6 Family-Focused Blogger Events for Your 2015 Marketing Calendar

Senior account executive Pouneh Lechner attended Blogger Bash in New York City this year with our client NETGEAR.

Senior account executive Pouneh Lechner attended Blogger Bash in New York City this year with our client NETGEAR.

Sadly, I’m not a mommy so until a couple of years ago, I hadn’t read many so-called “mommy blogs.” While aware that traditional corporate branding is under siege by word-of-mouth marketing, my attention used to gravitate toward B2B influencers and mainstream media. However, a year ago, Sterling began working with the WiFi Family sales team within NETGEAR that promotes mobile WiFi hotspots designed for AT&T service. Our top target for hands-on product reviews: mommy bloggers! I had to get up to speed quickly on the personalities and the events.

“Mommy blogger” is too narrow a definition to encompass the broad variety of people who review products on personal blogs, and it has a condescending ring. Yes, many are indeed parents and grandparents who blog as a hobby, but many are also sophisticated entrepreneurs who offer vendor sponsorship opportunities through an extensive network of partners. As my colleague noted in her post last month, you’ll meet ex-Fortune 500 executives turned fashion bloggers, stay-at-home moms turned tech evangelists, and spouses or siblings that use their blogging activities to promote a family business.

For all the gnashing of teeth of how technology and social media are ruining “true” social relationships, face-to-face events — conventions, really — are increasingly popular in the blogging world. Bloggers and brands want to connect with each other for sponsorships, advertisements, giveaways, and product reviews, and nothing beats an in-person meeting to boost trust on both sides. Moreover, these events provide bloggers who may be stay-at-home workers an opportunity to network with their peers and share lessons learned about growing their social businesses.

Through our work with NETGEAR WiFi Family, we’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of events scattered across the US. Below is a snapshot description of a half-dozen of these events:

International CES FamilyTech Summit, Las Vegas, January 6-9, 2015

Event organizers paid attention to last year’s sarcastic tweets and have changed the name from MommyTech to FamilyTech. Because of its location as part of the gigantic Consumer Electronics Show, it’s probably got the best foot-traffic of any event, and attracts a tech-savvy audience. While the other events on this list have an attendee list of bloggers, this has a variety of industry professionals — consultants, financial analysts, vendors, and consumer look-i-loos. However, only a small percentage of the audience represents potential reviewers of your product.

Dad 2.0 Summit, San Francisco, February 19-21, 2015

This is the rare event offering insight into the elusive plaid-shirted daddy-blogger. We’re looking forward to attending this one to see how the conference topics may differ from the female-tilted blogger events.

Its sister event, Mom 2.0 Summit, Scottsdale, April 29-May 1, 2015, is billed as a “fab” event where moms, marketers and media can discover common business goals and develop relationships in an upscale environment.

Blogger Bash, New York City, July 16-17, 2015

Tech gadgets represent one sector, but Blogger Bash has sponsors of general consumer products, from food to books. Blogger education seems second to fun. For example, a stripper dressed as a firefighter roamed the halls in 2014. It’s unfortunate that it will overlap with the much larger BlogHer in 2015.

BlogHer, New York City, July 16-18, 2015

With several thousand attendees, BlogHer is one of the largest and oldest events (now in its 11th year), combining major corporate brands, glitzy brand ambassadors (a Kardashian), conference speakers with social media cred (Kerry Washington), and off-site events such as new car test-drives. BlogHer was recently acquired by SheKnows Media, which has pledged to grow the event even further. As it becomes more of a general funfest, it will be interesting to see if some bloggers with less deep pockets turn their attention to smaller events that offer more education, less entertainment.

Type-A Parent Events (Annual Conference and regional Bootcamps and Summits)

  • Bootcamp, Las Vegas, January 17, 2015
  • Summits, Asheville, multiple dates TBA
  • Conference, Atlanta, Oct. 8-10, 2015

Our blogger sources tell us they consider the big annual Type-A Conference to be the most educational among the blogger events, where people come to learn and not only collect free stuff. Bootcamps, with a couple of hundred attendees, are centered on single topic related to how to improve your blogging skills and business. For example, the upcoming Vegas event is about monetizing your blog — although ironically hosted in a city where you are guaranteed to lose money! The Summits are intensive learning events for a couple of dozen bloggers so offer opportunities for 1:1 relationship-building.

Do you have other family-focused blogger events you’d recommend? Which is your favorite?

Lisa Hawes can be reached at lhawes@sterlingpr.com. Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisakayhawes.