It’s taken me a week to digest! But I think I’m ready to write about my Blogtacular experience. I’m just going to talk you through my day…
FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER
Blogtacular organised an informal dinner at ChaCha Moon the night before, which I thought would be a nice ice breaker, and I’m so glad I did. I was lucky enough to be sat with two of the speakers; the lovely Elizabeth from Bridal Musings and Elaine from XOMISSE, along with Ellie from Yellow Lolly who’d been to last’s years conference. So not only did I get some insight into what the day would be like, but also some one to one advice from the experts! It was also good to know I’d see some friendly faces the next day.
I already wrote a separate post about the photowalk, so I don’t need to go into too much detail. But in brief, I got up super early to meet other photography loving bloggers to take fun and colourful photos around the Southbank before most of London was awake. Someone I was really excited to get to chat to was Geraldine from Little Big Bell, I’ve been a big fan of her colourful Instagram for ages.
OPENING KEY NOTE
After hot-footing it to The Royal Institution, I wolfed down a mini croissant and a cuppa and took my seat for the key note. Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge talked about ‘The Power of Fear: How to embrace what scares you and use it to grow your personal and professional life’. And lord knows I need some help with that. Here’s the main things I took away:
- Everyone panics and gets scared – it’s NORMAL
- Make sure you have a good support network around you that you can talk through ideas/problems with
- You have to dive in – don’t overthink it, just do it
- Good examples of people that have been successful by going again the grain are Kinfolk – a high end, expensive, niche magazine at a time when print journalism is in decline, and Rifle Paper Co. – printed stationery in a digital time.
- Risk = reward
- Finding your true audience is more important than numbers. These are the people who will follow you.
- There’s enough space at the table for everyone! That’s the beauty of the internet. If someone has done something similar to you successfully, don’t see it as competition, see it as a proven track record.
FULL TIME BLOGGING
Who better to give advice on making leap to full time blogging than someone who’s already done it… Twice! Francesca Stone from Fall for DIY gave some insight and tips on how to do it right. Here’s what I got from it:
- Write a basic business plan of where you want to get to – something to aim for
- Different ways of making money from your blog; banner advertising, affiliate links, e-courses, sponsored posts
- There’s some negativity around sponsored posts but as long as you don’t let companies put words in your mouth and you work WITH companies to create content that your readers will love, it’s ok! So much work goes into blogging and we need to champion ourselves and put proper value on our time.
- Lots of bloggers are now selling products and services to make money, as it can be more lucrative than advertising these days.
GROW YOUR AUDIENCE & INSTAGRAM PANELS
I’m not going to go through these one’s in too much detail as these were essentially people who are bloody good at what they do, talking about it. I think there were lots of things that crossed over actually. Top tips:
- Follower numbers are great but engagement is better
- Supplement deeper, meatier posts with quick picture posts
- Use apps to schedule content and look at stats; latergram, tailwind, IFTTT, Iconosquare
- You can’t reach new audiences by doing the same thing over and over again – experiment!
- Build your identity – people get used to your photographic style
DIY BLOG DESIGN
I don’t have a huge amount to say about this one, except that you should absolutely check out XOMISSE. Elaine does amazing little tutorials showing you how to make changes to the structure and style of your blog. No need to be scared of coding!!
This was my highlight! I found Anthony Peters from Imeus really inspiring. He spoke about Ink and Pixels: Creativity in the Digital Age, and made me want to create my own work! He and some friends have teamed up to make a documentary called Made You Look, here’s the trailer:
I can’t wait to see it!
Pinterest and West Elm teamed up to throw the Blogtacular crew an awesome crafting party at the West Elm store on Tottenham Court Road. Having been up since 5.45 on little sleep I was pretty much a mess by this point, and headed for a friendly face; Poppy from Poppy’s Papercuts. Here we are above, she’s being her usual hilarious self, and I am being my usual geek with my head down, furiously trying to get through my papercut before we got chucked out at 10pm. I was so into crafting that I didn’t even eat any of the incredible looking food (don’t worry, I made sure I got a glass of wine down me though). Funsies!
The first thing I did when I got home was go through my amazing goody bag!
So many lovely things!!! Just to pick out some highlights:
And Pineapple print by The Lovely Drawer.
Then I went through my notebook (Field Notes Ambition Edition, if you’re wondering)
And I stuck in all the lovely business cards I got – in fact, an amazing tip I got from Ellie from Yellow Lolly on the friday night dinner was to carry a washi tape around so that I could stick them all in as I went!
So here I am, head still whirling, full of ideas. Give me 6 months and hopefully some of them will have been put into action. I’ll definitely be back next year! And I might be better at introducing myself to people then too!