Posts Tagged ‘blog tips’

The Good and the Not So Good About BML 17

Another BritMums Live has been and gone. This was my second rodeo…was BML 17 better or  worse than my experience last year?

 

Well I attended a blogger conference that (for me) wasn’t worth its ticket value, attended an awards ‘party’ (I didn’t win by the way) that consisted of us riding down the Thames on a boat which was basically a revolting pub that took me right back to the parties of uni days – EXCEPT the music was not the 80’s tunes of that era but the worst elevator music that made me think I’d somehow fast forwarded to living in a nursing home. And then…THEN lost my fave shoes in All Bar One. On the PLUS side, I got to spend time with some of the loveliest friends a girl could have, thanks to my Absolutely Prabulous world. ❤️ [thank you to @justsayingmum for taking the pic] – – – – #bloglife #bloggingconference #saturdaynightinthecity #saturdaynightinlondon #mumsout #ukbloggers #maltabloggers #stylishmama #instamums #bloggingmum #dressedtothenines #mumstyle #blogawards #backtoblighty #workitgirl

A post shared by Absolutely Prabulous (@absolutelyprabulous) on

Although mainly a humorous synopsis (written by a Prabs who was concerned with the shoes she left in All Bar One more than anything else!), this IG post I guess nevertheless pointed out a couple of serious truths about the BML 17 event (as I saw them).

 

So I thought I’d write up an actual post that highlights what for me was the good and the not so good about BML17.

This is MY perception/experience/analysis of BML 17. Whilst I know these opinions weren’t unique to me, after chatting to other attendees, I nevertheless can’t speak on behalf of others and I’m sure there are plenty of other BML summaries around.

FYI BritMums have sent out an event survey welcoming attendees’ feedback so that is a good thing.

Also, one of the things you can’t put a price on is the opportunity to meet up with one’s blogging friends and meet new people, which simply would not happen if it weren’t for events like the annual BML ones. It was a real shame that many of the bloggers I saw last year didn’t make it this year such as Muma on the Edge, Island Living 365Pink Pear Bear and Maflingo to name a few.

group shot of absolutely prabulous, motherhood the real deal and others for BML 17

[Image courtesy of Motherhood the Real Deal]

Agenda

Before I go into this bit, I just want to emphasise I KNOW event management ain’t easy! Anyone who’s worked in this arena will tell you it’s challenging and exhausting.

I know this first hand as I used to be a conference producer, researching my assigned subject, devising the structure and content, recruiting speakers, managing those relationships  and all on-the-day logistics.

I knew the stress of finalising a brilliant programme only to have last minute speaker cancellations leaving me scrambling round trying to replace them or having to restructure the agenda so it still fitted with the other sessions and didn’t let down the registered attendees. I can still remember breaking into a nervous sweat due to the embarrassment of a speaker not actually delivering the fantastic information-packed session in the dynamic manner they had promised or the venue messing up lunches etc!

The Good

    • For me and where I am with my blogging, from looking at the BML 17 event agenda beforehand, I thought the planned sessions this year were much better as their topics seemed more specific with more tangible/applicable themes.  Then on the actual day, the delivered content felt more substantial (for the most part)* than last year’s.  The ones I attended were: YouTube Deep Dive, How to be a Great Influencer, Who’s Making Money Now, The Not So Secret Life of YouTube Mums and Pinterest: Creative Content That Drives Traffic.
    • I personally probably got the most out of the YouTube and Pinterest sessions as I’m rubbish in those arenas and felt there was a fair bit of meaty content I could get my teeth into and apply. I won’t go into the actual content in this post as it will get too long so I may do a round up of my notes in a separate post.

The Not So Good

As I said, I know from experience how hard it is to write conference programmes. I also think that:

Depending on how long you’ve been blogging and what your objectives are, the fact is sessions are going to be too advanced, not advanced enough or just right!

BUT

    • an agenda with a one size fits all approach, that assumes each session can meet the needs of every blogger in the room, just doesn’t work.  I think BML – and its attendees! – could probably benefit from the effective multi stream approach with individual streams for beginner, intermediate and advanced bloggers. We were in fact asked about our stage of blogging in the email bumpf sent shortly before the event. Maybe the organisers just needed this info for admin reasons but perhaps this it could be constructively used to steer bloggers towards certain sessions in the future.
    • A BIG issue for myself and several others was missing out – it would seem unnecessarily – on sessions we wanted to attend. I desperately wanted to attend the Facebook for Bloggers: Business Savvy Strategies for Visibility & Making Money and amazeballs Harriet’s Instagram and IG Stories: How to Maximise, What to Avoid & Top-Notch Storytelling talks but had to miss them to attend other sessions.The frustrating thing is that there was no need  because there was a whopping hour and fifty minutes to spare between the end of lunch and the start of the afternoon sessions! The morning’s Facebook and IG sessions were a total of 80 minutes; even leaving a ten minute buffer, this means there was ample time to place these sessions one after the other after lunch meaning  nobody had to miss them. Instead, there were presentations by brands none of whom were relevant to my blog and an unusually long coffee break barely an hour after lunch had finished, leaving many of us waiting around waiting for the next session.

