How do YOU get invited to events?

That, my friends, is the million dollar question that is most often asked by newbie bloggers or would-be bloggers that I encounter. As the cliché goes, if I had a dollar every time that question was asked I’d be many times richer by now. I’m actually blogging about it so I can just refer everyone who asks me in the future to this post. Yes, this is a topic that was just begging to be tackled.

Jockey event

Truth be told, when I started blogging a few years ago, I didn’t know there were such things as events. I just wanted to write and share stuff that I liked and discovered on my own. One day, I received an email invite to a press conference. I wasn’t even sure if it was really for me, but then it had my name on it. So I went. I was surprised because I found myself on the same table with one of the editors of a magazine I was writing for. I guess that was my first real presscon… it was for a snack biscuit and after the event we all got to take home a bag full of products and a shirt. The experience was very interesting, but looking back now, considering how far the venue was from where I lived, if I received the same invitation today I would most probably decline. My transportation expenses were probably bigger than the value of the snack biscuits I got as a token. But we learn from experience. Bloggers aren’t like traditional media whose job description includes covering events… and they’re paid for doing their job. The publication they work for also shoulders transportation expenses to and from the event.

Nivea event
After that first media event, the invites continued to come. If something, they multiplied. I must admit that some events are fun and I get to know a lot of great people. Since I blog about food, beauty, gadgets, and mommy stuff I’m usually invited to similarly themed events.
Greenwich event

I’m something of an accidental blogger because when I started I didn’t even know what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was. I was just focused on writing and sharing, oblivious to PRs and brands. I just blogged about stuff I liked. Then people noticed. Before I knew it I had readers and subscribers. Aside from event invitations, I was getting email offers to review products, hold giveaways, and visit establishments.

Ipanema event

But let’s get back to the original question… how do you get invited to events? I have several theories based on personal experience and feedback from friends I’ve made in marketing and PR:

  • They google something related to their brand or event and your blog comes up. One of my IT friends once told me that I have good SEO. At the time I didn’t know what that meant but apparently, it means that when people search for something on Google your blog comes up in the top results. Naturally, brands and PRs would like that and they will invite you hoping that if you blog about them, they’ll get exposure via Google.
  • They see your blog has good statistics… indicators can be anything from your Topblogs, Ratified, or Alexa ranking, Feedburner subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc. This is still a business and the brand or PR wants mileage. They’re not getting it from a blog or blogger with nothing to offer. 
  • You’re recommended by someone they trust. It could be anyone from a blogger they respect, a brand person, etc.
  • They visit your blog and they like what they see. This is where things like clear photos, proper grammar, and interesting writing comes in.
  • Join a blog network like Nuffnang. They organize and hold blogger events ever so often. There’s a big chance you can score an invite.
There’s really no surefire formula to success when it comes to blogging but if you’re getting into it for the sole purpose of getting invited to events, you’re not going to last. It takes time to sow seeds and nurture them before you see the fruits of your labor. There are no shortcuts so if you don’t love what you’re doing you’re not going to be able to stick around long enough to see things through. When I was in the US for a vacation last year I blogged every single day for 3 weeks without attending a single event. That’s just how passionate and dedicated I am about what I do here.
These days given the traffic situation and the high cost of gas, I’m really selective about the events I attend. If whatever it is isn’t relevant to me, say for example dog food when I have no dogs… or infant apparel when all my kids are already in grade school, I don’t go. If the venue is too far from me, I don’t go. If it’s my coding day, I don’t go. If I dislike the brand, I don’t go… I mean what’s the point of promoting something you don’t like on your personal blog?
I hope I’ve answered what is probably one of the most asked questions in the blogosphere. 🙂

Addendum: Signing up in open registration type events doesn’t count in this discussion. That’s entirely another ball game. I’m talking about getting invited on your own merits.

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