On Saturday I headed into London to meet up with 300 other bloggers for the annual BlogFest conference. In previous years I have attended Britmums and BlogonWin both of which I really enjoyed. However with Kippers arrival I wasn’t brave enough to attend any of the Summer conferences with a small baby in tow. Hats off to all the lovely mums of new babies I met on Saturday!! Kipper is now 6 months old and it was the perfect excuse to leave him, for the first time so a test for both of us. I know there have been a number of posts already but below are my bullet point learns from each session I attended.

The conference was busy, busy, busy with sessions running on from one to another and when there was a break a number of sponsors to get around. I met some lovely bloggers too many to list here but thank you to Hattie from Coffee & Bubbles and Nicole from The Mum Reviews for meeting me at the bottom of the escalator and making it a little easier to walk into a super crowded room. And to Jules from Pondering Parenthood my expressing buddy!!

blogfest 2016 key learnsIt would be wrong of me to write this list of things I learnt, without acknowledging the controversial first session around women in media. I don’t think hope that it was not designed to alienate the fab dad bloggers in the auditorium but I fear it did just that. During the day I work in a male dominated industry but I am not discriminated against at all, although the majority of the people in that room were women, I would have hoped we could afford the dad’s the same respect.

So what did I learn? I attended three sessions on the day:

From Pitch to Publication Day

  • You need an agent and a publicist – who should work together
  • No one is going to publish content that is freely available online so if you are thinking about your blog you will need to have new content to share
  • The association of authors & agents website is a good place to start when looking for an agent
  • When pitching to an agent a good covering letter will include reasons why you have chosen them in particular i.e. don’t make it generic
  • You can also look for agents in the acknowledgements of books similar to yours
  • Research similar non-fiction books for ideas on format and layout
  • Bloggers have a head start as we are already writing and for non fiction books we already have some credibility or an established platform.
  • For non fiction books could write 10,000 words and then pitch at an agent. For fiction writers you really need to have written the book before pitching
  • Work on a book proposal to sell yourself and the book ahead of time
  • Make sure your agent rings the publicist when looking for a publisher rather than just send an email over. A phone call means they are taking it more seriously.

From Blog to Business: Building a Brand

  • A blog can be a stepping stone to starting a new business idea
  • Does advertising on the blog change its perception in the eye of the reader – this is something I need to consider when I look at monetising Mudpie Fridays
  • Engagement is key, not just review after review, mix posts up
  • Think about how the blog/brand will evolve as the babies grow up? Need to consider the niche you are positioning yourself in
  • Build a blogger network to support the launch/ your tribe – of a potential new business
  • Smaller brands are looking for something more personal,  a story over a straight review, their motivations are likely to be different to big brands. Also any product comes straight off their bottom line – be sensitive to this. They are more likely to appreciate comments and sharing on their social media channels
  •  When building a business look for opportunities for value swapping – i.e. I’ll share yours if you share mine. This should ensure you get access to a different audience as well.
  • Engagement on social media will grow following organically
  • Remember above all it needs to be useful – whoever the client – what can I do to make your life better?
  • Struggling with time management – write a list and work through one thing each week (esp if you have a full time job and a blog as well).

Digital Strategy for Bloggers

  • SEO basics – keywords in headers, throughout and name all images (alt tag)
  • Don’t keyword stuff
  • Consider relevant external links. Google is all about creating a good user experience for the end client
  • You can use longtail keyword – whole sentences instead of single words where is harder to rank higher up the search engines
  • Ensure you are linking your own older posts in your new post
  • Identify your most read posts and look at re-pinning/promoting these
  • Can’t beat producing quality content, what questions are you being asked and bare this in mind when formulating posts
  • Don’t do all social media platforms, choose the two that come naturally to you and work on those first. To make a channel work you should be looking to put in 5 hours a week to that channel alone
  • Do not share social media pictures across all channels – i.e. what you post on IG should be different to a FB post or tweet. Need to tailor the comms to the social media platform
  • Really should be looking at a 5 year timeframe

Some of this I already knew, some was new. As someone who has been blogging for eighteen months I still have lots to learn and I am always looking for ways to grow my traffic. I will definitely be attending a conference next year I am just not sure which one!

