Blog on Win Winchester
As I mentioned on Monday’s Lovely Things, Saturday saw me going to my first ever blogging conference – Blog on Win in Winchester, run by Laura Seaton from Tired Mummy of Two. I booked my ticket in June, so in many respects, October felt a long time coming, but then suddenly it was here.
I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with conferences in general. In my career I found them inspiring and great for new ideas and development, but I am utterly terrible at the whole networking thing and walking up to new people and introducing myself. In fact, I hate it. So seeing as I haven’t worked in an office where I might get invited to conferences for about two years, I felt a little nervous about going.
It helped that Blog on Win set up a Facebook group prior to the event, with updates of what was going to happen on the day, and a way to see what other bloggers would be going and get to know them if you don’t follow or maybe talk to them already on Twitter. Through this I met the lovely AK from My Buggy Junction, who lived locally and kindly offered me a lift, which made me feel better as I wasn’t walking into the event on my own.
AK and I from My Buggy Junction (image courtesy of AK)
The day itself was broken down into several sessions with a welcome and a section on social media. Then the day broke into streams where you could choose the talk that applied most to you. There was a choice between video or photography in the morning and then either working with brands of a talk on breaking the rules from the Unmumsy Mum. I actually found it really hard to choose between the last two and wish I could have gone to both. The day came to a conclusion with an ask any question Q&A and a very, very funny wrap up from the Scummy Mummies. I’m talking full on belly laughs here!
I have to give a special mention to the awesome goody bags, they were pretty amazing and I was glad we came in a car and not on the train! As well as the fabulous cake. It was also fantastic to meet some of the bloggers I chat to in real life, some of them I have actually chatted to mostly through Twitter for years.
Here are my top notes and take aways from the dates to share with you all.
- Social media needs to focus more or engaging with your audience and not just broadcasting. Get involved, chat and discuss. Do this and people will be more likely to engage and read your blog posts.
- Earn the respect of your readers by engaging.
Here is my photo edited during the photo session (I was quite pleased with it)
- This session was run by Annie Spratt, you can read her presentation on her blog.
- You should create your own photography style on your blog, so that when anyone sees one of your images they immediately know it’s one of yours, but so they look beautiful and consistent on your blog and Instagram too.
- This can be done with with a template or a watermark, but beware some pinners do not like watermarks.
- Some bloggers with awesome photography:
- Think of 5 things that reflect you and your blog and work out how you can capture this in your photography.
- Practise – take lots and lots of photos, perfect your art, the more you practise the better you will get.
- Store – create a secret Pinterest board and pin all of the images you see that you love, what is similar about them how can you create a theme for your images using this? Work out what you love and then cross out anything that is not practical for you.
- Edit – break away from Pic Monkey and invest in Photoshop and Lightroom so much better and you can do so much more, and it’s not that much more than the premium PicMonkey subscription.
Working with Brands
The Hotter Shoes stand (I was rather impressed with their collection)
- Your blog is your brand, become known for your brand. When you work with brands, you are a brand approaching a brand.
- Be creative with your sponsored posts, they can be engaging, fun and interesting too.
- Don’t be afraid to approach brands, you are making a PRs job easier for them. Google their press office details and send them an honest email with links to similar work you have done before.
- PRs often score bloggers based on lots of elements but you can be marked negatively for not getting a review or post up in good time. Ask the PR when they want it live some expectations are met and managed.
- A page on your blog has a net worth. You need to treat brands fairly based on the value of goods being sent to review. While a £100 item warrants a full page, you may want to include a smaller £20 item in a roundup. This is only fair to the brand that has sent you a larger item but is also reflective of a page on your blog’s value.
- However, don’t always turn down the small opportunities. It is about relationship building with agencies and PRs – a small item may lead to a long term relationship.
- Plan your features and blogging calendar in advance. Think what do you want to be doing in a few months time and approach brands in plenty of time to see if they would like to be involved.
- When you review items it is better to make it something you would genuinely buy.
There Is No Such Thing As A Stupid Question Session
- DA (domain authority) is being phased out. PRs and SEOs are moving over to trust flow and citation. This measures the links to your site and the quality of your links. You don’t want them all to be new blogs, as this could bring you down.
- Too many outgoing links can have a negative impact too.
- You want authoritative sites to link to you.
- Don’t link to Wikipedia as it is not viewed as a trustworthy site.
- Great links – BBC & the Guardian.
- Link to old content, internal links are really important.
- Majestic link analyser (a Chrome extension) will tell you your trust flow and citation score. For trust flow over 13 is good, over 17 is very good.
- Best to buy your domain for 5/10 years as this is seen as more trusted.
- Commenting on other blogs is also good for trust flow.
- Disclosure policy. If you have full editorial control on your blogs then it is not an advert and you do not have to disclose. If you are told to say something specific then it is an advert and you need to.
- Vlogging is different to this, if you got the item for free and are showing it in a good light then you must disclose.
- Accountancy – get a good accountant, there are lots of things on your blog that can be written off as an expense to offset your revenue. If you drive anywhere for a feature for example, blog about a day out, all costs are deductable against tax and can reduce the tax if you have a PAYE job too.
- Consider setting up yourself as a limited company. This can also offer you more protection should things for any reason go wrong.
Phew, I am sure I have missed something, but it was a great conference. Fab for networking, meeting brands and I am seriously debating booking my ticket for Manchester next year. I hope you found my notes helpful.