Note from Amy: By the end of April, I will have partnered with two different homeschool conventions as a convention blogger, and while I see the amazing fruit of this joint venture, I am well aware that as with anything new and innovative, there are kinks to be worked out. Thankfully, Rebecca Brandt of Mom’s Mustard Seeds is here today to help smooth the road.
A new venture began this year for Homeschool Conferences and Bloggers…
Conventions and bloggers are now joining forces to bring awareness for the various conventions that are hosted across the US.
This new venture goes beyond sponsors and guest posts. It now stretches beyond the screen bringing bloggers/tweeters into the heart of the convention with
- Blogger Meet-ups
- conversations with the speakers and with the vendors
- Twitter Parties
- Facebook parties
- And more…
In addition to the bloggers the Conventions may be working directly with to gain more awareness in the homeschool there are organizations that have jumped on board – asking bloggers to attend Conventions to represent them and gain direct access to vendors
Special care and consideration need to be taken by all of these groups.
For Conventions working with bloggers:
- Identify why you need bloggers
- Identify a person who can work well with both bloggers, vendors and speakers (one central point of contact) – to help alleviate gaps in communication for parties, prizes, etc
- Contact your vendors and speakers:
- Identify the fact that you will have bloggers posting information about the convention, speakers and vendors prior to the convention, during the convention and afterwards
- Identify any vendor who may want to participate in a giveaway prior to or even during the convention (that bloggers can post about, raising more awareness)
- Explain to vendors what bloggers are and how they can help their business
- Assure vendors they are not required to participate in any giveaways at any time
- Perhaps provide an ‘opt out’ for any vendor who may not want to be approached by your team of bloggers for reviews during the convention (Please, Provide this list to your bloggers)
For Bloggers working with a convention (ie: you have received access to the convention or perhaps an invitation to a Blogger Get-Together and have agreed to raise awareness for the convention.)
- Remember that you represent every blogger
- Maintain good work ethics
- Be aware that your main goal is not necessarily to raise awareness for your blog, but for the convention
- Show discretion and humility when approaching a vendor that you are interested in partnering with (for a review). For example: Do not walk up and say, “If you give me free stuff, I will write a review for you.”
- Do not speak for other bloggers. Only represent your own blog and allow other bloggers to do the same
- Identify any company who may have ‘opted out’ of any solicitation.
- Be aware that other organizations may have bloggers on site working for them.
- Have fun…..and do not think of the convention as a place to divide and conquer.
- Remember, the essence of a homeschool conference is to gain wisdom and knowledge for homeschooling.
For organizations asking bloggers to attend conferences to gain exposure for their business:
- Be respectful to the Convention and it’s vendors, by contacting the convention ahead of time and asking if they have social media coverage for the convention.
- Identify the purpose for your bloggers.
For bloggers who attend conferences without any ties to the conference or any organization:
- Remember that you represent every blogger.
- Maintain good work ethics.
- Show discretion and humility when approaching a vendor that you are interested in partnering with (for a review). Again, do not walk up and say, “If you give me free stuff, I write a review for you.”
Social Media is a great way to grow awareness for any organization. Bloggers have a very special roll in this…not just because we write the posts, send the tweets, etc, but because we truly do represent a community – of bloggers and homeschoolers.
If you are a new blogger and want to work with companies, find someone who can mentor you. Shadow them. Take note of how they approach vendors in real life and online.
If you are an experienced blogger, share with a newbie. Help them learn by mentoring. And while they will still make mistakes, you can help them overcome many obstacles and at the same time help maintain integrity in the world of Homeschool Bloggers
In the end…each of us needs to remember, we represent the whole. Every time you approach a company, you are showing companies what it is like to work with bloggers. Proceed with dignity, love and humility, as well as professionalism.
Above all else, everyone involved in working homeschool conventions need to remember the true goal of any convention is to help parents grow in their knowledge of homeschooling and provided one-on-one access to the vendors. As bloggers and organizations sending bloggers into this venue, we must be about the business of equipping homeschooling families for a successful homeschool year.
Rebecca Brandt is a homeschool Mom who loves attending homeschool conferences. She has been blessed with great discipleship and mentoring through conferences and desires to encourage others. Rebecca blogs at Mom’s Mustard Seeds