My BML Experience Part 2.

Saturday 25th June was the day of the BritMum’s conference a jam packed day full of talks, networking and seminars.

I set off nice and early to get into London for 08:20 plenty of time to get to the Brewery and meet the Tribesters before the talks began,

Or so I thought…

The guy who came to assist us stood there chatting for a good 5 minutes about getting the bus, because he used to live in Shoreditch… yet had never heard of the Brewery. I told him we weren’t interested in the bus he eventually took us down to the Circle Line; which just happened to be closed! Leaving us with no other choice but to get the bus…

When we eventually got off the bus, Google Maps decided to take us around in a bloody square before heading in the right direction.

Finally we reached the Brewery and registered. Ellie and I grabbed a drink and stood at the very back having a cuppa before attempting to find the Tribe.

They waved at us, but as a talk was going on I didn’t want to head into the crowd to get to them, so we waited until the lady had finished.

We sat down and the entire hall played pass the parcel; I won some chocolate buttons yay!

And this is when the chaos descended; it was all stations go, and apart from Plan The Happy, Ellie and I hadn’t spoken to or been properly introduced to the Tribe.

The Hub was brimming with people and walking into the space was like hitting a wall of noise; very disorientating to me. Very quickly after we entered the hub Nadia came over and said hello, and reintroduced herself, saying just to shout if we needed any assistance.
As we walked around Ellie told me the Brands and what she could see. – This is where I have to point out that Ellie too is Visually Impaired, she hadn’t been to the building before and hadn’t ever been to a conference either, so it was a learning curve and a shock to the system for both of us.

Ellie and I wondered around the stalls, and found other conference rooms: Vlogging and The Big Little Tent Festival, both rooms were busy but the staff were extremely friendly and explaining what their seminars would be about/ what they had to offer.

They certainly were interesting; having interactive games and equipment.

Our first seminar was SEO rub by Judith Lewis who has been using and lecturing about SEO over the past 20 years! She was very informative and quirky; unfortunately because there was so many questions she ran out of time but I will be reading the Powerpoint she created for the lecture.

A few things I learned:

The difference between follow and no follow links
* Too many bloggers are not using the Alt Text description properly, and essentially breaking the law (so I will be rewriting a blog post explaining this)
* SEO is great but a human perspective is always better
The next seminar we headed to was; how to moneitise your blog.
3 experts were there including Vicky from Honest Mum.
Personally I found the talk overwhelming, I thought we were going to learn the basics but Vicky gave too many stats instead of how to do things, in my opinion anyway.

A few things I learned:

On average gaining 10,000 page views per month is when brands/ sponsorships start to approach you.
* There is not set rule on how often you should blog. Write what you like, when you like.
* Be unique and authentic
* If you have worked with brands before, don’t be afraid to contact them to see if they have any other opportunities.
So although this isn’t the path i’m on with my blog, it was definitely interesting 🙂

We adjourned in the hub for lunch and managed to meet and catch up with: Dr Mummykins, Cuddle Fairy and Just Saying Mum. Unfortunately it was quite brief chatting to Dr Mummykins and Cuddle Fairy, but it was great to finally meet Just Saying Mum and have a chit chat; she is as gorgeous in person as she is in real life! Thank you also for seeking us out, and giving us a hand when we looked like lost souls!

After lunch we headed to the last session; How to work smart with PR, run by Alexandra Delf and Susan L. Schwartz.
This talk was extremely informative and very interesting;it was good to get the perspective of a successful blogger (Susan) as well as what to do and not do from the PR perspective (Alexandra).

A few things I learned:

Make each email personal and not blanket = it was interesting to hear the PR had never received a personalised email before!- Surely that’s just polite email etiquette? Apparently not!
* Don’ be afraid to contact PR’s but build a relationship first! Don’t just jump in asking for what you want! – Again, this baffles me as to why people think this is OK and not just rude?
* Your blog is your brand, if you want to make it so every little detail should support it as so.
*Gmail/ Hotmail accounts are seen as unprofessional. Oops!

after the seminar was over, Ellie and I went up to to ask a few questions. Who knows I may have some future collaborations on the cards! 🙂

Ellie and i met Inside Martin’s Thoughts; and Carla which I was really happy about! It was a chance meeting 🙂 so that made it all the better! I think between the 4 of us; we managed to put the world to rights a little bit! 😉
The keynote speeches were a mix of humour, sadness and thoughtfulness. There was definitely an eclectic bunch of bloggers 🙂
The party was held after the keynote speeches and Ellie and I found a few Tribal members; BeTA Mummy, Occupation:(m)other and Phil.

