On Saturday I attended the BritMums annual blogging conference, BritMums Live or BML16. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can find more information about BritMums and the conference here. In a nutshell it is an opportunity to think ‘blog’ for a day – to meet bloggers, to meet brands, and to learn bloggy wisdom.
I feel compelled to share with you a little bit of my perspective on the day despite being fully aware that if you are an avid blog reader or in my Twitter network you’ll most likely have read 43 other similar posts. If you are at saturation point, toodle-oo – do come back soon! If you think you can take another ‘I woz there’ scrawl across your screen then keep reading.
The first thing to say is that I’m a little bit in love with the staff at The Montcalm London City which was my abode for the night before the conference. I will ramble on about this in a whole other post, I’ve got photos to share and everything! What I will say is that we have stayed there before, and we will stay there again but this time was made particularly special in a number of ways and for that I’m very grateful.
So Saturday morning dawned bright and not too early (The Montcalm being conveniently located at the conference venue) and I was off with my metaphorical blog hat firmly shoved on my head. Here are ten musings and learnings and experiences of my bloggy day out:
The conference was top and tailed with keynote speeches – I thoroughly enjoyed these and the light and shade of emotion they ignited in me. For me, I took away the fact that all voices are valid, and all stories are worth sharing – there will be someone who will be moved in some way by what you’ve got to say, whether it’s moved to tears, laughter or action.
If you want to be taken seriously as a ‘professional blogger’ or if you want more control of your website, go self-hosted, collect your readers’ email addresses and ditch the Gmail/Hotmail email address. I am wandering off whistling nonchalantly at this right now BUT I do hope to action this advice at some point in the vague and distant future…nothing like commitment is there!?
I think I was riding on a bit of a giddy ‘aren’t bloggers just wonderful’ high! I won’t be singling out anyone: if I met you be assured I genuinely loved meeting you. Like everyone, I’m sure, there are people I wish I could have spent more time chatting to, people I said nervous, stupid things to (like: ‘oh is that your baby?’ Knowing FULL WELL their ‘baby’ is over 1 and not the much littler baby they were holding, oops), people I wasn’t expecting to meet but was so pleased to have done so, familiar faces to catch up with, bloggers to scare with a bit of over enthusiastic blog-love, and a long list of bloggers I wish had been there but weren’t.
If vlogging is your thing, Facebook-Live should be your thing. Vlogging is not my thing, Facebook is not my thing, so that’s all I have to say about that, but don’t say I never give you anything.
I was impressed with the venue, The Brewery, which, granted, will be of little interest to most people, but having spent a lot of my working life organising events and festivals I definitely think the devil is in the detail and it all felt very slick – I didn’t see a lot of venue staff but at each session fresh water, glasses, pens and paper were on the tables, the lunch was efficiently delivered, toilet paper seemed plentiful…you know all the important things!
I learnt that we can all make a difference through our blogs if you free yourself from what others think and tell your story – take your experience and see how it can help you grow and how you can ‘add value’ to it for yourself and for your readers. The value could be empathy, resonance, laughter; the difference made could be to just one person and that can be enough.
My face doesn’t come out on my blog and so I was struck by a weird but enjoyable sense of anonymity during the day – I could look at someone I ‘knew’ and know that they would most certainly not know me…until the ritual name badge peering that is. I think I crept into one photo, maybe two…so if you’re reading this thinking ‘I wonder if I met Lucy?’…here I am! I’m with blogging buddy and sunny, sparkly KCACOLS leader, Franca from A Moment with Franca. (I’m on the right with giddy face and no lipstick – I think I need lipstick in my life…). Anyway hiiii!
Blogging is big business. Market research shows that bloggers are HUGELY trusted by consumers, if that floats your boat then use it – you have power.
I was encouraged to make a ‘blog wish list’ and think about what my goals are for my blog; what do I want my blog to look like and be achieving three years time? Probably a useful exercise whatever you blog looks like and whatever your blogging reasons.
Conclusion and my BML swag:
I didn’t feel I benefited directly right now from all of the sessions – my blog isn’t currently a business and it’s not a campaigning platform – it’s simply a playground for my grey matter. A place where thoughts and ideas can swing next to each other, or more accurately bounce each other off the see-saw and get stuck on the roundabout, before nosediving down the slide.
And that’s ok, I took home a feeling of pride and comfort in my blog
I took home bits and bobs and a few gems of ideas away from the sessions
I took home a feeling of warmth and friendliness from interactions with other bloggers.
I took home a lovely squidgy feeling of fullness that comes from eating a lot of cake at the pre-awards party
I took home a goodie bag and, far better than that, a big wonderful ‘shortlisted in BiBs Awards’ badge from the fabulous fellow-shortlisted Jo Sandelson at Heir Raising
And finally I also took home little whispers of where blogging could go creatively, commercially, socially – maybe my direction will change in time, maybe it won’t, but either way there’s no denying that there’s an untapped bank of possibilities for the futures of all our blogs.