Monday, 2 May 2016

#BlogAtTheBeach with Ice Lolly


In my short time doing it, Blogging has allowed me really great experiences thanks to Musings & More. When an invite from Blog at the Beach by icelolly.com dropped into my inbox, I checked the date and immediately pinged back an email confirming my attendance. It was going to be held in Leeds, a city I've only been to once and I love the chance to check out somewhere new!

My friend Lizzy is also a blogger, so together we hopped on the train to Leeds and navigated the short way to the White Cloth Gallery. We were handed our name/blog tags (which is really weird to see printed in actual print) and an itinerary for the day before being left to mingle while everyone else arrived. 

Blog At The Beach was Mexican Fiesta themed and boy, do I love a good theme! I'm talking inflatable cactuses, a PiƱata, sombreros and even some mojitos to warm us up! What was really brilliant was the Mariachi band who created the best atmosphere for the event and got everyone bopping along!





The event consisted of three speakers who all offered us really valuable advice in their respected topics. I've always entered blogging quite blindly, not really knowing much about SEO or anything like that, so these were incredibly useful for me and apart from reading online, I'd never learnt the ins and outs of blogging in this way before. 

Kirsten Thompson - Rock Your Blog: Protect Your Brand and Reputation


To give you a bit of background, Kirsten from Kooky Traveller works in education at the University of Leeds. She's been blogging for over ten years but it was only when she got into travel blogging did she start looking into SEO and digital identity. 

Okay, I'll admit it. Kirsten's talk terrified me. I'll admit that I went into blogging quite naively and generally just started writing, posting and that was it! I think a lot of people do to be honest. But I didn't spare any thought to exactly what was going on in the background, in the dark murky behind the scenes of blogging that isn't always that obvious to the eye. If you read any part of this post at all, read this next bit!

Your brand and digital footprint:

  • As bloggers, we are more active online than the average person. Our digital identity is essentially everything about us on the web. This includes our verified identities (anywhere money is associated, so amazon, ebay etc) and our non verified identities (our social media accounts). It is important we look after both.
     
  • If you are sharing your travel adventures on your blog or Instagram, even snap chat, have you checked what information is out there in regards to where you live? Who knows this information?

  • The website Zoominfo.com is worrying used by HR professions as a resource similar to Linkedin. However this is a scraping website, basically a website which extracts information from other websites and puts it in one place. What are people searching if they are looking for you? People might not be searching your blog name, but sometimes your actual name too.

  • While you might not want to network, having a LinkedIn profile is very useful as it ranks very highly on google. This means that if someone is searching you regarding your name or key words that relate to your experience, they can find you for what you want to be found for.

  • Google alerts is a free service from google where you can set up key word searches and every time google crawls the net and finds anything that relates to those keywords, you will get an email. 

  • We can manage our digital identity, but we cannot control it. 

Security

  • As bloggers, we are always encouraged to share so much about our lives. However there is a risk with this. Are you sharing it consciously?

  • WHOIS Database is a public directory on the internet that lists all websites and their owners as well as multiple other details. It is worth paying for private registration of your domain name which means your hosting information will appear, not yours.

  • When you are taking photographs on your phone, is the location encrypted into your image files? This means you could end up sharing your location with someone you don't want to.

  • A lot of things are immediate, some apps that you install will immediately get access to your phone contacts. Have all your contacts given you permission to share their data? How well do you know the company behind the app? How do you know it's not a scam? Always stick to official apps and investigate third party ones.

  • Consider fragmenting your identity. Don't put all your eggs in one basket and think about having multiple email addresses. Think about each inbox as a folder so that if one email is ever hacked or compromised, they only have access to one part of your life rather than everything.

  • Beef up your security, you should be using difficult, strong passwords to guess. Websites such as LastPass mean you only have to remember one, long password and then you can generate lots of complicated passwords that you don't have to remember because they are all secure in the vault in your LastPass account. 

Mi Elfverson - The Power of Video: From Blogger to Vlogger



Vlogging is definitely something I've never considered. Purely because I'm much more at home behind a screen and well, writing has always been my thang. While we do film our trips away and notable memories, these are purely for us and the idea of sharing them with the outside world makes me shudder! Nonetheless, I was curious by Mi's talk on going from Blogging to Vlogging. 