Last but not least was the BiB Awards 🙂 The Tribe managed to grab a few tables together 🙂 We screamed like banshee’s when Island Living 365 won the award for Fresh Voice!
I think we raised the roof! 😉
And if you are wondering; no I did not win the Inspire award, but I never expected to! I lost to the deserving: The Joy Chaser 🙂 it’s just a shame I didn’t get to meet you!

In my eyes we are all winners, being alongside such amazing writers who brings light into the darkness and educating others with their stories, and getting as far as we did; is just spectacular!
Big love to Cuddle Fairy, Steph’s 2 Girls and Downside Up! If you haven’t already checked out their blogs, please do!

Highs:

Meeting some of my favourite bloggers in person over the course of the weekend
* learning new techniques/ ideas
* Networking with PR’s
* The cake/ alcohol
* The company of my best friend all day 🙂
Lows:

Turning up late
Constantly losing the Tribe
* Half of them not introducing themselves to Ellie or I
* The wall of noise
* Missed opportunity to talk to bloggers I would have liked to.
Was it accessible to disabled people?
Yes if your issue is mobility based as there was plenty of seats and lifts.
Not if you have sensory impairments such as sight or hearing loss.

Would I go again?
At this present moment in time no.
I found 2 out of the 3 seminars worthwhile, and the staff / PR’s extremely friendly. But I went there to socialise; meet my Tribe and hopefully catch up with bloggers. Too many times it was just Ellie and I on our own surrounded by hundreds of people, with no one saying hello unless they already knew you by face/blog. I felt lonely and isolated from the Tribe and the people I hoped to spend time with

Thank you for the experience Brit Mums and for making me a finalist :))

If you went to BML16, i’d love to hear your experiences 🙂




22 comments on “My BML Experience Part 2”

  1. Oh Sassy it was so lovely to meet you! And Ellie of course! And I’m sorry we didn’t get to chat for longer, and that you felt let down by a few things on the day. I hope it doesn’t put you off conferences in the future, I am planning to try a smaller one at some point and it would be lovely to see you again, so maybe we will meet again – I hope so! xx

    • Hey Michelle,
      It was so lovely to meet you and I really appreciate you introducing yourself every time we managed to bump into each other 🙂
      For the most part I had a good time, I may consider a smaller conference; but being London way they are mostly the bigger conferences.

      I hope you had a great time? Fingers crossed we meet again! x

      • Yep that’s the benefit of being up north – I get the smaller events! Not that I’ve been to any but that is my plan. I did have a good day thanks but was absolutely exhausted and did find it quite overwhelming at times. I was glad to take my massive bump back to the hotel! Im sure our paths will cross again, definitely xx

  2. Sassy, I have just looked up Alt tags to see why they are so important, I now understand why they are needed. I m going to go through mine and make them clearer. Glad you had the experience of Britmums and hope you come to BlogOn in Manchester next year instead. x

    • Hey lovely,
      Yes they are super important for the blind! 😉 Thank you so much for looking it up!
      Ooh I shall have to get back to you on that, London is quite far away from Manchester! Plus, i’ve never been before!
      Big hugs! xxx

  3. It was great to meet you, Sassy, and Ellie. I’m sorry that you didn’t have the best time – it was quite overwhelming and so manic, so I can only imagine how it must have been for someone who couldn’t see what was going on.

    I kind of wished the event spanned over two days, to give me more time to chat to people – as there were lots of people I missed, and others that I didn’t feel I spent enough time chatting to. I’ve spent the last few days recovering as it was a totally exhausting day!

    It’s such a shame you didn’t win the Inspire award, but to be shortlisted is such an achievement in itself.

    • Hey,
      Thank you for your kind words, I guess it was an overwhelming day for most!
      It was great meeting you, and I agree; I think having it over 2 days would be a good idea. I think that’s what used to happen the previous years!
      It sounds like we are all recovering, but I hope you had a good time? 🙂 xxx

  4. Ah Sassy, really interesting to hear your thoughts…sounds like you went to some interesting sessions. I too was surprised by the Gmail being unprofessional thing!
    So sad you felt lonely and isolated. I really enjoyed meeting you and ellie and having a bit of time to chat at the end of lunch with helen and at the party (where we chatted with Phil). I agree more time is needed though. The Friday evening sounded really fun! It was manic and overwhelming with sight…It must have been quite something without. If not BML, do you think you’d go to another blogging conference? X

    • Hey Lucy,

      Yes the sessions were really interesting! By the sound of it most of the workshops were really good and worthwhile!
      Which ones did you go to again?
      It was lovely meeting you and getting to chat, such a shame it wasn’t in a quieter area, I may have been able to hear better haha!
      I hope you got from the day what you hoped to?
      I may consider going to a smaller conference but logistically BML was the best option for convenience.

