This is the last and final instalment about Blogfest (promise) because if I carry on I will be writing about it forever. So much to say though. You might want to give this a miss unless you want to know what happens when I have fizz on an empty stomach and what wee sweats are…
Yesterday I finished my post on Dragon’s Pen which saw me pitching my book to some publishers. Amazingly they didn’t laugh at me. All good there then. So what did the rest of the day have in store for me?
The Scummy Mummies
Due to my Dragon’s Pen pitch I only caught the very end of these two. They were hilarious and right up my street. Anyone that is prepared to wear a very bright blue leotard type thing whilst singing about not joining the PTA is a winner in my book.
From blog to business: Building a brand
After Scummy Mummies a more of a serious talk with the lovely Steph Douglas from Don’t Buy Her Flowers. I am a big fan of Steph’s business and have actually used it myself for a poorly friend.
Those that read my blog will know that recently I have been agonising over the direction of my blog and where to take it. In the past I have been told that my blog isn’t “commercial” enough etc. However, do I want it to be commercial? I get approached by many companies but I only accept 10% of the work I am offered. I had been asking myself whether this was the right move. I had actually accepted some work for a sponsored post which I had some small reservations about. Hearing and listening to the brilliant Steph highlighted what I want out of my blog. Steph stressed the importance of knowing who you are as a brand and what your natural fit is. She talked about setting yourself very clear parameters for what brands you will accept work from. Hearing this gave me the confidence to go back to the brand and explain that I didn’t think that it would work. We need to remember that our blogs are ours. We are the ones who determine what goes on our blog and we shouldn’t be afraid to say no if we aren’t happy with any aspects. I have decided to carry on as I am. I am not going to go out pitching for work, I will let companies approach me and if they don’t want to then that is fine too. I started my blog because I wanted to write and it is important that I remember that and don’t lose my way.
This talk was great because it clarified what I want from my blog and that I shouldn’t be afraid to stick to that.
Digital Strategy for bloggers
This was led by Alison Perry from Not Another Mummy Blog. A fascinating session. I learnt that you can have more than one keyword for your SEO. Why did I not know this? You should always have your keyword in your title. It’s not always about going for the obvious keyword; think about how people might search in Google, what would they type? To rank highly we need to be providing quality content, we should always be thinking about our readers and asking ourselves what they would want. A website called ‘Answer the Public’ was also mentioned as a good way of finding keywords for your post.
Different social media platforms was also something that was discussed. Recently I found myself trying to do it all and I came to the conclusion that you can’t. It was reassuring to hear Alison backing up my thinking; she said that we should pick our social channels, not feel obliged to cover them all. With regards to Instagram she mentioned that she always posts twice a day, at the same time.
Know your voice
After another break and more chatting (yaaay) we had the next talk. Know your voice was a panel discussion with Sara Pascoe, Stella Duffy, Miranda Sawyer, Liv Little and Cash Carraway. A fantastic debate about using your voice and not being afraid to use your voice. There was also discussion about shaking off labels and ignoring trolls. A talk that left me feeling empowered.
Keynote with Davina McCall
The final talk of the day was the absolute highlight for me. Davina came to the stage with no notes and she spoke from the heart. You could not fail to be moved by her speech. I made no notes as I was too busy absorbing what she said. She gave a keynote that was both moving and funny. Personal anecdotes only served to remind us that despite her TV personality and fame, Davina is just one of us. She spoke about self-loathing. Something I can identify with and relate too. A little bit of self-loathing is healthy. However, like Davina my self-loathing can takeover. But that is a whole other post which I may write one day. Davina talked about having to train herself to look in the mirror and say “I love you”. It took her two years to be able to do it. She also spoke about the importance of appreciating the small things in life.
A brilliant keynote that ended the day on a high.
Now it was time for more socialising – yaaay! There was fizz (double yaay) and cocktails! Now I fear that you might be disappointed because I have kept you reading with the lure of what I did after drinking a couple of glasses of fizz and one cocktail. Did I start stripping? Did I start lap dancing? Nope, I just about held onto my dignity, just about. The fizz just made me even more excitable and I talked even faster and at an even higher pitch. I know and you thought it wasn’t possible. I totally fan-girled over Danielle from Someone’s Mum Danielle is a former teacher too and has written many amazing posts about the struggle to balance teaching with family life. Posts that make you breathe a sigh of relief because she has articulated exactly how you feel. Danielle and her blog have gone from strength to strength. She started at the same time as me in January and Danielle is smashing it! She is in the top 50 of the tots100! Even more brilliant is that blogging has meant that Danielle has been able to leave her teaching career behind to spend more time with her family. Danielle has created herself her own business through her blog, yet she still manages to retain the authenticity of her blog. I am basically in complete awe of her and probably spent a good thirty minutes telling her this whilst trying to learn the secrets of her success. I have come to the conclusion that there are no secrets, she is just brilliant at what she does, a fantastic writer and probably still has that teacher mentality in that she still works very hard.
I was by now feeling very tiddly and it took me a lot to say no to more booze. I just wanted to stay out for longer. A bar full of mums is a fun place to be. I wonder if we drank the bar dry? One person I had been wanting to speak to all day was Jane from Maflingo. She is someone I speak to a lot about blogging and we are a bit of a supportive network to each other. However, when it comes to these events we never see each other due to us mixing in different blogging circles. I had also wanted to speak to her fellow Nottingham blogger Alex who blogs at My Life-Long Holiday. Despite the many breaks it can be hard to find people! I managed to have a chat with Jane at various points during the day but not a proper chat. I was hoping to chat with her in the bar but then Mr C was sending increasingly irate messages telling me that the children were about to eat their own arms as they were so hungry. Tell me about it Mr C. I had been trying to find snacks in the bar and all I could find were some funny tasting nuts….
In the end I had to dash away but not before shouting at Jane in a very high pitched manner
“we never got to talk, we never spoke, we never talked!”
I’m not sure if Jane understood a word as the fizz had kicked in and I was very over-excited and yep, I was upset that we never talked. Next time Jane!
Some of the lovely bloggers that I was able to grab some quick chats was the lovely Kimberly from Media Mummy who was wearing the most gorgeous outfit and was so lovely. Yes, I am using lovely a lot but she was lovely! Also the wonderful Ursula who blogs at Mumbelievable who was also, yes you guessed it, very lovely. In the toilet line when I was fearing I might wet myself I saw the brilliant Mum Muddling Through and Tayla from Motherhood: The Real Deal I really wanted a proper chat with them but I was very much in the zone of pelvic clenching after downing a glass of water, despite being desperate for the loo. Now I am doubting myself. Perhaps it wasn’t them, perhaps I was having wee-wee hallucinations. I am not going to lie, I was close to the edge. I was having wee sweats and everything. I am going to stop there before I descend into a Mumsnet chatroom type thread.
I dashed out of Blogfest with my goody bag. It was a very heavy goody bag and as I hit the cold air outside I realised a) how tipsy I felt b) how heavy the sodding goody bag was. Dashing to the train station meant that I nearly took several bystanders out. I then nearly got lost but just about managed to find my tube train. On finding myself a seat I realised that I needed the loo again! I spent the next three stops desperately clenching again. I started Blogfest desperately needing the loo and I ended it that way too, sat on the circle line.
Would I go again? For me, attending a blogging conference is an expensive affair. However, Blogfest left me feeling empowered and positive so if I had the money then YES!
Did you go to Blogfest? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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