Mi runs The Vlog Academy which essentially promises to introduce you to and train you in the way of video blogging for your business (or for anything you please!). This might be through corporate training days, group courses or one-to-one training. 

Mi spoke about a number of steps you should follow to start vlogging:

Camera Type

  • Mobile/iPad
  • Compact Camera
  • Mirrorless Camera
  • DSLR
  • Iphones actually have a really great camera to get started with!

Eye contact
  • Make sure the camera is eye level
  • You will build more of a connection with your audience.

Win them

  • Body language is so important.
  • Your audience pick up on: 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% of what you actually say.
  • A clip on microphone (which can be brought really cheaply from online) will make the world of difference to the quality of your videos

Don't stop!
  • Keep putting out regular content
  • Interact and engage with your audience. Comment on other videos and link back to your own channel.
Sabina Trojanova - Do You Want To Build A Snow...cial Following?



Sabina's talk was one I found really fascinating, especially because of who she is. Sabina is the founder of the brilliant blog Girl vs Globe. She actually attended BlogAtTheBeach last year as a listener, which made her even more interesting now she had come back as a speaker! Regardless of that, she was also incredibly engaging to listen to and you really did sit up and take notice. She was the very essence of girl power and made us all sit up and listen 

The talk was all about optimising your blogging content to attract as many readers as possible so you can then turn the readers into dedicated followers. Sabina pointed out there was more than 10050 million blogs out there and that it was hard work to stand out. She asked us to take a piece of paper and gave us one minute to answer the question 'Why the hell are you so special? Why should anyone read your blog?" This was something I know a lot of us found difficult to answer as in a way you felt quite arrogant! 

Sabina then introduced us to FIG, a three layer community building technique she had devised:

Friend:

  • Know your readers, know who you're trying to connect with. What is their age? Their interests? Their views?

  • Havin an 'about me' page is really useful as this is where you can introduce yourself in a little more depth and talk about who you really are. Be personal, you need to give them something as you are the one trying to attract readers, so you are the one reaching out.

  • Write personal posts. You don't have to share intimate details but you need to be able to give a lot of yourself through writing so create approachable and relatable posts - you don't want to sound like a Wikipedia page with no personality! A blogger is first and foremost someone whose friend you think you could be.

  • Talk as if you are talking to one person only. Directly address the reader, as an individual as this is how you want them to feel. Perhaps ask questions at the end of your post. How did you find this? What do you think? Do you have anything to add to this? If you do, please leave a comment!

  • Always try to find the time to connect with your readers, no matter how big your blog may be, if someone has taken to time to comment on your blog, you should envisage to reply to them because if you don't, why should they keep coming back?
Inspiration:

  • Do something that inspires your reader. Show them a life well lived!

  • Step outside of your comfort zone

  • Have really great photography, even your iPhone takes good photos. If people don't like the image you post on social media, they won't click on it because there are so many others being uploaded!

  • Instagram is a great way of showcasing your personality.

  • A clean design with strong imagery is key, you want your content to speak for itself and don't want readers distracted.

  • Original, shareable and motivating content. Listacles are a very good way of sharing your experiences as they are very sharable. This is something people will tweet out if they enjoy it or repost on their Facebook.

  • However listacles are original. You want to strike  good balance between stuff that is sharable  and stuff that is original that people think "I never thought about that!
Guide:

  • Explain how your lifestyle and experiences are accessible to your readers. Motivate your readers, be their guide.

  • Teach them how, create how to guides. E.g. How to travel Paris on £200!

  • Give them all the tools so they can follow your footsteps.

  • Be very transparent and very open. Sabrina explained how she had written an ebook about how she made $12,000 in six months.  She believes this makes people attracted to her blog because she is open and not afraid to tell them details such as how much money she makes. This makes you appealing.

  • Show your wisdom and don't be stingy about it! A lot of people want to save all their best bits for when they write an ebook, but if you don't have an audience in the first place, whose going to read that ebook? Make people trust you and want to come back to you.

  • Be an expert in your field. Own it! Write about it! If you know what you are talking about, people will listen. 

Can you spot anyone you know?

Blog At The Beach was a totally different kind of event for me to attend. Very rare to I come back from an event full of new knowledge - especially about something I do weekly! It was such a great opportunity to learn from the professionals and I took a lot away from my tim in Leeds. A huge thanks to Kirsten, Mi and Sabina for their incredible talks and especially to icelolly.com for the invite! Ice Lolly are a great brand and it's wonderful to see a brand so supportive and appreciative of bloggers and what we do!

