Three years ago I went to my first blogging conference. I had just decided to step up my efforts on Raising Arrows and felt I needed some guidance. It was one of the best blogging decisions I have ever made!
But conferences are NOT cheap. You typically have a conference registration fee, hotel and travel to pay for, not to mention any incidentals along the way. Add your family to the equation (as many of us homeschool bloggers do) and the price seems insurmountable. So, we give up.
Then there are the homeschool companies who find themselves unable to get a foothold in every venue they need to be at in order to be successful. Some of this has to do with cost, some of it is simply a matter of time. You can’t be everywhere at once. So, you give up.
Here’s where the beauty of conference sponsorships comes in. Homeschool companies want to grow their reach and homeschool bloggers need to offset the cost of going to conferences where they will learn to grow their reach. Bloggers and businesses working together toward a common goal is the perfect Win-Win Situation!
(Note: If you are considering sponsoring or seeking sponsorship to a homeschool convention, please read Homeschool Convention Blogging and What You Need to Know.)
Here’s a little 101 for both businesses and blogs on conference sponsorships:
1. Have a vision for where you would like to be seen. Do you need the exposure at local homeschool conventions or are you hoping to reach more bloggers and thus need to be seen at blogging conferences?
2. Follow the conference hashtag. This will give you a good idea of what the conference is about, the size of attendance, and the types of bloggers attending. You will also find shout outs from bloggers needing sponsorship. (Here is a guide to Twitter Hashtags for the Homeschooler, but be aware there are great blogging conferences NOT listed on here because they are not homeschool specific.)
3. Have a dollar amount in mind, but be flexible. Bloggers often have many different levels of sponsorship available. With these levels comes different types of promoting. They might offer to let you guest post, pass out samples of your product for you, put your company on their business cards, and promote you via social media during the conference. Here is an example of what Conference Sponsorship Levels might look like: Many Little Blessings Conference Sponsorship Page.
4. Seek out bloggers who fit your company’s vision. You will see a much better return on your investment if you choose to sponsor bloggers who can wholeheartedly appreciate your product.
5. Offer discount codes to conference attendees via your blogger. People love discount codes. Need I say more?
1. Know your expenses and know what you have to offer. Have a ballpark figure for what you will need in order to attend the conference. From there, formulate how you will go about offsetting the cost of the conference. When it comes to sponsorship some bloggers piece out their expenses $50 at a time and others prefer to focus on one sponsor and eat the extra costs. Even though this blogger’s Conference Sponsorship Page is tailored to her sites and her abilities, it is a good place to start when brainstorming what you might have to offer.
2. Pitch to several companies that are a good fit with your blog. Think small, think big, and think everything in between, just remember to think about whether the companies you are considering pitching fit with your blog’s mission and are something you could wholeheartedly endorse. Try using this Sponsorship Form Letter.
3. Work hard and be professional. Deliver what you say you will deliver and go the extra mile if you can. Proving yourself worthy of the money a company has invested in you is a sure fire way to get more sponsorships down the road.
I’m not going to even pretend like I know everything there is to know about getting a sponsorship to a conference, but I have worked with quite a few companies via conference sponsorships and I feel like I’ve hit a groove with how they work best for both blogger and business. That said, don’t hesitate to experiment with your own strengths as a blogger and come up with out-of-the-box ways to promote each other!
This week on Twitter Tuesday (May 8, 2012), we’ll be talking about Conference Sponsorships and opportunities to help bloggers and businesses extend their reach, so don’t miss it! Hashtag #hsbloggers at 3pm EST