Wednesday, 4 May 2016

#BlogAtTheBeach with Ice Lolly



Over the weekend I was invited to attend Ice Lolly's Blog at the Beach event at the White
Cloth Gallery in Leeds which was VERY exciting as it was my first blogger event. Even better, Leeds is only a quick train journey away from where I live so I wasn't having to trek miles to get there - Woo!
If I'm going to be a 100% honest, the minute I replied to the e-mail saying 'YES that sounds amazing, count me in!', I started thinking of excuses not to go. The thought of walking into a room SOLO filled with a bunch of people I didn't know, some with much higher blog followings that me, made me feel physically sick.
Jody pretty much had to force me out of the door and by the time I got to Leeds I was RAVENOUS because I'd been too nervy to eat anything. I got in a bit of a tizz when I *nearly* went down the wrong street (Thank Google Maps) and when I walked straight past the gallery I made a quick call to Jodes to mask my mistake and make it look like I missed the door intentionally.

I'm so cool.
ice lolly pass and pad
Once I was in the gallery there was the whole 'Omg everyone is grouped off wtf do I do' but eventually I managed to awkwardly worm my way into a group so I didn't feel like a total nob sat by myself doing the whole 'I'm fine I have my phone to play on anyway' thing. Not that there is anything wrong with that like, I just didn't fancy sitting by myself for 5 hours.

If you can't tell the event had a Mexican theme and this theme included piƱata's, taco's, nachos, cactuses and the strongest Margarita's I have ever encountered - I'm pretty sure it was made up entirely of tequila with a splash of lemon or lime or whatever and it's safe to say I couldn't actually finish it (especially as I was driving home from the train station!). There was also a Mariachi band which I thought was a great touch to add to the atmosphere.

After the Mariachi band it was time to be seated and the event began...

blog at the beach presentation

So in case you didn't know Ice Lolly are a leading holiday comparison website within the UK and they understand that bloggers have a lot of influence these days. People aren't just wanting to read a couple of Trip Advisor reviews and go, they want real people to go and tell them if a place is any good or not - this is where the blogger's come in.

Ice Lolly want to work with bloggers, big or small and they showed us some of their recent blogger campaigns. One of my favourite things about Ice Lolly was the fact that there wasn't just big name bloggers at the event, there was also some of us smaller ones aswell which was a great confidence booster.

  mexican fiesta decorations

Once we had learned a little bit about Ice Lolly it was time to listen to the guest speakers. First up was Kirsten Thompson from the Kooky Traveller with 'Rock your blog: Protect your brand and reputation'.

Basically she put the fear of God into us all by telling us that we can be sued if we use copyrighted images, that anyone can find out our information if we haven't chosen to buy a privacy setting when buying a domain name and that if your location isn't turned off on your phone, anyone could find out where you live. Pretty scary stuff right?

Despite it being a little bit shocking, Kirsten's talk was a real eye opener and I think a lot of us came out of her talk with a list of to do's for our blogs.

Plus did you know that direct messages on Twitter are actually a breach of the law? Yep, not only do they do your head in, they're also not allowed. SO DON'T SET ONE UP GUYS.

(If you want more on information on all of this I do believe that Kirsten said she would be putting the slides up on her blog!)

pinata

After a dinner of taco's, nacho's and these amazing spicy sausage things it was time for a talk with Mi Elfverson of The Vlog Academy (From Blogger to Vlogger).

 Mi is a Swedish video producer who has been working in the industry for 25 years. She's passionate about Vlogging and believes that anybody can do it, even if they don't have the fancy schmancy equipment.

After a really, really awkward moment where she made us do our own mini Vlog (mine is just two minutes of me laughing) , Mi went on to explain that you can vlog even if all you have is a smartphone (Although she does advise that you buy a Bluetooth selfie stick and a plug in microphone so you have good angles and great sound).

I will probably never be a Vlogger as I find my voice really annoying but if any of you reading this are thinking of doing, Mi's best tips were to maintain eye contact, be confident and most of all be yourself.

Oh and keep it short. Noone wants to watch ten minutes of you warbling on!

slideshow with olaf

The third and final talk was with Sabina Trojanova of GirlVSGlobe and was called 'How to build a snowcial following'.

Sabina was a great talker and did a fab job of keeping us all laughing and keeping us all engaged. The main point of her talk was obviously building up a following and creating a connection with your readers.

The talk was divided into three parts with each part under a different headline -Friend, Inspiration, Guide (FIG) and was peppered with pictures of Frozen characters to keep things cute. To begin with Sabina brought us all down to Earth by telling us there are more than 150 million blogs with 4 million posts being published daily. She then asked us what made us so special and how could we incorporate this into our blog.

She stressed the importance of having being yourself and writing personal posts that readers can relate too. It's all about keeping the blog clean, having nice photography and taking the time to speak to readers and engage with them. You also want to inspire people with original stories, not rip people off or bore them to death (which if I carry on I'm in danger of doing - Sorry!)

Sabina wrapped it up by saying we should also be a guide, we should share our wisdom not just hide it away. We should always try and educate ourselves and build relationships with other bloggers. In fact relationships with other bloggers are vital and we should be attending meet ups, being active in facebook groups and collaborating with one another.

I think all of us came out feeling very inspired to write and if anyone fancies a collaboration comment below or e-mail me! (alrightblondie@gmail.com)

mariachi band

I left the event after the final talk due to a splitting headache but I left feeling really positive about my blog. It may not be the biggest blog in the world but it's mine and I'm looking forward to making a few tweaks to it and seeing where it can take me.

Did any of you guys come to Blog at the Beach? Did you have a good time? (I would have been far to awkward to come say hi to you in person!)

Thank you Ice Lolly! (They didn't ask us to share our event experience on our blogs FYI but it was such a good day why wouldn't we??)

PS Please excuse my rubbish photos, I didn't realise how rubbish they were until I was already on the train back to Harrogate.

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2 comments

  1. It's a shame I never got to meet you at Blog At The Beach! Glad you had a good time though :)

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    1. I know! Such a shame! Hope you had a good time too x

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