On the first weekend in September I headed off to the outskirts of London for a blogging festival. This was the second year of the appropriately named BlogStock and as per last year was located in the events field of Aldenham Country Park. Things kicked off on Friday lunch time but because my planning was poor I arrived later on Friday evening when it was already dark. This meant I missed a few talks and free lunch but that didn’t matter because Saturday was packed with even more talks, networking and free pancakes.
It was a weekend of hanging out with old blogger friends, finally putting faces to others and meeting many more I didn’t even know before the weekend. It is always fun to hang out with like minded creatives many who are equally obsessed with travel, however, most importantly everyone was there to learn something about blogging.
Here are 31 lessons I learnt at BlogStock 2015
Your blogging brand: Look after it like a pro by Kirsten Thompson
1. It is good to Google yourself every so often, important to see what is online about you and your brand
Punching above your weight: How to get noticed as a blogger by Milou van Roon
2. Create a mission statement for you blog – include what your blog strands for, your goals and values – this will help you stay ‘on brand’ when writing and marketing your blog
3. When branding your blog ask yourself the following: Who are you? What is your blogs purpose? Who/how are you helping people? What do you not want to be? How do you want readers to feel after reading your blog?
4. Keep your social media ‘on brand’ like you would any blog post, also keep it professional don’t become a train wreck
5. Find your niche and stick to it (but in a creative way) this will help attract the right readers
6. The more content you write on your blog the more likely you are to be noticed but keep the content high quality always
7. Writing thoughtful comments on other peoples blogs is another way to get noticed but don’t be spammy and don’t just constantly link back to your own blog
8. On social media: figure out what works and do more of it (create a strategy)
9. Before you pitch ask yourself: How can you help? What is your story? Why should they pick you?
10. How to pitch: Contact the right person and include: Who are you? What your idea is? Why this is relevant? and How you will do this?
11. Stand out in your pitch, don’t be generic – a catchy subject line can help but always include pitch
Instagram for Photographers by Sean Byrne
12. Use photography you are passionate about don’t copy trends
13. Experience the moment as well as capture it, you’ll put more of your experience into the photo/edit/description
14. Be as active as possible on Instagram, ALWAYS comment back
15. Use powerful images, aim for an image than can inspire someone more than any words
16. Teach yourself via YouTube and magazines
17. Go to Instameets
18. Following your blogging niche and radiate this on Instagram
19. 40% of users on Instagram are American aim to post at peak times to gain engagement from them – the Americans also seem love any picture to do with London landscape
20. Challenge yourself to be creative and original while photographing ordinary everyday objects
Social Media health check by Elle Croft
21. Your profile picture should say something about you and your blog, make sure it’s big enough to be seen in the tiny square they give you. Also make sure you have a caption on your Facebook Page profile picture for where to find your blog etc.
22. Post regularly, with pictures
23. Make sure your about me is up to date and tells people what that can expect from you and your blog
24. Be overly critical about how to improve your social media platforms and set a list of goals to implement
25. Use Twitter analytics and Facebook insights to see what is working well and do more of that – Elle says typically more personal updates do well on Facebook
26. Do a ‘health check’ on your social media regularly
27. Don’t try and put your tent up in the dark, especially after a few beers and when you have forgotten how to put it up
28. Providing free hot drinks on a cold day is the best way to attract people to your tent, well done Affilinet
29. The blogging community really are the best and a huge part of the reason this blog has continued as long as it has
30. However, it isn’t cool to just hang out with your blogger friends and make no effort to network with new bloggers/brands or be too busy talking you don’t learn anything
31. It’s totally okay to go up to bloggers and introduce yourself even if you think they won’t know who you are
32. Even with three blankets, a sleeping bag and bundles of warm clothes camping in the first weekend of September is still going to be freezing, don’t believe otherwise
BlogStock, despite the cold, was a brilliant weekend of networking, making friends and learning. The Traverse guys did an amazing job of organising everything and I was impressed to see they had the Tweet for a drink bar running during the final debate.
If you are interesting in finding out more of what people learnt then the following blogs may help (leave me a link to your BlogStock round up and I’ll add it here too)
14 Key Takeaways from BlogStock 2015 – Almost Ginger
BlogStock 2015 – What I learnt and why you should go – The Purple Pumpkin Blog
13 Things I learned at BlogStock – Rosalilium
BlogStock 2015 – Explore with Ed
BlogStock 2015 Day Two – The WILD Life
How to be a 6-figure blogger PART ONE – The Travel Hack (Monica)
And if you are not interested in BlogStock but want to see some better pictures than mine, check out this photo album by Vagabond Baker.