Apologies to anyone who was not at Britmums Live this weekend/has no idea what Britmums Live is, for this post is completely focused on the event.
I have spent the past two days at a conference specifically for parent bloggers. Rory and I had a great time bumbling around together (this is the 3rd occasion where it’s been just us two on our own since he was born). My tip for any nervous bloggers: Bring a 4 week old with you, it makes for an excellent icebreaker.
My opinion of Britmums Live seems to follow the majority; the keynote speakers were fab, the social aspect was great, but not much was taken away from the sessions.
Some sessions involved bloggers mainly talking about their story – their blogs and how they got started. Which, although interesting, is something that could easily be found out by looking at their blogs and about pages.
Some talks were quickly derailed by topics that have been previously discussed to death, despite the bloggers leading the sessions trying their best to skim over the subjects and move on. (Follow VS No follow, I’m looking at you).
Some talks didn’t really seem to follow their titles much at all.
I guess that maybe, when there is a mix of newer and ‘older’ bloggers, and a mix of prior knowledge amongst an audience, the safest thing is to just to be general. It is going to be difficult to please everyone. Because there are so many parent bloggers at different ‘stages’ of blogging and with varying amounts of knowledge on a particular subject matter.
Billed at advanced, for me, the WordPress session was nothing that can’t be learned from clicking around the WordPress dashboard, or googling ‘best wordpress plugins’. But from the general murmurs around the room, I could tell that for a lot of people, google fonts was brand new information (ala Pheobe from Friends). That session seemed to be very useful to the majority.
My favourite of the sessions was Julia Boggio’s photography workshop. Although I didn’t expect to learn anything new from a photography session, I went along because I was interested to see what sort of things would be discussed in a photography session aimed at bloggers.
Julia had clearly put a lot of thought and planning into her session. Prior to the conference, she had surveyed bloggers who would be attending and asked them about the subjects they would most like to talk about, and therefore her talk was very concise and targeted. She covered a lot of ground in under an hour, including a run-through of post production on Picmonkey (thoughtfully chosen because the majority of bloggers surveyed said they used Picmonkey for editing) As someone who clearly does not use Picmonkey for editing, Julia had explored the program purely in interests of advising her audience, even the paid for version – and was therefore able to helpfully tell everyone that the paid version did not include any features that would enhance your images more than the free version.
Julia talked in very technical terms about topics such as lighting, DPI and resolution without fear that the subject matter would go over anyone’s heads. (I’m sure some bloggers had never heard of these terms before, but you learn a hell of a lot more by googling a term after the session than if the subjects aren’t broached at all because of fear of alienating half your audience).
In two days, I wrote three things down. I would have loved to have come away with whole pages of relevant notes. And so, my tips for more targeted sessions are: Get to know your audience beforehand, find out exactly what they want to learn from you as a speaker. Don’t be afraid that you will alienate your audience by getting too specific. Offer something more than information I can easily get by reading your ‘about’ page.
And is it possible to just outright ban the words ‘follow/no follow’ from the next blogging event??