       At over £100 a ticket, not to mention the cost of travel to get there, nobody should have to be missing sessions.

Logistics

The Good

    • The location of the venue felt more accessible this year as it was near Waterloo. Moreover, with it being right next to the river with an amazing view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and just a stone’s throw from the London Eye, it was a far nicer place to be than the business like financial district where the previous venue Brewery, lovely as it is, was located.
    • Lunch (yes I have to mention the food!) was significantly better this year. The ‘take away’ card boxes last year were cute but left many of us hungry not to mention struggling to eat out of them. The buffet food (dished out by servers) this year was in my opinion much tastier and the bento/tali trays easier to eat out of for those unable to find seating. The County Hall suites tea and coffee was also more upscale (very important!).
    • Badges that went around the neck were a better touch this year as you didn’t have to stick a pin your nice clothing and more importantly, one didn’t have to stare at someone’s boobs to read their blog name. (I’m so short people were instead staring at a different body part on me given where the badge was level with but hey ho.)

The Not so Good

    • The actual entrance to the venue was not exactly obvious and the wait for the lifts at the bottom rather long, long enough that this was a problem for those of us arriving later than desired. Once up at the top, there was a fair walk from the cloakroom to the actual location of the day’s events (unlike the Brewery where access to the event is quicker and easier to figure out). I don’t know whether it was my past life as an events manager that made me so aware of ithis or my tight fitting boots!
    • BML 17 could have done with some helpful signage. Perhaps signs were not allowed at the entrance to the building by the site’s management but had it not been for some other bloggers arriving at the same time, I’d never have known if I was at the right place. Even my blog wife Motherhood the Real Deal spent ages wandering around the block trying to get in. The only sign indicating the event (as far as I could tell) was actually once you got out of the lifts at the top, walked away from the cloakroom all the way down the corridor and turned left and were by this stage, just metres away from the event’s location.
    • Although attendees were given a lovely map showing the location of the rooms, it actually wasn’t the most user-friendly system. Standard individual metal stands with the name of the room are more obvious and avoid the issue of people wandering around trying to find the room they are meant to be in, poking their heads into rooms only to find they are in the wrong one etc.
    • The brand experiences were not my cup of tea at all as none of them lit my fire but I’m sure there are many bloggers who were happy with them so again, this is subjective.

 

Sadly there was one aspect about BML 17 that I felt was just bad

I feel the need to mention this as several people were as taken aback by this as I was. At the end of the day, a handful of bloggers read out their post that won the keynote vote. This year these were (in order) a comedy post from Life, Love and Dirty Dishes about DIY, deeply emotional ones from Mummy Tries on autism and Little Ladies Big World on Baby Loss, rounding off with hilarious posts by Rhyming With Wine about pregnancy and Man vs Baby about  baby’s first holiday

All were brilliant examples of good writing that grab the audience’s attention from the start. However I’ve been trying to understand how the running order of the posts was decided. Maybe the idea was to start and end with comedy and put sad emotional ones in the middle?  Unfortunately the end result lacked thought and empathy for the speakers (and in fact the audience). Featuring Laura’s utterly devastating account of baby loss directly before Dawn’s hilarious post about pregnancy was insensitive and as hard on the audience – who were in absolute bits wiping away tears of sympathy and sadness one minute before being expected to laugh out loud the next  – as it was on the writers of those incredible posts who were placed in this really difficult position.

I’ll be honest, this will stay with me for a while.

All in all, just through the fact of attending sessions, talking to other bloggers and being immersed in that environment…

I came away from BML 17 feeling a bit more energised about blogging (after the lost mojo following the long Summer break).

Coupled with my ‘free mini masterclass’ over brunch the following day with my blog wife Talya, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the weekend.

And I got my shoes back!

 


That’s alright then!

DID YOU ATTEND BML 17? WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE?

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Three Bloody Brilliant Bloggers to Fall in Love With

bloody brilliant bloggers

One of the loveliest blogging souls I have the pleasure of knowing, Jaki Jelz, made my month recently by naming me as one of her three Bloody Brilliant Bloggers. I was tempted to break out the champers before 11am.

