What I Learnt at #BlogFest16

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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  1. 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

  2. Sara

    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

  3. 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

  4. Janine

    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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Helen

    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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Jaki

    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

  11. Pen

    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

  12. Kat

    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

  13. suz

    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.

  14. 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

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