Hey! Let me tell you about a colourful, creative, and inspiring event I attended that filled me with enthusiasm and ideas about blogging.
But … ‘has the time of the blog not been and gone’, I hear you ask?
No, no no. There are so many benefits to writing a blog, from the technical perspective of regularly adding fresh new content to your website (search engines LOVE that), to connecting with your followers, being able to discuss your ideas at greater length than within the confines of a social media platform, and building trust from potential customers as you prove your expertise in your field.
They say it takes around seven touchpoints for a stranger to contemplate becoming a customer. So if someone spots you a couple of times on Instagram, pops over to check you out on Facebook, maybe joins your mailing list, and then really gets to know you by reading a few posts on your blog – well you’re now well on your way to converting that lead. Happy days.
So, this event I went to last weekend. It’s called Blogtacular and it was the fifth annual conference for bloggers. Although held in London, I met people who had travelled not just from all over the UK but also from Europe and the States to attend.
It started on Friday with ‘fringe events’ that included colourful photowalks across London. Mine was led by Natasha Nuttall, ably assisted by Zabby Allen, and they took us to some amazing hidden spots around north London and helped us see things a little differently. I’m sure that I must have walked straight past some of these spots many times before. It’s amazing what you see when you open your eyes and look around properly. Soon, #Blogtacular was trending on Instagram.
Blogtacular images below © Will Ireland
The next day dawned and 300 people met at the main conference venue, walking through a doorway that proclaimed ‘HELL YES!’ Yup – that really did set the scene for the day ahead!
Kat Molesworth, the brains behind Blogtacular says that it is ‘the conference where creative entrepreneurs, bloggers and influencers come together to meet, share, and inspire’. For me, the event ticked all of those boxes. Not only did I see inspirational speakers, but I also attended workshops that drilled down into the nitty gritty of blogging and social media, and – just as importantly – I connected with a group of friendly inspirational creative business owners.
It just wasn’t one of those conferences where you stand awkwardly in a corner sipping your coffee, clutching business cards that you’re too nervous to give to anyone. Instead, the warmth and welcome drew everyone together and even the quietist introverts made new friends.
The keynote speaker was Tiffany Han a US coach, podcaster and blogger who talked about getting away from burn out and hustle by being in love with what you do. She spoke about ‘finding your magic’ and how helpful it can be to take part in creative challenges which make sure that you ‘show up’. I confess to having a complete girl crush on Tiffany after hearing her speak. 😉
I had to make nearly impossible decisions about which workshops to attend. There were nine to choose from, but I could only attend three. The choices were so great and relevant that I wanted to clone myself and go to them all. In the end I saw Elaine Malone talk about SEO, and came away with a step by step checklist for optimising my blog set up and content so that it is found by Google.
I also saw Charli Marie Prangley who ran a great session on design for non-designers. She gave me the confidence to build this brand new blog myself, without needing to pay a professional. I’m not saying it’s perfect, and I have a list of things to improve, but so far I’m pretty chuffed with it.
My third workshop was about podcasting. Two seasoned podcasters (Tiffany Han and Imriel Morgan talked us through the technical aspects of how they record their podcasts, how to build an audience, and the pitfalls to avoid. I was so inspired that I flagged Tiffany down at the end and asked her to be one of my first guests on the podcast I am not yet making. So now I need to get started because I only went and made myself accountable to an awesome and inspiring life coach 😉
Was it worth it?
It was a pricey event to attend, but I feel that I got value for money. I learned some genuinely useful things and made connections with lots of people who have also taken the plunge to run a creative business.
Entrepreneurship, no matter how fun and creative, can be a lonely venture – and that’s why stepping out from behind my screen and meeting people in real life gave me a refreshed sense of purpose and energy.
Is there a similar event that you could attend? Why not go and find out!
PS. I was asked to report on Blogtacular for the Craft Industry Alliance – pop over here to check out what I wrote for them.