Bloggers: What is the point of attending launch events again?

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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.

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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?

17 comments

  1. Spot on! I have made up my mind to stop attending all this useless and poorly organised launch events. And 95% of the time , there’s no recognition for bloggers. Its just pathetic!.

    I think the problem is that these phone manufactures don’t value tech bloggers , hence the lackadaisical attitude towards us. They feel we need them more than they need us. Just because of “Review Copy”.

    And the funny thing is that most of this ” tech bloggers” are not smart enough to know they are been used. As long as they get “Review Copy” , they are happy. POOR MENTALITY.

    As for me , I’m never going to do such anymore. Never going to attend any of such events again!. If you value my presence , then you should pay. Period! Time na money 🙂

  2. Yesterday at the Infinix Launch event, I was saying the exact same thing to Don Caprio of Geek.ng.. ( P.S.. We stood for a while becAuse there were no seats) At the end of the Day, after rushing to leave my 9-5 office job, I realized that I wasted my time, energy and most importantly money going for the event. HoneStly, it isn’t worth it and like you rightly said, a lot of things could be achieved within that time

    1. Most of the time, the only benefit is networking with colleagues like you. There are even times I attend launch events without bothering to write about it. I’m always less productive every time I do.

    2. Hi MissTechy,

      I think I agree with DonCaprio, it’s a great networking platform.

      However, things will gradually fall in place. I remember telling my folks some certain things that will happen to Tech Bloggers in Nigeria and the reality is hitting us faster than expected.

      Respect is not bought, it is earned. When we start seeing beyond the review copy and telling the truth about some of these gadgets, we will not only earn respect from our fans but command it from manufacturers.

      This is my first comment on Mobility Arena, you guys are doing a great job. Much love.

      Best Regards,

      Nosagie Nosa-Ero

  3. Don Caprio, Miss Techy, Nosa, Kelvin,

    It is a honour to see you all comment here. You all keep the flag flying and pushing for a vibrant tech blogging environment. The sky isn’t your limit. Cheers.

  4. Spot on! Most at times, all of the information in regards the specs of the device they are launching is already known to most tech bloggers before the official launch. I certainly do agree with you Mr Mo.

  5. Omo, see senior bloggers.

    I use to think you all get ‘consultant’ fee and other juicy packages when invited.

    I never knew it’s this pathetic

    1. Femiblaze,

      Consultant fee for where? You guys thought what? LOL.

      I have another article in the works. Your average favourite internet celebrity is broke because nobody actually pays them.

  6. Well, I’ve attended a few paid events but IMO I am not after their money or whatever they share specifically at phone Launch events (even if most of these Phone manufacturers are stingy to pay bloggers for their presence, and that’s where Kelvin’s point comes in. Even if they can’t pay in cash, mentions at events are almost manageable.

    But like everyone had said, in Nigeria, there’s still No respect for bloggers preaching about their Products, which I am aware of and is more reason why I don’t talk about Launch events on my blog)… we’ll keep doing it for the readers anyway.

    If I go out there, I mostly feel it’s just an avenue to network with like-minds, your fans and readers but still, we gotta know our limits.
    Good to see ya’ll here tho. 🙂

  7. All my favourite tech bloggers in one place…eez too mush *paralytic with excitement*

    To be honest, I rarely read an article about attending a launch event. By and large it sounds like a boring sales pitch from the few I’ve read (no offence to those who attended and took time to write the articles). However I will read a “hands on” as a result of attending and admire the pics (eg me with Rufus, MD of Choplife Internet)

    There are two things that come to mind: if you’re going to get a review unit, then it’s like attending wedding just for the food and might be worth it.

    In relation to writing reviews, I actually had two devices I intended to write reviews about, but the amount of time and effort that goes into it… I haven’t done another since.

    As someone on the sidelines, the big advantage of these events I can see is the networking with other techies and tech bloggers. And yes, we on the sides like to see the pics. How else would you guys get together outside of a CC Hub event?

    I’m curious though, if you guys stopped attending these events, what would the manufacturers do? Would they change the way they do launch events?

  8. Great to read All the Top bloggers here, and to understand the pain it takes to channel information to us read and watching videos of your reviews has saved me from investing in bad gadgets. I have been thoroughly enlightened on the mobile industry and new banking innovations.

    Thanks Guys

    NB: Your industry is still Growing and will surely get there.

  9. Its indeed a great pleasure to see all top tech bloggers agree on a known issue regarding tech blogs in Nigeria. I was at the infinix zero 3 launch event, and i literally sat down at the stairs due to lack of seats available, My point is stated below: Jumia and all phone brands are just using us tech bloggers, they do not value us, Most free devices i received from jumia, inifnix and innjoo are just for my readers to get an insight on the device. I believe if all tech bloggers form an association where we stand together under one voice, we would move forward and brands would give us that respect we deserved.
    Lets all come together and make a change. *Not buhari type of change thou* Lolz.
    Larious, LowkeyTech.

  10. Reading through the comments, I really do understand these scenarios because I have been a victim of time-wasting events numerous times. Most times, I deliberately go for events just to do things differently outside daily routines.

  11. I can relate with all the scenarios in the comment session. Sometimes one just go out for some of these events basically for networking and to break out of the daily routine.

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