The who is who of the adult blogosphere met at Eroticon in London, and columnist Andrew Binstead was there to find out why bloggers are important for the industry and how such events can be an opportunity for companies to present themselves to their customers.
A few weeks ago, there was an event in London called Eroticon. While it isn’t as well-known as some events, it’s target audience knows it very well. That audience is sex bloggers, reviewers and erotica authors.
Run by @GirlOnTheNet, @MollysDailyKiss, and @DomSigns (all prominent names in the sex blogging community) this year’s event moved to its new home in London. People came from the Netherlands, Germany, America, and as far away as New Zealand to meet each other face to face, attend talks, workshops, and to have fun.
Besides the fun, there is a serious purpose to the event. To empower the community to do more with the tools they have, to improve their skills and to discuss issues around sex and sexuality. These people are huge influences on your business.
They talk directly to your customers. They are the ones your customers turn to when they have questions, and they are the ones who will call you out on social media when you do something wrong.
Ignore them at your own risk
With talks like “Conflict Resolution in the “Call Out” Era – War Stories from the Internet Trenches” by @RubyGoodnight they are not afraid to take on any company that puts a foot wrong in the adult world.
They have large and growing followings on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Usually much larger than the companies they are dealing with. They wield real power to talk directly to your customers and they do so on a daily basis. Get it wrong and they will make sure all your customers know.
They are here to help
But they are not your enemy, they are here to help. If there is one thing that holds this community together it is the willingness to help one another. A little support from a company can go a long way.
I asked the owners of Luke & Jack (a bricks and mortar shop in Glasgow) why they support the event?
“The interaction with writers, reviewers, and bloggers encourages us to play more, experiment more with how we sell, how we talk to customers about kink, how we describe kink and sex related products… I think it changed and revolutionised the way we even merchandised, grouped and talked about some sex and play and how this could be improved with certain pleasure toys, especially in the situations where the kink is not one we actually have, and we are now putting ourselves in those people’s shoes in order to ask the right questions and improve our service to customers.”
– Luke & Jack
Supporting the event means a lot more to them than just giving money and having their name on a poster. It is a chance to meet face to face with the people who are really pushing the sex positive message.
I asked Ruby the owner of KnickerRockerGlory.com (an online retailer with a unique look) what she got from sponsoring Emmeline Peaches at the event.
“In return for the cost of her ticket, she worked with us on articles and reviews, plus fantastic social media support. It is one thing to shout about how great you are, but I think that it is always far more powerful if someone else recommends you instead. Therefore, I saw my blogger sponsorship at Eroticon as an opportunity to spread the Knicker Rocker Glory word, whilst further establishing and developing our network of professionals we work with.”
– Ruby (KnickerRockerGlory.com)
One thing that has struck me is how sponsoring an event can be a lot more nuanced than simply handing over your money. Of course, no event is going to turn it down, it all helps. But as we all know there is no such thing as “spare money”. It really comes down to what are you going to get for your investment?
For Will at Doxy (Who has sponsored the last three Eroticons) there is a very clear return on investment.
“As a small brand with a very limited marketing budget we have made use of bloggers and social media to raise awareness of our existence and the products we make. Eroticon has helped introduce Doxy to bloggers, reviewers, journalists and writers.”
– Will (Doxy)
It is the same for Mark at Sheets of San Francisco. This year they sponsored one the of the ambassadors to the event, but going forward he is looking to do more.
“I wanted to see the event, to see if we should be more or less involved in the future. We will certainly take a bigger role next year and I would like to host some workshops there showcasing our products and their use.”
– Mark (Sheets of San Francisco)
It is the same for us at Kink Craft, this has been our third time at Eroticon and for the last three years we have run workshops where the attendees get to make some of our kits. Every year we have had such a great reception. This year even more so, with more people turning up to our classes than we could serve.
Without Eroticon we wouldn’t of been able to work with so many of the best bloggers and writers. All of which has helped raise awareness of our business in a way we couldn’t do otherwise.
What are the events you should be looking at?
There are two top events you should consider:
Eroticon – March – London, UK
You have just missed your chance to support this year’s event, but the next is going to be bigger and better than ever. With attendees coming from all over the world you will get the chance to talk directly to the people who influence your customers.
Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit – August – Virginia, USA
The Sexual Freedom Summit features human rights activists, sexuality educators and researchers, professionals from the legal and medical fields, authors, sexual freedom movement leaders and organisational partners all working toward the time when sexual freedom is fully recognised as a fundamental human right.