The aim of the ‘Brands, blogs and banter’ event was to meet some of the brands and bloggers we’d been working with for well over a year (all of which had been conducted via email instead of meeting face-to-face).

As if the incentive of meeting us wasn’t enough (!) we tempted attendees with a free bar in central London, and three great speakers who we hoped would inspire them with some of their findings and future-gazes. (Also ensuring that it wasn’t just a sales pitch from us on what we had done)

Event take-aways: turns out that our speakers gave some invaluable insights, here are the top six tips I took away:

  1. ‘‘Real life relationships will translate into the best quality online relationships’’: Isabel Clift, Editor of Hostelbookers when discussing some blogger events they had hosted with great success including their own travel blogger events.
  2. Content Partnerships: ‘’Work with brands outside your niche’’ Isabel again, talking about content partnerships with brands like ourselves and she’s right – we’ve found that content partnerships with other brands can be as valuable as building relationships with bloggers, especially when the two brands complement each other’s content strategies. (It got me wondering why nobody seems to have coined the phrase ‘brand outreach’?!)
  3. Why do bloggers blog?’ – We asked one of the bloggers we work with, Clare McNaughton, to talk about her experiences of working with brands and one of the most interesting parts for me was when she talked about why she blogged (in her case it started with her desire to be a published writer) and the key take-away here was that bloggers all blog for a reason and in order to get them to work with us as brands, we need to find out what motivates them.
  4. ‘’Don’t take the piss’’Andrew Girdwood rounded off the event with thoughts about where the practise of blogging and blogger outreach was headed. His opening slide to agencies and brands trying to approach bloggers was ‘‘1) Don’t take the piss 2) Be Useful 3) Be Human’’.
  5. ‘’More heat on dodgy deals’’ was one of his predictions for 2013, in terms of Google clamping down on bloggers who are still selling links. He argued that in the post-Panda landscape the risks for bought links and undisclosed ads have become higher.
  6. ‘‘Better relationships’’ was his other prediction for next year, if bloggers seek to move towards quality (due to the point above) and brands are investing more in high quality content (e.g. Red Bull’s Space Jump) it provides big opportunities  for brands and bloggers to work together more collaboratively this year.

So, if you work in SEO and have yet to make a New Year’s resolution, make it to ‘build some new relationships in 2013’.