Traditional media like newspapers, radio, and TV enjoy the benefit of exclusivity from being present at product launch events. That benefit is largely non-existent for digital media platforms like blogs.
Because of the very nature of the internet, and social media in particular, all the juicy details of announcements and activities at the event get tweeted, Facebooked, and Google-Plused within 10 minutes, so that bloggers who did not attend have the same information up on their blogs perhaps even faster than you in attendance. After all, you are trying to pay attention to what’s going on at the event, and so are unable to blog right away.
And so, I have asked myself this question many times: What exactly are the benefits of a blogger attending product launch events, especially when it isn’t a paid service? Consider the following too:
1. As a blogger, you sacrifice several hours of your productive day crawling through traffic and sitting through an event. So, on days you have an event, you actually blog less.
2. Not only do you give up productive time, you also spend money to transport yourself to and from the event.
In a nutshell, you spend time and resources but end up no better than the blogger who is at home/office being productive and who publishes the same information – sometimes faster than you.
We have had this discussion internally here at Mobility Arena. One of the benefits that has been raised is the need to remain in the public eye. I disagree, of course. Remaining in the public eye is as simple as keeping fresh content published and staying active on social media.
Another supposed benefit of attending product launches is that it provides the blogger with an opportunity to get hands-on time with the product. In my opinion, hands-ons are too brief to determine what a product really is like. They do get you a few extra page views, but I am betting that you would have more page views from 3-4 posts you would have been able to do had you not been hopping to and from the event.
And since we are on the subject of hands-on, lets just talk about something even better: reviews. Let me make a very profound statement about reviews. Reviews are resource-intensive to do: set up the gadget, burn data, run all sorts of tests, take pictures and record videos, upload the media files, then craft the review – and for all the time, effort and money spent reviewing a product, reviews are not among the top traffic generators on blogs. I swear.
MobilityArena.com has the largest repertoire of smartphone reviews among Nigerian blogs. No other blog comes close in numbers, but the truth is that much of our site traffic is not from reviews. Simply put, hands-on and reviews take more resources to create than any other type of posts, but bring the least returns.
Someone might say “Attending events is good for bragging rights”. What bragging rights? That your blog was present at an event? How does that add anything to your bottom line? I don’t see how. I don’t see how it increases site traffic or improves ratings. But if vanity without tangible results are your thing, sure, perhaps we can consider this one as a benefit of sorts. Still, that is one arguable benefit against all the valid reasons why it is a fruitless endeavour.
Here is another supposed benefit: if you show face, maybe the manufacturer may remember you in future and dash you a device. A gamble. “Maybe”. Here is what has been proven and is a sure path for getting the attention of any manufacturer: traffic. Build your blog traffic and brands will chase after you and put their devices in your hands.
Lastly, perhaps networking is the only real benefit to be gained from attending product launches. I would say that if networking is a goal, the blogger must be strategic and pick what events to attend, instead of chasing every launch event. No?
All in all, considering all the above, I am still asking, What exactly are the benefits of a blogger attending unpaid product launch events in this day and age? Besides networking, what does a blogger miss if he does not hop from one event to the next?