On a cold and wet morning I headed into central London (well actually Kings Cross) to attend the much anticipated Blogfest 2016 organised by Mumsnet. This is my second blogging conference this year, and my second since setting up my blog. This time round I felt unprepared, had no elevator pitch, my blog felt unprepared but I had my business cards packed. However for me the day is not about that. It’s about catching up with other bloggers and learning a thing or two. That’s not to say I didn’t feel excited, nervous and a little apprehensive about the day ahead. Meeting up with Sarah from Mumzilla and a huge coffee from Starbucks at Kings Cross calmed me down a little on our walk to the venue.
There will be so many blog posts about Blogfest 2016 being written this week. I’m sure a lot of them will be about how feminist it was, and how uncomfortable it must have been for all the male bloggers in the room. This post is not going to be about that, it’s going to be about what I learnt and gained from attending this year’s Blogfest 2016
I won’t go into too much detail on this, as I could write about these forever.
- The first talk (well panel) was Women Online – Where to from here. I found this quite eye-opening and empowering. I need to go and check out the blog written by Victoria Smith @glosswitch who’s turned her blog into her career by chance. I also found Jess Philips (MP in Westminster) really inspiring, you go girl.
- The next talk I went to was all about You Tube, and how best to vlog. I’ve never done a vlog before. I’m too scared, and hate the sound of my own voice. It was really interesting to hear how the Saccone-Joly’s, Mother Pukka and Vegan Family TV do it. I also attended this session as I really like Mother Pukka. I’m very inspired by her, and think that she’s doing a great thing with her flexible working campaign. During this session I also set myself a little challenge by asking Rebecca from AAUBlog to nominate me for the 73 Voque questions vlog. This task has happened and I now need to vlog. Argh!
- The Think Bombs were great. These are 5 minute short snippets of a topic that the speaker really believes in. Ed Balls was meant to be here today, but he had more important priorities to train for Strictly. Lucy Porter did a great Think Bomb on how we shouldn’t judge anyone at the school gates.
- The Know Your Voice talk was led by some powerful women. The theme here was getting your voice heard over the noise. This was another panel style talk including Sara Pascoe, Cash Carraway and Miranda Sawyer, who have all been journeys to get to where they are today.
In the afternoon I attended two talks that were much more blogging related. The first talk was Building a Brand from your Blog lead by Steph Douglas from Don’t Buy Her Flowers, who used her blog as a stepping stone to set up her own (very successful) business. My key take outs from this were your blog needs to remain true to you and your values. Be clear on your brand pillars, this will help you decide whether an opportunity is right for your blog or not. And lastly take a different stance when writing review posts, this should be about how your post is “useful” for the audience. How can it help them.
The next session was Digital Strategy for Bloggers which was lead by Digital Mums and Alison Perry from Not Another Mummy Blog. What I learnt from this session is content is king. Your blog posts should be what people want to read, and should be something that people are searching for in Google. I have a couple of evergreen posts that I could probably boost with a few keyword and title changes. I also learnt that long-tail keywords will rank much more highly in Google compared to short-tail keywords, and I’ve made a mental note to use these far more going forward.
The Best Bits
Now onto the best bits of the day:
- I got to meet up with then lovely Tribal Chat ladies who are Sarah at Mumzilla, Fran at Whinge Whine Wine, Emma at Island Living, Kelly at Bringing up Georgia, Sam at Mouse Moo Me Too, Laura at Unsung Mum, Suzanne at Another 10 Things and Beth at Beta Mummy. One of the main reasons for coming to Blogfest today was to catch up with these ladies.
- I finally spoke to Tim from Thatcham Dad, and was a little gutted he wasn’t singing a parody this time. I still have Pretty in Pink in my head from BML16.
- I mentioned it above, but I have set myself a challenge to have my first vlog published in the next 6 months, no later than the 12th June 2017 (also Kelly from Bringing up Georgia 30th birthday). So watch this space if I’m brave enough to make the move….
- Meeting up with the #KCACOLS crowd and having our picture taken together. This picture was courtesy of Sunita from Lucky Things Blog. Meeting Sunita was also one of the highlights of my day as we’ve been chatting for a while, and personally I find her inspirational setting up the Lucky Things meet-ups, and trying to fill us with confidence. I’ll be at the next Lucky Things meet up for sure.
- Seeing the Scummy Mummies was one of my favourite parts of the day. I had seen them earlier this year at a baby friendly comedy at The Ivy House donned in gold lycra. This year they were dressed in blue lycra up on stage, taking the p**s out of motherhood.
- Hearing that people really love my logo, I had this comment quite a lot. This made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. My logo was designed earlier this year by Katie who’s one of my NCT friends, in exchange for a bottle of Gin. I love my logo, and have kept that core identity as people are beginning to recognise that.
- Meeting up with the lovely Kimberley from Media Mummy and James from A Life Just Ordinary, and sharing some blogging tips on self-hosting, WordPress and DA.
- Seeing Fran at Whinge, Whinge, Wine winning Best Comic. Well done Fran. We even got a mention from Davina that she liked our whoop in the audience when Fran won.
- The Prosecco and Cocktails at the end of the day in the bar overlooking the canal. It was good to have a chat and laugh with my fellow bloggers, including having a chat with Franca about linky’s and bumping into Narky Mum who is a friend’s husband’s sister (it’s a small world when it comes to blogging).
There were a few things I didn’t do that I’ve learnt for next time:
- I didn’t speak to many brands this time, I was too busy chatting to bloggers. If I do come to Blogfest again I’ll try to get a little more involved, and give out some business cards.
- I am also so gutted that I didn’t meet up with Emily from My Petit Canard, next time…
- Lastly I will take a secret stash of food with me. I only had half a burrito and who wants fish balls? Consequently by 4pm I was starving, and then alcohol got involved at 5pm so the few glasses of Prosecco and Mojito went straight to my head.
Did you go to Blogfest 2016? I would love to read about your experience.