Miss out on this week’s BlogCamp?
Fear not, the Tots100 team is here with the lowdown of exactly what you missed – we’ve got pictures and everything (although you can see ALL the pictures on Facebook).
How it all Started
First up, a big thanks has to go to the fab team at Cross pens, who not only paid for the event, but also ran a wonderful competition challenging bloggers to use the new Cross Click pens to doodle a picture that represented their blog – with the best sketch of the day winning a fab Nexus 7 tablet! Everyone received a gorgeous gift bag from Cross – I’d love to tell you what was in them but they’d all been snapped up by the time I arrived!
The day started with a bit of chaos and confusion – nobody knew the coffee was in the basement and Tots founder Sally Whittle was stuck on a train!
Fortunately, we bloggers deal well with adversity. The ever-capable Kate kept order, while Mediocre Mum led an outbound team to the local coffee shop to top up caffeine levels before the formal sessions kicked off.
The first presentation came from Google+ expert Ade Oshineye, which possibly went over some of our heads, but the key message here is that Google wants to hear our feedback about G+. So next time something doesn’t make sense to you, click that feedback button! And don’t be afraid to get stuck in and try some of the cooler features of Google+ like Hangouts and Events.
After a much needed coffee break (finally!) it was the turn of Guardian blogger and Luv and Hat co-author Stuart Heritage. Stuart’s presentation kicked off with a ‘history of my life in online insults’ and introduced us to some of the weirdest and most obnoxious online comments I’ve ever seen! And Stu’s very individual take on being a food blogger reduced an entire room of bloggers to hysterical laughter.
Stuart gave some really good advice on dealing with online unpleasantness. First of all, he thinks you should be pleased you’re being read and getting a reaction – it means your voice is distinctive and interesting! Second, the best policy is almost always to ignore negative commenters, unless you’re prepared to get involved in a flame war. Third, accept that sometimes people are just not nice. Except he used a ruder word than that.
Next up, author and blogger and all round lovely person Keris Stainton took to the stage to explain how taking part in NaNoWriMo spurred her into writing her first novel, getting an agent and a book deal!
Now a published author of three fiction books for young adults, Keris had lots of great advice for would-be writers including: write your novel in small segments and send the segments as email messages to yourself. Write in the breaks between TV shows – it’s less intimidating. And if you’ve really got nothing to write, remember to go and do something in the real world that will inspire you to get words on the page again.
Over lunch, we really enjoyed catching up with all the bloggers – although there’s never time at these events to say hi to everyone. There were new babies, courtesy of Jax, Mirka and Monika, and bumps galore.
After lunch, there was a fabulous presentation from Marcel Puppik. One of the things we learned in this presentation is that combining people’s faces with money? Is really funny. Also StumbleUpon is the third biggest social referrer of traffic in the UK, with 11% of referrals coming from its site. If you’re inspired to get started – we’re on StumbleUpon as tots100.
Marcel also walked the bloggers through how to set up and use a StumbleUpon account. Used well, Stumble can drive thousands of additional visitors to a blog, and Marcel encouraged the bloggers to stumble their own content – although not every page, and not if your own content is the only stuff you Stumble. There’s also a great StumbleUpon widget that bloggers can use in their sidebar to generate personalized recommendations for readers who are Stumble users – which is a great way of generating Stumbles as well as increasing the amount of time visitors spend on your site.
We’ll hopefully be doing some webinars with StumbleUpon in the coming weeks to share these tips with those of you who weren’t able to make it to BlogCamp.
After Marcel had been given a good grilling by the bloggers, it was time for more coffee, the obligatory cake and some absolutely delicious frozen yoghurt delivered by the lovely chaps from YooMoo – all natural ingredients, and it tasted AMAZING. We also had a visit from the lovely chaps at Eventbrite, who brought chocolate coated nuts. Our snack bounty was truly great…
The Blogger Panel
Lastly, we opened up the floor for a general chat about blogging, reviews and PR. Stuart and Annie offered their experiences, along with Estelle from Frank PR. The panel all agreed that reviews need to be authentic and fit well within a blog to deliver the best results for PR agencies and brands – and the added bonus is that this is also more fun for us, as bloggers.
So, in summary….
A huge thanks to Cross for being such wonderful sponsors (congratulations to our sketch winners Karen and Annie). Thanks to all of our speakers and most of all thanks to the bloggers who came along and made the event such fun for us.
If you’ve written about BlogCamp we’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts on the day – do leave a link in the comments below and we’ll come over to say hi. And do let us you know your G+, StumbleUpon and other social pages – we’d love to follow you (we’re on G+ here)