Last weekend I took my monthly trip to Yorkshire. But instead of spending the weekend with Jack, I took the regular journey to Leeds for the IceLolly.com Blog At The Beach Event. I actually went to a similar last summer and came out so inspired that my blog took a new turn over the the following months. Well this time, I’m writing about my new found inspiration, what I learnt and where I’m hoping my blog will go from here.
This was IceLolly.com’s fifth Blog At The Beach event (you can search the #BlogAtTheBeach hashtag on twitter and instagram to see what went on through the course of the day), and with 85 attendees, this was the biggest one to date. Over the 5 hours event, I drank multiple glasses of mulled wine, got to spend time with some of my best blogging ladies and learnt so much from some of the bloggers killing it right now.
Kirsty lead the first talk, speaking about how you can get multiple successful collaborations all through manning up and pitching yourself. At the last event Jess spoke all about creating a media kit, and whilst I followed her advice, I’ve done a bit of a pants job at sending it out to contact. After Kirsty’s presentation, I’m definitely ready to get pitching to some of my dream collaborations. And you’ll be the first to know if I’ve been successful if you follow my twitter!
The second presentation was lead by Bee who I admire from afar on a regular basis. Over the past year, Bee has taken a blog to a whole new level whilst still living a 9-5 job and that’s exactly what she’s spoken about. And she’s an award winning blogger, winning the ‘best use of photography’ award at the last Bloggers’ Blog Awards, so she knows what shes talking about! Whilst I’m not ready to tell work about my blog (even though I’ve been doing this far longer than I’ve been working), I can definitely learn to use my lunch breaks a little more effectively in 2018.
The final talk came from Kaye, a very prominent photographer on the blogging scene. Slightly closer to the travel aspect of Blog At The Beach, Kaye taught us the ins-and-outs of creating the best travel photos that you can. My favourite tips included taking your camera everywhere (something I do a lot, but I’m guilty of not taking it out and using it enough), capturing the essence of the place, not just the scene and including the tourists around you. If you’re not visiting a remote place, then of course other people are going to be about so why not have them in your photos?
But what have I taken away from Blog At The Beach? Well, I’ve set myself a few goals for the coming months.
- Compile a list of brands I want to work with in 2018 and find their press contacts
- Put together a pitch template to follow, although make sure I personalise each pitch to suit a purpose. It’s easy to say, but time consuming to do. But think about it, there’s nothing worse as a blogger than receiving an email saying ‘Hi influencer’ – at least find out my name! So I’m going to make sure I don’t commit the cardinal sin in emails
- Use part of my commute to work each day to plan content. I go through stages of doing this, but it’s been a little while since I’ve done it regularly
- Spend more time when I’m not at work in coffee shops, communal working spaces or just outside. Blogging outside my bedroom inspires me like nothing else, and 2018 is going to be the year of me working away from home comforts (which are usually a huge distraction. I’ve written this entire post on the train back from Blog At The Beach and I feel so much more focused)
- Play more with my camera. Take more photos, take different photos and just love my camera a little more
- Continue travelling, even if it’s just around the UK, in search of inspiration
I love events where I can hear other bloggers speak about their experiences, and Blog At The Beach gives me this opportunity. It’s all very well speaking to people on twitter, but there’s nothing better than hearing how passionate people are in person. I can’t wait to see how these goals go, and maybe I’ll look back at them in the summer. Come on Sophie, 2018 is the year of blogging for you!