Unless you've hosted your own blog conference, I don't think many of us know all it takes to produce one. Hours of planning, squillions of emails, acrobatic coordinating, and money…lots of money. I imagine conference passes don't begin to cover expenses.
That's why I'm sincerely grateful for the sponsors who help underwrite conference cost (especially for those who pay out of pocket!).
Have you ever thought about how you can pay a sponsor back? Here are a couple of suggestions, but I hope you comment your own ideas:
- Visit each exhibitor and say thanks! A few words to express your gratitude will not only affirm their support but might make the difference in future sponsorship.
- Participate in their conference giveaways. Although I don't know for sure, it didn't look like "everyone" threw their business cards in the hat for all the wonderful giveaways offered at Type-A. As a winner of an unbelievable giveaway (below), I learned someone's gotta win and it might just be YOU!
- Write a post thanking and linking to each sponsor. Before or after the conference, it really doesn't matter. Our digital real estate is currency, and it's a nice way to put our "money" where our mouths are. Linky love ups those page ranks!
- Support them in your social media channels. Follow sponsors on Twitter; during the conference (or after) tweet what you appreciated about their sponsorship. "Like" them on Facebook. Use your imagination :).
- Don't let the swag go to waste! It's okay to admit not every item contributed is something you can use. Instead of tossing products, host a giveaway from your blog, donate them to Goodwill, share them with a friend.
So….what am I leaving out?
Practicing what I'm preachin', my GINORMOUS THANKS to the following companies who helped make this year's Type-A Mom Conference beyond fabulous –
David Griner is the "face" of Little Debbie to me, and he represents them well. How savvy–and necessary!–is it that a yummy snack food company understands the value in being present when bloggers are hungry?
A brilliant move by a local travel destination to engage 300+ chatty bloggers. Even before I worked with Biltmore Estate, I loved it (my first visit was on our honeymoon 23 years ago!). Their PR team is accessible, smart, engaging…and very good at what they do.
MLP sponsored blogger speed dating on Friday night, and not only did they have darling table arrangements, conversation-starter questions sat table-top that added a lot of personality to this event. Considering a large percentage of conferees are also moms of young children, this was a smart sponsorship. But as a mom to older children, I was SO SAD to realize my kids are past their "My Little Pony" years! Listening to others reminisce about their favorite My Little Ponies gave me plenty of reason to smile though. 🙂
Instead of an ordinary table, Wilsonart brought in a counter top as part of their exhibit. They know that seeing and touching is much more effective than pictures.
Those who missed out on our host hotel block were able to book comfy rooms nearby. I looked twice at County Inn & Suites when their logoed "mint" boxes turned out to be M&Ms! Funny how a small gesture can get your attention, proving that thinking outside the box matters!
Mom's heads turn when the presence of Disney is at a conference; especially when kid-friendly mini swag bags are being doled out to all. They've been smartly engaging moms and families for a long, long time…it only makes sense to do so where so many of us are investing time: online!
Their packaging suggests they're delightfully different; the taste confirms it. Good for PomWonderful for bringing pomegranates into the mainstream. And for giving away tons of healthy drinks at the conference!
Definitely my favorite sponsor. Why, you ask? BECAUSE I WON AN HP LAPTOP FROM THEM, THAT'S WHY! Plus, they gave away Pixie Stix and Twizzlers. Plus, the site is "one of the Web’s longest running and most trusted Free Coupon and Cash Back sites," a member of the BBB. How did I not know about this site before?! PLEASE don't let opportunity pass to join a site almost guaranteed to save you buckets of money?
I can honestly say Chick-Fil-A is one of my favorite companies of all time; it's founder, Truett Cathey, is a modern-day hero. Their respect for employees and customers is exemplary. I appreciate how they've remained current and progressive, and how they have a great record of giving back to others. As far as I'm concerned, their Saturday lunch was comfort food :).
Maria Bailey is one of my heros in the blogosphere; well-spoken and well-written, she inspires me with her work ethic, accomplishments and support of women in business. For some (silly) reason she also intimidates the heck out of me, but that says more about me than her. Follow her; you'll learn something.
Our swag bags came with furry love–each attendee received a Build-a-Bear (again, speaking to the high percentage of moms, aunts and grandmas at the conference). Maxine Clark, one of Type-A's keynote speakers, couldn't be more in touch with her customers: she actually pulled a sewing kit out of her bag to stitch up a "wounded" bear! Her story is inspiring and puts umph to the words "Just Do It!"
The remaining sponsors I highly regard but didn't have opportunity to personally engage; regardless of my shortcomings, you would be wicked schmart to follow their links and "meet" them yourself!
3M's Shoot & Share website. Twitter.
Pistachio Health's website. Twitter.