Last weekend I attended my first conference following the Covid pandemic and the world gradually reopening. At one point I attended blog conferences a couple of times a year as well as other meet ups – working on your own at home can be a lonely life so these events were fantastic for us to see each other, spend time with friends in the same industry and improve our skills alongside this. Like most industries, these things had been put on hold, so I was really looking forward to attending BlogOn2021 this year.
Originally Blog On was a northern event however more recently it has moved down south which, being from Manchester, meant I had a bit of a journey down. However I enjoyed the time to myself to read and just while away the time kid and dog-free. I made it down to Reading on Friday evening and joined Sian from Helpful Mum for a meal before an early night ready for the chaos of the next day.
This year Laura, who runs Blog On, had chosen to reduce numbers to the conference so we weren’t all on top of each other, given the current circumstances, which I really appreciated. Being someone with a chronic illness I am conscious of being in too close quarters with a lot of people and I felt I could walk around the spaces comfortably without bumping into people, which put me at ease. Throughout the day there was an introduction and key note speaker, four sessions where you could choose different speakers to learn from as well as breaks and lunch to grab a cup of tea and some food. At the end of the day there is a huge raffle where all the submissions for the Toy Awards are raffled off – this is a long part of the day however well worth buying tickets for as you are in with a great chance of at least winning one prize, if not several.
I don’t always go to many session at these events like I did when I was first blogging, however as I am trying to start my blog up again I decided I wanted to go to most of them. The first session I attended was run by Tim Liew who spoke about LinkedIn. For me this is an untapped resource as I have never really understood how it can work for blogging. Tim talked us through the basics of making a profile and how we should use LinkedIn to benefit our work. He advised us that constant link dropping is a no-no and more important is sharing content that is within your niche and will therefore be of interest to those you are connected with. He talked us through a seven day process where you set up your account, start sharing and start engaging with people, which if kept up to will eventually lead to gaining more relationships and eventually work connections. I found this session really helpful and plan on incorporating using LinkedIn as part of my blog admin.
During the second session I had a break and caught up with some blogging friends and then after lunch I attended Sian’s session on TikTok. I absolutely adore reels and have completely embraced them, but apart from sharing them over to TikTok I have not really used the app much at all. Sian discussed how she went viral on her Danceosaurus account by creating shareable content using trending audio and dances, but she also discussed also how important her community was to her. For her, TikTok is somewhere she gets a lot of joy from and it was really great to see such a positive vibe from social media as we all know what dark places these can be. What I took away from Sian’s session was that you need to be uploading frequently to TikTok, especially when you are a smaller creator and whilst you can repurpose content from others platforms, it is important to also share unique content that can’t be found elsewhere for you to grow. TikTok seems to be a place quite unique to most other social media, it has an audience all of its own and it’s algorithm is completely different, meaning even small creators get pushed just as much as those with huge followings, which I found really intriguing.
The final session I attended was Rachel Palmer’s vision boarding one, and although I was torn between a few on this slot I’m really glad I chose Rachel’s. I am quite a creative person anyway and anything that involves gluing and sticking is right up my street, but I’d never tried vision boarding and found it a really useful tool. We first discussed how you use vision boarding not to tell you what to do with your life, but to discover what it is that you actually want for yourself and then create a board that will prompt you regularly to focus on these and put them into action in your day. I’m sure I’m not explaining that as well as Rachel did but let me tell you I came away feeling inspired and lighter – I think taking the time to think about just yourself and have some quiet time is a really positive tool.
That evening was the Blog On party where we all come together (those of us who want to of course) to let our hair down, chat, drink and dance and just generally have a social event that in our industry we rarely get to do. Due to having a cracked rib I had to be a bit cautious on letting my hair down completely but once again the event didn’t feel over crowded, there was space to have a quieter moment if you were too overwhelmed and it was nice and laid back.
Blog On has always been one of my favourite events and this year reminded me why. The team who run the day are like a family and embrace you as such. If you have any requirements or needs they are more than happy to accommodate you and if you are struggling at all during the day there is always someone on hand who you can go to for support. If you are considering whether these events are right for you at the moment I would say something like Blog On is a great place to kick off from, and if you have never been before it is not an intimidating event so a great place to start.
Laura has already released tickets for next year’s event so if you would like to attend go and have a look at the website. Here are more posts on BlogOn2021 for you to see other people’s thoughts on the day.
Slouching Towards Thatcham – Why I Went To Blogon2021 (And why I’ll keep coming back)
Autumn’s Mummy Blog – An Awesome Day At BlogOn Xmas 2021
Unicorns Dinosaurs And Me – A BlogOn Guide For Newbies