Porter Novelli

In a recent article, PRWeek described how BlogHer has become the largest conference of its kind, and more importantly, not just for women, but for social media in general. So what does that really mean? And how do you break through the clutter with more than 3,600 women from around the world in attendance?

One thing that’s true is the influence these women have individually and, in some cases, even as a community..  But just as one person might get “star struck” if he or she sees a celebrity, brands often think too hard about the “wow factor” when it comes to social media influencers. Often this is manifested by a big, splashy event as brands think that’s what needed to reach this group.

Yes, these are attractive on the surface, but it’s important to recognize that underneath all of that glitter (and there sure was plenty of it from what I hear about the Sparklecorn party), these women are just like you and me, human beings, living their lives – whether that means raising a special needs child like Kate at The Big Piece of Cake, or Deb on the Rocks teaching people who tried to steal her brand what the Internet really means, or Ann Imig keeping women inspired with her “Listen to Your Mother Show” series. Also one where we had the incredible opportunity to support a forum where women openly share, without judgment, an inspirational blog post about their lives with everyone.

And just as I felt this amazing sense of community and acceptance as a “sponsor,” and really got to know these women (who couldn’t believe I actually remembered why they approached me about working together, even if it was a year ago), I realized that it’s the bond that really matters.  The most successful brand engagements I heard or saw were those that let women interact and see friends who they may only see once a year if they’re lucky.

Some observations:

  • Exclusivity isn’t appealing. For this very reason, BlogHer opened all of its official parties to all attendees this year. Anyone was welcome. No invitation needed.


  • Make it easy.  Consider whether it makes more sense to schedule five minutes to talk face to face with me rather than ask me to read through your materials.  Time is valuable at an event like this, not because I’m not interested in hearing more about your particular brand, but because there’s just not enough time.


  • Put yourselves in my shoes. Get to know me, understand what I do but not just as a blogger, as a person.  For example, we took advantage of opportunities to meet people in their element, like yoga on the Marriott’s Coronado Terrace. I wasn’t a “sponsor,” I was just me.


  • Interactions are key. BlogHer attendees want to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, because, after all, this is their business. Their sentiment? I don’t necessarily need another piece of swag, but what shows me that you know me is that you’ve set up something where I can socialize with other women who are doing what I’m doing while getting to know you as a brand, too.


It really is all about bonds. At the heart of this are these individuals who form a collective community of women who are some of the most positive, open, beautiful and appreciative women I’ve ever met in my life.


  1. Katie Walters Blog

    It was nice meeting you Alyson! Thanks again for all your support! 

  2. Shannah Katz

    great post!

    -Shannah Katzwww.thestudentstylist.com