Party-planning can be difficult to do alone, and I laud anyone who does it regularly. I’m really glad I had Katie to partner with on the Bright Blog Bash, but it really wouldn’t have been as big of a success without our sponsors.
When Katie first approached me about working with her on a sponsored party, I’ll admit I wasn’t totally sure how it was going to work. We had both seen bigger blogs work with brands on events and sponsored posts, but neither of us had done anything quite to this scale. We knew we wanted our party to be awesome for us, our guests and our sponsors, so we started with what we knew.
If you’d like to plan a sponsored party like ours, you’re in luck. Today I’m sharing how Katie and I went about securing sponsors for our party and how we would recommend going about this yourself.
Figure out what you need. You’ll first want to identify what parts of your event you’d like sponsors for and what you can provide yourselves. Begin with your budget and decide what you’d like help with. Katie and I knew we wanted items for our gift bags, awesome invitations and some delicious food to add to the menu.
Make a list. Brainstorm some brands you’d like to pitch. Make sure they have offer products that fit in with criteria you determined. (For us, the gift bags, invitations and food.) We drew our list from brands we had enjoyed working with in the past, businesses where we had contacts and companies we really admired. It was also important that we chose brands we thought our guests — who were local bloggers — would enjoy getting to know, so we chose a mixture of local brands and bigger corporations.
Make your pitch. Next you’ll need to break the ice and get in touch with your sponsors. Try to find a contact at every company or look for information on press inquiries on their website. Clearly identify yourself and your blog, and why you like the brand. Be as personal as possible and be sure to make it obvious you are familiar with the brand. Then, explain what you’re looking for and how it would benefit the sponsor. Be short and sweet, and be sure to contact your potential sponsors at least 4 to 6 weeks before your event. Here is a Mad-Lib style template based on what Katie and I sent to our sponsors, tailored to a food service brand:
Hi [contact name or brand name],
I hope you are doing well. My name is [name] and I blog at [blog name & hyperlink]. I’ve been a huge fan of [brand name] ever since I first tried your [product] a few years ago. So delicious!
I’m writing because I am throwing a [kind of party] party for [number and description of guests]. I am working to put together [favors/menu/etc.] and I wanted to know if you would be interested in supplying some [product] for the event. The party will be held [date, time and location] and the theme is [description of theme]. I will serve light appetizers, dessert and cocktails, so [brand’s product] would be a wonderful addition. We would love to serve it at the party and/or send it home with our guests!
I am planning blog posts and social media, and guests will be using a specific hashtag for the event. I am not asking them to post to their blogs, but suspect many will. I will also provide a list of all the sponsors’ websites and social media to each guest to reference when they tweet and share photos during and after the party. I am also enlisting the help of a professional photographer, so the party will be well-documented.
Let me know if this is something that interests you. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you!
[your name & email signature]
Work with your sponsors. Be prompt in your responses and answer their questions. Talk on the phone if necessary, and be amenable to their ideas. Make this partnership work for them. Your responses will run the gamut. Some will say no and some won’t even reply. Others might ask for the reach and stats of your guests’ blogs and you’ll need to decide if that’s something you want to ask your invitees for. (We chose not to, by the way.) Katie and I reached out to about 40 brands total, and ended up with 16 quality sponsors. Start big and see where you end up.
Promote them. Post sneak-peek photos on Instagram ahead of time and tag your sponsors. Schedule tweets, pins and Facebook posts where you can. Give them exposure. We designed cards with all the the sponsors’ social media info for our guests to reference. We made sure they were accessible at the party and also stuck one in each gift bag.
Follow up. Don’t just call it quits after the party. Check in once more and send your contacts links to your blog posts about your event. Katie and I felt it was also a nice touch to send handwritten thank-you notes with our business cards tucked inside to each of our brand contacts.
These parties can be really fun, but it’s so nice to have help. I don’t know what I would have done if it had just been little ol’ me planning the Bright Blog Bash! Today Katie is talking about how we collaborated long distance to plan our party, and I hope all of our tips help you plan a blog party like ours in the future.
P.S. Many thanks to our sponsors, once again, for being so awesome:
Tiny Prints // French Broad Chocolates // Illume Candles // Ritchie Hill Bakery
NC MADE // Big Spoon Roasters // PLA Beauty // Dermalogica // Freaker USA
Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon // NC BBQ Map // Savory Spice Shop Charlotte
Oubly //Sugar Euphoria // Salem Baking Co. // Sara Logan Photography