Last Saturday I attended my second BlogFest, the annual blogging conference organised by Mumsnet. I love blogging conferences, not least for the opportunity to catch up with my friends and meet new bloggers.
After a bleary (5am!) start we arrived at the wonderful venue of Kings Place, near Kings Cross and were all so pleased for the chance to warm up; it’s safe to say that winter has definitely arrived.
The first session focused on Motherhood and creativity. The panel of Bryony Gordon, Margaret Atwood, Meera Syal CBE, Bridget Christie, Polly Vernon, Catherine Mann discussed whether ‘motherhood is a curse or a catalyst’ when it comes to creativity. Although it is interesting to hear that even successful people struggle with finding the time to be creative and write, I can’t identify with a lot of what was said. The conversation did steer itself to discussing men in a negative way and, with a hubby that does so much around the house (and for our family), it is not something I could empathise with. I know some male bloggers in the room were a little offended and rightly so.
I was then involved in a roundtable which discussed and explored self esteem and blogging. This session was wonderful and I will share all the details tomorrow in a separate post.
My wonderful friend Hannah went to ‘Ten things we can learn from Buzzfeed’ and I will attempt to summarise the main points, of what she said, was a fabulous session taken by digital whizz Kathryn Tyler.
- Make shareable content
- Include a call to action to follow you
- Lists help people to read easily and quickly, so use that format
- Understand your audience – create a user persona – Who are you targetting? What are their personalities? What are they interested in? What are they motivated by?
- Target their emotions – Funny, heart warming, controversial, sad/tragic
- Try using these types of content – Inspiring/heart warming, surprising, nostalgic, funny, controversial.
- Examples of campaigns that worked – #Dogdaysofsummer #Itstartedwithabook
- Make it useful – Informative, useful, actionable
- Think about the format – For example, They made the ‘which city should you live in’ topic into a quiz which went viral
- Formats – List, quiz, infographic, photo, video – match the format to your audience
- Be topical, but subtle – Keep on top of what’s coming up. Stay ahead of the trends
- Analyse – what’s working? What’s not?
- Measure key metrics so you can adjust your content
- Do Facebook polls to help you define your audience
- Find out which networks work better for you
- Find out who influences your audience and make friends with them
- tweepi.com you can follow followers. Crowdfire can be useful as can Social Bro
- Use social sprout for data analysis
- Iconosquare fab for Instagram analysis
- Spend 5 hour per week per platform
- Use Klout to find who the infuencers are
Building Your Brand
This session was taken by Jude Brooks who explained why bloggers should see themselves and their blogs as brands, and then act as marketers.
- Content should illicit a emotional response – Anger/fear/happiness/disgust/surprise/sadness
- Essentials of a sticky story – Simple, unexpected/different, concrete, credible, emotional/resonant
- Who we trust is changing – There is a declining trust in Banks, NHS, legal system, police, politicians, church, media and celebrities. Resulting in us trusting each other more – site such a reevoo, trust pilot, tripadvisor are testiment to this.
- We trust our networks. People live in networks for small connected groups. 150 is the maximum number of connections we can maintain effectively. We turn to friends to help us make decisions. We are disproportionately influenced by our strongest ties.
- How brands communicate their message has changed. In the past they used campaigns which would interrupt people lives with their message, for example an advert in the break of a major soap. Now they have to focus on programmes that focus on engagement, adding value and keeping the fans with content of all types.
What does this mean for bloggers?
Your blog is a brand, so you need to start acting like one.
- Focus on telling engaging & credible stories
- Continue to build trust & enduring relationships
- Seek to provide more value to your audience
- Be purposeful
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it
Simon Sinek – Golden Circle
- What? Products and Services
- How? Differentiation/USP
- Why? Purpose/cause/belief
The Why? is always at the heart of your purpose led business.
What’s your why?
You can find your why, by thinking of what the world needs, what you are passionate about? and what you are good at?
Identify content themes
Work with organisations to understand the value exchange between their offer and your audience. There is a sweet spot between the customer interests and needs and the unique brand expertise and value.
Create fat content
Fat content is;
- Targeted and relevant to the audience – Consider your readers demographic, psychographic
- Context aware – Geography, weather, news
- Multi-dimensional – Words, images, audio-visual, games, tools
- Always choose two from – Informative/ engaging / helpful
Co-operative content creation
- Create content from scratch
- Recycle existing content
- Co-create with others – Consumers, employees/colleagues, at events, influencers/experts
Consider content consumption
- Scheduled – Content you regularly make time to consume
- Seeking – Recommended content you seek out as a direct result of a trigger or recommendation
- Serendipity – Content you stumble across, but which captures your attention.
‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ – Big ideas in small spaces.
The panellists Sarah Crown, Esther Freud, Katy Wheatley, Tim Dowling, Helen Simpson offered guidance on how to distil big ideas into a few carefully crafted paragraphs, and how can these snippets of life can give people just as much as a lengthy text. I think the main thing to come out of this session for me was the need to edit and be ruthless with your own work. Make sure that everything in the piece needs to be there.
With one of the best people blogging has brought into my life, Amy.
I traded the closing session for the opportunity to chat to brands (Dove, Skimlinks to name two wonderful brands who had sponsored the event) and other bloggers. There is never enough time to do everything at these events and sadly I think I might have missed a few fabulous sessions, as I have had reports that a couple of the You Tube sessions were brilliant, as were the think bombs. It is such a hard decision to make sometimes, as to which sessions to attend and invariably it is possible to choose the wrong sessions for you.
After the day finished the inaugural Mumsnet Blogging awards took place with wonderfully deserving finalists and winners, after which we all enjoyed cocktails and canapies.
Thanks Mumsnet for an amazing day and a big thanks to Skimlinks for gifting me a ticket to the event.