At the beginning of the month I was lucky enough to attend the Ice Lolly Blog At The Beach event in Leeds. The girls and I decided to make a weekend of it and explore the city while we were there too! So after a 5 am start, Abi and I drove all the way to Leeds from South Wales and met Jess at the train station before heading off to the event at Lambert’s Yard.
After hearing about the Ice lolly brand – one of the UK’s best holiday comparison sites, we were treated to talks from 3 amazing bloggers (Rhianna Olivia, She Gets Around & The Travelista). They each spoke about something completely different, yet so useful and were all absolutely amazing! They all put so much effort into their presentations and I learnt so many useful things from each of them. Now that I’m back home, I’m sat planning how I can put everything I learnt into practice. They spoke about everything from upping your Instagram game, to creativity, to monetizing your blog. As I learnt so much, I thought I would do a roundup of the top ten things I learnt at the event and share all the amazing blogging goodness with all of you. You might want to go get a cuppa at this point … it’s quite a long one!
Blog at the Beach Lesson #1
Rhianna spoke about growing your Instagram organically and one of her top tips was posting regularly. There are rumours that the new Instagram algorithm favours those who do this – which makes complete sense. So find what works for you – whether it’s twice a day or once a day work out what’s best for you and stick with it. She suggested posting at similar times each day and using your analytics to help you choose when to post (more on this later).
Blog at the Beach Lesson #2
Use all the hashtags! You get 30 hashtags to use on each photo and you should make the most of them. Rhianna perfectly described them like lottery tickets – if you had 30 of them you wouldn’t use just some of them. It’s best to mix them up, use more popular and less common ones, use ones that are relevant to your photos and don’t forget to use them to find new people for you to follow.
Blog at the Beach Lesson #3
I did not realise how useful Instagram analytics could be. If you don’t have an Instagram business account, you can also get great analytics from the app UNUM. I already have this and it’s an app that lets you plan out your feed ahead of time. I have the free version and use it quite regularly, but I did not realise the amount of useful information you can get from it. You can see the time of day that your followers are most active, what posts they interact with best and so much more. You can use all of this to help guide you when planning your Instagram posts.
Blog at the Beach Lesson #4
Jen’s talk was all about creativity for busy bloggers and one of best activities of the day was an interactive one where we paired up with another blogger. We had to describe what our blog was about and then the other person had around 1-2 minutes to list different ideas of things that we could write about. I couldn’t believe how quickly we came up with ideas for each other. I instantly had 7 or 8 blog post ideas within minutes that had never crossed my mind. This would be perfect to do with your blogging friends as well, as someone who doesn’t blog – normally they can offer a completely different viewpoint and ideas.
P.s This is also a fair warning to all my friends and family as I will be asking you to do this with me all over again soon!
Blog at the Beach Lesson #5
Let yourself be inspired – There are so many ways to do this, but the key things that stuck out to me from Jen’s presentation was to be happy, not limit yourself and forget perfect. By putting yourself in a positive space, having the right mind-set you can do and create amazing things. This not only applies to blogging, but to life in general. Jen also recommended a book called Big Magic, which I have heard so many good things about before and it reminded me that I really need to get my hands on it.
Blog at the Beach Lesson #6
Don’t be embarrassed by your blog or anything for that matter! You should be so proud of all the hard work and time that you put into your blog. If you love it and it’s what you want to do, it doesn’t matter what other people think. Let your family, friends and the whole world know that you have a blog and own it!
Blog at the Beach Lesson #7
Jess from The Travelista gave an amazing talk about monetising your blog and she went over the importance of a media kit, what to include and how to do it. The key thing that she pointed out that some bloggers forget is to include ‘evidence of influence’. Do you have comments or tweets or anything where a reader/follower has bought or done something based on your recommendation? If you do, this is absolute gold for your media kit! It shows brands that your readers love to hear what you have to say and the influence that you may have.
Blog at the Beach Lesson #8
When you have the opportunity to create sponsored content remember to upsell your services. Although you may only be asked to create a blog post, why not pitch a campaign that involves all of your services. For example, you could offer a bundle with social media promotion, a giveaway or even a video? Be creative and offer the brand something they will love! Not only does this show the brand your creativity, but also your work ethic, professionalism and sets you apart from everyone else.
Blog at the Beach Lesson #9
Always keep your readers trust and create content that both they and you love. Be proud of your work and always disclose the necessary information. Again this shows your professionalism as a blogger and also shows your readers that they can rely on you for your honest opinion, thoughts and reviews.
Blog at the Beach Lesson #10
Be creative, hardworking and business minded! The biggest thing I took away from the event was to work hard, be creative and let yourself be inspired. Putting in extra effort, thinking outside the box and putting your blogging entrepreneurial thinking cap on can open so many opportunities for you and your blog!
I just want to say a massive thank you to the Ice Lolly team for putting together a fantastic event and to the 3 bloggers who put so much effort into creating fantastic presentations and taught me so much – You are absolute gems!
If you liked reading about this event you might also like my post about being inspired at the Spectrum make up brushes event.