Waking up last Saturday morning felt a little surreal, today was the day that I was going to meet all the lovely blogger’s who I have been chatting to online for months, and reading their blogs. Last Saturday was the day that I attended #BML16 (or BritMums Live 2016). I had visions of it being like speed dating for bloggers, with over 500 blogger’s attending, lots of presentation, and talking to the brands, there would be only be a few minutes to talk to other blogger’s.
My day started by travelling the short train/tube journey to Moorgate, where I had arranged to meet up with Fi from A Mum Track Mind. Fi looks exactly like how she looks on her blog, so she was easy to spot, and is so lovely too. It was great to finally meet my co-host at #fortheloveofBLOG after months of chatting, and hosting our Linky.
We walked to The Brewery together and my nerves completely disappeared, and excitement took over. I quickly spotted the ladies from #tribalchat and we all got chatting before heading in to take our seats for the intro presentations and talks. I was inspired hearing the talk by Julie Creffield @fattymustrun, she has achieved so much and one of her goals now is to complete an ultra-marathon. It has made me realise that I need to get another half-marathon under my belt, to restore my love for running again – I think I’ll put that onto my bucket list for something to do in the next 12 months.
A huge part of #BML16 is the talks and there were 4 sessions scheduled throughout the day, the talks range from creative sessions, to technical sessions, to sessions on how to make money from your blog. I attended the following sessions:
- SEO which was led by @judithlewis @MostlyAboutChoc, I found the session fairly useful it was good to understand the differences between Follow and No Follow link, and I also picked up some tips on checking Google Adwords and SEM Rush to help improve my ranking. Unfortunately the session over-ran and there was no time to talk about Yoast, which was the part of the talk I was most looking forward to. Luckily I have the slides so I’ll be checking them out later this week.
- Innovative Ways to Make Money session led by Tash Courtenay-Smith, Vicky from Honest Mummy and a chap from Affilinet. If I’m honest I struggled a little with this session, as I found it to be very above my little blog that only has 2,500 – 3.000 visitors a month. But I have a lovely list of things I did learn:
- Create content (lots of it!) it doesn’t matter how often you post, as long as you post.
- Be self-hosted, brands will only work with you if you are self-hosted i.e you own your URL and website.
- It helps to set-up an email address that goes through your domain name, I should do this and have firstname.lastname@example.org as my email address.
- 50,000 – 80,000 views a month is good (did I get that right? if so I have a long way to go).
- Follow up old leads, if you’ve previously worked with a brand, follow up and see if there are any future opportunities – they can only say “no”.
- Most blogs tend to be monetised once you get 10,000 views a month.
- Create a media kit, work out your rate and negotiate with brands.
- Don’t be afraid to promote yourself to brands, what’s the worst that can happen.
- Creative Inspiration led by @rosalilium @mother_pukka and @mywarehousehome, I am completely in awe of these ladies! I am not sure how they have made such a huge success of themselves, and were brave enough to give up their day jobs to follow their dream. This was by far the best session I went to, and one of my highlights of the day! Check out Mother Pukka on Instagram, her pictures are gorgeous!
- Pinterest led by Emily Leary @AMummyToo. I wanted to go to this session as I knew that Pinterest is a huge platform that can help boost my blog traffic. I loved finding out that the average Pin has a half-life of 3.5 months, compared to 24 minutes for a Tweet and 90 minute for a Facebook post. If you don’t know what half-life is then Google it. I also found out that we should all have Pinterest Business Accounts for our blogs, something that I need to set-up. A really useful tip is that the Pinterest lifecycle is huge, pins should be planned at least 3 months in advance of a post/event happening, so that they are searchable and have matured once the blog post goes live. There is so much to learn here, and I can see Pinterest being a bucket list item for July and August.
There were lots of brands located in The Hub area of The Brewery, all had really cool stands and were attracting bloggers with their set-up to get the conversation and engagement flowing.
- Coca-Cola were running a taste test between normal Coke and Coke Zero Sugar. I took part in the taste test, and concluded that Coke Zero Sugar tastes nicer than normal Coke, it has a more refreshing and bubbly taste to it!
- Munchkin were giving out really nice goodie bags containing their latest products – spoons, cup, bottle and bath toy. So far I have tried out the cup with a non-chew mouth piece that my little girl is practising drinking from. The bottle also clicks when the top is on properly, making a nice reassuring click! The bath toy is fab too, you put it in your baby’s bath, and it will tell you whether the water is too hot, as well as this it acts as a great teether too. I’ve also signed to Munchkin’s blogger programme, so hopefully I’ll hear something positive from that.
- MAM, I unfortunately missed the demonstration in the MAM lounge but I was very impressed with their event set-up. The cupcake was delicious, and they have developed a brilliant product which is a self-sterilising bottle, removing the need for big bulky sterilisers.
- Boots Soltan, the range of suntan’s lotion on the market is huge and Boots Soltan have something for everyone. I had a lovely chat to one of the PR’s, telling her my experience with Soltan and our recent trip to Spain, and telling her about my love for the Soltan SPF15 with the fake tan included. A nice touch was receiving a little tube of SPF50 suntan lotion in our goodie bag, that is perfect to go in my daughter’s nursery bag.
There were so many highlights of the day, and here are some of my favourites:
- Meeting the lovely Fi from A Mum Track Mind, we met up a few times during the day, and managed to get a photo for our Linky page and have a glass of bubbly together.
- Meeting up with the lovely #tribalchat gang, we had been What’s Apping for months and talking on Twitter so it was brilliant to finally meet them in person.
- Meeting up with the #KCACOLS crowd and Franca, we had a good catch up and I got some good blogging tips from her.
- Meeting Cuddle Fairy, although we only chatted for about 1 minute, I can now say I’ve met Becky from Cuddle Fairy.
- Seeing Tim from Thatcham Dad singing Pretty In Pink during the KeyNote speeches. The song remained in my head pretty much all day yesterday. Well done Tim, a very brave performance.
- Eating lots of free food and prosecco! The food on offer throughout the day was lovely, Costa Brava were dishing out tasty Spanish tapas, and then the catering company served up the most delicious lunches too.
- Seeing Emma from Island Living 365 (fellow tribester) winning the Fresh Voice category in the BiBs Awards! Huge congratulations to Emma, she is such a talented writer, if you haven’t checked out her blog please do.
- The party before the awards and the awards themselves, there were so many fantastic blogs and bloggers who were shortlisted for the finals.
- By far my favourite session was the Creative Inspiration session, the talk was one of my highlights of the day, I am so impressed by what these three ladies have achieved.
Before I went to #BML16 I wrote a post all about my hopes and dreams (and fears) that the day might bring. I feel that I have pretty much achieved everything I set out to do, and I would love it if an blogging sponsorship or collaborative opportunity came about, but lets wait and see. I have also learnt that your blog is what you make it, it will be as successful as you want it to be, but success is earned, and you only get back what you put in.
Thank you BritMums for organising such an amazing event, I loved my day and evening at #BML16. I will be back next year!