It seems like yesterday when I woke up in January 2017. I remember setting the intention to take this blog to another level, merge the online with the offline. I searched for blogging events in London and now - 3 months later - I am staring at the same old SiteOrigin Editor but in so much has happened. Many great bloggers have crossed my way leaving me even more motivated than ever. There is something quite magical about connecting with others who share your mission.
The Bloggers Hub
You can't even imagine how nervous I was, finding my way all by myself to the very first blog conference somewhere in a East London. I ran into the lovely twin bloggers Lauren and Maddy who were a bit early just like me. How cool it must be to have your very own twin, running a shared blog seems like such an "easy" task but there must probably some discussions going on in the background.
I soon realised that blogging events are something special, or maybe that was because I found myself sitting in this ultra-mega-hipster apartment of a German photographer in London? So for the very first time, I was able to ask someone else when they would sit down and write, how they managed to juggle a full-time job and blogging and much more. I love exchanging ideas on what works and how to stay consistent.
Ashtangi Yogi & Lifestyle Blogger
A little bit of everything Blogger
Didn't get a chance to talk to her much but she was leaving the coolest comments to discussions.
And, oh my! Her makeup looked amazing... Seriously considered becoming a beauty blogger after all.
Lauren & Maddy
I couldn't believe how stunning it looked. I was so in the moment that I didn't even realise that I didn't take any photos. Felt so lucky to find out afterwards that the photographer had taken such cool snapshot.
Soon I found myself all styled up, walking through the streets in Shoreditch. The second blogger event, organised by Ashlee, was held in some secret space at a bar. Lots of bloggers, lots of chitchatting, lots of enthusiasm. I learn that many blogs come and go but only a few really make it. We don't care, we are in it for the fun. Blogging is a creative outlet. The lovely Tehmina Ahmed (the photo above) was displaying her self-made t-shirts. If you are up for it, check out her collection, or reach out to her, here. I find that blogging, or working in the creative field, works both ways. The more you care for others, the more others will care for you.
I'm also particularly grateful to have met this beautiful lady:
Who produced the below video. So freaking London! I really like Liz's blog concept to interview entrepreneurs in Nigeria. She is about to publish a novel, so excited for it to come out. Oh, and in case this isn't enough, she also set up her own fashion line - check it out here.
This was by far the biggest conference, held at a huge venue in Westminster. Weeks in advance the famous blogger John from John’s Road to Volunteering had created a Twitter and Whatsapp group for all the bloggers he was connected to and who would attend the conference. I’m talking more than 250 bloggers here! Slightly overwhelming but I liked his spirit.
There were mainly girls in their early twenties at the event. The majority of the brands who were there were of the beauty and fashion industry. I felt a bit awkward initially, as you know that’s not really the content I’m passionate about. But then I just walked to people who would also be standing by themselves, I met Mario who was a twin blogger ! I started seeing a pattern here, at the first event I had made the twin bloggers Lauren and Maddy and now another one. Does that mean my imaginary twin is somewhere out there?
Mario and I strolled around and discovered a cool travel blogging stall from an American tour operator called TrekAmerica. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw they had an Oculus! With all the VR talk going on, this was THE MOMENT that I tried it on a headset for the very first time. With the snap of a finger, I found myself standing in a place which must have been the dessert in Arizona, exploring the area with a group of others. Really crazy experience, definitely something which screams: More, more, more! (What's quite funny is that the lovely girl I was talking to at the TrekAmerica booth was the travel blogger Milly from mini-adventures.com.)
I was floating between chatting with strangers who share my passion, learning little tips and tricks and taking it all in.
"You have to schedule your post, to just take 30 minutes or so on a Sunday and then have some content automatically published for the next two weeks."
Sounds good, if but the content needs to be there first.
Katy from LittleMissKaty talked about how one’s digital strategy needs to connect together on the various different social networks. It seems obvious but I guess I’m not really doing that. What I usually do on Instagram is not 100% connected to what I write about on my blog. On Insta, I put quotes below images but don’t push my own writing. Maybe I should be more real, open up more and let that big Insta-crowd see more of what I do on the blog. It’s just that I need to get over that little fear holding me back.
As well, there was a talk about monetization and its direct or indirect avenues. So there are affiliate links, sponsorship, etc on the one hand, as well as selling your own product or service on the other. The key is to grow one’s very niche, to be focused and even more targeted. Who are your followers? Find some data points to understand them better. Be a product manager of your very own company. Rather than focusing on the amount of following, he stressed that sell-through is what matters. It’s not about being liked by everyone but if 4% of your following love your idea, that’s all that matters.
Eventually, I bumped into the gaming blogger Michael (follow him on Twitter as he is currently rebranding his site). He said, in blogging it would all boil down to whether you want to do a good job or "your job". Doing a good job blogging would require you to know your essence to its core, know your product, your keywords and so on. Then the "your job" part of the building mechanism is your personality. Keep a personal touch rather than focusing on yourself. It can be hard to find a balance. I recalled that I was doing this in the early days on Instagram: "Hey people, I'm this biological machine and I get my needs met at this moment. Look at my food."
The Decerning Man talked about the importance of keeping a database regarding the brands which one contacts. He is also seeing that blogs are turning into online magazines. His biggest advice was to never be afraid contacting PR or social media manager as they might just not have the time to discover one yet. Sounds obvious, but hearing it was soothing. You write about travel? Let’s contact travel PR agencies or search the hashtags #prrequest or #bloggerrequest. Think about what you want to be, set five targets and remember that at the end of the day we are building relationships.
Some other tips and tricks:
- Learn SEO and watch the videos at moz.com or find them on YouYube
- Where is your strongest asset? Poetry? Make it easy for yourself.
- Balance consumption versus producing content. Don’t consume too much.
- Be consistent, be there for your audience when they need you.
- Have regular writing days.
- Be an entrepreneur.
So yeah, a whole lot of blogging events to start 2017 off right. That's it for now but I'm certainly keeping my eyes wide open for the next events. If you come across any good ones in London, please give me a shout!
I'm not sure why but my gut tells me that publishing, journalism and blogging are at crossroads and I'm motivated to keep going, despite the fact that I have no idea where it may take us.
PS: Find me on Snapchat 🙂 snapchat.com/add/finjkem