In the last year, we’ve been invited to more and more Public Relations events spanning from restaurants to product launches to food festivals. I think it’s awesome that companies are finally starting to recognize the strength of blogs and are including us in media. It’s a new realm for lots of companies and I’ve seen that some events are a lot more effective than others, so I put together a few of my thoughts. Some of this might sound harsh but I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. I’m hoping more that this will help improve PR events (especially ones geared to bloggers) because I go to these events and it’s a waste of time for both parties when these events are not done well. (PR companies, feel free to contact me if you have questions or want more details.)

chef toque and centerpiece

PR Do Nots!

Be Skimpy on Food

We went to an event where there was just one tray of less than 15 servings coming out at a time. There was at least 50 people at this event. Then there was plenty of time between each tray. We only got to try one out of five things being served before we left. If it’s a food related PR event, don’t be skimpy on food no matter what, but it’s even worse when it’s during a meal time. If you ask me to be somewhere from 6:30pm-8pm, I’m expecting a full dinner.

Jess drinking a Tomojito

Make it Hard to Hear and See Presenters

At one event, I just happened to be standing right where the speakers were when they started speaking. But, I still could barely hear a thing. Most of the room couldn’t hear so people just started having their own conversations. Yes, those people are rude, but when people aren’t involved, they’ll get bored and move on to their own thing. Another peeve is not being able to see. If someone is doing a demo, make sure there is a way for everyone to see it. Not just the front row.

chef demo

Send Out Really Vague Invites

I try to go to most events but it’s becoming increasingly difficult as we get invited to more and more. I keep getting invites that don’t tell me what the event is for, what kind of event it is, etc. and therefore may not go. How do I know it’s really relevant to me?

Home Design Show Sign

Be Dis-organized and Anonymous

Have a game plan and let us know what it is. When we get there, have someone greet people and tell them where they should go and what they should do. We arrive at some events totally confused about where to go and what we should be doing. At the end of some events, I don’t even know who paid for it and what it was supposed to accomplish. If you’re going to spend money on the event, don’t you want it to be effective?

The Napkin Holder

Hire the Wrong Speaker

If you’re going to spend money on a speaker, make sure they are right for your audience. We were at an event for food bloggers, where the average age was probably 22, so Lon and I were on the old side, haha They had a speaker who was in her 50s who kept referring to the difficulties of getting home late and cooking for her teenage kids. We saw the room falling asleep. She kept addressing us as if we were all new to cooking, saying things like, you don’t have to be afraid… it didn’t seem to make sense to me when these were all food bloggers.

Put us in a Dark Room

If you’re presenting specifically to bloggers, you need to know that we are all about photos. If the room is really dark, we won’t get good photos and your products will not look as good.

Votives

Give Too Much Schwag

Every time I go to an event, I like schwag less and less so don’t waste your money on it. A little is ok especially if it makes sense for the event (like an apron when you are going to do cooking is good), but too much to carry home is not good. I really have enough canvas bags and stuff that has nothing to do with your product just doesn’t make any sense.

Tips and Pluses
~things I’ve liked at PR events

Keep it Small

I tend to like the events that have less people. Small groups can get much better conversations going. I understand that you want to spread the word to as many as possible, but investing more time in each person, giving us more one-on-one time to really learn about your products could be better. I leave large events sometimes feeling like it was just a free meal and free drinks. That’s nice and all but if I didn’t learn anything valuable to my readers, I won’t write about it. My favorite events have been the small ones where I get to know the product and the people behind it more deeply.

cheese, prosciutto, focaccia

Have Seats

Just like at a wedding, I’d prefer to eat sitting down at a table. It’s just hard to eat standing up holding your plate. If you have a drink, it’s impossible to eat.

oil tasting and wine tasting

Digital Information

If you want to give me info and pictures about your product to take home, I prefer it on a CD or memory stick. Loads of folders and papers can get annoying and make me feel bad about all the waste.

I hope this will be helpful to event planners and publicists in food. I appreciate the invites and hope to be at your next event.

posted by jessica at 06:14 PM Filed under Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.