You can thank Lorax Of Sex for roping me into this one! Time was running out on the speaking deadline for CatalystCon West, and I thought there was no way we could submit anything, but (in just one night, no less) they pumped me full of confidence and convinced me otherwise. Yes, after just one conference attendance, I thought I could speak at one. Marginally crazy? Probably.
But I do have THOUGHTS. Sex toy reviewer thoughts. Specifically, thoughts about how reviewers can work harmoniously with sex toy companies. So Lorax and I reached out to Jenna, marketing coordinator at Tantus, and Krista, social media marketing executive at Lovehoney US, hoping they’d join us on a panel on the topic.
Somehow, they both said yes. Somehow, we came up with a title and description. And somehow, our panel was accepted?!
So on the weekend of September 27-29 (let’s be real, I’ll probably arrive on Wednesday), I will be in Woodland Hills, California, presenting “Will Write For Dildos: How and Why Companies and Reviewers Should Work Together.” The description, meticulously crafted by Lorax and I (the most anal of the group), is as follows:
“Is it true that I can make $39,000 a year reviewing sex toys?” is not the way to start an email to a sex toy company. But what is? In this panel, two toy reviewers and two adult company reps converge to discuss the challenges and rewards of joining forces. If handled correctly, a partnership between reviewer and company can yield valuable results. But the process involves care, commitment, and respect on both sides. It also requires realistic expectations. (Hint: it’s not all free sex toys and overnight reviews.)
We’ll discuss how to network and communicate tactfully, set reasonable expectations, write reviews satisfactory to both parties (…that may even generate a sale or two!), and foster a working relationship that is both harmonious and mutually beneficial. We’ll also talk about the purpose, pitfalls, and rewards of affiliate programs — and how they play into the reviewing process.
Together we’ll mull over polarizing issues such as: should companies pre-screen negative reviews? Are sponsored posts a viable content option? When should readers trust a review in which the product was supplied for free? And ultimately, why established businesses should be working with “lowly” bloggers.
We still have a lot of prep to do, and I am still scared out of my mind that I’m gonna be inarticulate, but I’m tempering my fear with all of my giddiness over hanging out with my peeps again and attending other amazing sessions such as “Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates,” “Talkin’ About a Revolution: Partnership Between Sex Educators and Adult Retailers,” and “Moral Panic.”
ALSO, DANNY WYLDE IS GOING TO BE THERE. And I may or may not have literally leapt out of my seat in disbelief when I saw that. ((And subsequently panicked when I realized I’m going to have to stay hot 24/7 in case he sees me…))
The point is, YOU SHOULD COME. If you can’t be there, we hope to audio record and potentially transcribe the panel. [Update: you can read the panel transcript here!] But really, YOU SHOULD COME.
Have you seen panels at conferences before? Any tips or faux pas you can pass on to me?