London Life Events

Blogtacular 2014

May 15, 2014

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!

Blogtacular 2014 - Goodie Bag - colourliving
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!

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  • Reply Catherine@farmhousehome May 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    So glad Blogtacular exceeded your initial expectations. You make some great points for your 2015 wish list especially about the food. There isn’t nearly enough healthy catering companies around. If healthy food is provided people will eat it and enjoy it.

    • Reply tina May 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Ha. Spoken like a real foodie. Yes, a big point for me.
      It’s often a subject mater overlooked… and that’s a shame. Mostly, people blame budgets but I think that’s just an excuse.
      I’ve cooked for 50 people for very little money and it was all healthy, yummy and energy giving.

  • Reply gudy May 15, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Very professional and interesting, Tina! Great, great post!

    • Reply tina May 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Thank you Gudy. Hope you’ll have a great time at The Hive in Copenhagen.

  • Reply Giova Brusa May 15, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I love this post and your honesty.
    But can I add a point to your wish list? As someone who doesn’t live in London, makes it a bit too expensive to be there for just one day. Just saying, since I would really like to go next year 😉

    • Reply tina May 16, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Hey you…

      Well, isn’t honesty the best. I’m always amazed how people shy away from being honest and direct. Especially in the world of blogging, where everything usually is a little ‘lovely’.
      You make a good point. Of course, I live in London so it didn’t influence me one way or another… well, some people, like Judith, stayed a little longer.
      Delighted to hear you are considering joining next year. Stay an extra couple of days so we can hang out xx

  • Reply Mel May 16, 2014 at 2:37 am

    Great review, brilliant review. That’s what I love about you Tina – no fluff! I got so much of the vibe from it over here in Auckland. Unfortunately here we don’t get any blog conferences at all, so I’d be happy for any! Trillions amount of respect for them that they pay! Well done girls. M xx

    • Reply tina May 16, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      Aww, thanks Mel x
      Yes, lots of great pics and excited blogger. The atmosphere is contagious (in a good way).
      Well, hopefully, one day soon you will grace us with a visit. Would love to meet you x

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey May 16, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I’m glad to hear it was such a great event Tina. I know you have high standards – rightly so – and it’s good to know you were pretty happy overall. And in my experience, the food offering at every UK conference I have ever attended was dismal.

    I know I couldn’t be there in the end and I guess I would have been one more on the boys side 😉 Looking at the pictures, the conference reminded me just how dominated the creative blogging world is by women. Not saying this is a bad thing, but would be great to see more guys getting on board.


    • Reply tina May 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Ha. You know me well.
      Yes, I agree, food offerings are appauling BUT there are so many new healthy caterers around. Unfortunately they still come as a premium. Why?

      I believe I counted 2 male attendees. Of course, then there were the cameramen, soundmen, photographers and Mini Moderns boys! They probably could have done with your support:-)
      Yes, it’s very female dominated. Would be great to have some more men! Thanks G xx

  • Reply Alexandra May 16, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Very interesting! Usually I only ever see the “YAY! Bloggish convention type thingy, everything was soooo great!” posts. I keep wondering whether they are always great, whether the bloggers who didn’t enjoy themselves/find the event helpful just don’t say anything or whether bloggers are just an excitable bunch.

    I like that you clearly laid out what you want and expect from such an event. Maybe most people just want to go somewhere to meet other bloggers and likeminded people. But yes, if you want to get something out it for your business you need to be much more demanding and decisive. I know if I ever went to something like that, I wouldn’t even be able to do anything prouctive, I’d just ogle and chat.

    The goodie bag is lovely; right now I am looking at all the Ladybird Like offerings on Etsy. SO very pretty.

    • Reply tina May 16, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Hi Alexandra. I predict there is a bit of both here. Some bloggers voiced some negative opinions last year (from another conference) on their blogs. I suspect many don’t say anything if they weren’t happy.
      I think any kind of feedback is good and I’m sure that organisers appreciate it.

      And yes, bloggers are an excitable bunch which is great!!

      Hahaha, you will find many like-minded spirits then. Yes, a lot go to meet, hang out and have a good time. However, I’m sure most also want to learn new tips and tricks to take away with them.
      This conference had a high standard of speakers and workshops which was nice.

      Yes, a nice goodie bag. Glad you’re enjoying some of Ladybird Like’s offerings.
      You should come to a conference one day….. hope all is well with you.

  • Reply Fritha Strickland May 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Thanks so much for the mention! So glad you liked the brooch! xx

    • Reply tina May 16, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Pleasure Fritha. Lovely Brooch x

  • Reply Doris May 17, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Tina, this is the most honest and practical blog post about a blogger conference I’ve read. I really love the honesty behind it and how you provided suggestions. I wasn’t sure what to think, but I did come away inspired and loving the workshops like Ellie Tennants. I always think that if I’ve learnt something, then my time wasn’t wasted. I agree that it was extremely well executed and the location was beautiful. Have a lovely weekend. xD

    • Reply tina May 19, 2014 at 2:49 am

      I couldn’t agree more. I often think that if I’ve learned something (and I always do) then it was time spent well. However, it’s good to raise the bar and the older I get the more discerning I become and the higher my expectations.
      I believe that’s a good thing.

