I had such a fabulous time meeting fellow bloggers at BritMums Live that it’s easy to forget I actually learned loads too.
I’ve been blogging for nearly four months so I’m still very much a newbie, but fascinated to learn as much as I can.
The agenda was full of sessions that I wanted to attend but I had to be pretty ruthless about choosing. I missed out on the Instagram styling session with Alison Perry, which my friend Claire at The Pramshed said was so useful, particularly for tips on creating beautiful flat-lays.
However I was thrilled to get loads of tips in the sessions I did attend. I focused on YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest for my day.
So I’m going to share with you some of the very best tidbits I picked up from blogging and social media legends.
1. Every pin should be actionable. Pins should have a link taking you to a product, a blog, whatever. There should be a link there to take the user somewhere else for more.
2. Pinterest doesn’t want you on Pinterest. This is strange but true. Pinterest wants you to leave its website. It doesn’t see itself as social media, it is a huge search engine.
3. The perfect pin size is 600x900px. Vertical is best.
4. Hashtags have landed. Start using hashtags on your pins right now! Unfortunately you can’t go back and edit them in to existing pins (you can but it won’t make them show up at the top of the hashtag where people are searching).
5. There is a Pinterest bible. The Possibilities Planner I received in the Pinterest talk is packed with seasonal ideas for what people are searching for on a Pinterest each month. It’s my new best friend.
6. Publish Christmas content now. Apparently people start searching for Christmas content as early as August!
7. Use affiliate links. As with your blog, don’t miss out on the opportunity to monetise all of your hard work by adding affiliate links to your pins wherever appropriate.
8. Lists are big. People love a good list. What to buy for a baby, steps to handle toddler tantrums. Lists are really popular on Pinterest so use them and big them up in your pins.
9. Create sexy pins. Beautiful images with gorgeous text are the way forward.
10. Personalise your pins. If you are repinning something from elsewhere then write why you love it in the pin description. If you’re recommending a recipe book, pick out some of your favourite recipes to flag up in the description.
11. Nigella Lawson doesn’t like text over her Pinterest images. Apparently she resists this because she wants to beautify picture of gorgeous food to speak for itself and not be disturbed at all. I suppose when you’re Nigella you can do whatever you want!
12. Give less shits. Brummy Mummy of 2, aka Emma Conway, encouraged us all to be ourselves and not care about what other people think. In her words: “Give less shits.”
13. You don’t have to have a fancy camera. Some successful YouTubers have shot to fame using just their mobile phone to shoot videos.
14. The Canon G7X is a popular choice. If you are looking to invest in a camera, this one popped up as a recommendation from several people I spoke to on the day and in the Not-So Secret Life of YouTube Mums session.
15. Draw inspiration from the best. Louise Pentland, the very funny and talented lady behind A Sprinkle of Glitter, said when she was starting out she looked at videos made by the most successful vloggers in her field. She checked out which of their videos had the most views, then did her own version. This doesn’t mean she copied them, but she borrowed inspiration and made it her own. For example, she saw Primark hauls were big so she did her own but for curvy ladies.
16. There is an audience for everyone. Another gem from Emma Conway. She insisted that there is an audience for everyone, because, according to her, she’s a “bit of a dick” but still very successful.
17. Don’t just shoot review videos. If your entire content is reviews of the latest VTech toys you will struggle to find your audience. You need to be more diverse and interesting than this.
18. Pitch ideas to brands. You don’t have to have loads of likes and subscribers to start putting yourself forward to work with brands.
19. Don’t stress about the hits. Ciara Attwell, from My Fussy Eater, said she had been itching to reach a magical number of hits, figures and views. However once she got there she didn’t notice any difference in how she felt. Now she focuses on doing what she loves and when she gets positive comments from readers and subscribers, that’s what makes her happy,
20. Pour yourself out there, everywhere. Louise Pentland’s advice is so inspiring. Just get yourself out there and shout about what you’re doing on every platform that you can.
