Unlike other, more organized bloggers, I made a last-minute dash to attend this year’s BritMums Live!
On Tuesday I was still calling in favours to find a babysitter for my four-year-old. With him in tow I boarded a train to Stratford International. I haven’t travelled in London for a while, so was not quite ready for what I was about to encounter. Obviously, as a parent, you just take it in your stride. You just need to get from A to B.
It was a Friday and for no apparent reason (a parent would comprehend) London’s bus drivers decided to go on strike. We ended up walking for miles. Having dropped him off with a mum friend I walked back to look for a Boris bike. Few docking stations inspected and I could only find two bikes. Both were faulty. Thanks Boris. This is great. London is truly ready to host the Olympics.
Running through gushes of rain, wind and brisk gleams of sunshine, I finally arrived at the Brewery looking like I’ve been dragged through the bush and back. Great. What a lovely impression I am going to make.
Suddenly the nerves and adrenaline kicked in and I realized that this was not going be like any other conference I have ever been to. Those were ‘work’ conferences I was encouraged to attend – this was the one I genuinely wanted to go to! For starters, the main conference hall was not a bog standard room where you face another delegate’s back – instead it was all dimmed lights, round tables and glitz. And it was full of mums who seem to be as obsessed about blogging as me! What’s not to love? It also helped that everyone was very friendly, approachable, humble and easy to talk to.
I could only attend Friday, so will only judge that day. Key lessons I have taken away were:
1. The world of journalism is evolving, in which bloggers are becoming freelance journalists. That’s me!
2. Staying true to your voice, being honest, keeping your integrity is paramount as your blog grows.
3. Blogs are becoming more professional. There’s no space for error – spelling mistakes, bad photography, etc.
4. Whatever path or type of blogging you choose, make sure it works for you. And here I refer to Jane Blackmore’s (NothernMum) comment and comparison of her more spontaneous posts with Maggie Woodley’s (Red Ted Art) strict schedule of suggested blog post activities. I am making a mental note to have a bit of both.
5. Wise words from Melinda (HerMelnessSpeaks). However small your blog currently is, be confident about it, mingle with Diva bloggers, don’t be a groupie. Don’t agree with everything they say. Focus on the design of your blog – make it easy and enjoyable for readers to actually read your blog.
6. Michelle (Mummy from the Heart) used a great analogy of a Marmite blogger. Don’t be afraid if someone might love or hate your blog. Stand by it. I like that!
7. Nickie from IamTypecast said how important it was to respond to your audience. Mix, interact with other mum bloggers.
8. Maggie Woodley’s (Red Ted Art) – stats are key. It is important to pay attention to your visitor/viewing figures. Keep your blog inspiring, share positive feedback and enjoy it! Don’t be afraid to show your personality and choose the platform that is right for you. Talking of platforms, there was a divide between those for/against Google+ amongst some of the speakers. It still seems like a much ‘forced upon us’ platform, but cannot be ignored because of its impact on search listings. Pinterest is the one to watch and use! It contributes to an ever-increasing chunk of traffic (in case of Red Ted Art the stats are impressive, reaching 300k page views from 90k in a matter of months).
It was a joy to see old and make new friends, among them were Laura Starkey (editor and writer, @LauraStarkey), Sara Bran: Notes from the edge of motherhood, Eleanor Mills (associate editor, The Sunday Times, @EleanorMills), Karen Cannard (The Rubbish Diet) and Bex (The Mummy Adventure).
Overall well done you, BritMums! I will make sure I am fully prepared when I come back next year!
Practising the perfect pout with Ruby Wax. She’s a pro. And those shoes!