Our founding editor Sue Kerr was one of the organizers of “BlogMob” – a gathering of local bloggers to support community organizations. She now works with hundreds of local bloggers to organize “Blogger Days” which bring together regional blog editors and contributors around a specific event or activity. It can be a purely social gathering to explore a new venue or built around an event such as a show or exhibit.

There are similar concepts in Pittsburgh through Pittsburgh TweetUp and Pittsburgh Bloggers “Blogfest” as well as individual events.

Advantages:

  • Highlight your business or event to a wide range of readers.
  • Blog are forever so potential customers or patrons googling your business own the road will find the hands-on review.
  • Opportunity to reach new customers – a crafting blogger just might also be interested in musical theater. Or a craft beer specialist can also have a fondness for a children’s charity.
  • Add a blogger preview to existing media night to reduce the need to organize a separate event.
  • Bloggers are avid users of twitter, facebook, instagram and pinterest among other tools. A value-add to a simple reception for 10 bloggers will be dozens of social media “shout-outs.”

Our post on suggested venues for these events continues to be very popular so we are sharing the information here. If you are interested in hosting bloggers of any sort, please follow up with one of these groups.

It did get me thinking about various events and activities we’ve been asked to attend or preview over the years. The Pirates and local restaurants have been doing this well (google “blogger night” Pittsburgh to see how well the Pirates have done it.) So here’s my list of Pittsburgh events that could benefit from a blogger preview night or even a “live tweeting” component. Bloggers who tweet or use Facebook would be my definition of who could attend so you get the immediate “here I am” shout out on social media as well as the follow up review on a blog.

  1. Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show – it would be great to allow bloggers in an hour before opening on the first Saturday morning or even after the show ends at 6 PM on Sunday. We’ve attended in the past as we’ve been invited to “live blog”, but it is cumbersome to carry a laptop around. A sneak preview would reduce the crowd factor and allow bloggers to focus on the multitude of exhibitors – I’m sure I miss some because of the crowds.
  2. Cirque du Soleil – In 2010, bloggers were invited to media night. Bang. It was all over the blogosphere as well as the twitterverse. Bloggers who couldn’t attend even mentioned it. And it was simply a matter of extending an existing sneak preview to maybe two dozen members of alternative media? I was offered a pair of passes as well as a pair to give away and my blog traffic was huge that week. I ended up writing two posts: one to announce the giveaway and another after the event to review the performance. Win/win.
  3. Lights! Glamour! Action! – The Pittsburgh Film Office’s annual Oscar watch fundraiser is a perfect venue for local bloggers to line the red carpet and tweet our hearts out about the local celebrities walking the red carpet (black and gold carpet?) as well as the Oscars. If film is being so heavily promoted as an economic engine, the relationship with those who buzz about star sightings and which street in Bloomfield is a serving as a location makes sense.
  4. Three Rivers Arts Festival – yes this is open to the public but a preview night with perhaps a guided tour of the artist marketplace could do wonders to spur social media mentions. Bloggers wouldn’t mind mingling with exhibitors as they set up – the behind the scenes feeling is a bit fun. Bloggers partnership aren’t simply about comping tickets.
  5. Lesbian & Gay Film Festival – any film festival would benefit from including bloggers in the media aspect of their marketing. From screeners to live tweeting opening night festivities, it is an ideal opportunity to promote the event. Blogs are especially ideal for delving into the nuances of the various films (with links!) in a way that other marketing venues don’t allow. Related suggestions: Three Rivers Film Festival, Independent Film Festival, Jewish Film Festival and Silk Film Festival.
  6. Pittsburgh Grand Prix – one of those events I always intend to attend, the sheer number of events would be again great to explore via a blog. The opportunity to learn what it all means and how it all works via a guided tour as well as a chance to learn about the cars (and the charities) would be marvelous. Bloggers could pick a car in the big race and encourage their readers to cheer along.
  7. Light Up Night – Expanding this event to a second day (First Holiday Saturday) as well as the addition of a season long holiday market in Market Square lends itself again to a media sneak preview before things kick-off Friday. It is a chance to promote everything from free parking (bloggers love freebies) to the performers.
  8. Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival – do you have any idea how many parent bloggers are in Pittsburgh and nearby areas? It is a multi-day event with lots of special performances to use as giveaways and with your blogger typically comes children to “test” the product, right?
  9. Movie Openings – seems like a no-brainer. I tweet/Facebook about my favorite local theaters quite a bit and they take notice. It often generates a conversation with someone tweeting back “Love that place!” or “Been meaning to check it out; didn’t know parking was free at night” type things. I realize that the chains use marketing companies specifically tailored to distribute tickets, but there’s no reason The Manor or even Cleveland Cinema(South Side Works) can’t do it in-house.
  10. Butler County Fair – I hear about this every year. It is a 9 day event with plenty of action to draw new attendees. We don’t see enough positive social media about Butler County after all. And its an event that would draw a wide swathe of blogger interest – from families to sporting fans to anyone who ever wanted to see an honest to goodness county fair. There’s an entire component for foodies as well.
The Pittsburgh Blues Festival
The Pittsburgh Blues Festival is an excellent blogger-friendly event.

There are so many other events that could be included:

  • Any event with a media or press night could expand to include those with a social media presence.
  • Performances, shows, exhibits, etc. Bricolage Theater held a bloggers night a few years ago.
  • Benefits and fundraisers who want an immediate “Seen” type boost – Distributing a list with twitter handles is helpful in these cases. I get my fan on when I’m out – look up how many times I’ve mentioned seeing Ken Rice.
  • Non-profits and destination organizations can get a boost by inviting bloggers for a tour, discussion (and food) a la “BlogMob” launched by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

The key to a successful blogger night?

  1. If your schedule is flexible, reach out to bloggers and determine what’s best for them. Most bloggers also have jobs and families. Be clear if the event is child friendly. Also be very clear if the space is or is not accessible.
  2. When you have a date, promote it. Send to Pittsburgh bloggers and the bloggers FB group. Be clear about any requirements/maximums and if guests can attend. Use twitter.
  3. Provide information similar to a media kit, being sure to include social media references.
  4. Add a giveaway of some type – even a giveaway for bloggers themselves can be inspiring.
  5. Food is helpful. Beer and/or wine even more so. But generally inviting bloggers opens the door to dozens of “new voices” for your event or organization. It isn’t about “freebies” at all – it is about finding engaging content that will interest our readers.

Where to find bloggers? Start at Pittsburgh Bloggers!

Just a few suggestions from a blogger. Do you have ideas?

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