14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock 2015

Blogstock was freakin’ awesome. That’s all I really need to write here. But I am going to continue and explain exactly why. For those not “in the know”, Blogstock is the world’s first and only blogging festival and is based in Elstree, just north of London. This year’s festival was only the second Blogstock and ran from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. So a bit shorter than your usual music festival. Therefore only one day needed to take of annual leave for us 9-5ers! Score!

The festival was filled with talks, one-to-one sessions, musical entertainment, panel discussions, good food and fantastic new blogging friends. This was also the very, very first blogging event I attended, and with the Travel Massive Manchester meet up happening in a couple of weeks and then the LAMB meet up in London a couple of weeks after that, it certainly won’t be my last!

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com

Key takeaways from Blogstock

Here are the main tips that I learnt from my overall experience at Blogstock:

1. My “niche” needs to be, um, “niche-ier.”

I have such terrible, awful problems with my Blog’s niche. You know, that thing that makes it different to all of the hundreds of thousands of film blogs out there. The problem was not that I didn’t have a niche (it’s film and travel, in case you were wondering, which is worrying to me if you were), it’s that I had no idea how to handle my niche and really define it properly. Listening to Alexandra Jimenez from Travel Fashion Girl and Monica Stott from The Travel Hack‘s talks has made me realise how important it is for me to get my niche down pat and stick to it so I don’t confuse my readers.

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com

2. Camping in the freezing cold wasn’t as bad as you thought, was it?

I have to admit, I had a bit of a freak out on the Thursday night before Blogstock where I was ready to sack off the brand new tent and self-inflatable air mattress I had saved up and bought months in advance and panic book two nights in the nearest Premier Inn. My recent camping endeavours at music festivals, etc. haven’t made for a happy Becca. But actually, I haven’t camped since I was a Camp Counsellor in 2012 and I think that experience has made me have a thicker skin and not be such a wimp. Even though I didn’t have a shower and I was freezing the whole night I still didn’t overreact and get in an unnecessarily grumpy mood. I also had a double skinned pop up tent this time. That was a very good shout in Friday night’s pouring rain.

3. Your readers aren’t stupid. They know when you’re being fake.

This is totally true and I can see it when I read travel blogs. The “I only started this blog to see if I could monetize it” bloggers with the clean white theme design (unfortunately a lot like what mine is now) and the crisp, well designed logo who start working with companies and trying to earn money way before they’re ready and not even companies that match their blog. Blog readers want to see passion and personality. You want to know where to find the most genuine bloggers out there? You need not look any further than any of the film blogs I read.

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com

4. Free cups of tea and pancakes are enough to make a girl forget it’s cold.

Almost. Almost forget it’s cold. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best weather on Saturday; it was grey and often quite windy. However, one of the great things about Blogstock is that because it’s an awesome opportunity to meet with brands to work with, those brands will also be awesome in return and provide the cold campers with free warm things to consume.

5. Know exactly what there is of you to find on the internet and guard it closely.

Kirsten from Kooky Traveller‘s talk was really refreshing because, despite how good the other talks were at Blogstock, they all basically the same thing: ‘to get this many followers you need to have passion, have a niche, etc. etc.’ whereas Kirsten’s talk on protecting your blogging brand had real, actionable tips that I am definitely going to do to make sure my personal information is protected.

Blogstock 2015

6. Your new blogging friends are out there waiting for you and they’re super friendly.

I was so nervous about meeting people before Blogstock because why the hec had I chosen a really full on festival as my first ever blogging event? Turns out I needn’t have worried! Even bloggers who had known each other for years welcomed me and other newbies into their group and everyone is so inclusive.

Great tips for other people in my position though is meet as many people as possible beforehand, for instance on twitter by shouting out the event in the hopes of a retweet (how I met fellow Manchester blogger @footstepsontheg !) and if you notice one of your favourite bloggers mentions in on one of their blogs that they are attending said event, comment to say you’ll be there (which resulted in the incredibly friendly Jodie from The Little Backpacker approaching me late on the Saturday before I’d even spotted her. She didn’t know who I was, but knew I was attending).

