Good morning readers. Today, I’m taking you on a journey to London to meet the blogging family. Nerves are jingling and I’m tingling because I haven’t travelled by train since my last trip to the Bash a few years ago.
As the day progresses I will send you photos and updates and hopefully catch up with you along the way.
I’m on my way to Victoria station in London and the sights have been relaxing so far. Peaceful, rolling hills with wild flowers swept past my window and horses grazing near streams reflecting the morning light kept my fears of travel at bay.
Only a few more stops left before I get to see familiar faces I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing for years. Not long now!
We’re early but the committee are already here and prepared. It’s wonderful to see the old venue and bright smiling faces welcoming us.
Some of our speakers are stuck on trains but that’s not going to stop the day. With a shuffle and a jiggle we will get to them once they arrive and the guests who are approaching but can’t quite get here yet.
Now, Susie has announced the best writing blog and the winner is…
Head full of dreams.
Best entertainment blog is
Just Another Blog from A Woman.
For those not here but have won a prize, your certificate will be in the post.
The presentation for the blogging competition is next.
Hugh is giving us a breakdown on the competition entries and how incredibly good they were.
Gareth, one of the judges, is about to announce the winners…
The lovely Samantha Smith has won!
Laura from Full to the Brum takes us on an delicious adventure into her blogging life. With her love of burgers and what she was searching for in a blog, she gives us the scoop on the tone of her foodie blog that doesn’t follow the pretentious palate of mainstream food reviewers.
Adam is about to present the best food blog…
The Tennis Foodie
Best lifestyle blog is…
Jemma Todd presents: a talk on how she got into writing and landed a deal with a big publisher.
Find her blog here.
A quick break for lunch and we will be back to business soon.
Back late so I’ve missed some of the awards unfortunately. We have now reached the exciting part of the afternoon with the Q&A panel who will be answering questions from the audience.
First question asks whether receiving an award like the Sunshine Blogger’s award. The panel agree that it’s a great way to be motivated to write more and a way to show appreciation for blogs you love but don’t hold a lot of value compared to, say an award from the Times.
Is there a place for blogging with the new types of social media presence available for followers, such as podcasts?
Comments from the panel agree that there has been a change in media but people might be looking for something more personal such as newsletters. Blogging will still have a place even if podcasts or vlogging take over social media because it is personable, easily accessible, cheap and flexible. You get a sense of the writers as there more is more an intimate contact through mail or blogs rather than the commercial click bait showcasing perfect lives on social media.
Should a blogger be focused on a specific area or well rounded?
If you’re a lifestyle blogger you might dip into different things whereas if it’s a type specific blog the audience will be attracted to those blogs that focus on the topic they want answered. It can help to help to define your blog but you’re best served to write on what you’re passionate about, even if it is a mixed bag.
Do people still sign up for mail shots if they are getting updates on blogs about their books or being inundated with newsletters on selling books?
There are great mail shots delivering information that conveys a letter style of information with various topics or upcoming events which adds value to the mail shot as well as selling the latest products.
That personal element of a mail shot gives authors a chance to reveal extra special give aways such as Sacha’s mailshots which contain marketing tips as well as more info on her books. It proves as a great way to connect with your audience.
Do you thinking using polls and asking for feedback from your followers adds value to a blogger or author?
Yes! It helps the rest of the audience too as they might be on a different part of the journey to writing. Engaging your audience is a great way to share information and help others as well as yourself as a blogger.
What advice would you give to a blogger who doesn’t get much feedback or interaction on their blog? How would you encourage them to stay motivated?
Shelley and the rest of the panel advise that when you’re doing it for a business, plan. Have a key word or a theme that will stimulate new ideas. If something comes in the news that’s relevant, that might be a way to keep your content fresh and relevant to your audience. Have a bit of banter with fellow bloggers and spend time visiting other blogs and leave comments. It’s a great way to get other bloggers to read your work and it could stimulate new ideas for your blog after reading their content.
It’s also good to bear in mind that a lack of comments does not necessarily mean your blog is not being read depending on which platform it has been accessed from.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Participate in events or competitions on other bloggers accounts too to promote your blog.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made when blogging and what’s the best piece of advice for bloggers?
Expect your first few blog posts to be rubbish! It takes time to find your voice and the only way to get started is to make mistakes and keep going. Work our the values of your blog too.
The worst thing was really terrible photos posted on a blog and saying yes to lots of events which clashed with personal events.
Esther advises not to make your blog posts too long or wordy as the audience tends to disengage.
Her worst post was posting a pic that offended a reader and having to deal with the aftermath.
Shelley advises a new blogger to know what’s available in terms of platforms. If it feels too stressful or like slogging, figure out why and change it so that it’s an enjoyable experience.
What do you do with a follower who becomes incessant after reposting your blogs and now expects favours in return?
Copy the url of the blog site and paste it to the option to block a blog page in your dashboard which will stop that blog from making comments on your blog.
The Q&A is now over and the event will move on now to a flatlay workshop.
The final awards will be straight after.
Geoff is presenting the best travel blog…
The best book blog is…
But I Smile Anyway
Sacha is closing the event with a big thank you to everyone who attended, the fest speakers and judges.
A huge thank you to the committee for a wonderful event.