Blog at the Beach: A Mexican Fiesta
Over a month ago (long overdue – blame exams and a crazy social life, guys) I woke up at the deadly hour of 6:00am (this is practically blasphemy for a uni student), ready to board a train from little old Ledbury to the northern gem of Leeds. What was this for you may ask? Well, I think the title gives this away. Ice Lolly Holiday‘s Blog At The Beach blogger event! I met the team, including the wonderful Emma from Paper Planes & Caramel Waffles and Kate from A Life of Moxie, at #Traverse16, so I was very excited to see them again and lots of other friendly blogger faces. The event was invitation only for a select group of travel and local lifestyle bloggers, and this year there were around 60 bloggers in attendance at the White Cloth Gallery!
Now I hadn’t visited the city of Leeds before Blog At The Beach, so I was very much looking forward to this. The only part of Leeds I had seen was a large muddy field for Leeds Festival 2013, where I saw the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Blink 182, Paramore, Courteeners and Vampire Weekend. The sun was surprisingly bright and the skies blue on this Saturday in April. I couldn’t wait, and actually, it was quite refreshing to wake up before 7am and embark on a long journey. Though I can tell you that since getting my driving license I do not miss public transport in the slightest. Train naps are nice and all, but give me road trips, wind in my hair and car dance parties any day…
Unfortunately the only part of Leeds I actually ended up seeing was Central Station and the ten second walk to the White Cloth Gallery *cries*…
A Mexican Fiesta
This year’s Blog At The Beach event was Mexican Fiesta themed with tequila, a piñata and sombreros galore! Oh, and let’s not forget the infamous mariachi band that flooded social media… One of their employees opened the event with an introductory talk where yours truly got a special mention and a round of applause. They discussed how they collaborate with bloggers, so naturally my #SendMeAway win came up! I’m SO freakin’ excited to visit Thailand next month and Blog at the Beach only increased that excitement. Thank you again to Ice Lolly, you babes.
Rock Your Blog
The first talk of the day came from Kirsten from The Kooky Traveller and Rock Your Digital. Her talk was super informative and, I won’t lie, pretty nerve wracking. She filled us in on all the important security, privacy and copyright issues related to blogging. It’s safe to say a few of us were concerned. A few vital tips included setting up Google Alerts for your name, researching security (e.g. location services, password managers and security plugins), compliance (remembering to include Terms and Privacy sections on your website) and the legal implications of photo copyright. If you want to find out more, Kirsten uploaded the slides and notes from her talk here!
Lunch: everyone’s favourite part of the day! Ice Lolly provided a buffet of nachos (with sour cream, jalapeños, etc), Mexican cocktail sausages, pork fajitas, etc. With a free glass of margarita (the strongest I have ever tasted in my life) and two free drinks tokens (both soft drink and alcoholic), we were definitely made to feel welcome. Icelolly also paid up to £20 of transport costs, for those of us who came from much further afield, like moi!
From Blogging to Vlogging
The second talk of the day came from Mi Elfverson at The Vlog Academy, which focused on how to start vlogging. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of this talk as it was pretty basic, (though I can imagine it was perfect for beginners), but the speaker seemed really lovely. She offered advice on body posture, eye contact and the importance of sound in video.
Do You Want To Build A Snow…cial Following?
The last, but certainly not least, talk of the day came from the awesome Sabina Trojanova from Girl vs Globe. Everyone was completely wowed by her talk, and for good reason – it was my favourite by far! Sabina was totally kick ass and inspirational, and taught us “FIG”, a 3 layer community building technique! She said the three key elements of being a blogger are to be a Friend, an Inspiration, and a Guide for your readers.
Friend: Be your readers’ friend, show your personality, and be approachable and relatable.
Inspiration: Step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Cover both trending and evergreen topics.
Guide: Explain how your lifestyle and experiences are accessible to your readers. Freely share your wisdom and be an expert in your field!
As we said our goodbyes and did some final networking, the Icelolly team revealed that we would each receive a free surprise gift. How did we find out what that surprise gift is? Find a piece of paper taped to our seats! One lucky winner won a HOLIDAY from this! How mad is that?! The rest of us won anything from an umbrella to a portable power charger to a USB stick. Unfortunately I couldn’t transport my huge umbrella back on the train, so the lovely Sophie’s Suitcase received two prizes on my behalf!
So, have you ever been to a blogging event like Blog at the Beach? Which one was it and what was it like? Let me know in the comments below!
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