Last month Icelolly.com announced their very own event for bloggers; Blog at the Beach! I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to this exclusive one-day event in Leeds, which took place last Saturday.
One of the things that I love most about travel blogging is that it has introduced me to a whole new network of awesome people who are equally passionate about travel, so I’m always excited to get myself to a blogger event, to learn what’s new in the blogging world, share practice, talk travel and make new friends and contacts.
#Blogatthebeach…a beach…in Leeds?!
Ok, I know. We don’t actually have a beach in Leeds, but Icelolly.com created the event around a fun beach theme and set up a little pop-up beach area with deck chairs, palm trees and everything you might need for a fun day at the beach! It was a brilliant area for us all to have some fun, take some selfies and get in the holiday spirit! For those who needed a helping hand, there was also a fabulous bar available with cocktails.
#Blogatthebeach blogger programme
Icelolly.com presented a fantastic mini-programme of speakers; blogging isn’t all about exciting adventures in amazing destinations. Bloggers need to know an awful lot and develop a wide range of technical, creative and marketing skills. So any opportunity to learn something new, or have my existing knowledge reinforced, is great!
Suniel Makh, Brand Director at Icelolly.com told us a little about Icelolly and how they like to work with bloggers. If you are not already aware of Icelolly, they run a holiday price comparison site, which now receives over 20 million visitors per year, all looking to find a great travel deal.
Robb spoke about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and offered some great advice including:
- Bloggers need to care about SEO: if your site is technically sound, the more likely it will to be found in Google search results. Call in the experts if you need help and make use of SEO plugins.
- The importance of tags: title tags, description tags, heading tags (there should be only one H1 tag per page), alt tags.
- Keywords: the phrases people put into Google to search and find your content. Use keywords appropriately (do your research!). No keyword stuffing. Keep it natural.
- Internal links: the strongest internal links are from your homepage so content linked from the homepage will be given the biggest ranking boost.
- External links: if sites link to you, it increases your chances of appearing higher in search results. The same goes for sites you link to. Always use links in a natural and appropriate way.
- Build upon your most popular content by producing more content on the same topic and linking relevant posts together.
The lovely Monica Stott from The Travel Hack presented at the event about Working with travel brands while keeping your style. Monica shared a lot of valuable advice, especially useful for those bloggers who have no experience of working with brands. Some of the key takeaways:
- Know what a brand wants so you can deliver
- Don’t sell out and accept all offers that come your way. Working with a brand needs to be seen as a partnership and that partnership needs to be mutually beneficial.
- Recognise that brands want and need to make money. If you want to work with a brand, how are you going to demonstrate you are adding value for them?
- Both parties need to be clear about expectations and requirements.
Monica has published a post about her presentation on The Travel Hack: Blogging at the Beach with Icelolly
Greg Brand lives and breathes travel and video, so he came along to answer all our questions. Greg shared some great tips including:
- Make the most of natural lighting
- The benefits of three-point lighting (key, back and filler lights)
- Video trends towards more natural, less polished footage. Greg encouraged everyone to get in front of that camera!
- The best way to build your audience is to provide regular content and collaborate with other vloggers.
- Check out Beme, a new social video app that encourages the sharing of raw (natural) footage.
- YouTube ranking now focuses upon the number of minutes watched rather than the number of views.
All three speakers did a fantastic job and added lots of value to the event.
There was plenty of time to network and have fun during lunch and the break periods. We were treated to a fab buffet with lots of sweet treats and a goody bag filled with awesome gifts! A lot of us stayed around after the event to go for drinks with the Icelolly team and talk even more about travel and blogging!
Thank you Icelolly!
I had a fantastic time at #Blogatthebeach and I was really impressed by the event; it’s always encouraging to see a brand supporting blogger professional development by hosting events like these, so thank you! 🙂
Did you attend #Blogatthebeach? If so, how was it for you?
Disclaimer: I attended this event free of charge and I am under no obligation to write this post. For information about how I partner with brands, please visit my Ethics page.