May 3, 2011 • Joanna Dreifus
Meet the Bloggers

2011 marks the fifth year I’ve covered the National Stationery Show (NSS) for my blog, MyMomShops. Back in 2007, I was one of just a handful of bloggers walking the show. Since then, the number of bloggers there has increased exponentially. Bloggers have become a major force within the NSS aisles – not to mention the stationery industry itself – and coverage of the exhibitors’ booths on bloggers’ sites has skyrocketed.

Perhaps never before have small companies had such a direct link to their consumer audience. It is therefore in an exhibitor’s best interest to establish and sustain positive relationships with the bloggers who visit. Here are five tips to help you maximize these interactions:

  1. Make a good first impression. Have press kits ready and waiting in the press room. Many bloggers make this room their first stop. A neat, well-organized press kit that includes one or two actual samples (not CDs) may convince a blogger to stop by your booth. Keep your press kit supply well stocked.
  2. Appreciate the impact of blogs. Some outstanding, highly trafficked blogs cover NSS routinely, and new blogs join the group each year. These blogs represent multiple consumer interests and audiences. Some focus primarily on paper (think Paper Crave or Crow and Canary). Others may cover a wider product range (examples include Design Sponge or MyMomShops). Thousands of potential buyers browse these blogs daily.
    Keep in mind, too, that bloggers are more likely to report on NSS in real time than more traditional media. One prominent blogger’s post or tweet (be sure to follow the Twitter hashtags for NSS; the most common one is simply #nss) may send dozens of new buyers your way almost immediately.
  3. Keep smiling. It’s a requirement for any trade show: Put on a happy face. Bloggers will hesitate to approach an exhibitor who looks sullen, frazzled or upset. A friendly smile and a “Can I show you our newest products?” always welcome me. It can’t hurt to offer a press kit (in case the blogger has not received one already), catalog or line sheet, as well as your business card.
  4. Let them snap away. This is an important one. Let the blogger take photos in and around your booth. Of course, they should follow proper etiquette and ask your permission first. Blog readers love to feel that “they were there” and an exhibitor’s prepared high-resolution images just don’t convey that sense. It is entirely appropriate, however, to ask the blogger to let you know when and if the photos are posted online.
  5. Follow up. After NSS, or during the show if there’s a lull, check on the blogs whose authors/editors visited your booth. Read the bloggers’ sites and Twitter feeds. If a visitor’s blog looks particularly appealing to you, send an e-mail to thank the blogger for stopping by your booth. Offer to send samples or additional images. That extra contact just might mean your NSS booth has a chance to “go viral” – in a very healthy way.

—By Joanna Dreifus, who blogs at www.mymomshops.com. She judged the Baby & Kids division at NYIGF in January 2010 and will be covering NSS again this year for her blog.

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