Thursday, June 25, 2015

#TBT: MY VERY FIRST SPONSORED EVENT AND WHAT IT MEANT

Just two days away from National HIV Testing Day, I am reminded of my very first sponsored event, the success of which totally validated my efforts which continue by the way, to navigate the vast and ever changing social media landscape. It was 6.25.2009. I had only launched my online radio show, Bag Ladies just four months prior.
At this time particularly there was alot of attention being lent to the increase in HIV infection rates amongst African American women in Washington, DC which was my primary audience. Although my show was national, my home base was DC so naturally, the majority of my listeners were based in DC also. I had been tossing ideas about doing some sort of launch event and I didn't want to just do an event for the sake of doing an event, I wanted there to be a purpose and some kind of awareness lent. I had previously aired shows which touched upon HIV, relationships, the importance of getting tested, etc. So I drafted a pitch letter outlining the concept of Bag Ladies Radio, the value of my listenership, the event I wanted to produce and what sponsors could gain by attaching themselves. 

I had no expectations per se but I was confident in my pitch. When all was said and done, I produced a great (and sponsored), event, succeeded in raising awareness and established relationships.

Sponsors, which included Trojan, Vagisil and OPI nail polish brand, afforded awesome goodie bags. No one left without one. 
Not only was the attendance great but the engagement was even better. 
Seems like yesterday. I've come a long way in graphic design but the biggest thing was making sure the event came across and lending visibility to sponsors which added to the overall credibility of the event.
Attendees were clamoring for the awesome give-a-ways. A key incentive to lure people to attend. 
Sponsors were front and center.
It was never just about the event rather awareness. We were fortunate to work with Whitman Walker Clinic to have a mobile HIV testing van on site at the event.
We had a mobile nail salon on site at the event as well. A great and interactive element. I didn't just want it to be an event solely about drilling the importance of getting tested. 
We dedicated a portion to a comedy routine by Ayanna Dookie. We were all smiles.
We did it!
And I couldn't have pulled any of it off without the support of my former co-hosts, Myra Mathis and Stayce Adams which is a testament to the importance of surrounding yourself with a good team.
Have you ever produced an event or pursued sponsorship? How did you do it?

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. It's so important to know your status. Click HERE for information on where you can get tested. It's FREE. It's confidential. And it's necessary.
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