Today we have Gemma from Button’s Blog talking about how to put together a goodie bag for a blogger meet up…
This is a subject that I often see being discussed on many of the social networking sites and a clear answer is never really given. I want to share with you my advice when approaching brands to get involved with goodie bags for blogger meet ups including who to approach, where to find relevant contacts, different techniques when approaching and also share my thoughts on goodies bags being provided at non branded events on a whole. I will use my experience and thoughts based on personal experience, when I organised the Birmingham Blogger Meet Up as one third of a team of organisers.
In January 2013, blogger meets were very few and far between and goodie bags were not expected in the slightest. I had been to only one event previous to this and there was a goodie bag provided which was amazing. I took it upon myself to organise a bag of beauty treats for the 30 bloggers that were attending – I thought it would be good exposure for some of my favourite brands and a nice surprise for everyone to go home with some new items for possible review. At the time, being a relatively new “thing” for goodie bags to be provided at events not organised by the brands themselves, I was surprised we managed to obtain the very generous amount of products that we did – it was a lovely touch to a very memorable day.
One thing I see a lot of people organising meet ups asking is where to find companies and brands interested in providing items for your goodie bag. This is something that I have a couple of different viewpoints on so please bare with me.
Firstly I would recommend contacting brands and PR people you have previously collaborated with on your own personal blog. If you have built up a good relationship with them it is more likely they will want to help you out with future projects, like blogger meet ups.
You could get in touch with brands and PR’s you haven’t worked with directly via their website – some people might not feel comfortable with this but I personally don’t have a problem doing so – at the end of the day, companies have budgets for this type of event and it can be really great exposure for them, we as bloggers are doing them a favour not the other way around. Personally some of my favourite products ever have been discovered by receiving them in a goodie bag, Macadamia Healing Treatment Oil being a prime example. I would never have tried anything from Macadamia Oil if I hadn’t received it a goodie bag initially as I would have listened to the hype surrounding Moroccan Oil.
Something I have seen happening recently is meet up organisers reaching out on twitter using the PR Request hash tag (#prrequest). This can either be really beneficial, in cases where the person tweeting is courteous and informative without sounding desperate. It can also be viewed in the complete opposite way, those desperate, bordering on begging tweets we have all seen are, in all honesty embarrassing to themselves whilst giving the blogging community a bad name. Ways and means people, ways and means.
The main advice I would have for any type of contact with brands regarding meet ups, is to really take time on the email or tweet you are sending, wording it carefully and pitching your idea for the event and goodie bags, in a polite and professional way. Ask yourself if you were the recipient would you want to help, make it sound beneficial and interesting, something the brands really couldn’t turn down.
If I were organising a goodie bag of some kind now, there are a few things I would do differently.
I would include less products
It might sound crazy but most of the products people received at the meet up I was a part of were never featured on their blogs. This is defeating the purpose completely, the number of items was just too high, it was overwhelming. I think the whole quality over quantity theory is so relevant: people are more likely to appreciate five really high quality items and feature them than 30 sachet samples of something everyone has already tried a thousand times. During 2013, it seemed like every single meet up goodie bag contained a certain product and in the end people were sick of seeing it. Personally I think this ended up being bad exposure for the brand. Having less, more exclusive items will be more beneficial for brands also as they are more likely to stand out and get more blog coverage as the goodie bag is more condensed. My most memorable goodie bag received is the London Bloggers Meet Up one pictured above, good number of products, every single product was relevant to me and I used them all.
I would only feature brands I have previously worked with
I’d do this to make it more personal for the people attending. If everyone attending gets to try things that I have previously loved or new releases from brands I love, I would feel like I was spreading the word of a product or brand I had good experiences with, in a positive way. Featuring products or brands you have no experience with could affect the memory of the event in a negative way – what if one item was really bad, the bloggers attending will remember the one bad thing over the ten good things, that would definitely not be good brand exposure.
I would personalise the gifts
I would try and be super organised and have a 100% confirmed list of everyone coming and their specific requirements for the likes of skin and hair care. I once received a dry shampoo for red hair in a goodie bag, when I had brown hair at the time, so it was completely useless to me and a wasted sample. If brands or PR’s were able to personalise the samples sent, it would increase the chances of a positive first impression dramatically. Also if you adapt the products you choose for the goodie bag to the type of bloggers you have attending. Giving a group of thirty predominantly beauty bloggers, a sewing kit, will not be very beneficial to the brand or blogger. I attended beauty meet up last year where the host provided home made cookies shaped like nail polish and lipstick, this was a very good addition to the already amazing bag – a year later and I still remember them!
I have attended meet up’s with no goodie bag provided, while a lot of other people were unimpressed I was the opposite, not minding at all. The effort that had gone into the actual event was so obvious that a goodie bag was not really necessary. On a whole it is nice to receive something but can be just as nice to enjoy the event without worrying who has what in their bags or the sheer panic of how you are possibly going to review everything crammed into the little paper bag.
I think sometimes as bloggers we need to remember that meet ups are not about goodie bags but to meet and socialise, discover new blogs and really get to know each other, this would be beneficial to us and our blogs, take the focus off the brands for a minute and appreciate the community we are lucky to be a part of.
Thank you so much Gemma! If you’d like to follow Gemma, you can do on Bloglovin, Google +, Twitter, and if you’d like to contribute to Bonjour, Blogger!, head over to the submissions page to find out more!