On Saturday I went to my first ever BlogCamp. A one day blogging conference, in Birmingham. Run by Tots100, they happen a few times a year and I had never managed to get to one before. I made a concerted effort to get to this one as I wanted to meet Tots Head Honcho Sally, and catch up with some old friends. Having got a ticket I was then thrilled to be asked to pass on some tips on fund raising in a whole 45 minute session entitled “Fundraising Fun”. We are going to put those tips on the Team Honk blog as people have told us how useful they are and how they want to put them into practice for their own fund raising ideas.
But this is what I learned at Blogcamp:
- A 5.30am alarm call on a Saturday morning is really really intrusive when you were drinking pints of Martini the night before and have only had 4 hours sleep
- You will know how early this is when you tweet that you are looking forward to going to Blogcamp in Bristol and lots of bloggers getting on trains to Birmingham instantly panic that they have the wrong venue.
- If you are planning to spend the whole day with somebody, check you are not wearing almost identical outfits unless you want to look like three year old twins. Or book ends.
- Annie eats sushi for breakfast when you stop at the services on the M6 at 8am
- Adobe Kuler is a great site for finding complimentary colours for your photographs
- When Tom Arber, a fabulous food photographer, says it, he uses a French accent and then whenever you say it after that you use the same French accent. You are doing it now, aren’t you? Adobe Kuuuler.
- Set your scene up before taking photos. Don’t snap and think you can do all the editing in photoshop.
- Turn off artificial lights and get as much daylight in your shots as you can. Buy daylight LEDs if you can.
- Stand on tables to photograph from above, if you want the perfect shot of your dinner.
- Even if that is in Harvey Nichols.
- Rummage in bins behind tile shops for photography props
- Wet wipes are not just for baby’s bottoms
- Don’t feel you need to photograph the whole plate. Do 1/4 of the bowl of curry but include a naan, or other “menu specific” items.
- Sally Whittle gives good hug
- Back up your blog. Both database and files. Don’t rely on your host to do it. (Editor note: that includes you, Barrow)
- Do the updates on WordPress.
- If the last update on a plug in is two years or more, consider ditching it. This could be a security issue.
- Have an SEO plug in but don’t write for SEO. Write the post you want to write.
- If you put a pile of phone stands with a suction cup on the table in front of a blogger they will put it on their forehead or on their glasses
- There will be a queue for the loo so don’t leave it to the last minute.
- Bloggers will see a queue outside the ladies, say “sod that” and use the men’s
- If you want to work with a charity find one you are passionate about and get in touch with them. Just ask them if you can work with them.
- Go to a meeting and talk to them face to face.
- Your opening pitch might not be right. Our’s to Comic Relief certainly wasn’t. But you will be remembered and it is the foundation you can then build on.
- Get support for your efforts, both at home, and online.
- Bloggers will photograph everything. From other bloggers, to a pile of cake, to an empty chair, to a bowl of sweets. And upload it to Instagram within seconds.
- If you open a bag of Percy Pigs and put them on the table they will have vanished in three minutes
- Ditto cake
- Ditto G&Ts which will be drunk, even if it is only 2pm. There is a bar. There are no children. It is, therefore, law.
- Enjoy yourself. Talk to people. Make new friends
- Catch up with old friends. Find a quiet corner at lunch to sit and chat, you might not get a chance for another year.
Suffice to say I LOVED my first blogcamp. It was laid back, low key, informative, and brilliant.
I can’t wait for the next one.
Did you go? What did you learn?