Whenever I'm unsure what to write about, I think about the messages I've received in my inbox and try to find a common theme. This one was a no-brainer — so many people have reached out to ask how to get invited to influencer events, and I wish I'd read a guide like this when I started blogging!
Many people assume I've been a Tampa blogger for a really long time because I spend a lot of time out and about in the city. Fun fact: Vagner and I moved back to Tampa after at the end of March 2018. Believe it or not, we started out 2018 in South Florida! Nine months ago, I knew zero bloggers and had attended no events here. Today, I'm invited to so many events that I turn down about half of them — I have a full-time job and an introvert husband, so I have to prioritize well.
You don't have to blog for years to get invited to fun tastings and spa days — you just have to approach things strategically! Let's look at how to get invited to influencer events, including my thoughts on the fastest way to become a "VIP" in your city. I also enlisted the help of the experts — the marketing gurus who plan the events and know what they're looking for!
1. Post Great Content
If you wanted to get on media lists for events, you need to get out there and start taking good pictures. When you're out at a local restaurant, post a well-lit, high-quality picture of your meal on your feed and tag the restaurant on Instagram! DM them to share how much you enjoyed your experience. Go to public festivals and workshops and take amazing photos while you're there. Write up a blog post and email it to the host! Put yourself out there by showing them what you've got. At the end of the day, companies want you to create good content that'll make your followers want to stop in — so you have to show them what you've got.
2. Use Strategic Hashtags
I've heard from more than one PR person that they plan events in Tampa by looking at the #tampablogger hashtag and seeing who's using it. If you aren't using #[yourcity]blogger and similar tags, you're probably missing out on a ton of event invites. Do research. Which local tags do the huge bloggers in your area use? Also, geotag every picture you post! Getting to the top of your city's Instagram explore page is a surefire way to get people's attention.
3. Listen To The Experts
I'm smart enough to know I don't know everything about this topic — and lucky enough to have people in my network who are pros! I chatted with Brittany and Emilia, two Tampa-based marketing gurus who plan a ton of exclusive events every month, about what they look for when scouting out potential influencers.
From Brittany Ward of a Marketing Whisperer:
It's always important when recruiting influencers for events, to ensure they are a good brand partner. That means, they post about similar interests, create good-looking content, and take the time to respond and engage with their followers to truly cultivate relationships and move them to act.
And Emilia Kalogiannis of Socially / Grand Brand & Co:
High-quality authentic content is the main aspect we look for when scouting influencers for upcoming collaborations. Micro-influencers are essential to brand awareness, so when we come across an influencer who is in the niche we're looking for, produces appealing content and is passionate about it, we love the opportunity to collaborate with them!
If you can produce appealing content, you're already way ahead of the competition. There's nothing wrong with a feed filled with selfies, but if you want to catch an agency's attention, you have to offer more than that. Go on adventures and document them! Engage with your followers and ask them what content they want to see. If you're in Tampa and want to apply to join Brittany's influencer program, click here!
4. Ask & You Shall Receive
Listen up, because this is one of my most valuable tips! If you want to get invited to events, just ask. Reach out to restaurants, stores and local organizations to find out how you can get on their influencer list. Express how much you love their brand and share other brands you've worked with (and if you haven't worked with any other brands, link to your general profile so they can get a feel for you). This is how I first got on the Tampa blogger scene -- I just sent out a bunch of emails, and several brands responded! My first event happened when I had about 2,000 followers, so you don't have to be Instagram famous to be involved.
5. Talk To Local Bloggers
Vagner loves any food-related event, but other than that, he'd rather be at home playing music or watching superhero shows. He hates schmoozing (as they say, opposites attract). I share this because I love bringing fellow bloggers as my plus-one to any event he doesn't want to attend, and I know I'm not the only one. I've made it to where I am because of the kindness of fellow bloggers, and I want to show that in return! Even if someone can't invite you along to an event, they still may be able to give you pointers on the right people to talk to. And once you get to an event, you better hustle! Bring business cards and introduce yourself to other people in the room. Fellow influencers may not need your biz cards, but they'll still be impressed -- and business owners will definitely realize you're on top of your game.
Thank you so much for reading! If you have any other questions about how to get invited to influencer events, drop them in the comments and I'll try to answer! Xoxo
Ayana Lage is a fashion and lifestyle blogger based in Tampa, Florida with a background in digital media and content marketing. She’s worked for Bustle, the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald, and numerous freelance clients. As a blogger, she’s worked with 50+ lifestyle, fashion, travel and food brands. When she’s not blogging, she’s focused on her day job in digital marketing, watching Queer Eye, or laughing aloud at tweets from @dril.