MAC Cosmetics recently launched their new Liptensity lip sticks and they invited the bloggers of Southampton to a special preview event to take a peek.
When I worked at Estee Lauder, for many brands including MAC and Clinique, I helped to organise and host blogging events. But, this was the first event I have been to since becoming a blogger.
Bright Lights Big City was set up in 2011 after I attended a PR course at the London College of Fashion. Initially I didn’t use the blog, I lacked confidence in my writing ability and I had no idea what to blog about. The course made me realise it was something that I needed to do, but the fear of failure stopped me.
Everyone on that course was incredibly talented and knew exactly what they wanted to do and blog about. My reason for attending that course was to get some more experience in PR to see if it was a career path I wanted to pursue.
I only started blogging more seriously in 2013 during my Masters in Public Relations. It was during this year that I realised the importance of blogging. At the time I was working every day and doing the Masters on top of my job, so my writing was fairly sporadic. After graduation in 2015, I finally had spare time again and began to write more often.
The aim now is to slowly grow my blog. Research online lead me to the Southampton Bloggers, a network of local bloggers, and the opportunity to finally try out an event.
I hope this post and these top 10 tips offer you some guidance if you are going to your first event.
The top 10 things I learnt…
1. Be on time
Arriving on time or a bit early is key for most things in life. At blogging events I quickly realised if you snooze, you lose. Other bloggers were stuck in and the place was buzzing, and I was 10 minutes early!
2. Ignore the goodie bag (if there is one)
Rookie error. Politely thank the event organisers for the treats and then place then safely in your bag. Don’t waste time ‘fan girl-ing’ on the goodies. You’ll have time later at home when you can jump up and down at the lovely things you’ve been treated to.
3. Make sure you’ve done your research, so you don’t waste your time at the event
I spent over half an hour being a journalist and interviewing staff for background information at the event. I’d meant to research ahead of time but, my busy working week had meant I had to go to the event ‘cold’, with no prior knowledge. I won’t be doing this again in the hurry. I spent precious time fact gathering, rather than being able to take photographs, network with my peers and enjoy the start of the event.
4. Check the facts
Channel your inner journalist. Making sure the facts are correct gives you integrity, a good reputation and avoids embarassment further down the line. Spell-check names and ask if you aren’t sure about anything.
5. Take a notebook
Technology is amazing, but nothing beats a pen and paper. Taking notes is such a useful process and can help to process your thoughts and clarify things later if you forget. It can also save face and make you look prepared should your handy tech fail.
6. Make sure you have enough memory on your phone or camera
Fighting for memory at an event is painful. Avoid panic-deleting favourite photos and apps by ensuring you have space ahead of time.
Being prepared ahead of the event by doing research should free up some time to network. Don’t make the mistake I did, which was to spend the whole time taking facts down and interviewing. By the time I was finished most bloggers had headed off and I’d only met a couple of people. I was really disappointed as I really wanted to meet more bloggers in my area to create a bit of a support network and sounding board for ideas.
Don’t be afraid to get stuck in, even if you don’t know a soul. At the start I didn’t know anyone and was a bit overwhelmed as the event was a busy one and everyone seemed to know each other. That was until one blogger came up to me and introduced herself. It was her first event too and her lovely bold manner made me breathe a sigh of relief. I’d also spoken to another blogger via Instagram who’d let me know she was going and it was her first event to. I met her a bit later on at the event, in hindsight I should have arranged to meet up with her there at a point we both knew.
Keep your eye on social media platforms to see who’s going before the event. It’s a great way to see who’s going and make new connections.
8. Have a blogging business card
Look professional. Make connections. Save time.
If you can write a rough draft before the event and drop in details and thoughts afterwards it saves a lot of time. I had not prepared a draft. After the event finished I went home and sat and wrote for five hours. On top of a full day at work and the event itself this just about finished me off.
But, I was glad I got the blogs up right away to capitalise on the moment. It paid off, Maureen Seaberg, the person who collaborated with MAC to create the lipsticks read and re-tweeted my blog. Un-be-liev-able! Again, it’s about channeling that inner journalist. Newspapers report things as quickly as possible and you should try to too.
10. Go ready to try things out
If the event is one where you are going to try something out, then go prepared for it and try it. This event was to sample lip sticks, so I went with fairly plain make up on and wearing no lip stick at all. This meant that the make up artist could easily try out looks on me.
If it’s an experience make sure you’ve got the right kit on – if it’s an active event, don’t wear heals if you really need trainers. If it’s to try food, don’t eat before. If it’s to try alcohol, definitely eat before!
Some people weren’t trying the lip sticks or were only trying one. If you want to give an accurate review you’ve got to go for it, even it it’s not your thing. Normally purple lip stick would be an absolute no in my book. But, I tried it at the event and I loved it. Who knew?!
These are my top 10 facts from my first event, I really hope they give some insight and help. I wish I’d had something like this before I went so I could have managed my time better!