      Yes, I really enjoyed Ellie’s workshop. Definitely a highlight for me.
      Thanks Doris x

  • Reply Judith May 18, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Such a practical post about the conference Tina! (didn’t expect anything else from you though 😉 ). Overall I think the quality of the conference was really high, partly due to actually paying the speakers, I think. Also agree with you about the food, although it’s hard to please so many of us (I read some bloggers loved the sandwiches!). Oh and there was a fruit platter by the way 😉 (that I kept visiting hahahaha).

    I also loved to not be bombarded with sponsored goodies and talks. You could buy stuff and participate in a contest, but you were not forced to do so. Very nice!

    For me the thing that I missed most were name tags. I missed quite a bunch of people because I didn’t recognize their faces from their blogs/IG/twitter. Such a bummer! Your idea of a “social slot” would be just awesome.

    • Reply tina May 19, 2014 at 2:58 am

      Haha… I’m not always practical:-))

      WHAT? “I read some bloggers loved the sandwiches”… that proofs my point. Bloggers get carried away with anything. There was nothing special about those sandwiches, to even mention that….
      Anyway, must have missed the fruit platter…

      Yes, I did think all the sponsors and participating businesses felt like part of us and there was nothing intrusive about it! Definitely a win-win situation.

      I wholeheartedly agree with the name tags. I also misses a lot of people who don’t display faces on their Social Media so we don’t know who they are. Some people stopped me coz they recognised me from my profile pic and I was greatful to them that they did.
      I enjoy all the talks and workshops but think that a ‘speed dating’ session could be fun and valuable.
      Thanks Judith x

  • Reply noreen May 19, 2014 at 12:54 am

    hello tina! i’ve always wanted to go to a blog conference. as a full time teacher, my blog is a small hobby. i’d love to attend a conference like this, AND i can see that as a pro, you are very discerning. i’m happy it was useful to you. regarding healthy food, i’m in!

    if you hear of a blogging conference stateside that you’d recommend, will you let me know? joy to you!

    • Reply tina May 19, 2014 at 3:00 am

      Hello Noreen,

      Well thank you. In the States you’ve got Alt Summit which is LOVED by so many. I’ve not been so I cannot speak first hand but it’s highly professionally run and people swear by it.

      Take a look and see what you think. They also run online classes.
      Hope you’re well!

  • Reply alisonsye May 19, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Your honesty is so refreshing, Tina, one of the reasons I like you.
    On the whole, though, sounds like this was a great day.
    The points you made for improvement are excellent.

    • Reply tina May 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Thank you Alison:-)

      Me and many others really had a good time….x

  • Reply ursula | room to bloom May 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Wunderbar review Tina, couldn’t agree more. x

    • Reply tina May 20, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Danke meine liebe:-))
      Was great to see you there x

  • Reply Lena May 21, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Brilliant review, Tina! Good to hear that the conference was better than you expected it to be.
    “I immediately got the feeling this venture is very much geared towards blogger’s needs and not the other way round!” I agree. I’ve gotten a little tired of these events lately and didn’t sign up to any this year so far because I felt that the price you pay for transportation, accommodation and the ticket is usually too high for what you get and in the end bloggers are actually just supporting the sponsors and organisers to get their name out in the world.
    It’s great if you’re new to the blogging world to get to know people but there should be more to it, if not I can just meet up with other bloggers informally and have a coffee. I guess since these conferences are still pretty new in Europe this is a normal process and the ones that provide what bloggers want and need will survive in the end. Let’s speed up this process by being honest, life’s too short to waist time with sweet-talk!

    • Reply tina May 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you Lena!
      I think I know how you feel. I agree. The only reason I went to Blogtacular was because it was on my door step.

      Blogging conferences are always nice because you get to hang out with fellow bloggers and meet new people but actually that’s not worth the money.
      As you said, the people I want to see I can see outside conferences.

      Also, personally I ant to learn something new and be inspired. Full stop.
      Let’s see how things progress and how the conferences will evolve. Important bit is to be honest, give constructive feedback and keep the conversation going.
      Thanks Lena.

  • Reply Holly June 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    wow! I’m really impressed to hear you talk about a blog conference like this. It seems it was inspiring and professional. If I ever manage to get into blogging again, Blogtacular will for sure be on my list 😉

    Glad to hear you had a great time! Xx.

    • Reply tina July 20, 2014 at 12:37 am

      I think you would enjoy this one Holly and I do hope you will get into blogging again one day:-)

      It was fun but seems like a very long time ago xx

  • Reply geraldine@littlebigbell June 2, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Love this post Tina! Said it as it is! Sorry I’m so late to comment but I got here in the end. Have a good week! 😉 x

    • Reply tina July 20, 2014 at 12:38 am

      Hi Geraldine. It was a great success. and the dinner you guys organised looked really good. Was a great idea… x

  • Reply Kara July 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    What an excellent round up of Blogtacular, I agree I loved the amount of thought the Kat’s put in and chose speakers that I actually learnt something from.
    I thought the food was disappointing too.

    I loved the venue as you said it worked well, I liked that there were fewer people than other conferences too.
    I shall certainly be booking next year as it has allowed me to learn but also find new blogs like yours x

    • Reply tina July 20, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Hello Kara.
      I know it was nice to actually learn something new… it was very well organised.
      Yep, the food was not the highlight for me.

      Yes, I think I’ll also join next year. It’s on y door step and I really enjoyed it. Thank you for the compliment:-)

  • Reply Kat July 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Thanks for your feedback Tina, I’m glad we defied your expectations. I’ll be sure to pass your comments about the food on to the catering team.

    • Reply tina July 20, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Pleasure Kat.

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