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How to Organise and Promote a Fashion Blogger Event

Prepared by Tug ltd.
28.8.13
Author: Roxanne Bridger, SEO account manager

If you’re a fashion brand, one of the most important tools you can have to help give you that edge over your competition are your brand ambassadors.
Your audience can be your most important asset and all too often they are overlooked. Reviews and recommendations are worth more than any advertising campaign you can run and time after time, reports suggest people don’t trust advertising.
According to the Global Trust in Advertising report by Neilsen, which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 different countries, 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. With so much emphasis on social recommendations, customer advocacy and word-of-mouth, any online retail brand who wants to compete in the long-term, needs to make sure they are interacting with their audience regularly. Traditional print advertising is still an expensive way to reach your audience and with more and more people turning to online fashion bloggers for style tips and advice, this is the audience you need to be reaching out too.
Darren McCloskey, SEO manager at online retailer, House of Fraser says "At House of Fraser we hold blogger events as they are a brilliant way to connect to the audience and build brand awareness"
So whether you're a big brand with an unlimited budget, or a new start up looking for a way into the market, one of best ways your brand can communicate with your audience is to host a blogger event.
If you have never run a blogger event before, now is as good a time as any to start! And it's not really that difficult. Here are some key things to consider when running a blogger event for the online fashion leaders you'd love to represent your brand.

So who should be on the guest list?
The bloggers you invite will determine the coverage that you are likely to get after the event and how far that coverage will extend. While the top end fashion bloggers might seem like the best people to invite, they might not be right for your brand. The key here is to get in front of the influencers. Up and coming bloggers who haven’t quite made it are probably more likely to be grateful for the opportunity and will get a lot more out of the event than some of the top bloggers who tend get invited to every blogger event going. It's also a good idea to get in with these bloggers at the earlier stages of their blogging career, that way, you can start building their loyalty much earlier and they will hopefully remain a brand advocate when they reach the top of their game!

Who are the industry influencers?
Really understand the bloggers you invite and their fashion and style. Do they talk about your competitors? Have they mentioned you in the past? Are these the blogs your target market read?
In addition to thinking about targeting the bloggers themselves, think about who they influence.
Knowing if your target markets are part of that blogger’s community is key. While you might not be able to get coverage for your brand with that top fashion blogger or site directly, by reaching out to the people that influence them, you can indirectly make them aware of your brand. A lot of fashion news sites will have close relationships with bloggers to help keep them in the loop when it comes to new trends, if your brand is featured on one of these bloggers sites, you never know, you might get noticed by some bigger industry leaders.

What message are you trying to get across?
Are you a high-end luxury fashion designer, or more of a small, edgier vintage boutique? Whatever target market you are trying to appeal to, make sure your event environment reflects this. A top end luxury brand and it’s bloggers might feel a little out of place in a busy speakeasy bar with only a few tables reserved. Hire out your own private space and treat your bloggers to the slightly extravagant experience they will expect. For a top end brand, a “cheap” look and feel won’t sit well with the expectations of your bloggers. The reverse is true for cooler, more urban-led brands. Give the bloggers an experience that evokes your brand.

The bloggers are here, now what?
So you've sorted your location and finalised your guest list, now you need to think about how you're going to entertain your bloggers when they arrive. There's no right or wrong blogging event format and the best way to plan your night is to first, identify your objective. If this is a night to introduce your brand to the bloggers, then it might be a good idea to do a small presentation of who you are and what you represent. If this is more of a networking event, it might be less formal and more of an opportunity for people to mingle. If your main KPI of the event is maximum coverage online after, then make sure your night has something noteworthy that will get people's attention and keep them talking long after the event is over. You might also want to host an event to say thank you to your loyal fans, in which case, make sure you treat them to a night they'll remember to show your gratitude.
Technology is changing the way fashion brands are interacting with their consumers. The way people expect to be able to access fashion retail has evolved and this idea of omnichannel marketing is big in the retail industry. A user is no longer simply buying in store.
People want to be able to see a friend’s Facebook recommendation on an outfit, Google the brand to find out more, tweet their favourite item, use local search to find their nearest store, buy online and collect in store, be offered mobile offers while they're there and try on their clothes with a virtual mirror.
Don't miss out on these key ideas during your event. If your bloggers are active on twitter, create a hash tag, if they're on Instagram, give a prize to the best photo uploaded from the event. Why not have a couple of iPads available and offer your bloggers a sneak peak of your latest collections. It's important to think about how you can extend the bloggers experience beyond the actual event. You could record the event and send out the video to bloggers to use in their write up of the event? Why not give something back and interview some of the bloggers and post it on your company blog? Giving the bloggers some exposure can only encourage them to reciprocate and talk about you and your brand on their site. Make sure you leverage all the hard work you do offline and at the event, online, post event.

With so many big and small brands all competing for the attention of the blogging community, the more you can interact and get involved with your audience, the more likely you are to create those impenetrable bonds that other brands can only hope to achieve.

THE TUG LIGHTHOUSE
Tug is an award-winning, search marketing agency, and the Lighthouse is our knowledge sharing hub. The purpose of The Lighthouse is to guide and enlighten our fellow Search, PPC, Social Media, Display and Affiliate marketing professionals. As the online marketing field evolves, we aim not only to keep up, but stay ahead in our thinking, and share knowledge with one another. Our collection of white papers provides up-to-date insights in an easy-to-digest format. Founded in 2006, Tug is an original silicon roundabout company that breaks the mould by taking a left-brain-right-brain approach to digital marketing. Our bespoke programme builds brand awareness, new media opportunities, strong ROI and business growth for clients like Aon, Wonderbra and Dairy Crest. Tug’s combination of robust planning and execution with creativity has earned us seats on the IAB and DMA search councils.
www.tugagency.com
For more information please contact Hannah Melbourn (hannah.melbourn@tugagency.com or 0207 033 6933)

Published on: 11:37AM on 28th August 2013