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The Real Benefits of Sponsoring a WordCamp

Roxanne Darling, the organizer of Podcamp and WordCamp Hawaii, October 24, 2008, is encouraging everyone to help make this Podcamp and WordCamp a success and supporting their sponsors by blogging about them.

While you should blog about them and support sponsors of WordCamp and WordPress Events, there is a bigger benefit to being a WordCamp sponsor. The rewards are invaluable, going way beyond just links!

As you plan your WordCamp event, Hawaii is a prime example to follow. Look at the list below carefully.

Most WordCamp organizers I’ve worked with stick with “known” sponsors related to blogging and web technology. While Hawaii includes many web tech companies as sponsors, they’ve reached out beyond to travel and tourist industries, Johnson and Johnson (known more for health care products than blogging), hotels, advertising and marketing agencies, and even a center for disability studies. This is a prize example of being inclusive rather than exclusive with a WordPress or tech event.

Why wouldn’t your attendees be interested in more than just web tech companies? While our blogs are dependent upon host servers, video services, podcast services, and search engines, why not be inclusive to a wide variety of industries to help promote and cover the financial burden of your event?

Bloggers blog about anything and everything. They also have niches such as sports blogging, medical blogging, political blogging, science blogging, home and garden blogging, knitting blogging, bowling blogging – why not help them connect with representatives of their interests?

These businesses also have a lot to learn about the social web and want and need connections with bloggers and social media experienced experts.

The list of sponsors for Podcamp/WordCamp Hawaii include:

Learning Social Media from a Concrete Company

At Blog World Expo in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I met Bruce Christensen and Tom Vail of Cart-Away Concrete, exhibitors. They caught the attention of many of the attendees and other sponsors because they were there to learn, not sell. They didn’t have anything to offer bloggers or blog businesses. Yet, they brought their portable cement mixer to the Las Vegas Exhibition Hall along with their bight neon yellow t-shirts, business cards, and brochures. Why?

Tom and Bruce came to the event with minds and hearts open. They knew they had to get into this “social media stuff” and they had to learn hard and fast. They have a national franchise and network that connects construction experts with jobs and jobs with construction experts and equipment, in addition to providing concrete and construction equipment. With the changing economy, they know they have to work harder within the new virtual economy with this new “social thing” to get the exposure and connections they need.

Not knowing where to turn for a fast education in the new social media, they paid their way into the biggest meeting of social media experts: bloggers.

Think about this. If they wanted to learn about online social networking and capital, they could have bought a book. They could have turned to someone in their home town who may or may not have the experience they needed, paid them a little money, and be no better off than they were. They could cast a wide net and spend a lot of time interviewing so called “social media experts” in marketing, public relations, and web development, and still outlaid a lot of cash, but with no basis to help them decide who is the right expert for their business, it’s money paid without faith in a return.

Not knowing what to do or where to start, they decided to put themselves right in the middle of the snake pit and just ask for help. It’s cheaper in the long run, and exposed themselves to thousands of people who had the answers.

Think they didn’t get a boost back for dragging their concrete mixer from McMinnville, Oregon, to Las Vegas, Nevada?

When you prepare yourself to talk to potential sponsors, use Cart-Away Concrete as your example. By being surrounded with bloggers and social media experts who were fascinated by the total incongruity of a cement mixer being at a blogging conference, they won. They also won by being with business people who admitted, “Hey, we don’t know what you do but we want to be a part of it. You know how to do this. Tell us what you know.”

Who wouldn’t love that!

Few booths attracted the attention these two guys did. Even if no one was talking to them, they were talking about them throughout the conference. “Hey, did you see that cement mixer? What is a cement mixer doing at a blog conference? Instead of selling me something, these guys wanted me to sell them on blogging. Go figure!”

What more could a sponsor want?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted October 13, 2008 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Wow, those Cart-Away guys have some serious balls and a lotta brains.

  2. Posted October 13, 2008 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Glad to see the Cart-Away guys getting lots of blog coverage!

  3. Posted October 14, 2008 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Lorelle – thank you for sharing our story – truly, the Hawaii business community has opened their arms to us and this will be an amazing event! Your link love to them is over the top – but then again, that’s just you isn’t it???

  4. Posted November 3, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Permalink


    Have you caught the latest WordCamp movement? — WordCamp focused on Education users. Dave Lester, from the Center for History and New Media is organizing the first WordCamp Ed: DC on November 2, 2008. I am organizing WordCamp Ed: NorthEast in Massachusetts in February. Registration is at WordCamp ED: Northeast. We’re hoping that our two events will be the beginning of a broader movement of WordCamp Ed’s in other areas of the country.


  5. Posted November 4, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    @ rodeworks:

    Have you see announcements on WordCamp ED in Blog Herald WordPress Wednesday News and The WordCamp Report? Yes. I’ve talked to Dave Lester and I’m excited about these. Thanks for letting me know about the other events. I hope that more and more educators get involved in these. I speak at many WordCamp and educational institutions on blogging and WordPress. I’m very excited about these. Thanks!!

  6. portable cement mixer
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    This is awesome! I wish I had the smarts to think about doing the same thing. Checking these guys out now..maybe I can get in touch with them.

    • Posted January 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      I do hope you will contact them, and learn from them. And one of the first lessons they will teach you is to be a person not a tool. I know I’m being mean, but that’s the truth in today’s world. We call it spamming and it is not allowed.

      There is a lot to learn when it comes to the online world of business. That’s the first lesson. Be human.

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