Did you go to BlogFest? If so what was your take away?

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43 Comments

  1. Jules Pondering Parenthood

    Thank you for the mention and thank you for being my expressing buddy! It took a lot of the stress out of finding somewhere to do it! #BloggerClubUK

  2. shaney(imummyblog)

    Thanks for sharing these greats tips. #bloggerclubuk

  3. Do not feel like you have to apologise. You have your unique account/experience of Blogfest16 and you are the only one who can tell that. x #bloggerclubuk

  4. Carolina Twin Mom / Mary Peterson

    Fantastic! This is a very helpful summary, especially for a newbie blogger like me who is incredibly cautious to not misstep along the way. Much appreciated! #BloggerClubUK

  5. Fab round up. I really, really, really need to go to one of the big blog conferences next year. #BloggerClubUK

  6. Interesting post. I’ve never been to anything like this. Maybe I’ll have to try one next year.
    Re: from pitch to publication, I would say the publicist is the most important person anyone needs.
    #bloggerclubUK

  7. I really enjoyed Blogfest and loved the Pitch to Publication day panel, I found it so helpful to listen to the experiences of other writers and authors. #BloggerClubUK

  8. Sounds like you learnt a lot. It’s been a while since I attended a blogging conference. #bloggerclubuk

  9. mainy - myrealfairy

    Thanks for sharing so much quality info, I’ve learned something by reading your post:)

    Mainy

    #bloggerclubuk

  10. This is really interesting – thank you! I didn’t go to Blogfest but it sounds like there were a couple of really good talks. Shame about the Dad hating…

    Pen x #bloggerclubUK

  11. I’ve never been to a blogging conference but I really need to up my game and look at going to one!! I wouldn’t know where to start to be honest, I don’t even know when they’re all on. But I really think going to one would be really beneficial to me. #bloggerclubuk

  12. Random Musings

    I’ve read a few posts about this but this the most informative – I love how you share what you’ve learned in each session!
    Debbie

  13. topfivemum

    This is the first post I’ve read on Blogfest so thank you for sharing your learnings. I’ve definitely taken note of some of these #BloggerClubUK

  14. Lianne harris

    You’ve done a brilliant round up with some good points for new bloggers to take on board. Noted some of these! #bloggerclubUK

  15. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    Yikes an agent & a publisist? I’m a ways off from that one. lol It’s great that you learned so much there. I did hear some grumbling about the speakers, I don’t see the need for making the men in the room feel uncomfortable. Thank you for sharing what you learned with us! #bloggerclubuk

  16. Chilli Regina

    Great sum up and very helpful! Will be following some of these steps! Hope I will get to attend one of these fests in the future!
    #bloggerclubUK

  17. Being a total blogging newbie I completely missed blogfest this year, I didn’t even know it existed until a month ago, needless to say it was too late! I will be there next year (assuming there is a next year). Thankfully you’ve got all the bits I need as a newbie right here, great tips. I’m so pleased to read about sticking to a few social media platforms, there are not enough hours in the day to entertain them all!
    Thanks for sharing x

  18. Thanks for sharing, this is really helpful! I’ve only been blogging for about a year and a half and still learning ALL the time! Thanks for writing this! xx

  19. Life Loving

    Sounds like it was really useful. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Sally @ Life Loving

  20. Becky (EducatingRoversi)

    This is such a useful post. I’ve been blogging a similar period to you but I still feel so new to it. I need to find time to build it in the right ways and know what I’m doing a little more. There were some great tips on this post for me. Hoping to go to #Blogfest17 if I’m brave enough! Thanks for hosting #BloggerClubUK

  21. Laura - dear bear and beany

    I wasn’t able to go to Blogfest, so it’s been lovely to read about what it was like and what they cover. Sounds like there was some good sessions this year X

  22. Brandi w Big Fit Fam

    Sounds like you learned a lot and are definitely ready to go places! I love your blog already and can’t wait to see where your new knowledge takes you! #BloggerClubUK

  23. melissa abel

    Wow sounds like you got so much out if this, defiantly on the to do list for next year. great round up.

