Ok, so I will come clean! I had little expectations of Blogtacular 2014 and only signed up to support some of the speakers who were booked for the event. Having been to a couple of other blogging conferences and experienced disappointment, I no longer fancied another charade and was all too happy to give it a miss.
There are many reasons why people attend these events. For some it’s to be around like-minded people who simply ‘get it’. Others like the networking aspect. Many want to be inspired, learn about the latest blogging trends and apply that new found information to their blogs and social media.
For me, all of it had lost it’s appeal and that’s a shame. Here’s the thing. As a professional I have high standards. I work hard and give value to my clients. When I attend and pay for an event I expect it to be run professionally and get some value out of it!
This brings me to last weekend and Blogtacular. You’ll find many blog posts on all the loveliness, inspirational quotes, what people learned, what speakers shared and much more. Just pop over to the Blogtacular Pinboard to see all the collated posts!
Goodie bag: Bag designed & printed exclusively for Blogtacular by Zeena Shah | Washi Tape: Mailchimp | Wooden bird necklace: Ladybird Likes | Papercut kit from Robyn Wilson-Owen | Weekly planner by Lollipop Designs | Honeycomb ball from The Hambledon | Hand cream from Betty & Walter (not shown) | Ribbon roll from Jane Means (not shown) | Wooden ‘Hello’ Badge from Tigerlilly Quinn
Here’s my own take on Blogtacular and why it was a success:
1. Right from the very start Kat Molesworth and Kat Goldin saw Blogtacular as a real business. The branding spoke for itself and was strong in its aesthetics, communication and message. Creative, resourceful and united they plotted, planned and thought it all through down to the finest detail.
2. To get people inspired, involved and excited they started weekly Blogtacular Twitter chats. I immediately got the feeling this venture is very much geared towards blogger’s needs and not the other way round!
3. The venue was superb! A really good choice! This is a rather important part of a conference and not to be underestimated. Everything seemed to flow seamlessly. The acoustic was flawless, the seating in the auditorium comfortable. The adjacent rooms worked well for the workshops. We ate amongst books. The staff were professional and it was great to have so much room to breathe. There was also something wonderful about being in a place with heritage, ‘encouraging people to think further about the wonders and applications of science’ and us learning and talking about being creative through blogging!
4. I often wished for blogging conferences to aim at different levels of bloggers as to insure inspiration for everyone. At Blogtacular there was something for every level. In fact, the standard of speakers and workshops was high. I dare for anyone to say they didn’t come away somewhat inspired.
5. Another really important factor was to pay their speakers. In their own words: “We know that any event is only as good as its speakers and at Blogtacular you’ll find pioneers and inspirational thinkers. We hear that all too often bloggers are expected to give away their talent for free and we want to change that expectation.” Bravo!
6. Like-minded brands were chosen as sponsors. They were friendly, unobtrusive and blended in well. We, the attendees, did not have to sit through talks or workshops by a sponsor.
7. Pre-planning allowed for a virtual conference where people, who couldn’t attend can buy their virtual ticket and listen to some of the talks. It’s open to all. Great thinking! This in turn will allow for some funding to start the ball rolling for Blogtacular 2015.
8. The atmosphere was buzzing and infectious and it was nice to see how much genuine support there was for both Kat’s.
9. No rest for the wicked, Kat and Kat are already planning and working on the event for 2015, probably to be even bigger and better. What will we see next. Blogtacular online courses? Let’s watch this space!
If I may, here’s my personal (shortish) wishlist for Blogtacular 2015:
1. Food – as a foodie and someone who doesn’t (usually) eat sandwiches and biscuits, I would welcome a more wholesome and nutritious choice. I’m sure it’s to do with budget but maybe that can be overcome by attracting a food sponsor. A simple fruit would have been nice.
2. This brings me nicely to the subject of food and nutrition, a subject close to my heart! As creative people, entrepreneurs, mothers et cetera, fuel and energy for the body is everything and I’m always surprised how much sugary and unhealthy stuff is consumed, with macaroons, muffins and cakes being favourites. I’m aware that food blogging is a separate conference but what I’m suggesting here is different. I wonder whether it would be an idea to include one of the great well-being bloggers out there to learn a bit about that aspect of lifestyle.
3. Blogging conferences are great to meet Twitter followers off-line, network and see old and new faces. Due to the usually packed schedule, there’s never enough time to go around meeting like-minded bloggers. Of course, there are the dinners et cetera. My suggestion would be to maybe incorporate a slot for people looking for collaborations, making magazines, starting projects to find and meet each other. This goes beyond the social.
Amendment (thank you Katy)
4. Forgot this point, although I mentioned it to Kat M just after the conference finished. It would be helpful to have name labels which would have our Twitter handle and real names so that we can identify each other.
List of speakers and workshops held:
Keynote Address: Joy Cho
Video Interview: Will Taylor
On Value: Anne Ditmeyer
Secrets of the Editors Panel: Kate Carter (Editor of Life and Style at the Guardian), Caroline Rowland (founder of 91 magazine), Lara Watson (editor of Mollie Makes), Heather Young
From Blog to Book: Tilly Walnes, Vicky Orchard (Editor at Kyle Books)
Design: Isa Seminega
Yvestown – Yvonne Eijkenduijn
Photowalk: Xanthe Berkely
Hands on Styling: Ellie Tennant
Blog Business Panel: Courtney Adamo, Annabel Beeforth, Joy Cho, Allison Sadler
Storytelling with Video: Xanthe Berkely
Branding: Keith Stephenson & Mark Hampshire (Mini Moderns)
Social Media with Intention: Cathy James
As someone who had no intention of attending another bloggers conference, I’m happy I attended Blogtacular. I’m proud that the UK has such an inspirational event for this creative community and that it’s in my favourite and (home) city, London! Congratulations to the whole Blogtacular team on putting on a great event. I look forward to next year!