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26.10.14

Birmingham and Blogcamp

Since starting my blog in February 2011 the only conferences I've been to are Britmums Live, in 2013 and 2014. I never made it to any others, mainly due to distance but this year I really wanted to make an effort and attend another if I could.
When I saw that there would be a Blogcamp conference in Birmingham I suggested to Hayley that we go. Her parents live nearby and very kindly put us up for the night on Friday, saving us an early morning journey on the Saturday morning.

Getting the train into Birmingham, we headed to Starbucks to get an all important morning coffee and eventually found The Studio, where we would spend the day.
I've only been to Birmingham to visit the Sealife Centre, to go to the airport and to see Take That before so haven't visited the main city centre before. I was amazed at how beautiful a lot of the buildings were, and how different they were too.

I'd heard about how good Blogcamp has been in the past and I definitely didn't leave disappointed.
I was impressed with all but one of the speakers (I don't find bullying someone who attends your session to be very professional or necessary) and really felt I came away having learnt a lot, feeling inspired, and a notebook full of pages written with action plans, hints, tips and inspiring words.
The last session was a real eye opener as Claire and Jacqui talked about the PR and Blogger relationship from a PR's point of view.
It was really interesting to hear what is expected of us, about deadlines and most importantly what is expected of a PR from a client. I think we so often think we are in control as bloggers, like we are doing others a favour and we completely forget that the PR has a job to do, they have expectations, promises and deadlines to meet too.
This definitely made me think about how I work with people in the future. From making sure we are clear on what we expect from each other right from the first email being sent, and then fulfilling the brief, keeping promises and also keeping the PR updated with any setbacks or delays.

I stupidly left my notebook at Hayley's house (any excuse to have to go back to see her again) so can't share many of the tips I got on the day. However, these two things have stayed with me and I think are the most important points that I learnt at Blogcamp.

1: Just be a nice person.

2 years ago I would be quite passive aggressive on Twitter. I didn't really think about how I was portraying myself, and that actually what I was doing was the exact thing that I despised reading in my timeline from others.
I realised that I needed to change, and to be the same person on Twitter as I would be in real life. I looked around at those who I admired and decided to take a leaf out of their book and it made me enjoy Twitter more. I soon felt I was being me.
Our social media platforms and blogs represent us, and I think so many people forget this and are quick to rush to Twitter, Facebook or our blogs to rant about poor service or to moan at a company, or a person, over something which should be discussed in a professional manner via email or phone.
We seem to forget all to easily that behind every email address, or Twitter account, is a person, just like us. A person who actually probably wasn't the cause of the bad customer service you received, or didn't make the product that you received that was faulty. Passing on your frustration, annoyance and negative attitude to someone else causes them to have a bad day too, and is that fair? Probably not.
Being a nice person not only represents us in a much better way, but it also makes us a lot more attractive for any companies or bloggers who want to work with us in one way or another. Who wants to work with someone they can't trust? Or who snaps at the smallest thing without giving a brand, or PR a chance to explain or rectify the situation?

 2. Know your worth and do what you feel is right.

Sponsored posts, reviews and competitions etc all seem to be a controversial area when it comes to blogging. Sponsored posts being the biggest topic that divides bloggers and can cause a lot of upset and debates.
I have never liked the view that if you accept a low price for a sponsored post that you do not value your blog. I think this is a really unfair way to look at it. Just because you accept a low price it doesn't mean that you don't value, or love your blog as much as someone who wouldn't even accept half of that price.
Sometimes you need money. Simple as. And if £30, or indeed £20 is enough to cover the cost to purchase a new kettle or iron as yours has just blown up, or in fact pays for that school trip that your child desperately wants to go on but you can't justify paying for from your weekly grocery budget, then take it.
As the saying goes, needs must. And accepting that small amount may well lead to further work from that particular PR or SEO and those £30's soon add up.
Accepting a small amount doesn't make you a rubbish blogger, it doesn't put you any lower on the ladder than someone who won't accept lower than £100.
You blog for yourself and what others think or do really doesn't matter. 
I think the most important thing is to feel confident with any choices that you make. And if you are one of those who accepts a lower amount for some sponsored posts then at least make sure that you feel happy with it, and that you know that the money you have accepted is going to really help towards something.
You don't want to feel taken advantage of and should always feel confident in the choices you make for your blog. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or what anyone else does.

One reason I really enjoyed Blogcamp is because it's quite intimate. There isn't a mass of bloggers all cramped into one room and as a result there is no feeling of pressure. I felt like I could really relax.
Oh, and the lunch was out of this world!! 

If you get the chance to go to Blogcamp TAKE IT. I am really glad I did.