Brit Mums Live – it came and it went. All in the blink of an eye and yet by Saturday evening I felt like I’d known Aby from You Baby Me Mummy for years, not hours!
Aby and me – proving why 2 wine brands shouldn’t have sponsored Britmums Live! – well I had to try them all, didn’t I?!
This is definitely a bloggy post, so apologies to my regular readers if this isn’t quite up your street…you never know though, it might inspire you to go on and read this…how to start a blog.
Britmums Live – the round up
It turns out going to a blogging conference was way more intimidating and nerve-wracking than I thought it would be (and I thought it would be!). People with blogs who I admire and comment on became super-star celebs. I totally bottled saying hello to one of my favourite bloggers, Actually Mummy, mainly on the grounds that she was a lot taller than I had imagined, and there was no way she would know who I was. But I did suck it on a couple of occasions, resulting in this…
Yep. A proud moment. Actually it was because I had a lovely chat with Mummy Barrow (one of the fabulous, award winning, Team Honk trio) and she gave me some great advice about giving, er, advice (because recently more and more people are contacting me with their personal issues and asking for advice – I’m more than happy to talk through people’s problems with them but I do worry that I’m not a professional, so perhaps I should be careful dishing out my thoughts!).
I could happily go on about all the lovely people I met (you know who you are) but that would only make my lovely blogger friends who couldn’t come jealous! So, instead I want to focus now on what I learnt and elements of my to-do list…I won’t list everything because it’s mammoth and won’t all be relevant to you.
Britmums Live Lessons
Define success for you – for me this is blogging about what I’m interested in, working with inspiring women and men, and earning some dollar! The only bit I’m not achieving is that last bit. I have great traffic, I have a wonderful Facebook community, all of which are the result of a lot of hard work so I would love some more money from it. Whether this is through well-placed, relevant adverts or through sponsored posts, I don’t really mind. My only stipulation is that is needs to be with a brand that I would buy from anyway. I hope I have proven from 2 and half years of blogging and 400+ posts that I would, and do, do it for free. But some money, so I can keep doing what I’m doing, would be lovely. That’s a lot of ‘dos’.
Create a brand wish list – these are the brands that you really want to work with and, like Fashion Foie Gras, be persistent in getting in touch and blogging about them! But don’t be afraid to be honest if you didn’t like something when you’re reviewing their products. Remember you need to be honest and authentic for your readers and brands will respect you for it.
Media Pack – a media pack is your blog’s CV. I don’t want to use it as a tool for procrastinating but I am pimping it up (i.e. completing what I did do but never finished) so I can start sharing it with my favourite brands and PR companies. You also need a strong About Me and Hire Me page.
Collaboration is Key – whether it’s with other bloggers or with brands, working together has been proved to dramatically increase your traffic. What form the collaboration takes is more of a mystery but the message was just to get on with it. OK, I suggest starting with a local, regular coffee meet up – who’s in?
Pull your finger out – if you want to work with other people, want help, want money – ask! This is something I don’t do, I focus on creating content and building a community. My aim was always to make this my career but as of yet I’ve not been proactive enough. I believe this new challenge will help me move my blog to the next level and as a result I’ll have better content and a more engaging community!
Hashtags in Pinterest don’t work – Shock horror!! I did an e-course a while back which said put loads of hashtags into your pins and more people will see them. It’s all lies. What you want to do is apply for Rich Pins (through the business centre) as they have a higher click-through and make your captions colourful and really descriptive. Nevermind 140 characters, the more words you can use, the more chance someone will find your pins! Oh and make sure your site is optimised for mobile because nearly everyone using pinterest is on their phone.
Try free writing – I went to a really interesting session about having some me time to unleash your creativity. From a 5 minute writing session I was able to come up a number of interesting ideas (in amongst the gumph) to explore. All (OK not all but it’s a start) you have to do is focus on your breathing for a few minutes, the in breath and the out breath, relax your mouth, then your shoulders, your legs, your feet. Then just write. What ever is in your head, even if it’s about what you’re going to have for tea or I wonder how many people are currently on the toilet, just write and see what comes out!
Only use one light source – when you’re taking photos of food or otherwise, only use one light source and a reflector. I.e. don’t use the light from the window and then put a lamp on it, it makes for weird colours. I don’t take a lot of photos but when I’m doing recipes I take a shedload so I’m thinking of investing in one of these bad boys: Portable Disc Light Reflector.
Don’t be a chicken – you know that cliche, you only regret the things you don’t do? Well, it’s true and I wish I hadn’t chickened out of a few things!