Following up with my last post on the San Francisco Symphony’s Bloggers Night, I’d like to discuss the PR/marketing perspective of the event. I’ll review 1) Quick thoughts on the Bloggers Night; and 2) What I suggest they do different in the next round.
I’ve done a few blog outreach campaigns, but â€œBloggers Nightâ€ events are an interesting mix of old fashioned PR and social media.
Indeed, I actually went to another â€œBloggers Nightâ€ this week held by Monster Cable in the hip dot-com area of San Francisco, known as SoMa near the Adobe and Nokia offices. But more on that, some other time. Pictures of the event, here.
A Marketer’s take of the SF Symphony Blog Outreach
The Bloggers: SocialMedia.biz to MetroBlogging SF
There were approximately 10-15 of us, from Nick Douglas (of ValleyWag fame), Eddie Codel (GE TV), JD Lasica of SocialMedia.biz and some true local events only bloggers from Metroblogging SF and Civic Center.
While this may seem like a strange mix, I think it was the right mix though I wish I knew the â€œwhoâ€ and â€œfrom whereâ€ of the Bloggers Night guestlist. Blogs that cover local events, Metroblogging and Civic Center, are the obvious â€œfirst tierâ€ choices. But as the Symphony is looking to extend its current audience, it is worth going long and expanding from local news coverage in print to online blogs
Blog Outreach: Losing Control or Gaining Exposure
I spoke to several of the Symphony PR people, specifically Oliver Theil and Gary Ginstling. I asked them why they decided to do blog outreach.
1.All of them were very knowledge about what is going on in social media, citing blogs to Yelp.com as an alternative means by which a good portion of people (especially in the Bay Area) get their information.
2.Social Media will not replace the Symphonyâ€™s needs for coverage in the local newspaper, it will supplement it. People gather news in different ways. Some via Yelp others from the local Sunday paper.
â€œTagâ€ the Event, So You Can Track the Conversations
Something that all the bloggers asked Kevin Smokler, one of the key organizers, was â€œwhat’s the Technorati and Flickr tag for this eventâ€. It sounds like an obvious issue, but the Monster Cable event had no such tags. No tags means it’ll be just a little harder to track conversations generated from the event.
Building a Better Bloggers Night Experience
1. Foster a Sense of â€œCommunityâ€
The word â€œcommunityâ€ is a tired word, but it is still an appropriate term. All of us bloggers were brought to the â€œGreen Roomâ€ at the Symphony without introduction and honestly, I think some of us felt like an awkward random bunch.
A quick informal round of introduction would be appropriate, where all the bloggers could introduce themselves to each other and to the Symphony press team.
2. Build a Retention Program: Follow-Up, Feedback, Discounts
It would be interesting for the Symphony folks to do a simply follow-up with the bloggers. Not just a simple question, but also links to photos of the performance, online program materials â€“ stuff would further make it easier for bloggers to post something up.
Also, I’m not sure if anyone who has blog posted on the Symphony has been followed-up or contacted by the Symphony folks. It would be nice for them to offer comments/feedback on our commentary on the Symphony experience.
Perhaps even offer discounts for bloggers who decide to go to the Symphony on their own?
3. Educating the Bloggers on the Product (Or in this case, the Music)
While I love Bachâ€™s violin sonatas, I donâ€™t know classical music as much as I should. I think a quick 5 minute education by Symphony folks would be much appreciated â€“ nothing complicated, but a simple context as to the concert program (e.g. â€œwhy is this song famous?â€) and its history.
This would help set the bloggerâ€™s expectations and understanding; hopefully, a positive enough effect to help further encourage enjoying and blogging about the event. Plus, we’ll get to sound smart when we write about it. :)
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