21. Don’t take rejection personally. Another gem from Louise. She reminded us that if we get a rejection from a brand or a collaborator to just move on. She said: “It’s business, it’s not personal.”
22. You don’t have to post daily. Among the top family vloggers, 56 per cent posted 10 to 29 videos per month.
23. Make it relatable. If your content is relatable then it’s more likely to be shared around. People are more likely to subscribe to your channel if they feel like they’re connecting with you as a friend. Also making your videos shareable, so exciting or interesting enough that people are talking about them, means your subscribers will recommend you to their friends.
24. Be consistent. Try to have a schedule for how often you post videos and do it on the same days of the week.
25. Trending topics. Tapping in to trending topics can make your video more discoverable as people are searching for more information on that topic.
26. Keywords. Make sure these are in your video title.
27. The thumbnail is important. The image that accompanies your video is vital to draw people in.
28. Use Instagram stories. Instagram queen Harriet Shearsmith, from Toby and Roo, emphasised how important these were becoming for brands. They’re easier to do than creating and editing a YouTube video and they have a lot of impact.
29. Use all 30 hashtags. If you want people to see your posts then you need to do everything to increase your chances of that post being seen. You can use a comedy or relevant hashtag in your main post, then pop the other hashtags in your first comment in the post.
30. Don’t buy followers. This is a bad idea. It looks obvious and does nothing for engagement and interaction. Avoid.
31. Store a bank of good pictures. Some days you may not get the best shots so having a bank of pictures saved can take the pressure off.
32. Have your own style in your images. Try to make it so that your images are easily identifiable as yours. Alison Perry’s stunning and bright Instagram pics are a great example of this. Have a consistent look.
33. Use your phone for Instagram stories and a good camera for your feed. This means you’re taking the most beautiful images possible to share with your followers. For Instagram stories you want to quickly update your followers while you’re on the go.
34. It hasn’t taken a backseat. There was some debate on this issue at the Trailblazers panel but Vicki Psarias-Broadbent, aka Honest Mum, was adamant the blogs have not been ditched in favour of social media. She said it was all about putting yourself out there on multiple platforms and keeping your blog is just as important, despite the rise and rise of social media channels such as Instagram and YouTube.
35. Stop apologising. Emily Leary from A Mummy Too advised all of us bloggers to stop apologising. We shouldn’t hold back with pushing our content out there and worrying that it’s no good. Just get your work out there and be proud of it.
36. Don’t do what Man Vs Baby does. Matt Coyne was brilliant on the Trailblazers panel, he had everyone laughing. He described the random moment when his wife wandered off to do some shopping and he was left with their three-month-old son. In the time she was gone he wrote a lengthy Facebook post about what he had learned in the early weeks with a baby. This soon went viral and his book deal followed. Despite his phenomenal success, he advises us “don’t do what I did” because didn’t approach things with any strategy. I’d say sometimes you have to carve out your own path and he’s a brilliant example of this.
37. The Flex Appeal. She wasn’t present, but I had to bring up Mother Pukka’s Flex Appeal campaign because it was an issue that came up again and again as I chatted to people. Many ladies I chatted to are blogging in the hope of forging a flexible career that allows them to spend more time with their kids and less money on childcare. This was echoed by Vicki from Honest Mum, who gave up a successful directing career so that she could be her own boss and spend more time with her children.
38. There are lovely, lovely people in the blogging world. Meeting bloggers face-to-face was so lovely and I had a brilliant time getting to know people better. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to chat as much as I would have liked with so many people, but there’s always next year!
Phew, so after all of that learning we enjoyed a City Cruises boat ride on the Thames. London looked so beautiful at night and the atmosphere was brilliant.
Congratulations to all the award winners! You are all superstars and your wins were so deserved. Thanks to BritMums for organising a brilliant day. The food and drink at the County Hall was delicious and the boat party was such a great way to end the day.