Monday, 20 June 2011
As you probably already know, I'm off to Cybermummy next weekend, thanks to my sponsors Seaworld Parks. It's a huge event with hundreds of bloggers attending. But last Friday, I travelled a much shorter distance to a much smaller event aimed at bloggers called Blogcamp in Manchester. The organisers are running events in different locations around the country to allow bloggers to meet up, chat and perhaps listen to a few experts.
About 50 bloggers attended this event and I got to meet some bloggers I've "known" for months but never actually met. The weirdest thing is walking in and seeing faces that you recognise but you've never met before. Apparently, I'm quite recognisable as everyone seemed to know who I was. That, or my reputation precedes me.
To start the day off, we had two bloggers talking about how they developed their blogs into pretty successful. First was Jen from A Little Bird Told Me who talked about developing a voice and style for your blog. I found it very interesting because a lot of the things she said are things I have done or do and I was nodding a lot in agreement with what she said. Then there was the very engaging Muireann of the sky high heels from Bangs & A Bun talking about the way her blog has developed over the last four years. She was certainly a lot less scary in the flesh than I thought she would be! Both these ladies amply demonstrated that you don't need to be shy about self-promotion; you can promote your blog and still be a nice person, nor was there any need to be ashamed of it too.
The rest of the day were more instructive talks from three people - first, someone from TalkTalk about an internet safety product called HomeSafe which works at the router level to cover all devices from phones to computers so that you can block certain websites, block certain sites at set times of the day (to remove distractions at homework time), and protect against viruses. Then Dafydd talked about blog design, giving tips and his thoughts about how to design your blog. This also sparked an interesting discussion about whether you should add breaks to your posts so that the full posts is only revealed by clicking on a read more link. Personally, I don't mind this. I know some people don't like this if it appears in RSS feeds and so forth but I'd be interested to know your thoughts , especially if you just read my blog by visiting the homepage rather than subscribing via RSS or email. I've added one to this post. What do you think? He critiqued some blogs - including mine, which I'd stupidly volunteered in response to an email reply but thankfully, a) he was running out of time so couldn't spend too long on it and b) he was generally positive about the design; the comments he made I knew he'd probably make about it. Phew! The final speaker in the afternoon was about working with PR companies, how they identify bloggers to work with and giving some tips for working with PRs. This brought out some interesting points from the assembled audience - with both good and bad examples of how to deal with bloggers. It's interesting how many of us feel that PRs forget we are not journalists.
Once the event was over and we'd had a group photo call, we went off to the bar for a chat of course, although sadly, I didn't get to have a proper chat with lots of people I really wanted to talk to, some of whom had to dash off.
I really enjoyed the day although I didn't get enough chance to speak to all the bloggers I'd been dying to meet. I'm hoping that I will be able to meet them at Cybermummy or at the next Blogcamp in Manchester, which will hopefully be in September. I would really have loved more time to chat in the day but it's a packed agenda. And some cake, we missed out on that one!
If you want to see the photographs from the day, you can see them here.