Yesterday I attended my first blogging conference – Blog on MOSI – which took place at Museum of Science and Industry. Off I went on a sunny Sunday morning with my friend Hodge Podge Days not entirely sure what to expect.
I had an amazing time and met some really influential bloggers. What amazed me is that bloggers are such a passionate bunch who believe in what they do and most importantly believe in themselves.
The event itself was so well organised – a real credit to Laura from Tired Mummy of Two who did all the hard work.
There were two keynote sessions on the day and three workshops. There was a great deal to learn and take in – I’m sure I’ll be fiddling around with photography apps for months to come, for example – so I thought I would jot down two or three key learning points from each session here.
- Keynote: Brad Lawless of Collective Bias. Collective Bias are a social media company that driving sales for brands and retailers by working with a community of expert bloggers in the US. Brad is one of those speakers who can give you a lot of information in a short space of time – I’ve got a whole load of notes from his 20 minute presentation. The points that leap out for me are:- Professionalism is a state of mind. The UK is way behind the US on blogger outreach – but we’re the leaders who can elevate it.
– Bloggers are publishers, and creative engaging content always wins. I did a little diagram, based on Brad’s presentation which goes something like this:
This session was led by John Arnold with input from Emily Leary, Lucy Heath and Vanessa Hurley-Parera. John discussed some simple tips which will be clearly obvious to the photography-minded amongst you but are news to me – for example get down on your knees or even lower to take a photo of your child. There was lots of hardware to play with, too – cameras, lenses and props courtesy of Lucy.
Photography for me means taking photos with my iPhone, so I was pleased to see that one of the break out groups was the hugely informative ‘mobile phone photography’ session led by Vanessa. I never knew you could do so much with a photo taken on a phone. There are so many great apps out there, but the two I have never-endingly played with since the event, and which my fiancée is now sick of, are:
– Snapseed: the ‘selective adjust’ function is causing me hours of joy. The app also has some great filters and many features to adjust brightness, contrast in particular areas or ‘control points’ of your image.
– A beautiful mess: This app was created by a couple of bloggers and enables you to create some brilliant collages, adding in funky doodles or neat looking text. I like creating collages so this was great for me.
- Social media
This session was arranged into various groups, each with an expert speaker on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, youtube, google+. I managed to go to the Google+, Pinterest and YouTube sessions and learnt so much. Here are the two points that I aim to act on in the near future:- Engaging with google+. Aly Hodge from Plus 2 Point 4 was giving some really useful tips. I use this a little, but it’s a relatively new social media platform that’s rapidly expanding and developing.
– YouTube – Led by Ruth Arnold from Geek Mummy. YouTube is the second biggest search engine after google. Really? I didn’t know this. The power of video is also growing at a great rate, so I aim to post some videos and update my channel.
- Creative Copy
This took the form of an informal discussion session with three of the top bloggers around – Jane Blackmore who blogs at Northern Mum, Helen Wills from Actually Mummy, and Penny Alexander from Aresidence. These are such pros that one has actually sold her blog to the market.These guys are not only bloggers, but social media consultants and freelance writers. They know their stuff. Again, I learnt so much, particularly on the business side of things, but if I could take two points away with me it would be:
– Be brave and write what you feel the need to write about. There was some discussion on blogger criticism – it’s amazing how many people get sneery about a blog, whether they’re friends, family or anonymous commenters. But good content comes from writing about what you believe in. And if you get paid for sponsored posts or advertising – what’s wrong with that? You’re being paid for your writing, the use of the site you built from scratch, and engagement with the traffic you built up.
– Build a portfolio of your best work that’s received a bit of attention – I’ve started to do this in my Featured in…section. Even if I don’t intend to turn my blog into a business, it’s a great record for me.
- Keynote: Blogging for good – the right way with Jenny Soppet-Smith from Cheetahs in my Shoes
Erm, by this time we’d had lunch and an afternoon break, during which there appeared to be some wine. I may have had a large top up or two of refreshing wine supplied at the event by Jacobs Creek. Therefore, I may have to read the conference notes on this one! I did jot a couple of points down however, which were:• What is the truth in what you are aiming to write?
• Think about who you could hurt in every piece of writing.
Okay that’s mainly complete bunkum and is most likely not what said at all. I blame Jacobs Creek. Perhaps I should take away from this session that afternoon drinking makes me jot weird things in my notebook.
I also networked with some great brands on the day who I’m looking forward to working with. Most importantly, the chance to attend an event like this has helped me to feel refreshed in terms of creativity, and confident in sitting down with my spider diagrams and working up some content on family life and being a parent. I’ll definitely attend again next year.