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If I had a dime for every time a new influencer moved to D.C. and DM’d/emailed me about getting on local PR companies’ radar for events, well, I’d be able to retire.
Going to events is a great way to grow your brand and get your name out there. You can meet other influencers, attract new readers, and network with brands. However, after blogging for nearly eight years, I’ve also learned that not every event is worth your time.
For my fellow influencers: the next time you’re invited to an influencer event, ask yourself these five questions to determine if you should go or not!
Is there a good networking opportunity?
First things first: who is going to be at the event? When I first started blogging, and when I moved to D.C. and Philly, I loved going to events to meet other bloggers. No shame in that, honey! It’s a super unique industry, and it’s nice to have other people in your friend circle who do what you do.
Now that I’ve been blogging for almost eight years, making new blog friends isn’t my #1 priority. Most of the events in D.C. have the same bloggers in attendance, and there’s a small chance I’ll meet anyone new at this stage in the game (but of course, I have met a handful of new people over the past year locally that I adore!) Right now, I’ll consider who the brands/PR reps that are attending an event, and if there’s a possible partnership opportunity between us, that’s one reason why I’ll attend an event.
Is it a brand that you align with?
Can I tell you something embarrassing? When I lived in Philly, I wasn’t invited to a lot of things since I was new, so when I got an invitation to check out an apartment complex in the ‘burbs by the most prestigious PR firm in town, and I immediately jumped at it. They were providing Uber credit to/from the event, and it looked amazing.
My friends. I failed to read the fine print of the invitation. It ended up being a senior living community tailored towards residents 55 and older. Yeah. NOT A FIT for me, for my readers, for ANYTHING.
If it’s a brand that you know and love, by all means, go. If it’s a brand you’re unfamiliar with, do your homework before RSVP’ing.
Influencer Event Top Questions:
What is the travel time/cost?
Right now, split my time in between Northern Virginia and my apartment in Charlottesville. I’m going to be real with you: from my mom’s house in NOVA, it takes between 35-55 minutes to get to events in D.C. Even longer depending on the time of day and rush hour. I usually don’t travel to Maryland for anything unless it’s an exceptional event or opportunity, because the travel time with traffic is absurd. I go into D.C. about five days/month and jam-pack my day with events and meetings to make up for the lengthy commute.
Also, consider any Uber/parking costs in your decision as well: a lot of times, folks will advertise a “free” meal or a “free” open bar, and often times, the amount I pay in Uber/gas/parking fees is more $$ than the value of what the “free” thing I was getting. Also: not only are you paying to go to an event, but people expect you to advertise said event on your platforms as well. The costs associated with attending an event are big, my friends: you have to figure out if it’s worth it or not!
What will you get out of it?
Are you getting good content? Networking with brands? Making new friends? Trying out a cool experience? Think about what you want to get out of the event, and if the event can meet your expectations. A lot of events probably won’t fit the bill, and that’s perfectly ok.
Is it something your followers might be interested in?
There are a lot of events I stopped going to simply because I don’t think it would be appealing to my audience. A local store opening? I get a ton of DMs from that. An exclusive, influencer-only party with zero editorial purpose? Yeah, my readers don’t really want to see me stuntin’ on them on IG Stories and sharing events they can’t get into.
I’m more likely to attend something if it has a purpose: am I previewing a new product? A new line? A new exhibit? Is there a story I can tell from the event? If I can’t answer yes to any of those questions, I won’t RSVP.
How do you decide which influencer events to attend?
Photos by Tom McGovern