Contains gifted items.
Blogger events certainly have been through an evolution since the days when I first started blogging.
It began (for me) with invites to events such as fashion shows and brand open days, where I would get an *exclusive* opportunity to attend. Turned out they were never that exclusive and all we got was a goodie bag.
The next wave seemed to be more conference style events, such as that iFabbo one back in t’day. I’m sure the blogging veterans amongst us remember those ones? Valuable insight in to how the world of PR worked and how every speaker was desperate to hear of us all… Never to be heard from again….
I shouldn’t be all that cynical about the iFabbo ones actually, as I met some brilliant bloggers I’m still friends with at those ones!
Then we had the wave of bloggers setting up their own events. These were always pretty fun and a good CV builder for those arranging them! They’d get brands on board, arrange venues for free and even get us a nice goodie bag (let’s face it, we were all about the goodie bags).
Fast forward to now, with this little pandemic happening, and it seems blogger events have completely transitioned in to a whole new world of virtual goodness.
Since the lockdown I’ve been to two. Which is probably more events than I’ve been willing to attend through my blog for years actually. (What can I say? When the train anywhere costs around £20 and the best I get is a bag with samples and some haribo in, they simply lose their charm a bit).
The MoonPig Virtual Blogger Event
Moonpig were the first brand to invite me to an event during lockdown. To promote their new app, it was a three hour extravaganza, complete with cocktail making and flower arranging!
At first, a three hour stint infront of the computer seemed a little daunting. However, with expert planning from the team, it flew by!
The first activity was an introduction to the new moonpig app itself – which I must say i’ve used several times since. It’s really easy to choose your design and customise it however you want. Which turned out to be a crackin’ idea for fathers day.
We swiftly moved on to the cocktail masterclass with Mix & Twist. Earlier in the week we were sent a massive box of cocktail goodies to take part in the virtual masterclass! Complete with Silent Pool Gin, Cocktail Shaker, fruit, glassware and a plethora of other cocktail-making essentials. This could probably have come a little later in the event to be honest, as after 3 of these cocktails I did feel a little tipsy for the flower arranging!
Which leads me on nicely to the part where we…. well, arranged flowers. Moonpig had sent the flowers the day before, which gave them time to start blooming a little bit ready for us to expertly arrange. I didn’t know until the event that Moonpig did flowers, and what amazing flowers they are! If you download the app they always seem to have offers on too, including 50% off sometimes.
As the event drew to a close, the time really did fly by. It may have been the cocktails, but probably more the expert planning that made it such a success.
Seed Chocolate Virtual Chocolate Tasting
I’ve seen a load of virtual beer tasting, which I’ve been ever to tempted to join in, but this was the first chocolate tasting to come on to my radar.
Hosted by Award-Winning Chocolate Maker James Walter, this Stoke on Trent based luxury chocolate brand was born in 2017. With cacao beans ethically sourced from origins such as Peru and West Papau, James creates each bar of chocolate through expert processes that maintain the distinct characteristics of the bean.
Through the virtual chocolate tasting session, we were led on a journey from the cacao nibs through to a rich toasted white – and beyond. The beyond came in the form of a date smothered in dark chocolate with a delicate sprinkle of rosemary.
I know, rosemary and chocolate – MADNESS.
A taste sensation I’d never tried before, but will certainly scout out again.
A much shorter session than the aforementioned Moonpig event, but equally as informative. I’d love to see something like this that also has wine or beer pairing with it!
You can explore more about Seed Chocolate online here.
So, what is the future of blogger events?
I think the pandemic and lockdown have certainly forced forward some ideas that brands have been tinkering with for a while.
As the ‘new normal’ becomes more and more prominent in our daily lives, everyone is encouraged to adapt to new technology and technics to really maximise their visibility.
There’s clearly the initial nerves flying around. I’m sure most people are completely new to interacting through video calls, especially with groups of strangers.
Making it even more nerve racking is the fact that most people haven’t had the opportunity to interact with anyone beyond their household for months in the UK now.
But the more we do these things, the more relaxed we will become.
Virtual blogger events are a fantastic opportunity for brands to be inclusive, whilst also keeping their costs down.
A traditional event would involve not only venue hire, but catering, travel expenses for influencers and staff costs to man the event. A virtual event immediately skims a few hundred quid off the costs before you’ve even started!
Not only that, but it opens the doors for people who usually would find it a struggled to attend events. I’m not just talking about through cost, but through factors such as health issues. Being able to attend an event remotely is a brilliant step forward to make sure that everyone can join in.
The only downside for me personally is the photography.
At an actual event you have time and space to plan your images and keep snapping away as things are happening. Or, take someone with you to do the snapping for you.
When you’re actively involved in an online session it’s a little more tricky to take images and also set them up without prior indication of what the session will be like.
Now I have got experience I can already envision how to set up cameras, lighting and space a bit better to maximise the opportunities.
What brands would you like to see host a virtual event?
Do you think they’re the ‘new normal’ of the influencer world?
Contains gifted items.