I hope you too have leant something from today's post, there is certainly a lot to take on board! Have a great week!


Emily x

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48 comments

  1. This post is amazing and so informative, I'm glad you got to attend this event because a. It looks so cool and b. Selfishly, this was so helpful! I'm finally approaching my one year blogiversary :P And it's time for me to revamp everything, I've bookmarked this so I can look back at all of it again! :) Thank you so much for this <3

    Raashi
    raashiagarwal.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Very informative article. I liked it.
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  2. Sounds like an amazing event! I would have loved to hear the speakers!

    Renee | Lose The Road

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  3. looks great !
    please follow my blog : YOUNG BLOG

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  4. Sounds like an incredibly interesting and informative event, thank you for sharing so in depth! Really helpful x

    VanessaVonJames | Fashion Blog

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  5. This event sounds so informative and this post is really helpful. Thanks for sharing. =^-^=

    Sam | Momentarily Dreaming

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  6. This is a very long post but well worth the time to read through and special thanks to you, Emily for taking the time and effort to write everything down to share with us. I am very careful about having my location embedded in my pictures and such, I also don't have those 'check in' app but my paranoia is due to me being a stalking victim in the past.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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    1. Oh my god Shireen, that sounds terrifying! Have you ever shared your stalking story?

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  7. What a great event and full of fascinating information. Thank you for sharing some with us! :) xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

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  8. All this info is amazing, I just saved this link to refer back to it. Awesome!

    Tania
    http://inspiremyfancy.blogspot.com/

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  9. This looks like such a cool event to attend and the information you've given is amazing! I bet that too you ages :') xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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  10. Blogging really does give us bloggers such incredible opportunities, doesn't it?! Blog at the Beach sounds like it was such a fabulous event! Would have loved to been able to attend myself and I am sure you will put all the information learnt to good use!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

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  11. So informative, I feel like I was there now! thanks :)

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  12. What an informative post! It's such a cool event, where you can meet great bloggers and learn as well! How wonderful <3

    xx Bash |   go say   H E Y   B A S H

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  13. Wow, it sounds like a great event! Those talks probably were very informative and eye-opening. Thank you for taking time and writing the main points from those talks. It's surely very interesting and useful :)

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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  14. Looks like you had a lovely time - some really useful tips aswell! Xx

    ♡ itsjessiejane ♡

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  15. This looks so fun! Looks like a great time. And it also reminded me that Cinco de Mayo is approaching haha

    Enclothed Cognition/Bloglovin

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  16. This was such a fascinating most to read through - it's packed full with so many useful tips! Thankfully, I have a pretty good grip on the privacy front, though security is something I think we should probably all be thinking more about eg. location etc. This event sounds so informative, glad you enjoyed yourself Emily!!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice | Twitter | Instagram x

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  17. What a dun and informative event! Great photos! =)


    - Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

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  18. I loved reading the whole article you wrote about the Blog at the Beach. I wish I was there to listen to those wonderful and inspirational speakers. But I'm happy, you shared a very informative blog post about the event. I surely have learned a lot. Thanks!
    Love, Fads

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  19. Oh wow, what valuable information you've shared with us. It's actually scary how much information you can find about a person on the internet. I never really thought about location pinning and my images honestly - that's something I need to double check. Technology is amazing but has it's factors as well.

    Sally - DiagonSally

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  20. Firstly, I'm so jealous - this event looks absolutely amazing. From the drinks to the music, wow! <3 Also thank you so much for sharing the information from the chats - I was very intrigued by the security stuff. There was a post I did ages ago on my favourite workout apps and I hadn't realised I'd screenshoted my running route from my front door - anyone could have found me! But I never thought to check my pictures weren't sharing location info! Great post lovely, thank you so much for sharing it :) x

    Viva Epernay | Festival Tickets Giveaway!

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  21. So glad you enjoyed the event as much as we did and managed to take so much away from the talks!

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  22. Oooh this is such a great post on the event, I went along and had such a great day! The talks were so informative and there needs to be more events like this! xo

    http://rachelnicole.co.uk/

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  23. Oh I'm SO jealous. I saw everyone's tweets about this event and didn't realise there were in depth senimars too :(! Thanks for sharing all the best bits ;)!