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com

8. Blogstock has the best festival toilets ever. 

EVER! I had just finished up putting up my tent, opened up the nearest port-a-loo thinking that’s what it was, turns out it was actually a shower! The toilets were in their own little trailer and looked exactly like a normal public bathroom! Nothing but the best at Blogstock.

9. Try to look at your social media sites as critically as possible.

I attended Elle Croft‘s Social Media Health check and it really hit home how critical I really need to be of my own blog and social media sites to notice the things that could change. All too often I take a “that’ll do” approach to bits and pieces where I know it will be difficult to change.

As an example of how in depth I need to be, even though I like the picture of me that I use across my blog and social media sites under the nice pink Cherry Blossom tree in Brussels, it’s not very well representative of me or this blog. It should be me, hair in flowing ginger light, in one of my film tee shirts standing in front of a cool looking cinema in another country somewhere pulling some awesome yet embarrassing facial expression. Jus’ saying, not like I’ve given it a lot of thought or anything…

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com

10. You need to be quick if you want free booze during the closing panel discussion.

Blogstock is run by Traverse, who run events and conferences all year around. Apparently every event has a big closing panel that everyone attends and it’s customary for the events team to hand out free alcohol during the event. However, it seems like this isn’t the case for everyone who asks for it because I sent in my requests via twitter with the correct hashtag roughly 1 minute into the event and unfortunately my beer didn’t make it to me! Gotta be quicker next time.

11. The World Land Trust is actually a totally awesome foundation I never knew anything about.

On Saturday morning I knew I just had to attend the talk run by Wildlife Presenter Bill Oddie, former RSPB Conservation director Mark Avery and Dan Bradbury of the World Land Trust, which sounds like an awesome charity. They buy up land that is either under threat of deforestation or is home to animals that need it. They work with the local community to make sure they are involved in the purchase and help preserve the land once it has been bought. Being a vegetarian I’m obviously somewhat concerned about our responsibility to nature so it was really interesting to be there.

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com

12. You can, in fact, dance in Wellies.

A closing party in the main tent meant a band and a decent sized dance floor and it turns out wellies will not stop you getting your groove on.

13. I need to start actually paying attention to what I put on instagram.

From those of you that have read my post on my Olympus Pen Lite camera and how using an actual DSLR still baffles me, you’ll know I’ve got a long way to go on improving my photography. In fact, my instagram page for some wouldn’t even be good enough for Snapchat. So I plodded along to Chio Photography‘s session to learn more about images on social media. So I basically need to develop more of an overall ‘theme’ on instagram and I also need to post more pictures to twitter… Not so hard, right?

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com
Thanks for the photo Mel!

13. You become something of an underground character as the “only film blogger at Blogstock.”

As soon as I signed in to register I was asked if I was a food, travel or fashion/beauty blogger. I answered with film and met with immediate questions and looked upon in wonderment. I then introduced myself to several other people that day who replied with “oh, so you’re the film blogger?! I’ve heard about you!” I feel like this can only be a good thing and I will bask in my originality at future blogging events for as long as I possibly can.

14. My quirkiness is to be celebrated over every inch of my blog.

One of my favourite sessions was by Dutch travel blogger Milou from Explorista.nl about being noticed in an already crowded blogosphere. The truth is, there’s only so much you can learn from past bloggers’ success as everyone and every blog will have different methods to gaining more readers and creating a community around that blog, all we can do is keep going and learn from trial and error. However, one big thing we can do to get noticed is to just be ourselves. We are the only people who have learnt the exact things we have, who have lived through the same things and think about things in a certain way. Use it, and use it indefinitely over everything you do, it’s the only way you’re different to everyone else so make sure you own it.

14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock Festival 2015 | almostginger.com

Thank you all for a fantastic Blogstock! See you next year?!

Want MORE?

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I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award!

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award (travel edition!)

