Sometimes life is really good. I love networking. I guess I always have, even before it was called networking. I have always been quick to make friends, and I have no problem talking with new folks and instantly turning them into friends. On April 11th I attended an incredible event for mom bloggers in the Silicon Valley/Chicago Mom’s Blog group.

The event was setup to help companies connect with bloggers (the new trend it seems), as well as help the companies get the word out on some of their latest products.

The “connection” part of the event was setup in the form of a blogger/business round-table that lasted 2 hours. I thought it went really well. I spoke up, a lot… I was not the only one though. Businesses and bloggers are still learning how to deal with each other. Here are some tips that I remember from the roundtable (some of these may be my own tips that I blurted out!) 🙂

1. Bloggers: If you want to connect with companies, make it easy for them to learn about you. This means making sure that your About Page and PR Kit (if you have one) are kept up to date. And by all means, make sure that you have a Contact Page, and make sure that it works.

2. Bloggers: Remember that PR people are usually PR people for more than one company or brand. Be nice to them, reply timely to their emails, and let them know if their pitch does not fit your blog. Why? Because you never know what other companies they may represent now or in the future, and if they remember that you were nice and timely, they may be back to offer you a pitch that DOES fit your blog and be very happy to recommend you to their other clients.

3. PR reps: Do your homework. If you are pitching to a blogger by email, be sure that your pitch makes sense for the blog. If someone only writes about baking and associated items, don’t pitch to them about reviewing your new car buffer (yes, that was for dramatic affect LOL!) And another part of doing your homework, if you use a standard form email, make sure that you double, no.. triple check to make sure that all info is correct for the new blogger you are emailing (not the one that you emailed earlier today!) This includes name, # of children, sexes of children, etc.

4. PR reps: Please realize that your pitch for a review is probably not the only one that the blogger is getting. They may have a list a mile long (like me!) Give them a reasonable amount of time to do the review. If you need something in a rush, ask ahead of time if they can do it.

I’m sure that I am missing something! But let’s move on to the fun! As we entered the “vendor hall” we were each given a punch card, our task was to visit every booth inside and get our cards marked. This was done fairly easily. Sponsors included Chevy, Schlage, Yodeling Mamas from Yahoo!, Stonyfield, Army of Women, iGo, Bit Defender, Babies, 1-800-Baskets, The Oprah Store, Energizer, Powerade Play, Peapod, litl, Tide, eBay Classifieds, Garrett Popcorn, Busy Body Book, Easy Print Design, and Cinnabon Cupcakes. Whew, that was quite a list (and it took forever to link all of those)!!

Of course all these awesome places had stuff for us. Here are a few of the items that we got:

Powerade: a t-shirt, for which I made only 1 basket out of 10… shameful!

Chevy: A Chevy branded purse hook

iGo Green: So far my favorite item! They were handing our portable chargers that work with several devices when used with available adapters. This is perfect for me. I used it quite a bit this weekend while in Galena. It has an internal rechargable battery so you can charge wherever you are! It also doubles as a wall charger and can charge 2 devices at once. The coolest thing is that it charges using my own iPhone/iPod cable.

1-800-Baskets: We had our choice of a basket full or bath and body items, or goodies. I chose the bath and body items.

eBay Classifieds: Yes, my buddies were there and handing out very cool reusable shopping bags and personal label makers to help us get organized.

Schlage: I’m a nerd, so I thought this items was extra cool. A push button lock that allows you to enter without a key. I had seen these before and thought it would be very cool to have one.

I think events like these are essential to the new mix of blogger/brand relations. It helps for us to get together and speak in person as opposed to emailing or tweeting all the time. As I’m sure everyone who typed a recap as said already, we are all still feeling our way around and trying to decide what works and what doesn’t work.

I saved the most entertaining for last. Chicago’s own Miss Lori entertained us by singing an original song, I Write the Blogs. Check her blog for a video of the song.


Disclosure: I was invited to the event by the SV Moms groups. We got goodies, food, and parking. Some photos in the post are credited to Lahleyoo Photography + Design.