BLOGGING TIPS: Natural Expo East, is it worth it?
When I started blogging, I had zero knowledge on how partnerships and collaborations happened or what they even were. I was more interested in connecting with local like minded woman in the fitness Boston industry, so I didn’t really paid much attention to expos or networking events, and to be honest, I really suck at them. I am an introvert-extrovert, and the idea of talking about myself and selling myself to people I don’t know makes me nauseous.
A couple years into blogging, and a few partnerships later, I started to get curious about it all and how to put myself out there to the brands I already used and loved, in hopes to create something together. I heard a few food blogger friends talk about Expo West and Expo East, but because I wasn’t technically just a food blogger I never paid attention to it. Than I saw a few friends going to Expo west last year, and it blew my mind. Tons of them said it was overwhelming, but that it was a good opportunity to meet face-to-face with the brands that they were already working with, and to try and find new upcoming brands and trends, as well as connecting with other bloggers and readers.
A few months back I got an invitation to be part of the “Influencer Summit” at Expo East. The “Influencer Summit” is a half day of conferences where “Influencers”, I like to call us bloggers or writers, get together and learn from people in the industry. You get the chance to network with other bloggers, the press, and a few sponsoring brands. It is definitely a great experience BUT it is by invite only. However, you can, as blogger, get a press invite and be part of the of the Expo and attend other talks.
Is it worth it though?
I know must of new bloggers, or a lot of bloggers do this on the side, and wether you are a student or have a 9-5, blogging on the side it is a hard job. It takes a lot of your time, effort and money. We all do it because we love it, but sometimes paying for flights, hotels/airbnb and expos can be a lot. So, is it worth your time and money?
Let’s break it down, and really think about it.
Expo East alone hosted over a thousand brands, all of them are on the organic natural train. So if you blog about natural, real ingredients, organic, this is the place for you.
It is hosted at the Baltimore Convention Center. The whole facility was been used, all of it. 4 floors of booths with brands from all around the world (Mainly American).
Brands ranged from beauty, supplements, home care, kids, food (A LOT OF FOOD), coffee, tea, energy drinks, hot food, new brands, the list goes on. So wether you blog about organic natural make up, or gluten free food, you will find a brand that you love, or a new to discover.
Most brands have a marketing or social media person during the expo, or have a little box for you to place your card if interested in working with them. Bloggers are being treated a bit better and taken a bit more seriously, they know your voice matter and will take in consideration working with you right there, if you are the right fit.
With that being said, there are a lot of bloggers at the expo. So be on your “A” game, and choose brands that you already love and use, be yourself and be real with the marketing person about your intentions, it is ok if you find out you just rather be a customer, or if they don’t think you are not a good fit.
But theres also a lot of brands, a lot. Maybe the ones you want to work with, are not the same your blogger wants to, so theres a bit for everyone.
There are a lot of people, a lot of brands, a lot of opportunities to get overwhelmed. If you are an introvert like me, make a plan. Write down the name of the brand you want to see, their booth, and hit those first. Take a break, and than use the remaining time to wonder around, have some fun and try all the food.
Don’t forget that they are just people, and before you talk about your impressive instagram following, engagement, views and your amazing photography, try to have an actual conversation with them, like if you were friends. I made so many connections by just being genuine about how much I love their products and chatting with them about everything and anything, than at the end I was like “oh yeah, I am a blogger, who should I contact about partnerships?” - As well, it gave me a chance to see if the crew was really a good match with me and my brand. As I always say, I partner with brands I already use or think have a cool vibe and style, and that fit with my lifestyle. S
Do I think is worth it? ABSOLUTELY.
Wether you have been blogging years or one month, an Expo like Expo East it is always a good opportunity to connect with other brands and see what’s out there. Blogging is not just about paid partnerships, but a big part of it is about creating relationships, and when done face to face it is sooooo much better than via email.
So take the plunge and get yourself a ticket for next year, have some fun and put yourself out there, no else will do it for you.
Have you been to expo east or west? What are your tips?