The LAMB UK Meet up + Macbeth (2015)

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14 Takeaways from Blogstock 2015 | almostginger.com

Rebecca

I’m the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I’m a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

16 thoughts on “14 Key Takeaways from Blogstock 2015

  • September 8, 2015 at 8:30 pm
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    Hey Rebecca! I love this post and a lot of the things I learnt too are what you’ve written about here 🙂 Although I couldn’t hack the cold for the second night I do know that I need to make my blog more niche! It was lovely to meet you for a brief couple of minutes and I might see you at the Manchester Travel Massive, I’ve been thinking about going but I’m not too sure yet 🙂

    • September 8, 2015 at 9:38 pm
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      Oh but it was cold though wasn’t it?! I feel like I should have brought 4 more pairs of socks! It was great to meet you briefly too, I’m sure if I don’t see you at the Travel Massive meet up in Manchester there will definitely be other occasions 🙂

  • September 8, 2015 at 8:53 pm
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    What a great write up of the event! We chickened out and didn’t camp in the end – I can’t handle cold, at all! I loved that BlogStock brought so many different kinds of bloggers together, and that I’ve discovered some great new blogs to read too x

    • September 8, 2015 at 9:40 pm
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      Thank you! 🙂 To be honest I was very much on the edge… I’ve had awful experiences of rained in tents and I just can’t handle it! It was really great like that, it’s one of the most inclusive events in general I’ve ever been to! x

  • September 8, 2015 at 9:18 pm
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    Thanks for the mention 🙂 I feel like I only barely spoke to you but so glad I managed to at least spot you briefly. Glad you enjoyed the weekend and awesome write up. I think you should totally create that profile picture for your social media!

    • September 8, 2015 at 9:43 pm
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      Oh, no worries at all, and thank you! 🙂 After I wrote that I definitely thought ‘I didn’t even speak to her for that long, if she reads this she’s definitely going to think I’m a stalker’ but because I’ve read your blog for a couple of months now it’s one of those strange occurrences where I feel like I know you more than I do…

      Haha, I can totally picture it in my head, it’s just making it a reality!

  • September 9, 2015 at 2:43 am
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    Sounds like you had a blast and learned a lot. Glad you did. I’ve never heard of such a thing on this side of the Atlantic, so I’m a bit jealous. Lol at being THE film blogger. With all the info you gathered I’m looking forward to see this place grow by leaps and bounds. Great post.

    And sorry the free beer didn’t make it to you.

    • September 9, 2015 at 8:50 am
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      I’m still annoyed about that beer, gotta be quicker next time.

      Who knows fingers crossed… Though you read my blog Dell so I must be doing something right! 😉 Yeah Blogstock kinda pride themselves on being the world’s only blogging festival but I’m sure it will take off in different places in one form or another.

  • September 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm
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    Well this sounds awesome! I’ve never been to anything like this but it sounds like it was really inspirational & helpful. Good on you for getting out there!

    • September 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm
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      I actually don’t think there is anything like it, very intriguing! I’m still looking forward to the London meet up next month! 🙂

  • September 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm
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    Great article! I love the tips, they are really helpful! I wasn’t at Blogstock myself, but I’ve read more articles about it, so now I wish I was there.. looks like I’ve missed out on something;-)

    • September 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm
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      Thanks Yvonne! It was a really great event, but really if you’re looking for blogging advice so many great bloggers do posts on so many different aspects of blogging anyway that I’m sure you’ll be able to find ample helpful advice.

  • September 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm
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    Can’t believe I missed you 🙁 I camped the first night but chickened out on the Saturday and drove home for a hot bath. Lots of really useful talks and lots of lovely bloggers to chat to. Those pancakes on Saturday morning really hit the spot!

    • September 10, 2015 at 9:17 pm
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      Aww well, I’m sure they’ll be many other events 🙂 oh my goodness I don’t blame you, after the first night I was a bit apprehensive about the Saturday night but I managed to power through. The free hot food was certainly a lifesaver!

  • September 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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    I loved that: “my profile picture should be of me in ginger light, in one of my film tee shirts standing in front of a cool looking cinema in another country” 😛 I love that you combine travel with film because it’s so unique to you and your personality Becca, it’s such a joy to read 🙂 Also thanks for writing a bit on the other talks I ended up missing, I’ll try to get Friday off next year so I don’t miss out! See you at Travel Massive next week yay!! xx

    • September 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm
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      You can tell I’ve given it such a lot of thought, can’t you? Aw that’s lovely of you to say! Honestly there weren’t even that many people on Friday, but yesss I’m definitely going to Travel Massive! 😀 xx

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