Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fruitful Lessons on Hosting Events in the Big Apple

New York, New York! A great place to visit and an even better place to host an event – especially when your audience is shelter media. As one of the top PR agencies specializing in home products, we know the importance of getting our clients in front of these influential media to keep them top-of-mind for projects and stories.
Thus the impetus behind our annual LCWA Homemakers Media Preview – a proprietary co-op event dedicated to showcasing the latest offerings from our extensive roster of home-focused clients. Now going on more than a decade of hosting these events, and having personally attended the majority of them – most recently last week! – I have learned my share of lessons along the way. Here are a few that ring true year after year.
  • Location, Location, Location – Just as in real estate, location is key when it comes to throwing a successful event – especially when dealing with overbooked, time-stretched New York media. Over the years, I have learned to abide by the following mantra when it comes to choosing locations…make it memorable or make it convenient – ideally both! This year’s choice of The Bryant Park Hotel proved an ideal combination offering walk-ability for most of our Midtown-based editors and breathtaking views of the city and beautiful Bryant Park from the penthouse floor where our event was held.
  • Follow the ABCs of Media Contact – Over the years, we have learned that a “yes” from an editor is never a guarantee that they will show up at your event. Thus we have developed a three-step system to secure the best possible media turnout. A – Alert media well in advance of your event. Whether you use a formal invitation, a save-the-date card or a simple e-pitch, get on editors’ radar screens and calendars as early as possible. B – Book appointments. We have found that we get the best results when we schedule appointments with media at specific times. This helps to give media a sense of exclusivity and provides you and your clients with a rough idea of how the event will flow. C – Confirm, confirm, confirm. A quick round of phone calls just prior to the event can make a huge difference in how many media end up attending your event. A friendly reminder not only brings your event top-of-mind but significantly lessens the chances of no-shows.
  • Make Milkshakes out of Mishaps – Anyone who has ever planned an event knows that even the best laid plans can go awry. The key is to adapt quickly and to learn from your mistakes. Following each LCWA event, we regroup to go over the highs and lows and jot down “key learnings” to keep in mind for the future. Thanks to 10+ years of hard-earned wisdom, our 2011 HomeMakers event went off nearly without a hitch. Our big key learnings for next year…bring nail clippers to handle the inevitable unpacking manicure damage and schedule more time to enjoy the Big Apple!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Power of the Mommy Blogger

Mommy bloggers are one of the most influential groups online. Thanks to social media and an unprecedented level of peer influence, these moms are some of the best sources for marketing success.  Mom bloggers will uphold what they value most, making them so much more effective than traditional advertising. They provide genuine, honest voices whose words and opinions influence brand perception.

According to BSM Media, moms spend $2.1 trillion a year, and today’s mom doesn’t just buy diapers and cleaning supplies, but makes purchasing decisions on everything from cars to electronics. According to Mom Central Consulting, 96 percent of moms value the recommendations they find on mom blogs.

To reach mom consumers requires integrating relevant social media strategies and tactics into overall marketing, branding and public relations campaigns. It’s a strategy we use often with many of our LCWA clients. This approach is designed to build trust and personal relationships with millions of moms that might not be reached using traditional communication methods.

But recruiting mothers to blog about your brand offering is not as simple as asking them to encourage their followers to “buy this product.” There are several steps to consider when reaching out to mom bloggers:
  • Do the research. There are so many niches within the mom target market. Find the moms who will be interested in your products, read their blogs, get to know them and connect with their passions. One place where you can find mom bloggers is BlogHer. This online site is the largest community of women bloggers and has a strong base of social media moms.
  • Offer product samples. Mommy bloggers will want to review your product firsthand so they can provide an honest review.  Don’t expect a product review without sending them a product to try.
  • Tell them about your brand. Engage mommy bloggers by telling them about your brand and engaging them in the discussion.
  • Sponsor a blogger. Offer one of your target bloggers a unique experience or sponsor one to attend a blogging conference. Even consider going to the conference with her. This is a great way to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.
When a mommy blogger has a positive experience with your brand, they will promote your brand and become loyal spokespersons for life. Marketers must consider the importance of this key stakeholder group and their ever-increasing influence and voice in the social media realm.