This time last year, Blogtacular posts began flooding the blogosphere. I watched from the sidelines trying to soak in as much information as possible. A place for creatives to gather, socialise and learn. It sounded like something I would love.
Last year when tickets for Blogtacular 2015 went on sale I grabbed myself one.
Then the fear kicked in.
Here we are, the other side of Blogtacular and I survived! Saturday I was hot with nerves and sporting sweaty palms but I scribbled notes frantically in every session I attended. I have read through my notes again and mulled over the implications for me and my little space online. I have compiled a list of 10 things I took away from Blogtacular.
1 – Introduce Yourself.
As the date for Blogtacular loomed closer, those attending were encouraged to introduce themselves. As much as I wanted to say “Hi” to all the other creatives like me, I started to doubt.
Am I actually creative?
Would I fit in with this group?
My blog is so small, would people mock it?
My blog was also in a transitional phase as I made the jump from the blogger platform to self-hosted.
This fear stopped me from introducing myself. Now, as I look back, I wish I had told my fears where to go – in a nice way of course.
2 – Make Business Cards
It might sound peculiar but making business cards for my blog was quite daunting. I probably worked it up into a bigger deal than it should have been. To me, making business cards meant I was saying “my blog is successful – it’s worth you taking the time to empty your handbag and find the business card lurking in the lining at the bottom.”
My own little critic inside was telling me that people would be disappointed. My Handsome Man on the other hand was enthusiastic about me purchasing cards. Telling me I should get more than 100 (I didn’t, I know how I am around new people so 100 would be plenty). With his encouragement I bought a stash of cards secretly thinking that I wouldn’t give any out, and that’s okay. To my surprise I gave some out because people asked for them, but on some occasions I also initiated the swapping of cards!
3 – Don’t Let Health Issues Prevent You Attending
I hate having to consider this when I’m going to new places but it is part of my life.
Travelling to London, spending the day there, being mentally attentive, sociable, these things add up to a disaster health-wise. My ever supportive Handsome Man had concerns about me wearing myself out. We couldn’t afford to buy him a ticket to attend along side me. Luckily two friends were attending Blogtacular. As My Handsome Man and I discussed the logistics for the day (the time I would have to leave and the impact it would have on my health), alarm bells started ringing. He offered to drive my friend and I into London, to the door of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, to help me manage the day a bit more effectively.
We took every method we could to help me conserve energy. I still crashed after the event and I am still in recovery but it was worth it.
4 – Face Your Fears
One of the keynote speakers was Grace Bonney, and she spoke about facing fears and overcoming them. One of my fears is meeting new people. The idea of talking to loads of strangers about my blog and asking about theirs was enough to make me clam up.
What if I didn’t recognise someone who has a big, popular blog?
The thought of offending someone because I didn’t recognise them made me cringe, but then I realised that even the biggest blogger does not have everyone in the world following them. We are at a networking event and if they meet one person who doesn’t follow their blog then that’s a positive thing!
In reality most of the ‘big bloggers’ I met were friendly, happy to chat and give me their business cards.
My second fear is my health deteriorating because I’m doing too much. In my notes I have written ‘if something is emotionally draining, don’t be afraid to drop it.’
My third fear is getting the balance right between connecting with my readers through quality, heart-felt posts and the vulnerability that comes with doing so. I don’t have an answer for that yet.
5 – How To Pitch To Brands
There were so many brands at Blogtacular to meet and pitch to. Perhaps the one that everyone was talking about was Thomson – blogging about holidays is pretty much my dream. Monica from The Travel Hack shared 10 things to include in a pitch and, having never pitched to a brand, I scribbled away trying to catch every word she said. Yet I took myself out of the running for Thomson by not pitching. There is a reason, aside from the fear of pitching (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). From August, if all goes well, My Handsome Man and I will be living in Vancouver, Canada. From the website Vancouver isn’t a place Thomson flies to. My Handsome Man kept saying to do a pitch and then end it with “…is what I would pitch to you were we not moving to Canada in a month”.
6 – I Want Engaged Followers
My blog numbers are small, tiny even. I am okay with that. Obviously like any blogger I would like to see some growth but I am happy with my following. I have readers who comment and regularly private message me. I have readers who are engaged. I love hearing from my readers. I would keep the readers I have over thousands of readers who give no feedback, any day of the week.
7 – Hashtags For Instagram
I am working on coming up with a hashtag for Instagram. I love the idea of having a community and sharing photos within that community. Until I have fleshed out my idea I am excited to take part in hashtags run by others, excited to support them and be part of their community.
8 – I Want To Be Me.
There were some bloggers, whose blogs I read religiously, whom I met on Saturday and I felt like I had no idea who they were.
Then there were others whom I met and we just got into a conversation, no need for introductions, straight into talking about how last year at Blogtacular they felt all hot and sweaty with nerves and how this year that’s how I felt. Somehow they had perfectly encapsulated their voice on their blog. It felt like I was talking to a friend. I want to be that blogger!
9 – Don’t Give Up On Things You Know Are Worthwhile
Things don’t necessarily have to be successful to be worthwhile. Of course, we hope the projects we love will be successful. My blog is by no means a business yet, to me, it is worthwhile. I enjoy the creative process and feel like I am achieving something by writing it.
10 – Collaborate
We have the opportunity to create a supportive community, or to compete against each other. We have the ability to build people up without trampling all over others to do so. There is room on the Internet for all of our voices.
Collaborating is scary: what if we don’t mesh? What if we fail?
But what if we are successful?
What if we become amazing friends, and will be part of each other’s support network for life?
It seems worth the risk.