LG Mobile and their advisory board members Jane Lynch and Rosalind Wiseman. The LG Text Ed was in session educating bloggers about teen mobile phone misuse and providing parents with valuable resources so they can teach responsible phone use to their children.

Bloggers had the chance to meet and hear from “Glee” actress Jane Lynch and best-selling author Rosalind Wiseman.

“I am amazed by the reach and influence of these women,” said Jane Lynch, actress and LG Text Ed advisory council member. “Because so many female bloggers are mothers themselves, they carry tremendous credibility amongst parents and they have the power to raise awareness about the potential dangers and consequences of risky mobile phone behavior.”

Check out this video clip from the event at BlogHer 2011.

The “LG Social Media Station”, gave bloggers the chance to test out LG’s latest Android-tablet, the T-Mobile® G-Slate™ with Google™ by LG. They posted updates to their blogs with the device, as well as status updates to Twitter and Facebook.

Did you attend this event and if so, what did you learn about responsible phone use for kids and the new Android tablet?

How to be a Good Swag-Grabber


This weekend, the BlogWorld Expo team headed to San Diego for BlogHer, a blogging and social media conference for women featuring educational sessions, networking parties, and an expo hall full of sponsors. Before I ever left, veteran BlogHer attendees warned me to either pack an empty bag, bring some extra cash for shipping, or leave room in my suitcase for swag…and they were right. One of the ways BlogHer differs from other events is that their sponsors are there promoting everyday household items (like cleaning products and food), rather than just blogging tools and technology. It’s an awesome place to find new affiliate programs and connect with companies looking for reviewers.

With dozens of companies handing out swag that ranged from candy bars to pain relievers to sunglasses, it wasn’t long before I, like many of the other attendees, was carrying two bags overflowing with goodies. In fact, I took a picture of all the samples and promotional items I picked up on the first morning:

BlogHer 2011 swag

At BlogWorld Expo and other industry conferences, there isn’t nearly as much swag, but no matter where you go, you will find at least a few companies giving away free stuff. If you’re going to pick up some items to take home, here are a few tips you should keep in mind to help you be a better swag-grabber.

  • Actually talk to the company about their products.

Yes, it is time-consuming to talk to people at sponsor booths, but if you’re going to take some swag, it is polite to listen to their pitch. This isn’t just about being polite, though. Often, the samples companies give away are brand new products with special features, unlike the old products from the same company that you may have tried in the past. If you take a moment to learn about the company, you might also find out that they have an affiliate or review program that would work well for your blog.

  • Talk about the products you pick up.

Not every piece of swag available at a conference will be right for a review on your blog. If a company is giving out free samples of their breakfast sandwiches (like Jimmy Dean was at BlogWorld) and you primarily write about new media (like I do), there’s not much of a connection. That doesn’t mean that I can’t talk about the product, though. If you try a sample of something, the least you can do is mention it to a friend if you do (or do not) like that product. For items you really like or dislike, I also recommend sending a quick email to the company with your feedback. Most appreciate that nearly as much as they appreciate a post reviewing their products. better yet, if you like a product, buy it in the future!

  • Don’t be greedy.

Companies spend a lot of money on swag, and while they are happy to give you an item to try out, don’t be greedy. We all like free stuff, but walking past a table ten times to pick up items or worse, taking a whole handful under the guise “they’re for my friends” just isn’t cool. At the end of conferences, many companies have run out of items, so some bloggers might not get swag because you took more than your fair share. Only take more than one if you truly do have a friend who would use the item (and talk/blog about it), the item can be given away on your blog or otherwise account for more promotion for the company than if you had just taken one item, or the company representative invites you to take more. Pro tip: if you really want more of a certain item, go to the booth at the very end of the show, as the company is starting to pack up. They hate shipping home leftovers and are often happy to give you extra items at that point.

My suitcase was literally bursting at the seams from all the cool stuff I picked up at BlogHer – and I can’t wait to follow up on my connections and talk about some of the products I picked up. Feel free to share you swag-grabbing tips below with a comment!

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