A couple of weeks ago I told you I was attending my first bloggers conference. Well, Sunday was the big day! After six short weeks of blogging I rolled up at Blog On in Manchester. To say I had butterflies would be putting it mildly. Having devoted the last year and a half to looking after a tiny person and spending most of my days repeating, ‘Be gentle,’ ‘Be careful,’ and ‘Mind your head,’ I wasn’t even sure I’d manage to hold an actual adult conversation.
Luckily when I arrived at the Science and Industry Museum it was easy to spot all the bloggers, as most were wearing Christmas jumpers and pulling huge suitcases behind them. Empty suitcases may I add… more on that later. I took a deep breath and entered the throng of fellow writers. Really quickly I got chatting to two ladies and then turned around and had convos with another couple of peeps. Making those first introductions quickly, really helps you get into the swing of just saying hi. The key reason I chose Blog On as my first conference was because people said it was the friendliest bloggers event and that sounded right up my street.
I have to say I was a little bit star-struck when I met some of my blogging idols! We have some very successful bloggers in our community and I’ve spent many an hour reading their blogs and interacting on social media. To meet them in person was a lovely connection and I made sure I said hi to all of them while I had the chance.
A SUCCESSFUL DAY
Whilst visiting the brand area I bumped into Kelly from You, Me And The 6C’s. We’re both newbie bloggers and had that ‘rabbit in the headlights’ look about us. We quickly decided on safety in numbers and stuck together for the whole day. It was lovely to be with someone in exactly the same position as me and we had a good laugh about our blogging naïvety.
The day was split into four sessions with breaks for networking (and eating) in-between. There was a great selection of presentations to attend, but I chose: Making Money, Planning Creative Blog Content, YouTube Technical and Instagram. The wealth of information the speakers shared was fantastic. All of the sessions were easy to follow and offered a chance to ask questions. If you’re wondering…no I didn’t ask anything. One step at a time, people!
So I thought I’d highlight some of the points I took away from the sessions.
Making Money – Mel from Le Coin De Mel
* As well as the usual sponsored posts, affiliate links and advertising, also consider presenting for brands, brand ambassadorships, producing e-books and becoming a freelance writer.
* Always ask PR’s what the budget is for a project before discussing fees.
* To work out a guide price for how much to charge for sponsored posts, take your domain authority and x 4.5. This gives you a ball-park figure of a sensible fee to charge for your time and influence.
* You must register with HMRC within 3 months of receipt of payment for your first ever paid work (tip given to me from a fellow blogger).
* Content is King and promotion is Queen.
* Don’t work for free unless there are real benefits for you, such as exposure in a popular publication.
Planning Creative Blog Content – Grace from Eats Amazing
* Plan ahead. You’ll be less stressed and more organised if you’ve got some ideas in the bank a month or two before seasonal events such as Easter and Christmas.
* Create spider-diagrams to brainstorm ideas and link themes together. I loved this tip and will be implementing it immediately!
* Produce round-ups from a series of posts on the same theme, such as Halloween. This gives you the opportunity to link back to old posts to give them renewed love.
* Pinterest is your friend! Don’t copy ideas, but use this giant online scrapbook as inspiration for your own projects, posts and activities.
* Use ‘day’ themes to drive traffic to your posts. Research awareness days and national holidays and design your content so it’s relevant for these days. E.g bake a pie on National Pie Day!
YouTube Technical – Lucy from Dear Beautiful
This was my favourite session because I know nothing about YouTube and Lucy went into loads of useful detail. Wish I could cover it all, but here are a few points:
* Be consistent. Think of your YouTube channel as a real TV station. Post new videos at regular times so people know when to tune in for fresh content.
* Create you own style and stick with it. This could be the way you open and close your films, the music you use or your voice-over style. Find something unique to you.
* Three key points to keep in mind – plan, production and promotion. Give equal time to all three for the best results.
* Create playlists on your channel so your content is grouped for viewers to find easily.
* The first 20 seconds of your videos are the most important, as this is when people decide to stay or leave. Make those first 20 seconds count.
* Use Instagram Stories to preview your YouTube content.
* Prioritise the tags you choose. The first three are the most important.
* Find a style that is recognisable as ‘yours’ and be consistent. Whether this is colours, filters, surroundings or subject matter. Don’t post images that contradict your style, as this could turn people off.
* Set-up additional Instagram accounts if you want to feature content that is quite different to each other.
* Don’t pay for followers. This gives you no credibility and isn’t a strong long-term strategy.
* Use relevant hashtags to give your images wider reach. You can use up to 30 hashtags per image.
* Ensure your images are good quality. Whether using your phone or a DSLR camera, images should always be crisp and edited appropriately. Always use good light.
* Include a micro-blog when you post an image. Rather than just writing a one line description, give more detail about your day, your thoughts or what’s going on in the picture. This encourages comments.
* Implement a schedule for posting images. 1-3 times a day works best and usually early morning and after 7pm are good times for interaction.
As you can see, the day could not have been more worthwhile. As well as learning so much, there were also fun activities like a giant raffle with fabulous prizes, a tombola, brand competitions and of course cake and wine.
And if you’re still wondering why we all needed an empty suitcase, it was for the two huge goody bags we received, packed with wonderful gifts, plus other goodies that were handed out or won throughout the day. I felt like an idiot turning up with a suitcase, but it was so handy for transporting everything home!
So if you’re thinking of attending a Blog On conference next year, I say don’t hesitate. You’ll mix with brilliant bloggers, learn lots and eat some amazing cake.