Blogging has become a serious business. As the awareness of bloggers and blogging has crept evermore into the public conciousness, the expectations have risen to ever higher standards, including when it comes to advertising. Although I still see my own blog as very much a hobby and do not plan to monetise it, I do attend blogger events and promotions and occasionally receive samples to review, so understanding the legalities around sponsorship and disclosure is important. With the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) now cracking down on companies and brands who have been flouting their rules (accidentally or knowingly) and readers becoming more aware of the situation, it’s crucial to know where you stand.
So thank goodness for #BlogClub! The June meetup was all about discussing the ins and outs of paid links and disclosure. Sophie from Saints on a Plane led the discussion and had even prepared a handy resource to refer to covering the basics. I’m not going to go into to much detail here as even the basics are a little complicated, but do go and check out Sophie’s post on the subject here if you are interested. It hits the key points about deciding what sponsorship to accept, and how to disclose it properly as well as useful links.
For me, the most important aspect of the whole debate is transparency and trust. Some bloggers seem nervous of declaring when a post or video is sponsored as they think it will discredit their opinion, but actually I think the opposite is true. The more transparent a blogger is, the more I will trust them, including what they say about a sponsored subject. I have a few beauty bloggers who I follow and trust their opinion 100% as I know they are always honest with it. They do have sponsored content, but as this is clearly declared, I can make up my own mind knowing this. I know this is the same for many other blog readers – transparency breeds trust.
We were hosted for the evening by Bath & Unwind, a local Bristol company with an awesome office (fully stocked bar and all). I had actually never heard of them before so it was really nice to discover a new company. Bath & Unwind are an online luxury beauty store with a carefully curated line of products from well known brands (such as OPI, Ren and Bumble & Bumble) alongside lesser known brands (Tokyo Milk, Phyto and A’kin). They were really sweet and made sure we had plenty of cupcakes, beer and snacks to keep the conversation flowing. We were also all kindly gifted a product from their range – I received this Aroma Works body cream which smells and feels amazing.
The next Blog Club will be on the 11th August in Bristol and will be discussing how brands can work with bloggers – I’m sure we all have a few ideas on that! You can sign up to attend via Eventbrite here.
Since moving to Gloucestershire a few months ago my blogging has been a bit sporadic. Commuting everyday to Bristol and getting to know a new area knocked all the motivation out of me but thankfully a couple of events have put me back on track.
Last week, I spent the day at BlogConf. It was a full day packed with speakers, discussions and networking and was based at Racks in Clifton, a lovely bar with a great menu. Our speakers were:
- Joe Stutter from Webpal did a great talk about improving your presence with SEO, design and social media. I took copious notes and am really fired up to give this a go.
- Lottie from Oyster and Pearl and Lara, the editor of Mollies Makes were there to chat about freelancing and working with magazines. It turns out that many magazines, like Mollie Makes, are dead keen to work with bloggers and their advice was to be bold and make contact with people you want to work with.
- Photographer Danny T gave us lots of tips about making the most of lighting and composition to create images that tell a story, and that the narrative and ‘the moment’ were king. The best advice was: practice, practice, practice and I’m certainly going to be sticking to this!
- Next up was Gemma from HelloIt’sGemma and Mel from Trunki who led an open discussion about working with brands and it was great to hear the opinions of the rest of the bloggers there. Mel works extensively with bloggers reviewing Trunki products and she strongly recommended approaching brands you want to work with with a specific angle or story idea.
- Olivia from Just Olivia TV was there to share her vlogging experience and spoke about having the confidence to put yourself out there on YouTube. I also loved her advice to start with what you have – any camera, free editing software, a window for lighting – you can then figure out what you need from there.
- Will, the PR Manager for Instagram Europe popped in to talk all things Insta. He stressed the importance of community in the Instagram world and told us about the worldwide IntsaMeets that will happen on the 21st and 22nd March. Will was also very happy to take lots of question and to feedback to the development team what us bloggers would like to see which was fab.
- Lastly, Sophie from That Pale Girl closed the day with her blogging story. Her blog has gone through several incarnations so she had some good advice on finding your own style and reflecting it in your blog. And most importantly, blogging because you love it.
So yeah, a pretty good day! I felt it was a really worthwhile event to attend for me because, as well as meeting some lovely people, it has reignited my interest in and passion for blogging. It was a really well organised and successful day. We were lucky to be given a goody bag at the end, here’s a sneaky peek at it if you’re interested, I know I always am!
Then, during the week I went to BlogClub, run by Bonjour Blogger. BlogClub is open to anyone and is aimed at getting bloggers together to get to know each other and learn. Blogging is quite and isolated hobby/job (whichever way you view it) so I was really happy to find this in Bristol.
This month’s get together was hosted by True Digital who gave us a very detailed and extremely useful demonstration of how to get the most out of Google Analytics. I’m very much a beginner in this field so this was very helpful. And everyone at the event was extremely friendly. It’s great to meet so many people who ‘get’ the whole blogging thing and to meet some new folk down here in Bristol.
I can’t wait to make some changes to this blog and to keep improving it. I’m also super happy to have found such a vibrant blog scene here and I can’t wait to get more involved with more events, more connections and more friends.
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Tagged Blog Events, BlogClub, BlogConf, Bloggers, Blogging, Bristol, Events, Life, Life Lately, Lifestyle, Live, Meet Up