Last weekend it was #BML17. A brilliant all-day blogging conference organised by Britmums. I went last year and loved it, this year was more intimate with less bloggers, better food and venue, and I found the talks a lot more informative. I don’t know if that’s because I’m much more seasoned blogger and no longer felt completely in awe or out of my comfort zone. I learnt loads that I’m going to start applying to my blog and social feeds from today onwards. So here’s a run down of what I learnt:
I don’t even have a You Tube channel, I literally have the fear of You Tube. But I need to break through that barrier and set one up and start vlogging. Watch this space.
- You need to have 100 subscribers to set up your own channel.
- Schedule your content. It doesn’t need to be daily, it can be weekly. But always upload and publish at the same time. That way your audience will now your new content is there, a bit like knowing that they can watch the latest episode of their favourite TV program.
- Find your voice. Your voice is unique to you, it’s no one elses. Don’t worry too much if you’re not entirely happy with something, as no one else will notice it.
- You Tube live streaming. This is a good option for anyone who doesn’t want the faff of editing and the long upload time.
- Hashtags. Use hashtags in your video descriptions. They are indexed so they are searchable.
Instagram and Instagram Stories
This was one of the sessions that I was most looking forward to, led by the fabulous Harriet from Toby and Roo, and Alice from More than Toast. If you haven’t already check out their Instagram feed and stories.
- Choose beautiful images. Your feed needs to look tip-top and crisp. Taking pictures on your camera for your feed is always better than using your phone.
- Instagram is a micro-blogging platform. I whole heartedly agree with this that Instagram is a side extension to your blog. It’s a place where you can demonstrate the real you to your audience, especially using Instagram Stories.
- Instagram knows if you’re using your phone or camera to take the pictures. I found this really interesting. So if you’re using your phone or camera and use the same hashtags, when you search that hashtag it will bring up images taken on a camera, or those taken using a phone. Interesting.
Instagram Styling and Flat Lays
This was by far my favourite session of the day, I loved it and it was practical. This was led by Alison from I am Alison Perry and Rachel from The Ordinary Lovely, and again they both have amazing Instagram feeds. So here’s what I learnt and did:
- Drop the shadows right down. I’ve started doing this and I can already tell it makes a difference. In the Instagram filters scroll to shadows and whack these right down. It instantly makes your images pop and seem more vibrant.
- Capture by Lucy flat lay backgrounds. Have a look at these flat lay backgrounds, they are perfect to create that wooden floorboard look, and make out that you have a gorgeous home with a white painted floor and more. See my header image, I created this during the session.
- Cheat wall colours. Go to HobbyCraft and purchase the big sheets of coloured cards. They make an excellent background to any product shots or brand shots you need to do.
- Take many pictures of the same thing. If you’re doing an interior shoot take many pictures at different angles. You can then use these in future, and it helps to sync your feed together, keeping the same look for consistency.
- Keep an eye out for great locations. Doors, walls and brightly coloured buildings all make lovely Instagram images, and put yourself in the picture. I always find that images of me have far better engagement than those without.
- Colour Story. This sounds like a great app, and it’s used to help brighten your images. You’ll notice that very white images may look a little grey. To overcome this brighten it up in colour story, and then brighten it again in Instagram.
- Let there be light. If it’s too dark inside or if there are too many shadows, then take your props outside. It’s far better to use natural light for your pictures than enhanced lighting indoors.
- Take the glass out of the photo frame. If you’re taking a picture of a picture, and you get the reflection on the glass. Simple. Just take the glass out of the photo frame.
I’m in the process of really trying to bolster my Pinterest account and make it work for me, to hopefully drive (a lot) of traffic to my blog. That’s the aim and here’s what I learnt:
- Every pin should be actionable. There needs to be a reason why people seeing your pin or re-pinning your pin should visit your blog.
- Content is evergreen. The best pins are those that link to evergreen content i.e content that never expires.
- Pin limit. Pinterest has set a limit of 15 pins per day of your own content. I don’t think that there’s a limit on re-pinning other people’s content.
- Rich pins. Set these up. It’s super simple just get a code from Pinterest and add it into your blog. It’s a great way to support traffic driving.
- Images. As Pinterest is a visual platform your images are super important. They need to be a magazine style high quality, and they are best to be 900 x 600 pixels.
- Text overlays. These work really well and it’s known that pins with text overlays, drive more traffic than those without the text.
- Plan ahead. You need to be at least two to three months in advance when it comes to developing content for Pinterest. Start to think about Christmas now, otherwise you could be too late. Where possible use Affiliate links to drive traffic to a branded site or shop, and you could start seeing the benefits.
So that’s it. Those are my top tips that I learnt at #BML17. I had a wonderful day and it was so nice to catch up with lots of other lovely bloggers, and be part of the riverboat cruise that evening down the Thames.
See you next year #BML
P.S I forgot one thing. I also learnt to taste Spanish wine.