This weekend I travelled to London for the BritMums Live 2016 conference, full of nerves, anticipation and excitement. It is the largest blogger conference in the UK and it felt like a big build up as we’d all had our tickets booked way in advance. It was an inspirational day and I just wanted to write a few words about my highlights, though I’m sure your inboxes are brimming with reviews of the same thing!
Friday Fringe Drinks
I was lucky to get a Friday night pass as my other half came back from work early, which was very unexpected. I know he moved heaven and earth to make that happen, thank you! We all gathered at the Holiday Inn by Camden Lock and it was lovely to meet bloggers that I have been chatting to on Twitter but never met in person…I was super nervous, almost like it was a blind date…wondering what they’ll think of your personality in comparison to your writing, but I needn’t have worried so much. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming, and for a newbie like me, I felt completely at ease. It was particularly lovely to meet my fellow tribesters as well after months of Whats App’ing! Thankfully we were very sensible and had an early-ish night, as I am very much a light weight these days and big potential for a hangover…
The Big Event
As we arrived the next day, with coffee in hand to wake me up, the venue was packed with lots of bloggers in little groups, getting to know each other. It was lovely to recognise friendly faces and finally meet the people I’ve been reading about, the ice was broken pretty quickly! As expected the venue was big and separated into a large room with 5 smaller rooms for the sessions. The registration was quick and I was impressed how quickly they registered 700 bloggers..we all sat down and the founders of BritMums Jen and Susanna introduced the conference along with a few truly inspirational speakers. In particular, I was so moved by Anne-Marie Cockburn of What Martha Did Next‘s speech about her daughter Martha’s death and how positive she is about it.
Sessions to learn more,,,
There were several sessions throughout the day and I decided to attend the Monetising Your Blog, Approaching PR and Instagram ones.
Monetizing Your Blog was the first session and interesting to hear more about how I would eventually move forward to make money from my blog. I have to admit though that it did all feel quite out of my reach. To think about it positively, it is amazing what can be done and it was mentioned that when you are at a stage of getting 10,000 page views per month, is when PR companies start to take notice. However, it was stressed that engagement with your audience is key so I left inspired to continue growing my readership and take the slow and steady race.
Approaching PR was a fantastic session. I found this one most helpful and some of the important points spoken about, were really simple ones, such as emailing PR companies a personalised email rather than a blanket one. It sounded quite obvious, but the speaker said she had never received a personalised email from a blogger pitching, which surprised me. I have only just begun to think about approaching PR, and to be honest have been convincing myself that because I don’t have huge numbers, there’s not a lot of point at the moment. But I now realise this isn’t true and the advice to be pro-active and follow up any contacts you have, as well as not to be afraid to pitch ideas to them was very useful.
Instagram is something I am really enjoying at the moment, it’s actually becoming a bit of an addiction! But as much as I love it, it’s definitely an area of improvement. It seems to be similar to a lot of social media channels that it’s all about the community and interacting with other accounts. This session unfortunately wasn’t hugely helpful as it seems to be directed more at those with big following already.
Mingling and Chatting to Brands
In between the sessions, we all mingled in the room where the brands were located – this was fantastic to meet more people and have a chance to chat properly. The brands had lots of freebies to give away and there were also some fun things to do – I nailed the Coca Cola vs Coke Zero test (whoop) and particularly loved my photobooth time with The Mum Project and Bringing Up Georgia great idea Boots! There were also stands from Munchkin and Clangers where you could leave your business cards and sign up to be contacted when they are looking for bloggers. It was so wonderful to meet all the talented and beautiful bloggers I’ve been reading about – there are too many to mention but here’s a little picture of some of us!
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely! I had such an amazing couple of days and learned so much! I came away totally inspired to keep going with my blog and to keep blogging about what I love. I was very nervous about going to an event as I’m not the best at mingling and being social but it was brilliant. And now I’m even contemplating the next one already….