Tuesday, 24 April 2012

If you missed #BlogCampUK don’t miss this review!*


It was a beautiful morning, the sun shone onto the canal water as I ran down the muddy towpath late for my train. Clare from The VeggieExperience picked me up from the station looking very relaxed, and wearing big sun glasses. She’s not worried that I’m late because she overslept anyway.
“Oh no, I’ve forgotten to wear my sunglasses and now you look much cooler than me!” I said. She laughed and said it was more about needing them for driving than looking cool. We picked up the lovely and pregnant MrsC and talked about other bloggers all the way to Birmingham; who’d be there, who we’ve met before, who we’ve read and who’s ‘famous’ in the ‘blogosphere’.

Then after getting our badges pinned on at the door I lost my travel buddies and entered the light and airy conservatory room alone. It was buzzing with bloggers and coffee and at first I was too scared to talk to anyone. But then I spoke to Nickie who writes at Iamtypecast and found my friends again and began to mingle, eat pastries and feel better.

At the first session Muireann from Bangs and a Bun was confident and stylish without being intimidating. She gave us some inspiring tips on creating your own strong brand identity, visual style, ethos and tone. She says keep it fresh and experiment and stay open to new avenues and ideas.

For session 2 I chose Creating Videos with Ian Moulster and we could hear everyone next door at the How to be a Snark session laughing out loud. The video session was a straightforward techy tutorial in Windows Live Movie Maker, but I was surprised at how easy it seemed. I felt so enthusiastic about making a little movie that I have already filmed some clips of our boat travelling through locks at the weekend. (Perhaps my degree in animation will be of use to me after all…) Did you know Flickr video hosting is better quality than YouTube and it has a rotating tool?

Lunch was a lovely selection of sandwiches and fruit. I felt shy again and so found it difficult to circulate but did chat to the lovely Louise from mygorgousboys and got some techy tips from Mark at CorpulentCapers. I was happy to meet up with HelloitsGemma again and had been looking forward to meeting Penny from The Alexander Residence in Real Life. We had lots to talk about and enjoyed the next session with SusannahConway, photographer, author and aunt. She was charismatic and full of good ideas. I scribbled furiously in my notebook as she told us how she creates and runs personal development e-courses as a full time job. It was so motivating that the very next day I began brain storming ideas to write my own e-course.

Thank goodness Session 4 was focussed on the whole new Google follow versus no-follow rules relating to sponsored content because I do not understand it. Sold links must be ‘no follow’. If you don’t do this you will lose your page rank. I don’t want to be invisible! I thought desperately. “It’s changed SEO forever!” somebody cried. I am slightly less confused about it all now but it seems that I must either go back and manually correct all of the links on my blog, ever, or go self-hosted and get a widget that does that for me.

The final session of the day was a Q&A with a panel of PR professionals. PR companies are happy to be approached by bloggers, so long as the bloggers are not simply blaggers out to get free stuff.

The size of this conference was just right. Big enough to have a buzz going on but small enough to find someone if there’s someone you are hoping to meet. I had a fantastic day and might have hugged Sally Whittle for organising it, had she not officially asked everyone not to hug her. I found every session valuable and the cakes were amazing. Did I not mention the cake?



BlogCamp is organised by Sally and the Tots100. an index of parenting blogs designed to help you find good blogs and to celebrate the most influential and engaging blogs in the UK.
 
Disclosure: I received free coffee, sandwiches, and cake. I attended five fabulous and informative sessions for free, but I paid Clare towards the petrol. My opinions are my own. If you are reading this, O’ omnipresent Google, please don’t make me invisible. 

*Ok, so my review may be no better or worse than anyone else’s, but I was attempting an attention grabbing headline – did it work?!

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