9 Tips to Getting Invited to VIP Events

Have you ever been to a conference and wondered how some people get invited to special VIP events and dinners by brands and key influencers?  I know how it can feel to be an outsider, especially as a new attendee to a conference. As a newbie, it can seem like everyone already knows each other, and for the self-doubts to kick in that you’re not big enough yet.  If you want to make a bigger impression and get invited to these VIP events, here are the best tips on how to get noticed by influencers and score invites to those invite-only dinners, happy hours, and social events.

Best Tips to Getting Noticed by Influencers & Brands:

    1. Network – Network throughout the year and be consistent with your work. Blog, podcast, YouTube, and network with brands weeks and months before the conference.   Brands will want to invite bloggers and influencers that they have been keeping an eye on.
      • Jason Vitug, author of You Only Live Once, was invited to three VIP events during Fincon18 with Varo Money, CFSI, and Elevate says, “Continue to build your online and social presence and network with brands. Let the brands know of the milestone you’ve reach and the projects you’re working on.”
      • Jason Butler, owner of The Butler Journal, shares “Continue to promote yourself whether you’re a blogger or freelancer. Also, keep the lines open with the brands and let them know that you are willing to work with them again.”
    2. Branding – Have a unique brand, something to say that doesn’t blend in with everyone else.
      • David Rae, a Los Angeles Financial Planner who is a regular on tv media, shares “Let’s be honest. Memorable brands / people are more likely to capture more of the opportunities available via FinCon.”
      • LaTisha Styles, creator of YouveGotClients says, “Definitely positioning yourself as a ‘brand’ helps. When you are press friendly, have influencer status and you’re willing to share some social content it helps.”
      • Javier Gutierrez shares that his site has a very specific audience – immigrants, Hispanics, Dreamers. He gets contacted via his site because it’s a distinct brand, so don’t be afraid to go niche.
    3. Audience / Traffic – Be known for writing informative blog posts / reviews with highly engaged audiences.
      • Zina Kumok shared that as a freelance writer, one invitation came “from a brand interested in getting their new products mentioned in articles.”
      • Robert Farrington, CEO of The College Investor, states that “These brands usually have a lot of social metrics they follow to analyze influencers (like super pro level software). They then invite people they want to connect with that matches their criteria.
    4. PR Team – Make friends with the PR people throughout the year!
      • LaTisha Styles shares her secret to success is building a mutual relationship with the PR team. She says, “They send pitches often and I know a lot of people don’t even respond. How about responding, ‘This isn’t a good fit for me right now, but I’m happy to share the news with a tweet or FB share.’ Much easier to get invited if they like you because you made their job easier.”
    5. Email list – Sign up for their email list, read, and respond to their emails with a thoughtful question or comment.
      • I’ve used this technique and sometimes I don’t get a response, but often I do! Doing this with two FinCon influencers opened the communication to ask for a coffee meeting to get advice.  I got responses back within a day and scheduled those meetings the morning before FinCon started.
    6. Elevator Pitch – Instead of going to the vendor booths to collect swag, do it to learn about the branding / content space.
      • Sarah Li Cain, co-host and writer with Beyond the Dollar, shares that vendor booths are a “great way to observe and see where you stand in relation. See if your elevator pitch excites people.”  If people eat it up, that confirms where you should go and focus.  During FinCon18, Sarah was invited to private events with Twine (John Hancock), Charles Schwab, Varo, Mr. Cooper, Capital One, and Freshbooks.
    7. Social Media – Write a blog post and tag/share on social media.
      • Michael Dinesh, new blogger who started less than a year ago with his site Your Money Geek, wrote a non-sponsored blog post about a new app called Symposium and tagged the company on social media. Whenever he publishes an article, if he wrote something about a celebrity, or a brand, he’ll tag them on social media hoping obviously that they’ll share it. In this case, when he tagged Symposium in his blog post share, they wrote back, ‘Thanks for writing the post, we really appreciate it.’ Then, Michael joking around wrote back, “Well, if you really appreciate it, you should send me to FinCon. <winky face>” Thirty minutes later, they came back to him and said they had never heard of FinCon before his blog post, but checked into it and said they wanted to attend Fincon and bring him to help with a vendor booth!  Michael wasn’t in the financial position to afford going to FinCon, and just like that had an all-expenses paid conference trip to FinCon, which would have easily cost him over $1,000 after staying on-site at the event hotel since this decision happened within a month of the conference.

      Michael Dinesh helping with vendor booth after tagging company in social media.

      • Amanda Abella, business coach and personal finance expert, says that having a large social following is key. “I started putting dollars behind a marketing plan a few years ago with the intention of starting to get noticed by brands. This was after I was at a local meetup and a woman who owned an agency said ‘These companies have marketing budgets, why don’t you?’ “ During FinCon18, Amanda was invited to events with Nav, Charles Schwabb, Varo Money (happy hour on a Ferris Wheel), Fidelity Women and Money, and Elevate Mastermind.
    8. Books – Purchase their books.
      • Even though I already had her book, I purchased Rachel Cruze’s Love Your Life Not Theirs book in order to stand in line and get a picture with her after her FinCon keynote. That $20 investment gave me an opportunity to talk with her team, and in 5 minutes scored an invite to a special VIP dinner with Chris Hogan later that weekend.

      Buying a book to get a picture with Rachel Cruze.

Buying one book led to being invited to VIP dinner with Chris Hogan!

 

9. Courses – Purchase their online courses and get access to private FaceBook group, events, and conferences.

Summary of How to Get Noticed by Influencers and Brands:

Whether you are a blogger, freelancer, or small business owner, continue to promote yourself and your brand. If you’re stuck or not sure where to start, being friends with those who are in the know, having mentors, or just telling people that you are new and would love their help can also score you invites to private events at the last minute.  Lee Huffman with BaldThoughts shared that based on his friends’ connections, he was invited to a Capital One lunch and a dinner with Barclays. So, in addition to these nine tips to getting invited to VIP events, start making a list of brands and key influencers who you want to meet, and find out if you already have friends and colleagues who have connection and can make introductions.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences!  Do you have other tips on how to get noticed by key influencers and brands?  Share in the comments.    

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Thanks for sharing. It is all about being approachable, friendly, and interested. Businesses want to invite influencers who know about their brands and have a genuine interest. Do your homework about the brand and reach out to them via social media in the weeks leading up to the conference to share how excited you are to meet them. That goes a long way. Then, be sure that you follow up afterward to say thank you and explore additional opportunities to collaborate.

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