After last year, I only heard about Britmums Live (and in general blogging conferences and summits) when it was too late, via all the updates on blogs and twitter. So I was determined that I would get to Britmums this year.
Ticket duly bought months ago thinking childcare would be fine to sort out for the 2 days, and I’d have a no hassle time there. Of course, the run-up was a bit frantic…especially as I could only go on the Friday. Up til about an hour before I was due to leave, I still wasn’t quite sure who’d be looking after N. But he was able to follow his dad around on the farm most of the day, so luckily could get to the event at least for the first day.
For a first timer there were lots of ways to get to know some faces beforehand, and arrange meet ups. Meeting people in Starbucks beforehand was great as it meant we could have a chat and laugh as we ‘queued’ and registered. Lovely to meet Liska who’s so bubbly and chatty, and Sam and Michelle who I spent quite a lot of time with. It’s great to find out about new-to-me blogs as well as remembering those I follow but haven’t read for a while.
I whizzed round the brands – think my OH would moan if I turned up at home with new kitchen gadgets, but I would love a soda stream and a Vitamax blender – and had chats with various reps. Never one to turn down a freebie (another thing the OH gets embarrassed about), it was great to see what new products were on offer, and see what and who some bloggers get to work with, plus the chance to enter lots of competitions.
I went to 3 sessions:
- Story telling by the very charming Jaume Marin at Costa Brava tourism board and the lovely Pippa (who’d been very optimistic in boosting my spirits the day before when I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it)
- ‘is your blog camera ready?’ a panel discussion about design which has given me a few ideas and some new amazing sounding visual blogs to check out.
- The third was about working with brands – I’ve already done this to a certain extent, so found I was already in agreement or knew about what was being talked about, but did give the opportunity to meet some new bloggers at the different tables.
I found it easier to chat to people at tables and introduce myself as out in the Hub, people were already in groups chatting or talking to brand representatives so I found it hard to actually find people to approach. I liked the idea of the Butterflies, but the couple of times I went over to the table to find someone to meet, most seemed to be deep in conversation, so apart from saying a brief hi (and meeting some shocked faces), I wandered off again. I did meet Penny and Ruth who were people I’d seen or spoken to on social media, but didn’t bump into anyone at the tables who was also looking a bit lost, to tag along with.
While I did have brief chats with some lovely bloggers, both new to me and those already following (their blog, not them in a stalker way!), I didn’t make much headway into my list of those I knew were going and wanted to meet in real life. Left it too late to see my 2 fellow Water Babies bloggers Donna and Hannah who were also there, although did meet the very chatty Lilinha and compared Collective Bias notes. What was lovely was that compared to other conferences I’ve been on for work, everyone’s there for a common purpose with an interest in blogging, so there’s always something to talk about.
My plan for next year is to make sure I’ve arranged in advance to meet specific people. It seems that’s the way to go to make sure you get to meet who you’re looking out for as well as new people.
I have taken some learnings away that I’ll be remembering or building on for next year, and any other conferences I go to:
- Take my camera. I thought I’d be fine with my smartphone, but the lighting’s never good enough unless you’ve got a good camera (I didn’t want to use my flash during the sessions)
- Organise with people I want to meet beforehand
- Sort my childcare early…and have a back up or two
- Definitely take a spare bag or plenty of storage space for all the goodies. I took a spare bag, but was still laiden down. Dread to think what I’d be like with an overnight bag too.
- Keep talking on twitter. I thought I was doing quite well this year, but need to get more conversations going I think, then I’ll feel like I’ll know more people and that they know me too.
- Do what I want with my blog, but take note of some of the points I liked.
- Try and catch up with more blogs – I follow lots, but don’t often get to read all the ones I follow. So must do better!
I did think the running of the event was brilliant, The Brewery as a venue was lovely, and the cake/biscuits were delicious. Although it was my first conference I’ve been to where you don’t get asked to turn off your phones…it’s the norm for everyone to be tapping and snapping away.
Also loved the way Kirstie Allsopp’s introduction talk – all free flow, tangent, story telling. Just how friends would talk and that’s what it felt like.
I’m all booked for next year, so just need to sort out hotel, childcare and then find lots of blogs and people I want to try and meet at next year’s event.