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!!
It 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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