How to talk to brands at events
I'm not the bravest of people, that's why I mainly hide behind a keyboard. For a lot of bloggers a conference is the first time you'll actually be face to face with people who know you as your 'blog persona'. People who understand what you do. It can all be a bit overwhelming and that's before you even consider going over and talking to any of the brands.
The first time I went to a conference I didn't speak to a single brand, now I'm the one I envied 4 years ago. Chatting away and laughing as if I've known them for years. In some cases this is true... virtually, but mainly I just overcame my own lack of confidence in myself.
Go and introduce yourself with your actual name and blog name. Don't expect to be recognised, it isn't a reflection of you or your blog, it's because there are many thousands of bloggers working in your niche and PR's, however good, are not telephone directories.
If you've worked with the brand or PR before then mention it because they may remember you, but again don't be offended if they don't. Many PR companies have different departments, brands move to different PR firms and employees move on.
We are bloggers not blaggers. You aren't signing up for free toys, you are offering your expertise, your following, your ability to write and take awesome photos. You have skills to offer them.
Those brands are there to speak to you. If none of the bloggers go over and introduce ourselves then they have wasted their time. Sure they are looking to put faces to the names they've worked with, but mainly they are looking to form new relationships. The more bloggers they have on their radar, the better chance to find good matches for their campaigns.
If you have busines cards then it's fine to offer one, but it's not necessary. You'll have pen and paper (on the table when you arrive - you don't need to remember to bring them) and most brands will have a sheet for you to register an interest in any upcoming promotions they are recruiting for.
It isn't just the brands who wiĺl need to collect information. You will also see names, email addresses and products you want to remember. Everyone has a camera with them, use it to take photos of anything you think you'll want later. It's more reliable than your memory.
If you really are keen and would love to work with someone then for goodness sake say so. This is your chance to get onto their list to be considered for that job you really want. You may not be lucky, the only certainty is that you won't get the job if they've never heard of you.
If you have a specific idea to pitch then keep it short and ask if it'll be okay to speak to them further about it via email. Conferences can be noisy and are always busy, so it's probably not wise to launch into detail about your latest plan for Instagram domination in the snack market or your groundbreaking crotchet linky.
When this subject was discussed and I said I'd write it, Laura Seaton's response was "Perfect really. No point me telling them just to pull their socks up and stop being a wimp really is there."
Well actually, that pretty much sums it up. It is good advice and it's gained me a couple of awesome jobs in the past. Deep breath..."Hi, I'm Bob from Fandangles and Fritteries..."