Dear Mummy, you’ve been to a couple of parenting blogging events since you started blogging and have always had mixed feelings about them. So when Blog On Winchester landed on our doorstep last week you just had to go.
You’ve never been to a BlogOnUK conference so were intrigued to see what it was all about. My mummy had bought an early bird ticket a couple of months ago at £25 and though it was great value for money for this one day event.
Blogging conferences are a great way to meet other bloggers in the flesh, pick up tips and tricks from industry experts in the social media world and interact with brands. BlogOnUK run a series of blogging events up and down the country, from Cardiff and Manchester to Winchester.
We only live 10 minutes from Winchester, so it was just a round the corner from us and super convenient. There are also a large amount of South Coast mummy bloggers which is great for networking and meeting new friends.
My mummy attended the whole day from 10am to 5pm and the event was held at Winchester Science Centre in Hampshire. There were around 60 bloggers who had all congregated downstairs in the conferencing area. It was a bit cramped in the narrow corridor between the two conferencing rooms but that was due to all the great companies that had turned up with product stands which filled the space. Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Coffee and Cake were all self- served from the tables which lined the corridor.
There were two medium-sized rooms filled with chairs ready for the sessions, which people could sit down on and eat, but more breakout areas were needed, especially with all the packed goodie bags on people’s arms and in the busy walkways. My mummy always found somewhere to sit or stand and chat to people which was good.
BlogOnWin was actually on the same day as National Zelfs Day (a popular collectables children’s toy) so the Character Group had popped down to ask what you guys thought of them and to share them on social media. Zelfs are really funky little toys and reminded my mummy of a cross over between old school Trolls and My Little Pony. You also celebrated the Zelfs by taking a ‘Selfie with a Zelfie’ in order to win a prize and ate the most amazing cake modelled on a limited edition of Pearleen, the mermaid Zelf.
You mentioned that it was also a bit loud at the conference, but that was reassuring at it meant lots of bloggers were chatting and interacting. The layout meant that there was nowhere to hide and you were kinda forced to talk to one and another which was good. Even for a shy blogger like my mummy, it was easy to spot people and see people’s badges without having to cross a large room and make the giant leap to talk to someone. There is nothing more daunting than having to walk across an empty room to a large group of bloggers (which has happened to my mummy in the past at BritMums).
The opening keynote was refreshingly brilliant from Peter Lunn at Cracking Media. Here are some of his quotes and my mummy’s notes from his session.
The importance of communication…
In a world full of bloggers and people who have their own part of the Internet it’s really hard to be original and different. Find your niche and your own path, work with other like-minded people to reach your social media goals.
“It’s really hard to be remarkable”
“Competition is collaboration”
Don’t see other bloggers as competition, work with them to get your messages across.
” We need to earn the right to post”
Don’t add more noise (more posts, more linkies) to the already busy feeds of social media. Start commenting, RT’ing, Goggle+1 and engaging with your followers and other bloggers. Be friendly and less self promoting.
“Put others first, engage with them, stop posting, starting listening and start engaging”
All the sessions that my mummy attended were perfectly timed and really informative. The Photography Session and the Brand Session were professional and fun at the same time. Laura Seaton is a great public speaker and my mummy loved her flamboyant manner and plain speaking. It was very relaxed and organic. Mammasaurus (Annie Spratt) and Tired Mummy Of Two (Laura Seaton) make a great duo act and bounce off each other. Witty conversation, great use of swearing and comedy pauses made the sessions uplifting and engaging. It was great to hear from industry insider Michelle Bates from Evolution PR. The informal Q&A sessions worked a treat and lots of notes were taken by my mummy. She learnt about Trust Flow and Citations, which she’d never heard of before this event!
The fact that there was no wifi at BlogOn was actually a blessing in disguise as it made people actually TALK to each other as opposed to hiding away in a corner constantly tweeting about their surroundings. There was a massive exodus into the car park at one stage though when people wanted to tweet photos of themselves to enter brand competitions.
The tombola and raffle were a huge success and my mummy ended up winning 3 times, however she managed to get the organisers to redraw so others could have the opportunity to win some goodies too. I was more than happy with the Disney Rapunzel that she won for me. It made my day. Apologies for my mummy’s outburst of joy when she won! I think she may have given Kara Guppy (Chelsea Mamma) a heart attack.
It’s always good to end on a high and BlogOnWin sure did that! Scummy Mummies was the best comedy act she’d seen in a long time! And had my mummy in stitches, so much that she had to leave the room to go and pee before she wet herself from all the laughing (weak pelvic floor muscles) their gold leotards and funky dance moves had everyone clapping and cheering.
My mummy had a fab time, it was the first time that she felt truly like part of the blogging community. It wasn’t cliquey or pretentious, it was all-inclusive and not just about the full-time bloggers. My mummy met newbies, established bloggers and a handful of super bloggers who she looks up to and never felt judged or uneasy.
Thank you Laura and Kara for making such a cool blogging event happen. A really good vibe and it has restored my mummy’s faith in networking events. We’d recommend BlogOnUK to any parenting bloggers that are looking to ease themselves gently into networking and meet other friendly bloggers.
Oh, and the goodie bag was one of the best she’s ever seen! My eyes popped out of my head when she came home to show me! We’re going to be reviewing a lot of the items in the next couple of months to let you know what we thought. Oh and a final word of thanks to my Grandpa who looked after me so mummy could go to the event (as daddy was away playing hockey), I think there should have been a present in there for Grandpas’ too!