One Saturday in June, I attended the Blogtacular conference – an inspiring day that left me feeling very creative, motivated and buzzing to put plans into action.
If you haven’t heard of it before Blogtacular is an inspiring blogging conference (and fun networking event), held annually in June in London. The weekend is filled with a great selection of keynotes, speakers, workshops and styling sessions and the chance to find your tribe among 300+ talented bloggers.
It’s become a highlight of my year, I always come away from it buzzing with excitement and inspiration (though also pretty exhausted). I wanted to share an overview of how the day went (like I did in 2015 and 2016) in case any of you are deciding whether or not to go in 2018…
TLTR: YES! GO!
The day started at 8:30am with an hour long networking session, along with endless coffee and yummy breakfast treats. We then made our way into the main room as Kat welcomed everyone and introduced the keynote speaker Natalie Lue.
Opening Keynote Speaker – Natalie Lue
Natalie, from Baggage Reclaim is an author, blogger and podcaster. She’s been blogging for over ten years, has self-published several books and has a number of popular e-courses. Natalie was the perfect opening keynote, offering some inspiring quotes to start the day. She talked about being “a slave to your blog” and explained her feelings around that, saying that forcing something leads to frustration so let go of the control. Natalie spoke about working more efficiently, asking “why” we were working on what we’re working on and being okay with doing less and prioritising tasks, the sky won’t fall down if we say no.
Something that really hit home with me and probably will for a lot of freelancers was when she said “what you’re afraid to charge, is probably what you NEED to charge”. Her advice was to ask yourself what you are known for? What do people ask for? What do they ask you to do? What do you want to be known for? How can you experiment? The final takeaway was to feel gratitude, love your blog and love what you do. Everything else is self-imposed noise.
How To Survive Blogging Life – Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon
After the break, I chose to go to the session on How To Survive Blogging Life with Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon. They spoke about comparison, imposter syndrome, social media noise, avoiding drama and dealing with disappointment. There was a lot of talk about envy vs jealously, which I feel is very relevant these days in this space. It was great to hear their insight into being envious and jealous of other creatives.
They spoke about putting value on your time, evaluating how long do you spend taking in the noise and comparing yourself? Chances are that you’ve made the noise, so follow and curate your own feed! One thing I really need to do more off is to “take a small step and start that thing” that I’ve been wanting to do!
Storytelling On Instagram – Katy English
After an amazing lunch, I went to Storytelling On Instagram with Katy English. This was my favourite session of the day, Katy did such a great job in offering practical advise with examples.
Katy talked about finding your narrative (branding and voice) and using that throughout your content, captions, bio, theme and stories on Instagram. She discussed brand narrative, building a loyal audience, increasing your marketing opportunities, finding your niche, developing a cohesive visual identity, focusing your content, making sure your theme matches your lifestyle, finding your story and how to tie all of this together to grow your Instagram account. There was a lot of valuable information and tips from her!
During the break I had a great chat with Katy. This was our first time meeting in person after “knowing” each other online for years so it was great to have a catch-up and chat a little bit about Blogosphere magazine.
Introduction to Adobe Illustrator – Ike Sikuade
Katy and I decided to go to Introduction to Adobe Illustrator with Ike Sikuade. I’m already familiar with Illustrator but it was great to get a refresher since it isn’t a tool I use on a daily basis these days and I loved Ike. I was definitely inspired to create in Illustrator more often and have fallen back in love with the program since this session. Ike talked through setting up projects, creating artboards and creating graphics. A perfect walkthrough for beginners!
Closing Keynote Speaker – Emma Gannon
I was so excited to hear that Emma would be the closing keynote. In case you haven’t heard of her, she’s the former social media editor of British Glamour, a writer (her debut non-fiction book ‘CTRL ALT DELETE: How I grew up online’ was published in 2016 and is a fav of mine), a podcaster, blogger and speaker. I was first introduced to her at an event during my first month at Blogosphere and quickly fell in love with her work.
I was so engrossed in what Emma was saying during her keynote that I didn’t actually take notes, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and the catch-up we had afterwards. I do remember that Emma said “blogging is not just about the blog anymore. It’s about creating a platform, and using that platform for other things”. This is one of my favourite things to see these days (having been around within the blogging community since 2008), I just love that so many bloggers are now able to build a business and freelance full-time doing something they love.
Creative Genius Bar
I’m so delighted that I got invited back to be on the Creative Genius Bar giving one-on-one advice about blogging, blog design, SEO and WordPress. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who came to see me, I had so much fun chatting with you all!
Joining me on the Creative Genius Bar this year was Kirsty from Wild Things Dresses (offering business advice, from would be start ups to developing a work life balance and scaling your business), Natasha from Candy Pop (offering advice on pricing you blog work, styling and photography) and Simon from Blogfoster (giving advice about your stats, sponsored posts and all your blogging KPIs).
The best thing you’ll take from Blogtacular is the friendships. I honestly think that that’s one of the most important things within the community right now – supporting each other through these tough times (silly algorithms) and remembering the people behind the blogs and social accounts. There’s a real sense of community at Blogtacular which isn’t usually found at networking events. The sound of chatter fills each room and people are very open to starting/joining in on conversations. I know a big worry from first-time attendees is going alone, but you won’t be alone for long at Blogtacular, everyone is very friendly and there’s plenty of opportunities to mingle.
A big thank you to Kat, Kelly and all the volunteers for making Blogtacular 2017 such a successful and enjoyable day. I know SO MUCH work goes into the weekend, I don’t know how you do it but you always outdo yourselves! Also a massive thank you to West Elm, blogfoster and Mollie Makes for sponsoring the event and all those who gifted to the goody bags.
Want to attend Blogtacular 2018?
Blogtacular is back on Saturday the 16th of June, 2018 and early bird tickets are on sale NOW! There’s less than one week left before prices go up so be quick!
During the early bird timeframe your ticket is £150 as a blogger or £295 as a corporate (including VAT + fees). Those prices will go up over the coming months so if you want to go make sure to get in quick and snag a discounted ticket. There are options to pay for your ticket in installments so you can spread out the cost.
If speaking at Blogtacular is one of your goals for 2018, pitches are also open and you can apply here. Having been involved as a speaker and as part of the Creative Genius Bar, I highly recommend! It’s an amazing opportunity and is well worth the experience.