Besides writing for MomCrunch and my own blog, I also work part-time for a company that is eager to reach out to mom bloggers because, well, moms are their customers. For about six months now, I’ve been working doing blogger outreach for them and have attended several conferences on their behalf, but this last weekend at the Type-A Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina was our first time as official sponsors and the first time I spent time manning the booth to tell bloggers about the company.
It was an entirely different experience. I’ve attended at least thirty conferences related to blogging and social media in the last four years, and I’ve always been the person cruising the booths rather than the one talking working in it.
So, what did I learn?
First of all, it is NOT fun sitting in a booth all day, or saying the same thing over and over again, or having to be that person that says, “One free t-shirt per person, sorry.” My voice was a wreck by the end of day two and as much as love the company I work for, I was just so damned DONE talking about it to people. The Type-A Conference had around 400 attendees; I cannot imagine what it’s like for the sponsors at BlogHer where there are 4,000 attendees.
Secondly, I learned that, well, some bloggers just want the swag. WHICH IS FINE, I assure you, I have totally been on the I-need-something-cute-to-take-home cruise through the expo halls myself. As a blogger, I promise I completely get that. But you can totally tell who those bloggers are when you’re behind the booth.
My booth-mate Dresden and I (we are both bloggers and conference veterans) discussed this at length, and here are our suggestions for getting the swag without being rude to the company manning the booth. After all, we WANT you to take the swag. It’s branded with our name on it, and we want you to talk it home and show it to people (and, hopefully, discuss it on social media platforms) after all. But if you aren’t interested in the short spiel we have prepared? Don’t make us do it.
Try saying these things instead.
• “I’d love to learn more, but I’m late for a session! Do you mind if I just take your information?”
• “Do you have some printed information? I’d love to learn more, but I need to sit down.”
• “You guys look awesome! I’ve read all about you. But I’d love that t-shirt for my kid!”
• “Your product is SO COOL. We’re big fans. Why, yes, I’d love a t-shirt!”
• “I’m trying to visit everyone, do you mind if I just read your brochure later?”
• “_______ blogger told me all about you! I want to take some info home to my husband.”
Give those a try. Trust me, as a booth babe this weekend, I would have been happy to hear ANY of them rather than watch you stand there, clearly bored, listening while I extolled the various details about the product. REALLY.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for working the expo hall at a conference?