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  24. I'm so jealous, I would love to go to a bloggers event, but sadly I live in Poland :( This was really informative as well, you outlined everything so clearly and it looks like you had some fun!

    Mind checking out my recent?

    Alice xo
    www.girlabroadblogs.blogspot.com

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  25. Sounds like you learned so much! I love attending these because they give you a renewed purpose and a chance to meet like minded people who give you a morale boost.

    xx Yasmin
    http://banglesandbungalows.com

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  26. What great tips! Thanks for sharing these!

    District of Chic

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  27. Such an interesting and informative post! Thanks for sharing and have an amazing day!
    xx
    cvetybaby.com

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  28. Wow! It seems like you've had so much fun and learned some pretty awesome things... I wish I could go to events like that... xx

    BeautyPepTalk

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  29. Wow, this sounds like such an awesome & very informative event! I'm glad you got a chance to attend it. :) I'll be honest, sharing your identity online is something that greatly scares me, also. I consider myself to be a very private person, and don't share much personal stuff on my blog, etc. I try to be careful and only use my full name when necessary... I didn't know about the photo location thing, though! I take all my photos on my phone but have GPS disabled, always... That got me kinda worried now, lol! x

    Kay
    http://www.shoesandglitter.com/

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  30. OMG this is such a useful blogpost for bloggers and vloggers. I've recently started a Yuotube and i can say it's so much more engaging with my readers. I think video is future.
    London fashion and beauty blog Yukova

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  31. Thank you so much for posting this, It helped me a lot because I'm currently at that infamous blogger road block where I want to take my blog to the next level but don't know how. After reading your post I got so many new ideas and I'm excited to give some of your tips a try!

    Thanks again for writing such an informative post and sharing your experience!

     Sierra Berry | @itsberrystylish  

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  32. Those margaritas look amazing!!

    Happy Thursday!! Kisses,
    BLOG | TAISLANY

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  33. I think I may have been sitting next to you in the first talk without knowing haha! The first talk scared me, but definitely in a good way. It was sooooo helpful! Was a great day, definitely!

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    1. Aw really! Glad you enjoyed it, I did too! x

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  34. Omg you were in Leeds? I live there. Ha!! I would have attended if I knew this. Sounds like a great event. Thanks for sharing. I've picked some points here.

    http://missymayification.blogspot.co.uk

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  35. This is such an inspirational and informative post. Seems like a good event and thanks for sharing. :)

    Chaste & Beautiful

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  36. I really enjoyed reading this post, it was full of incredibly useful information that can help a lot of bloggers. Sounds like a great event! Thanks for sharing!

    Eden | Mint Notion

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  37. That event must have been so useful and inspiring to you! I am still learning through all of those SEO things. Bloggers really need to learn and learn more.

    Aly In Wanderland | ^_^ | alyinwanderland.com xx Alyssa

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  38. Sounds like such a useful and wonderful opportunity to go to something like this! And it looks like fun with all those Cinco de Mayo themed things! Thanks for sharing all the blogging tips you learned with us!

    be the plebeian

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  39. Looks like a great event! Thanks for sharing

    Darriyan♡ | www.darriyancateland.blogspot.com

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  40. It sounds like a great event! I liked the talk about digital identities online too.

    My dad works in IT and so from a very early age I've been wary of what I share online. Took a while before I shared my face on the blog too, even after deciding to start a blog I wasn't sure if I was ready to put my face to it, haha! Something we should all be careful of online and make sure to use different and secure passwords for everything - as it's so easy for digital information to be compromised!

    Away From The Blue Blog

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  41. I can see that you've put so much effort into this post! You're such an inspiration! You should be really proud!xx

    Check out my recent?
    www.hannahporterx.blogspot.co.uk

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  42. Ah this sounds like such a good event! Also, thank for listing down all the tips and advice - taking notes just reading this haha! Immy x

    www.immymay.com

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  43. This sounds like so much fun, glad you enjoyed it!

    Lauren Ashleigh xx

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  44. This was so inspiring. Everything explained in so much depth c: am impressed, I will definitely keep these points in my notebook when blogging now & onwards.
    xo

    http://diaryofseresha.blogspot.com/

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