I’ve had a busy few weeks, both at work and out of work, on the blogger circuit and I’ve got so much to share! This is going to be a bit of a mega post. If you’re looking for blogger tips, scroll to the last half, otherwise sit back, relax and get in the Mexican holiday vibe! 🙂
Last month I attended icelolly.com‘s exclusive event for bloggers in Leeds; Blog At The Beach. This is the second year icelolly have organised an event like this for bloggers; I was lucky enough to attend their first #BlogAtTheBeach last August, and this time I was invited back to speak! More on that later, I want to tell you all about the fun stuff first! 🙂
A taste of Mexico!
The event took place at the White Cloth Gallery in Leeds, a beautiful venue close to the train station. We were treated to Mexican-themed cocktails at the bar and were surprised with a Mexican Mariachi Band – that really broke the ice and everyone was quickly in the holiday mood! 🙂
We were also treated to a fantastic buffet lunch of Mexican and Southern street food from El Kantina!
El Burro Piñata!
We had lots of icelolly style holiday fun, playing with the piñata, sombreros and cacti! 😀
The speaker programme
icelolly.com CEO Andrew Latham opened the speaker programme and Brand Director, Suniel Makh provided an overview of icelolly’s on-going strategy of working with bloggers. Those empty seats quickly filled up with around 60 bloggers, sat eager to listen, take notes, photos and video of the event!
icelolly is the UK’s leading holiday price comparison site with over 20+ million visitors per year. They started working with bloggers last year and have had some successful collaborations. They want to continue to work with bloggers who are passionate about connecting with people, sharing real experiences and those who can bring creativity and innovation to the partnership. From a blogger perspective they absolutely have the right approach to working with bloggers and see collaborations as something that should be mutually beneficial and as Suniel put it;
Your painting. Our canvas.
There were three invited speakers at the event:
- Kirsten Thompson from kooky traveller – that would be me then! 😉
- Mi Elfverson from The Vlog Academy
- Sabina Trojanova from Girl vs Globe
I’ll tell you about Mi and Sabina’s talks first because I have some extra resources and homework for you, that relates to my talk. 🙂
The Power of Video: From Blogger to Vlogger
Mi Elfverson gave us all a lesson in vlogging. Some key tips:
- Mi recommends iPhone 6 is sufficient for vlogging although if you decide to get a DSLR, choose one with a swivel screen. I have one of these on my Canon 600D and my older Sony DSC-H50. They are super-useful and I would never buy a main camera without a swivel screen now.
- For vlogging, look directly at the lens so you are making eye contact with your audience. Also make sure you are holding your camera the right way for the format you are filming e.g. if you are using a mobile phone, it’s natural to hold it portrait (this is ok if you are doing a live broadcast for example on Periscope), but Mi recommended we shoot in landscape, thinking more of YouTube.
- “Win them over”. Mi highlighted the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication. I’ve previously taught university lecturers about their presentation style and these things are so important e.g. think about your vocal intention, the energy in your voice, your enthusiasm or passion for the subject etc. Mi shared some interesting statistics to reinforce her point;
- 55% of what the audience pick up on is body language
- 38% is tone of voice
- 7% (yes, only 7%) is what we actually say!
- Use a microphone. A cheap lapel mic is sufficient.
- Optimise your video e.g. use keywords in the video title, description, tags etc.; have a call to action at the end of the video, as we should with blog posts.
- Be consistent with posting vlogs.
- “Remember, the devil is in the detail.” Check your surroundings before filming; I used to teach film language and video production and it really is important to pay attention to detail e.g. for your own sake, ensure there is nothing private or personal in the background. Everything within the frame matters, so check that scene, before you shoot your vlog.
Mi got practical in the room and asked everyone to practice vlogging by recording ourselves, introducing who we are and why we want to vlog. It was a great activity to help those who are apprehensive about being recorded, because everyone was focused on recording themselves and not on what the next person was doing. Great approach! 🙂
Do You Want to Build a Snow…cial Following?
Sabina Trojanova, better known as the girl behind Girl vs Globe delivered a fun Frozen-themed session, teaching us her best strategies for growing a thriving community around our blogs. Some key take-aways:
- F is for friend: Sabina talked about being a friend to your audience, by showing your personality, sharing your likes and dislikes and your story. Our blogs should be personable and we should be visible on the homepage, to welcome readers. I completely agree; not just because I practice this myself but when I discover a new blog, I want to know something about the person behind the blog and I want to know what they look like, so I know who I’m talking to, when I comment. Sabina also talked about showing appreciation for our following, by replying to comments, asking questions etc.
- I is for Inspiration: As bloggers we have the opportunity to inspire those who take the time to read our blogs, so we should always consider that. Share stories and experiences that will inspire but also inspire through our photography and the design of our sites – keep it clean! You know I’m talking about white space, right? 😉
- G is for Guide: Being a guide is all about showing how accessible our experiences and adventures are for our readers. We can do this by being transparent about our experiences and willingly sharing information to help others achieve the same.
Sabina also encouraged us all to explore ways in which we can deepen relationships with our followers e.g. through meet-ups and groups. We were also encouraged to collaborate with other bloggers. Ed Rex (Rexy Edventures) immediately knew who to ask; Sophie (Sophie’s Suitcase) and meeeee! This could lead to trouble 😀
— Ed Rex (@rexyedventures) April 23, 2016
I love this girl, her passion and sincerity shines through and I completely agree with everything she says; it’s all about being authentic.
Rock Your Blog: Protect Your Brand and Reputation
I made my way to the front, non-alcoholic cocktail in hand, and dived straight into the first talk of the day, a lesson on protecting your brand and reputation. It was time to get serious. 😉
We work hard to build an online presence and make successful connections with audiences, brands and PRs; your reputation and business can be at risk if it’s not protected though, so let’s explore strategies and reduce the risk.
As bloggers we are constantly encouraged to share so much about our lives online and although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if we aren’t careful and confident with our privacy settings and security, we could be putting our personal safety, reputation and blogging brand, at risk.
I would never advocate not sharing anything personal (that doesn’t really work, when you blog, right?), but we owe it to ourselves to make informed and conscious decisions about what and when we choose to share online. Of course, this applies to everyone, not just bloggers and influencers, it’s just we’re more active online than the average person.
There are loads of tips in the slides, below. So if you weren’t able to make the event, or fancy some revision, check ’em out!
- #BlogAtTheBeach 2016: Rock Your Blog (more tips from my talk on my new site, ROCK YOUR DIGITAL for solopreneurs, bloggers and creatives)
- Thats Nonsense
- Know the Net
- Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
- ICO guide to privacy and electronic communications regulations
- ICO self-assessment quiz to identify whether you need to register as a data controller
- ASA new vlogging advertising guidance
Don’t forget your homework assignment 😉
- What will you include in your strategy?
- What changes (if any) do you need to implement straight away?
- How will you deal with issues that arise?
- What do you need to go away and learn more about?
Thanks to everyone who shared tips and gave feedback on my talk, I really appreciate it. I’ve curated some of those comments here: Storify, Rock Your Blog – Protect Your Brand and Reputation
Thanks so much to iceclolly for putting on another fantastic event in Leeds for bloggers and for giving me the opportunity to speak about some of the stuff I’m really passionate about; helping others make informed decisions about their practice.
It’s always good to learn something new, but it’s no good if we don’t implement, so if you attended Blog at the Beach 2016, what have you implemented since the event? Let me know in the comments, below.
Disclaimer: I was an invited speaker at icelolly’s 2016 Blog At The Beach. I was not asked to write this post. To learn how I collaborate with brands, please visit my Ethics page.