Or any other events for that matter.
One time, I was standing (sounds very snobbishly infuriating, doesn’t it?) on the red carpet, behind the smooth velvet cordoned rope, sipping champagne from a dainty flute glass, in a fenced off exclusive section right the middle of the mall, when someone came up to me and ask: What is happening, can I come in? Before I could answer the lady and her inquiring friends, one of the event staff came over to say: I’m sorry Madame, this is an invite-only event. To which the lady, slightly perplexed responded quite loudly for all to hear: WHAT do you have to do to get a VIP invite to these glamorous events?
Before I move on to my story, I believe a disclaimer is needed at this point. This is actually not a HOW TO post on How to Score an Invite to Exclusive Blogger Events. In a way, I suppose it could be. Maybe this post is not going win me the Miss Congeniality Award from the International Bloggers Association of the World (is there such a thing?) but this something I feel is worth a discussion. Plus, may you learn a thing or two. You’ll see.
Now back to the matter at hand: The thing that struck me about the question is not the question itself but how many times I have been asked that question (online and in real life) and recently, how much I’ve asked myself that question. While I used to think that it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get those “exclusive” invitations (this of course, is a scientific discourse based on how long and how hard we worked on this blog to ensure that we deliver on both back end and front end of @20YS), lately, I’ve come to an irate conclusion that the answer is – not much.
Why do I say that?
One time, I was at another event. A very prominent, highly coveted one with a big world renowned brand in collaboration with another major brand. While I have taken the proper procedure in sending my RSVP on time and inquiring, respectfully, if I may bring E, my +1 (customary on an invitation, usually stated up front, although there have been cases that the event is strictly for 1 person only), I was informed that that they will check as space is limited and that they would let me know. In the end, E and I went together and so did many others, each one of them with their… You guessed it, +1. There were traditional mainstream media, journalists, veterans in the industry, different kinds of bloggers, experienced and relatively experienced ones, (with that, I’m only referring to number of years they’ve been blogging to make things simple), local personalities, etc.
But then there was also others, who, says they are bloggers and have been blogging for many (I can’t anything over 2 years as many) and yet, in such a small world and an even smaller city of Ottawa, I’ve never heard of them (okay, I realize that’s not a scientific benchmark as there is a lot I’ve never heard of and they turn out to be mega popular… case in point: I send friends my new hot favourite ‘it’ song and they’re all like, we’ve heard it last year!), no one else I’ve heard of them (again, not employing a scientific methodology here) and a quick check of their blog reveals a very infrequently updated site with posts getting published from once every six months, or twice a week last year and maybe two more posts after that.
But maybe they are really, really cool and have a massive following in another social media platform I have yet to discover.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s really a simple concept that I’m trying to point out here in terms of ‘making it’ in the blogging world. If I publish a blog once or twice a year, can I call myself a blogger? Perhaps yes. People say you don’t have to be published to be called a writer, you just need to write. While there’s an admirable naiveté to that type of argument, that is too intangible for me to process and that is beside the point.The point is the hard work, the dedication, the passion and the commitment that I know a lot of bloggers put into growing their blogs (I work on Twenty York Street all of Saturday – night and day – and again on Sunday all day) to become not just popular but to be credible. To be a real source of information or inspiration no matter what genre they blog about.
And in some recent events, I saw some examples of none of that – and that – that just shattered my whole belief in how to be a successful and well-respected blogger in this day and age.
At the end of the day, you were invited for a reason, whether that’s openly communicated or not, whether that’s for your to tweet, post to Instagram, Facebook or blog about the event or the product or whatever it is that is promoted by the very people who invited you, there is a type of exchange transaction that happens every single time.
Yes, you got invited to a really fabulous event, it was an exclusive media party that was oh so cool. But know that that VIP invitation sent your way in a velvet hand-made envelope with glitters artistically incorporated into that custom-made font, it was sent in exchange (directly or indirectly) for the key to your Narnia (the closet being the network of friends and followers that you have), something you’ve worked so hard in not just accumulating the number of readers but to also gain their trust and that’s no small feat. You may have landed the biggest blog deal today but that’s old news tomorrow. Staying relevant and producing value-added content is hard work and I thought that perhaps that is they key or one of the key for brands and companies to want to work with you, to collaborate on a cool project or to want to invite you to something as they value what you have to say and to whom you share that opinion to.
But perhaps you didn’t need all that.
So, how to score that prime invitation to an exclusive VIP Media Blogger Event? Perhaps you can just be really, really cool.