 

What is Bloody Brilliant Bloggers? It is a fab tag series started by Mommy and Rory and Odd Hogg to recognise the amazing blogs that the internet has to offer, giving their owners a virtual slap on the back.

There are some wonderful series out there now aimed at supporting other bloggeres and spreading the bloggy love:

The talented Claire of Life Love and Dirty Dishes does a monthly Blog Love feature
The clever ladies Lucy at Home and Naptime Natter run the feel good #BlogCrush Linky,
Just when you thought every blog love idea had been covered, the fab Jane of Maflingo recently started Blogging Good Reads
Oh and some woman called Prabs launched #BlogStars in 2016 to showcase posts that have particularly caught her attention, ahem.

 

Bloody Brilliant Bloggers reflects the same ‘pay it forward’ spirit, boosting other bloggers and just reminding each other that the hard work is all worth it! 

How Does #BloodyBrilliantBloggers Work?

Here are the rules that explain it all:

    1. Write a post to proudly show you’re a bloody brilliant blogger.
    2. Include the introduction (copy and paste as below) in your post, along with this set of rules and don’t forget to thank the blogger who nominated you:
      The Bloody Brilliant Blogger Tag – Run by Becky and Kimberly the tag is all about showing recognition to the amazing blogs the internet has to offer. Giving their owners a virtual slap on the back and celebrating some flippin’ fantastic posts. 
    3. Nominate three bloggers who you think are bloody brilliant and tell us a bit about why!
    4. Don’t forget to stick this gorgeous bloody brilliant bloggers badge somewhere on your post
      bloody brilliant bloggers
      THIS IS THE BADGE CODE:
      <div align=”center”><a href=”http://mommyandrory.com/” rel=”nofollow” title=”MommyandRory “><img src=”http://mommyandrory.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IMG_1903-800×800.png” alt=”MommyandRory ” style=”border: none; height: auto; width: 300px;” /></a></div>

    5. Please share your post on Twitter tagging your bloody brilliant nominees along with myself (@mommyandrory1) and Kimberly (@oddhogg) – make sure to tag us to be in with a chance of winning the #BloodyBrilliantBloggers crown.

 

So WHO did I pick as MY Three Bloody Brilliant Bloggers?! 

Heavens above, the effort of narrowing it down to three! I’m a typical Pisces who can’t make a decision at the best of times so you can imagine how hard I found it choosing just three bloggers from the immense sea of talent. Mucho difficult!  There were numerous bloggers I went back and forth over but I kept coming back to these three:

 

Muma on the Edge

Oh my days, how I love this girl! From the moment I first read Lindsey, it was blog love (which was a relief as I actually met her at an event before discovering her site and frankly it would have been très awks if I didn’t like her blog after getting on so well with her in person!). If you haven’t read Muma on the Edge yet, she’s often feisty without coming across as angsty or confrontational (which is not an easy thing to pull off), hilarious even when she isn’t trying to be (which just makes her even more endearing) and switched on. An utter breath of fresh air. I’ve been at this blogging lark for a good while now and it’s easy to feel jaded thinking you’ve read e-v-e-r-y blog topic ever thought of. Not sure how Lindsey does it but she can take a topical news subject (that everyone and their aunt has written about) and somehow comes up with another perspective that is captivating and makes you forget you already read a whole heap on that subject. Damn her cleverness.

Mumbelievable

Where do I start? Go-getting. Confident yet humble. Articulate. Empowering. Kind-hearted. I could go on and on about Ursula. I first saw this inspirational human being across the floor at #BML16 (did I mention she’s also annoyingly beautiful and hard to miss?). I wondered who this utter goddess was as I didn’t know her blog at the time. Upon returning to Malta, I found myself in a Twitter chat with her where I learned she however knew my blog and had in fact cheered me on at the awards. Clearly this made me like her instantly and a mutual appreciation was born. Seriously, Ursula is possibly the best example I’ve come across of how you can use your blog for good. Through her blog and related social media, this powerhouse is striving to revive women’s confidence and self belief, equipping them with the tools to remember their worth and go out and achieve their dreams. What a great purpose, what a great woman.

Single Mum Speaks

Ah the inimitable Min! What a tonic. A blogger who doesn’t shy away from issues.  She’s intelligent. She’s got cajones (gotta love a woman with cajones) and tells it like it is.  And she tells it with incredible eloquence. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost salivated over a sentence Min has conjured up. She’s also funny. What’s not to like?! Min’s parenting journey is an interesting one. A single parent with a slightly more unusual back story than ‘most’ I’ve come across, this woman can write about pretty much anything. I think she’s been blogging as long as I have and her blog is one of those I will always go back to when I want a sure fire good read that won’t let me down. Single mum speaks? Yes she does and does it brilliantly!

