This weekend I went to my third Blog Camp, the first one I went to I had not even started this blog but it did give me the inspiration I needed and helped me in my direction. I've always learnt loads at Blog Camp and enjoy meeting up with other bloggers that I read and communicate with on Social Media platforms.
So this year I decided to learn something different and went to the talks 'Making Awesome Videos' and 'Fundraising Fun' The first one, obviously, because I would love start doing more videos for my blog. It's not something I feel entirely comfortable with, but then if I'm not in front of the camera then I may give it a try. I don't really want to publish videos of the Littlies either, cute as they are to me. I have however, seen some awesome videos that my kids love to watch and I've thought I'd love to try that. So watch this space, now I know a few technical tips there may be something coming up in the near future. I'll share a few tips with you, curtesy of Ruth from www.geekmummy.com
1. Make sure you have good lighting, just like a photograph, videos look better when well lit.
2. Make sure you have good sound. If you have background noise or the sound is not so good then invest in a directional microphone.
3. Have something, like a tripod or stand, to keep the camera still while you film.
4. Edit your videos to get the best shots and sound, and don't make them too long, people just don't have the time to watch long videos.
I went to the fund raising talk because this is also something I am considering but not on this blog. My daughter has a rare condition and we are realising just how difficult it can be to get the right treatment when needed. So I feel really inspired to raise awareness for rare conditions and fund raise if I can. It's not something I feel entirely comfortable with but sometimes when you feel passionately about something then you need to step out of your comfort zone. I don't ever aspire to be as awesome as Team Honk, but if I can do something that helps to make a small difference I will be happy.
I also went to the talk on 'How to be a Freelancer' as this is something I'd like to do. Well, it's something that I've done before. Many moons ago when the older kids were still babies I used to write for magazines like Mother and Baby and Practical Parenting. I would put the kids to bed and sit with my typewriter and tippex and write to my hearts content. Then I would post my articles off with a covering letter and wait for ever and a day to hear whether they had been accepted for publication. It was always a thrill when they were, and then I'd have to wait a few days for my cheque to arrive, then a few days more for my bank to clear the cheque and then I'd go on a spending spree.
Times have changed, oh yes indeed. Now you don't even have to submit your article or even write anything before typing off a pitch by e-mail to your chosen publisher. Then if they bite you write and then they pay.
Todays talk was presented by Molly from Mother's Always Right, Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog and Fi Star-Stone from Childcare is Fun.
Some tips I learnt.
1. Get to know the publication and pitch to them accordingly.
2. Sell yourself wisely.
3. Build a portfolio of your work.
4. Make yourself stand out but keep it brief.
5 Outline your idea in the first sentence of your pitch.
Writing articles is not like writing blog posts, but you will have brushed up your writing skills by keeping a blog.
The other talk I went to was 'Working With Brands'
If I'm honest, I didn't really think I had much to learn here, but Becky from Baby Budgeting.co.uk gave a really interesting talk and I did pick up some tips. I don't really contact brands myself, I wait to be contacted, but it's nice to know that it is something that is OK to do so long as you do it right. If there is a brand you really want to work with then find a contact and let them know why you would like to work with them and what you can offer them. Be detailed, they like to know that you will promote on Social Media platforms as well as through your blog. Tell them what your blog is about and why it would suit the brand. Sell yourself well.
I also learnt that it's not all about numbers, how many blog visitors you have, how many Twitter Followers, or Facebook Likers. These seem to be the things I'm always striving for and become envious of those who have thousands. However, I may not have a huge following, but I do get lots of feedback. Quite a few times now I've had people tell me how one of my reviews has encouraged them to go and buy the product. That's amazing, that's what brands would like to see. Silly me, I don't have a copy of the messages! Next time I'll take screen shots and keep them in a folder so I can show them off. It shows that even though I don't have thousands following me, those that do are paying attention to what I have to say, and that is much more important.
Interesting fact: Sally from Tots 100 said that only the very top blogs in the Tots100 charts have a humongous number of page views, the average for most blogs is 7 to 10, 000 per month. (If I remember correctly, she was talking about the top 100 blogs)
Personally, I find the stats are so difficult to track you are at risk of driving yourself nuts if you take it all too seriously. I use four different trackers and they all give me different results. Which is right? I don't know and it used to bother me quite a lot. When I quote my stats I do an average of all four results and use that. See, O level math came in useful for something after all!
It really isn't all about the numbers though, and from now on it's not going to bother me too much. If brands only want to work with blogs with huge stats then that's their loss. I'd rather have fewer followers that I know are actually reading my blog and interacting with me, maybe one day the brands will catch on to this?
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