I am so so glad I didn't give in to my nerves and not attend Blogcamp on Saturday as I learned so much!
Blogcamp is a free event for bloggers hosted by Tots100. There are several Blogcamps throughout the year and I went to the one in Manchester.
I have literally got pages of notes and when I left it felt as though my brain was in overdrive with all the different pieces of advice and lessons from the day.
It's hard to think of what I found most helpful as there was just so much to take in but I think I've narrowed it down to the five things I can utilise or apply right now. Once I've got those nailed I'll try and incorporate some of the other stuff.
1. Optimise my Facebook page
At the moment I use it just for sharing my latest blog post but Cathy from Nurture Store really opened my eyes to just how useful a Facebook page can be. I 'get' Facebook so much more than Twitter so it makes sense to focus on that a bit more.
2. When it comes to photography: Be Brave!
Becky and Tom from Ar-blog gave a brilliant talk on improving photography and this was my favourite tip from the whole day. So many times I think about getting my camera out and then think "no, what if someone sees" and then I don't bother. Last week I took the kids on a walk to a forest. We were the only ones there and I still hesitated about taking some photos. I know this attitude has meant I've missed recording some precious moments with the kids so I'm going to be brave and get snapping!
3. Be Intentional
I love this tip too. I need to decide which social networking platforms I'm going to use and then stick with them. I often feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of platforms available and I just haven't got the time to use them all. At the moment I'm in a constant battle to understand Google+ and whilst I love Pinterest I need to spend some more time learning about it. But I shouldn't put myself under pressure to have a presence on all of them if I'm optimising the ones I am part of.
I never really started this blog to get 'followers'. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that people take the time to read what I've written and I am beginning to enjoy the social aspect and the blogging community but that doesn't mean that I need to be 'everywhere' all the time. It's unrealistic and will only leave me feeling like I've failed when I don't tweet every time I write a new post!
4. Love Your Blog
I need this printed out and stuck up next to my computer screen I think. I've only been blogging since Easter and already I've had so many conversations with myself over why I blog and what I want the aim to be. Hearing someone with a successful blog say this caused a lightbulb moment for me. As long as I love my blog, and I'm enjoying writing then it doesn't matter does it? I don't need to compete to review the latest toy and I don't need to compete to have the most page views. I'm writing for me!
5. Another photography tip: the I-phone has a flipping good camera!
I was completely amazed at what the I-Phone camera can actually do. I had no idea! I found the session on photography fascinating as I do often say "if only I had a better camera" when really, armed with a few handy tips (from someone who knows what they're doing) I can do loads!
The most interesting tip was about locking the exposure on my phone. If you want to take a photo in silhouette then point the camera at some bright light (the window for example) press and hold on the screen until it tells you it's locked and then take the photo. I've been playing with this feature all day. It's brilliant! The same applies for an instance when you don't know which exposure to use. If you're taking a photo of people, lock the exposure on your hand and then take the photo.
It's an amazing piece of kit really. If only I'd known!
To be honest these tips don't even scratch the surface of all the stuff that was said and shared on Saturday. But I did leave feeling inspired and more confident that I'm heading in the right direction!
I would really recommend it to bloggers, especially if it's your first blogging event. It was overwhelming to begin with, especially as I knew most of the bloggers there and they didn't really know me (which made for a handful of awkward conversations) but the information shared was invaluable and also reassuring to know that I'm not getting it all wrong!
And of course, lets not forget the main reason I had for going - I got to eat cake :)