 

Voilà. Three bloody brilliant bloggers I’ve fallen in love with and I hope you do too.

I can’t believe it’s taken me more than two months after Jaki nominated me to write this post. But good things are always worth waiting for. Bloody brilliant things even more so.

P x

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Bloggers’ Cafe S1 Ep3: Lucky Things Blog

#BLOGGERSCAFE SEASON 1 IS WELL UNDERWAY FOLKS!

So I’m back from freezing cold London where I went a week ago to film the remaining episodes of Bloggers’ Cafe Season 1.  I actually can’t believe how willing people have been to travel in and meet Helen and myself not to mention how excited they’ve been to take part.  Thank you SO much for all the love and support you’ve shown the series so far, you lovely people! And now here we are at Bloggers’ Cafe S1 Ep3.

IF YOU’VE NOT YET WATCHED OUR FIRST GUEST CHAT

with Moment with Franca, you can catch that episode here.

 

BLOGGERS CAFE EPISODE 3 IS UP!

This edition brings you Sunita from Lucky Things talking some pretty inspiring talk about Blogging and Beyond. Relax and watch!

NB. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE OUR BLOGGERS’ CAFE POSTS/VLOGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA (GO ON!), PLEASE COULD YOU USE THE HASHTAG #BloggersCafe
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I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE OF BLOGGERS’ CAFE!

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Bloggers’ Cafe Episode 1 Has Landed!

IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE.  BLOGGERS’ CAFE EPISODE 1 IS HEEEEERE!!

bloggers cafe episode 1 featured image

I’m ridonkulously excited to announce we’ve FINALLY launched Season 1 of Bloggers’ Cafe!  This is quite possibly the most excited I’ve been about anything in a very long time! As some of you know, last December I flew back to the UK to start filming a brand new vlogging venture with the incredible Helen of Just Saying Mum. I can’t begin to describe how much fun it was or how many times we felt utterly lucky to have gained as much interest and participation as we did from willing bloggers.  (You can read this separate post about the weekend itself, hilarious moments and a background on how Bloggers’ Cafe came about.)

I ALSO CAN’T BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW CHALLENGING IT WAS ON CERTAIN FRONTS!

Helen’s right when she says we had this ridiculous idea that two vloggers who live in two different countries could make this work. But we did and we are! We didn’t have a location til the eleventh hour, the mic on the fab camera that Helen got for filming wouldn’t cooperate, we ended up using our phones and having a fair few storage issues…and don’t talk to me about editing! Suffice to say, I need a hair appointment as I’ve got grey hairs from fighting with Adobe software etc and I ended up hiring someone from Fiverr.com (no this is not a sponsored post for them!) to work their magic.

 

WE MAY NOT BE TOTAL VLOG VIRGINS BUT IT WAS STILL A LEARNING CURVE!

This is our first attempt at something like this so Season 1 of Bloggers Cafe may look a bit rough around the edges (well I am from Wembley and Helen’s from Essex so what do you expect? Joke) but I hope you enjoy it and bear with us while we figure out tweeks here and there.

I for one thing certainly learned that:

  • it doesn’t matter how BIG the ‘please do not disturb…filming in progress’ sign is, people WILL disturb and actually move the sign aside while they come up to see what’s being filmed!
  • in fact, they’ll then stand there and watch you for a good few minutes
  • a grown man won’t spot three women on a sofa in front of a camera and he will play a game of pool whilst those three women are filming (even my best Punjabi glare didn’t get his attention)
  • sometimes it’s easier to get a coffee at Pret a Manger than in a hotel
  • there will always be some eventuality you couldn’t predict such as ‘overestimating December’: it went dark where we were filming and no lights came on!
  • or underestimating one’s iPhone brightness (this vlog is rather ‘well lit’)
  • Malta, my adoptive home, doesn’t have the monopoly on noisy construction 24/7 and it is possible to sit in a swanky hotel talking loudly above clanging lift repairs
  • we need lapel mic’s to cut out background noise for Season 2
  • bloggers are the best!
  • Helen is even bestest and I’m super lucky to be working with such a pro.

THAT’S ENOUGH PREAMBLE FROM ME. LET’S GET ON WITH THE SHOW!

Here you go, Bloggers’ Cafe Episode 1…eek!

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If you have trouble watching the video from this page, you can go through to YouTube and watch it by clicking on this link.

Our warmest thank you to the Hyatt Andaz Hotel for kindly offering their venue to us.

I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF THE FIRST EPISODE OF BLOGGERS’ CAFE!

HAVE YOUR SAY! by using the Facebook or website comments box below.

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