A few weeks ago I went to BlogStock, the world’s only blogging festival. BlogStock offers a weekend of workshops, networking and social events – all in the middle of a field in Elstree! You’ll find talks in tipis, an array of food stalls and an abundance of opportunities to chat to like-minded bloggers and industry professionals. This was one of the first blogging events I ever attended and I was worried at first that it would be a waste of time with the blog only being a few months old. I didn’t feel my blog stats were high enough (compared to the blogging pros I knew I’d be surrounded with) to give the blog any credibility. I was also anxious about going on my own and not knowing anyone. After months of deliberation, I bit the bullet and purchased my £85 ticket!
So.. was it worth it?? In short, YES! I had a great weekend, met some lovely people and learnt a lot. If you are still debating whether you should grab a ticket for 2016’s BlogStock, here are 10 reasons why I think all newbie bloggers should attend!
Meet new people with similar interests
If you are new to blogging, events like these are a great way of meeting people who also share your passion for writing and whatever you write your blog on; be it travel, fashion, beauty, movies or photography. BlogStock isn’t aimed towards any style in particular, but I found the majority of bloggers were lifestyle/ fashion or travel. I met lots of people that had been travel blogging for years – many of them making a full time living from their blog. I’d love to be in the same situation in a few years time, ideally travelling indefinitely! It was inspiring and motivating to talk to people that were already doing what I would love to achieve.
You will learn a lot!
There are a few talks on the Friday afternoon, but the majority are spread throughout Saturday, starting from 9am and finishing around 5pm, followed by networking drinks. My only criticism of the weekend would be that, although there were SO many talks I wanted to attend, in reality I only attended 4 or 5 due to overlapping sessions. The talks I did go to were great – from how to ensure creative content, to making the most out of Instagram, or monetising a blog. You are guaranteed to find talks that interest you and help you get the most from your site; whether it’s a hobby or a career.
Create contacts with industry professionals
If your goal is to work with brands and eventually make a living from your blog, you need to have a firm idea of how to work with different companies. Many bloggers make money through sponsored posts or trips, product reviews and/ or advertising. It’s really important that these companies like you as a person (as well as your stats!), so meeting with brands face-to-face at events like this can prove a huge advantage. At BlogStock this year, we had the chance to meet Affilinet, Tourism Ireland, Travel Alberta and APH to name a few. You are also able to chat to PRs that work with an array of different brands. I’m not focusing my attention on making money from my blog at the moment, but I found it really insightful to chat to PRs and see what kinds of things they look for when working with bloggers.
OK, this reason is slightly less serious that the previous three, but still important to many I’m sure! If you are querying the price tag and not sure what’s included – rest assured there will be plenty of opportunities to eat and drink yourself silly.. for free. Friday offered a free Thai buffet, Saturday started with all-you-can-eat pancakes (yes, really) and finished with a build your own burger session thanks to Expedia. Both evenings include networking drinks with free booze and there was even a ‘tweet a drink’ service during the closing debate which enabled us to tweet whether we wanted wine or beer and our drink of choice was delivered to our seat!
Boost your confidence
I arrived on the Friday quite anxious about how the weekend was going to pan out. I was on my own and didn’t know anyone else that was attending. Would I be sat on my lonesome all weekend?? Would everyone else know each other?? The answer to both (thankfully) was no! After attending a couple of blogging events now, I’ve found that people are generally extremely welcoming. This was apparent before I even reached the campsite, as I ending up meeting a couple of girls at the train station and sharing a taxi down with them. The weekend forced me to go up to people and spark up a conversation – something completely unnerving when you are socially anxious like me! After the first couple of times it was easy, and I soon found myself chatting to anyone and everyone 🙂
Create a blogging support network
On a similar note to reason number one, meeting new people can be great for creating a network of people that all support each other. Friends you make at events like this can prove invaluable for advice, support and helping promote your blog. Chances are they’ll have a different bunch of followers, so a simple retweet can help push your posts to a larger audience!
Get great advice
As there were so many travel bloggers attending this year, I instantly had something in common with most people. When chatting about where I’d like to go next, everyone was really interested in what countries I planned to visit. At BlogStock I was lucky enough to meet people who had done the same journeys themselves and therefore had LOTS of tips and things they would do differently.
Build your blog on a solid foundation
If you are worrying about attending because you have only just started up your blog, fear not! You may potentially be in a better situation than some of the golden oldies! Anyone who has set up their own blog will have dealt with sorting out a theme, getting their head around WordPress and coding, Googling SEO and other similar brain-aches. There is a lot to learn and burying yourself in pages of the internet is not always the best way. By attending events like this when the blog is still new, you are setting off on the best foot possible. For example, learning how to manage your finances before actually making any money can help avoid costly mistakes. Lots of bloggers will have tried and tested ideas that haven’t worked out – by learning from experts at an early stage, you can successfully take your blog in whichever direction you choose. I’m really glad I went to BlogStock as a newbie!
You could win some amazing prizes
Along the lines of whether the price tag is worth it – if you are not convinced by the high quality speakers or abundance of free food, you may be interested in the competitions! There were a few in the run up to BlogStock, including the chance for five people to stay in the Hertz VIP camp as well as some Mountain Warehouse camping giveaways. I was actually a runner up in a Twitter competition and won a teenie tiny two man tent, which will definitely come in handy next year! There were competitions running every day of the festival too – three cameras were given away by Affilinet, a trip to Ireland was given away by Tourism Ireland and a trip to Copenhagen by Snaps+Rye. Expedia gave away a trip to Greece and a ‘foodie experience’ and Room Auction offered a free night’s accommodation in the UK. Those are just the ones I can remember!
You’ll have a bloody good time!
You’ll attend some great talks, make lots of new friends, lose sight of your diet for a weekend, remember why you hate camping, get a bit tiddly, dance like a lunatic when the live band comes on and come away with a hangover and a head full of new ideas!
You can read exactly what I got up to and see all my photos in these posts:
Did you go to 2015 BlogStock as a newbie?? How was your experience? If you are thinking about going in 2016 but have some questions – let me know and I’ll try my best to answer them!