  24. lucy grace

    Loved this post for all its helpful information, especially the blog to business tips. Thank you! #bloggerclubuk

  25. Rochelle

    Wowww, I would love to go to an event like this in the future. I definitely want to take on alt tags for my images and learning more about digital strategy stuff. Helpful post! #BloggerClubUK

  26. Wow I’m so glad I blog just for self-therapy and as a little sideline hobby. That all sounds like a lot of work. I just don’t know how you hard-core bloggers find the time. I have enough trouble just writing a post and joining up with the odd linky here and there lol. It’s great that you learned so much though. I guess that’s what these events are all about.
    Thanks for sharing your tips and for hosting #bloggerclubuk

  27. Steph Curtis

    They are really great top tips, thanks! Love blog conferences 🙂 #BloggingClubUK

  28. five little doves

    I’m so gutted that I didn’t get to meet you! I took away some really useful information with me and some not so useful, but either way it was a good experience. I think the thing that stands out to me the most was Davinas attitude of gratitude, that is definitely something that will really stay with me. #BloggerClubUK

  29. Jo (Mother of Teenagers)

    So lovely to see some positive take out from the conference. I didn’t make it this year but the last two sessions you attended look as if they were full of good advice. Thanks for sharing. #bloggerclubuk

  30. Ah, thank you for this! This is brilliant! With my broken leg, I had to miss what would have been my very first BlogFest, but I’m hoping to go next year! This is very useful – I can tell I would have learned lots! Having only started 7 weeks ago, I really agree with the learning curve! I’m glad it was said that you should focus on 2 social media platforms! Totally useless on IG and Pinterest! Aaargh! Thank you for sharing this! #BloggerClubUK

  31. Helen - Talking Mums

    Some great tips. Thanks for sharing them. I really wish I could have gone to BlogFest 16. I will definitely be looking out for the next one. I would love it if you could share the names of some of the other conferences you know about. #BloggerClubUk

  32. Alison (MadHouseMum)

    You’ve covered two of the sessions I didn’t get to, so thank you 🙂 Alison x #BloggerClubUK

  33. Mrs Morgan Plus 3

    Oohh this is really interesting will definitely be using some of them 🙂 x #bloggerclubuk

  34. Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    Fab to find out what you thought of Blogfest and very interesting to hear that bloggers could have a foot in the door when it comes to book publishing. It’s not something that I had thought of. #BloggerClubUK

  35. kristin mccarthy

    Thnks for sharing this info. I will need to reread it when all of these kids stop screaming and climbing me….so in about ten years!

    #bloggerclubuk

  36. The Tale of Mummyhood

    I loved reading this, so insightful. It sounds like you had a great day too!

    #BloggerClubUK

  37. Caroline

    That was really useful info, thanks for sharing. I would love to go next year. #BloggerClubUK

  38. Natasha Mairs

    some great tips here. I have been blogging for over 5 years and I am still learning new things #BloggerClubUK

  39. justsayingmum

    Oh thank you for sharing – I didn’t get to go so it’s really useful for me to glean what other got from it! Sounds like you gained some good pointers #BloggerClubUK

  40. Wandermust mummy

    I’ve never been to a blog conference so useful to see what you learnt #bloggersclub

  41. Hattie - Coffee & Bubbles

    You’re welcome and it was lovely to meet you.

  42. Fi - Beauty Baby and Me

    Brilliant round up chick – especially enjoyed reading Blog to Business tips as I was at a different session when this was on. Gutted I didn’t get to meet you but what a great day it was xx #bloggerclubuk

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