At the weekend I returned to The Brewery in London to attend my fourth BritMums Live blogging conference, this year rebranded to BML16. The format also changed this year, with the conference taking place over just the one day instead of two. It did feel a little compressed, but having said that there were still plenty of breaks and time for chatting.
The first session that I attended was 10 Ways to Tell Compelling stories with Photography by Charly Dove. Charly takes such beautiful photos and it was very interesting to hear her share her tips, it has really inspired me to concentrate a little more on the photos that I use on my blog. I'm never any good at taking notes on the sessions, but I did manage to capture the key points, and the ten things to consider are - capture what excites you, find a hook, show context, capture emotion, adopt a theme, isolate your subjects, frame your stories, focus on the details, chase the light and look for unusual perspectives - all great things to remember when taking and selecting photographs.
The second session that I attended was YouTube: Collaborate and Grow your Audience. It was a slick presentation and I found it really interesting to learn about some of the bigger YouTubers. However although I enjoy making videos and sharing them (you can find my YouTube channel here) I don't see myself as a vlogger and I'll never be in the same league as the big YouTube personalities, so it was a little beyond my skill level. I did pick up some tips though about the importance of customising your YouTube channel, for example making your own thumbnail pictures and choosing which content to showcase. It was also helpful to be reminded about how you can make your channel more appealing to certain audiences if you have been featured for a particular type of video, for example if I were to find myself in a position to attract subscribers with an interest in travel I'd want to make sure that the look and feel of my channel reflected that niche.
After lunch I spent some time walking around the Hub to meet with the brands and sponsors. I was a little more discerning this year and focused on the ones that really appealed to me. I spent a bit of time chatting with the lovely ladies from Fellowes who were kind enough to pass on some of their goodies to me at the end of the day and I enjoyed the Big Little Tent Festival lounge. We also had fun attempting to play tennis on the mini indoor pitch. I'm absolutely terrible for taking photographs as I get so caught up in the moment, but I managed a few snaps of the gorgeous outdoor area!
Finally I went to learn about Instagram. I've really been concentrating on my Instagram feed lately (you can find me here) and trying to think carefully about the pictures that I post. It was great to pick up a few tips, like using backgrounds and props, not posting too many pictures one after the other, and using hashtags. I'm inspired to start joining in with some Instagram challenges to meet other like minded people, so it was good to be reminded about the #sgiew hashtag hosted by sogoodineveryway, I'll be keeping an eye out and taking part!
There were plenty of breaks during the day for catching up with people which was good, as the conference is definitely about the social side for me. It didn't feel as busy as it has in recent years, there was lots of space, somewhere to sit while eating lunch, and it wasn't so intimidating as it was easy to spot someone that I recognised if was feeling lost. For me, the main reason to attend BritMums is for the social side, and it gets easier every year as I get to know more bloggers. The sessions were good, but I always seem to take more from chatting to others and picking up tips and inspiration that way.
I was a little worried that I wouldn't know as many people this year as there are so many new bloggers, but I needn't have worried. I had a lovely time chatting to so many people that I'm afraid I can't mention them all, but it was really great to catch up with Swazi and Louise, my conference companions since my very first back in 2013, and to have a proper long chat with Sarah. I was also grateful to Jaime and Clare for taking me along to All Bar One on the Friday night where I had a great evening, and it was good to see Aly who has been such a help lately as I start to get to grips with SnapChat.
Did you attend this year? What did you think?
With huge thanks to Make it Coats for sponsoring me to attend.