If you’ve read part one of my experience BlogStock, you’ll know I spent the weekend enjoying the world’s only blogging festival! If you haven’t read part one, head over here to get up to speed 🙂
BLOGSTOCK 2015 DAY TWO!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had a pretty crap night’s sleep; three hours to be precise! I woke up dreaming of a hot shower, but couldn’t bring myself to take off any clothes, instead adding a few extra layers. I was up from about 7am, so had plenty of time to get ready before the sessions began. Some brave folks took part in yoga from 8.30am, but most of us went for the less healthy option; a pancake breakfast! Travel Alberta were one of the sponsors this year, which resulted in an epic all day free pancake breakfast. Affilinet were another sponsor and provided much needed free tea and coffee all weekend from their stand. The cold weather meant their tent was always full to the brim with people queuing up for a bit of liquid warmth!
The morning sessions started from 9.15 and I hopped between a couple of different talks that were all happening around about the same time. Alexandra Jimenez spoke about ‘Finding Your Niche‘, Kirsten Thomas spoke about ‘Looking After Your Blogging Brand Like a Pro‘ and Ximena de la Serna’s talk was titled ‘The One Secret That Will Turn Your Blog into a Business’. You can see the full Blogstock 2015 schedule here. It was interesting to hear the different ways in which bloggers are making money from their blogs through advertising and partnerships. Kirsten had some great tips about blog security and the steps you’d need to take to remove personal info that companies may have of you online.
When 11am rolled around, it was time for a talk on ‘Responsible Tourism‘ by Bill Oddie (legend), Mark Avery (worked for the RSPB for 25 years before going freelance) and Dan Bradbury (head of Development at the World’s Land Trust). The three of them didn’t come with a talk prepared, but instead spoke briefly about what they do within their line of work. Bill is absolutely nuts in the best way possible and had the audience in stitches through most of the hour! I had to sneak off unfortunately just before the end as I had a meeting with Affilinet in another tent.
Next up was a talk by Julie Falconer, the blogger behind A Lady in London, who gave a talk titled ‘Supercharge Your Instagram Account‘. I learnt about the importance of thinking about the layout of your gallery and how your bio looks on a desktop as well as phone, as well as how to use hashtags to maximise the number of people who come across your photos. Julie has a huuuge (78.5k!!) following on Instagram so it was great to hear her ideas on how to improve my account. You can find me on Instagram at @alysthewildlife 🙂
Whilst these talks were on, Expedia UK were also running a Burger Challenge! They had a BBQ on the go with meat and veggie burgers, along with about 5 different types of buns and loads of toppings. You had to build the best burger you could, before tweeting it to them. I went for a veggie burger topped with avocado, beetroot, cucumber, tomato and guacamole! I love gherkins so I chucked a couple of them and some spinach and feta on the side.. YUM.
After lunch I settled into the Marquee, along with about 40 other people, to watch a very exciting demonstration named ‘Animal Encounters’. This was one of the sessions I was most looking forward to, despite it having nothing to do with blogging! Charles from Impeyan gave an hour long talk, which involved him bringing out various weird and wonderful animals. He was great! His brilliant sense of humour kept us thoroughly amused throughout, but also made sure that we learnt something about each creature along the way. I ended up taking wayyy too many photos, so will post a selection below…
The next talk I went to was slightly more serious and blog-related! Run by Penny Alexander, ‘How to Boost Your Blogging Creativity‘, was a practical workshop that aimed to inspire us to find our inner child and learn how to play around with creativity again. Fuelled on chocolate buttons (thanks Penny!) we were asked to do various tasks such as making a note of the smells, sights, sounds, and textures of BlogStock, engaging all our senses. We were also given 5 minutes at one point to do some free writing, where you just write down whatever is in your head and don’t stop! There were also lots of great tips about managing a workload and finding what works for you in terms of getting the creative juices flowing. Examples included getting outdoors or sandwiching house chores in between chunks of blog writing to break things up.
Feeling inspired by Penny’s talk, I then headed over to get a ‘Social Media Health Check‘ by Elle Croft. She talked through how to get the most out of Facebook pages and Twitter and advised performing a health check every six months to make sure everything is consistent across all platforms. Towards the end, we were asked if we’d like to volunteer our Twitter or Facebook page to be analysed. A bunch of hands shot up and two were chosen to be looked at, which was very insightful!
As there was so much going on at once, I missed quite a few talks I wanted to go to. The Social Media Health Check was the last talk of the day, so there was just time afterwards to grab some sweet potato fries from Moku before settling down for the closing debate!
The debate brought together a panel consisting of three bloggers (Penny Alexander, Macca Sherifi and Ximena de la Serna) and one PR representative. They were asked a range of questions on their jobs – including (surprisingly) ‘how much do you earn?’. There was also a bit of a debate on how bloggers can be successful when contacting PR companies, including what kind of prices are ‘normal’ and what prices will make them run a mile! Overall, it was really interesting to hear so many different points of view within the world of blogging.
Whilst the debate was going on, last year’s extremely popular ‘tweet a drink’ service was brought back! All we needed to do was tweet ‘BSBeer’, ‘BSRedWine’ or ‘BSWhiteWine’ and our drink of choice was delivered straight to our chair – amazing!
After the debate, it was time for some more mingling (and drinking..) whilst we waited for the night’s music to begin. Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) ran a Happy Hour, which meant more free booze and more networking opportunities.
Also running in the evening was the ‘Sandwich Off’ – a competition that involved creating the ultimate sandwich using ingredients from all over the world. The ingredients weren’t real, rather pieces of paper, but we all had to name and pitch our sandwich at the end, which was pretty hilarious. We went for a classic halloumi, avocado, tomato and houmous wrap! Sadly, we didn’t win but the winners walked away with some tasty food hampers. They also ran a couple of separate Twitter competitions to win a holiday to Greece or a Foodie Experience, and had a large map which you could pin your details to. For a chance to win a holiday, you had to pin your details to a dream destination and write why you would want to go there. I went for Iceland as I would love to see the Northern Lights!
Afterwards, FuncNation took to the stage and were AWESOME! They played an epic selection of older and more current tunes and had everyone (drunkenly) on their feet 🙂
A few hours later, I was feeling the effects of my measly three hours sleep and headed back to my tent. Not before swinging by the Tomatto food stall to grab myself a margarita! The pizzas were made to order in a wood fired oven and you could even opt for a gluten free base or vegan cheese for an extra £1.50 – winner!
It was a great weekend at BlogStock, and I would definitely go again next year if it was running! I met some lovely people, heard some inspiring and motivating talks and learn a lot about the world of blogging in general – particularly how people make it a career. My only negative would be that I didn’t get to see all the sessions I wanted – but that just shows how many great speakers were 🙂
Thanks for a great weekend BlogStock!