Disguised as one of my many alter-egos I was able to slip into Blogalicious 2015 in Baltimore Maryland this weekend. Not sure what I could learn to help promote my blogs I entered with an open mind and an eagerness to learn. What I saw was a bit surprising.
The usual things I would expect were there. Companies to help tie sponsors to my blogs where I could get free stuff for touting how great their things are. There were conferences with "experts" who would advise you to promote your blogs and update regularly and all that good stuff. There were other bloggers, a very nice crowd, who were great to talk with (and a little surprised to hear there was something out there like www.rottenromance.com or romance.unclewaltersrants.com). This was all expected, and then there were some unexpected surprised for a blogging convention.
The sponsors... well, they were unexpected to say the least. Domain.me was there and I could easily see how they could work with bloggers. So was Wells Fargo, again I'm good with that and then there were a few surprises.
Top Six Surprising Sponsors of 2015 Blogalicious
ALDI, the Grocery Store was there with a table promoting their wine. They gave away free bottles which was cool, but I was never clear on why they were there. Sure ALDI wine is neat and all, but how does that help me to blog? On top of that the wine they gave away for free was not on sale in Maryland. I would have to drive to Virginia or DC to get some.
- Mahogany Cards from Hallmark had a full suite with free greeting cards for attendees. Which was nice and all, but what did that have to do with anything? Admitadly I walked through the suite, but didn't interact with the people there. Maybe there was some hidden purpose I didn't get, but then again maybe not.
- Toyota was there promoting Toyota things? I guess, they were. They had a contest where you take a pic with a RAV4 parked out front and you could win a camera and they had blogging advisers available on an appointment basis. I spoke with them about their attendance and they explained that they have provided vehicles to bloggers for review purposes in the past. Unexpected for my part, but I guess they fit in. At least what they presented was blogging related.
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwed Pregnancy was there to promote birth control methods which is awesome and all but I'm not sure what that has to do with blogging. That being said, I think that they will get a future blog post out of me because they had a lot of important and positive stuff to say.
And then Kikkoman was there. You know the soy sauce people? I was like, what the heck! Soy and blogs, do they even mix? But then they hit me up free soy sauce ice cream (tasted kinda like coffee) and some soy chocolate milk which was pretty awesome. The people at the suite were pretty awesome too so I'll accept it as normal.
- Then I ran into the strangest sponsor of all in a suite, Monsanto. The GMO people, reviled by some and feeding most of us anyway. Why were they there, what could they want, what kind of swag could I get from them (it was a neat salad bottle)? So I ventured in and what did I find? Some of the nicest people there and a few farmers. They were ready to talk about what they did, I didn't get into politics of GMOs and they didn't bring it up. Their lemonade was weak, but they were some of the nicest people there. They said they were there to communicate their "message" better as to what they do. Honestly it seems like a good idea for them although I think a blogging conference is an odd place to do it but still it's a good start for them. Not going to weight in on the GMO thing here, but no matter what they were good people there with nice swag so I would go back again.
So what did I learn from it all? I learned that sponsors don't have to match the event to get a massage across (although I still don't get it), that there are better ways to promote the blog, many ways to get free stuff and Kikkoman can be used to make decent ice cream. All in all it was a worth while day.