Last weekend, I managed to escape my dissertation hell and head off to the gorgeous Custard Factory in Birmingham with Emma for a very special event - Birmingham Blognix! Organised by the lovely Elizabeth from Rosalilium, this was an informal bloggers conference-cum-indoor-picnic - designed for the more advanced blogger but with something to offer everyone. Right up my street! Having been a blogger for over five years, and reading blogs for another two or three, blogging is one of my favourite things to talk about - especially with others who love the subject too, and I'm always looking to learn something new.
The speakers were an impressive bunch, with expertise in every area. There were a couple of talks in the morning, from Jen and Emma, and workshops in the afternoon run by Kim, Hazel and Colleen from rewardStyle, and between them they covered the full gamut of blogging experience - PR, photography, social media, design and monetisation - so there was plenty of opportunity to pick up nuggets of useful info. Highlights included:
- Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to PRs, but think about what you can bring to the table - share your stats, explain your love of the brand and outline why you're a good fit for their campaign/to receive their products
- Plan your social media! Schedule in updates and set aside time to do social media admin and social bookmarking. (This is something I *really* need to do!)
- Use different social media platforms - Youtube, Podcasts, Google+ and Vines all make you stand out from the crowd (also, Google+ is really good for SEO)
Part of what I love about blogging is that it really is a female-dominated industry; men just aren't signing up to this part of the digital world in the same way, and whilst there are some great male bloggers, I love that my feed reader is really stuffed full with bad-ass women who know their stuff. And when those bad-ass women share that stuff they know with me? Well I love them even more!
I was very impressed by the content of the conference; working in this industry, blogging for so many years and reading everything I can get my hands (or cursor) on about blogging, I really enjoyed the more complex content and the opportunity to learn from people who do this for a living. A lot of blogging advice takes the line of 'blog for yourself' and 'do it your way', but there's only just so far that can go; blogging is about so much more than that - especially if you want to make it part of a career rather than just a hobby - so tips on food photography and using Google+ effectively are what I want to know. So kudos to Elizabeth for making that happen! She's rad.
Emma's super snazzy outfit!
An ice cream dress next to an ice cream van!
So many of my friends look a bit blank when I start to chat about the digital world - it still amazes me that some of them still haven't jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, and don't know what Pinterest is. Who are these people who don't live their lives online?! But blogging is one of my favourite things in life, and it was lovely to chat with others who 'get' it. I don't really have any hobbies and this one doesn't often bring you into contact with people in real life!
Before I get too gushy, I just want to give a little shout out to the absolute beauty of a building where Blognix took place. The Custard Factory is a wonderful, arty, inspiring venue covered in clever graffiti. There was tonnes to see and do, vintage goodies to find and picture opportunities to take advantage of; a brilliant venue for us creative types.
There's still so much more that I want to achieve with blogging, a lot of which is on hold until I finish my Masters in September, so I was happy to walk away with my Moleskine chock full of blogging knowledge, ready for when I really get my teeth into this blog. There's still so much more that I want to know, so much more to blogging that there just isn't time to cover in one day, but Blognix really was a great beginning. Plus, there was a lot of cake. Winner.
(Oh, and one of those things on the 'on hold' list is to bring a conference like this to Leeds. It would be incredible, let's do it).