      Much love xxx

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – it’s so interesting to hear how you found it. I too found it quite overwhelming and super busy all day, I came away feeling the same that there were some people I only briefly said hello too when I would have liked to talk more! It was so lovely to meet you finally and have Friday night to chat away 🙂 I hope you think about going to another conference too, I am planning to go to Blog On in September xx

    • Hey,
      Thank you 🙂 I tried to be as honest as I could from it all… Everyone’s experiences are certainly different at things such as this but I thought that if ever another blind person would want to attend something similar they would be more aware 🙂
      It was so lovely to meet you and spend some quality time together on the Friday!
      Oh, where is that held? I’m actually a rubbish logger; I don’t know half of the names or where they are haha!
      Big hugs xxx

  6. Congratulations again on being a finalist, such a shame I didn’t make it this year so we could meet. Each year I find I get something totally different from BML. Some years I’m inspired, others I just weep and make new friends and one year I too felt overwhelmed with info. You have the tight approach… find your voice and blog for you, the rest will follow. I’m off to find out more about the Al Test thing tho (I am a technical novice and have no idea what it all means). H x

    • Hey Hayley,

      Yes it’s such a shame you didn’t make it this year, I read your blog on it. Thanks for sharing your insights, it’s great to hear different perspectives!
      Congratulations for making the finalist too! But you’re not just a finalist, but an award winner also! Very impressive! 🙂
      Thank you for leaving a comment 🙂 xxx

  7. I’ve been interested to read what it was like from your perspective – it’s quite an overwhelming experience when you can see everything going on and I can imagine that it was so much more so when it was just a wave of noise. It’s so easy to lose track of people too in amongst all the crowds. Interesting too to read about some of the sessions that I didn’t attend – especially the points made about approaching brands. The alt tag thing is something I think many bloggers are unaware of – you have done a lot yourself to teach me about trying to use them properly and I hope that my blog is more accessible as a result. Glad to hear there were highs as well as lows though – I wonder whether a smaller conference such as Blogcamp would work better for you as I think that would help a lot with not getting lost amongst a crowd. It was lovely to meet you briefly but wish I’d had a bit more opportunity to chat. Well done again on making the finals x

    • Hey Louise,
      Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂 Yes I think there is a lot of mixed information out there for bloggers and it’s not fair, we all try to do the best we can and sometimes we don’t know which advice to follow!
      I truly appreciate you adding Alt Text to your images; it makes reading your fab blog posts even more enjoyable 🙂
      I’m really sorry we didn’t get to chat, it would have been lovely to do so! Thank you also for introducing yourself straight away too!
      Oh and giving such fab descriptions of where you were in the room when we attempted to find everyone! 🙂 🙂
      I should definitely look into smaller conferences 🙂 are you going to any others this year? 🙂 xxx

      • Glad that it was helpful for you – it was just a shame I didn’t manage to catch up with you properly. Smaller conferences are fab – I’ve not got any definite plans to attend any at the moment but if BlogCamp is on later this year, I’d like to try and go to that one x

  8. It was lovely to meet you on Saturday Sassy, although I can see how it was a mixed bag as some aspects of the day may have been quite overwhelming. I’m glad you learned some new things (I am now terrified I am breaking the law with my alt tags and off to look it all up!) and maybe see you at another blogging event at some point.

    • Hey Min,
      It was good meeting you, although briefly! Thank you so much for saying hello and introducing yourself when we met 🙂
      Ahh yes, apparently you can get penalised for not adding descriptions to pictures. I knew people were meant to do it; but I didn’t realise it was as serious as it is!
      Hope you had a good time, and maybe we’ll meet each other in the future at other conferences? 🙂 xxx

  9. Hey Lovely it is nice to read your experience, first off I am glad your were short listed – a great achievement! I also salute you for going with an impairment I can feel very nervous going to these big events and so I applaud you. Glad you met with some of the Tribe and managed to learn a few tips! Focus on the positive 🙂 miss you x

    • Hey lovely,
      Thanks for taking the time to read it and then leaving a comment!
      It was overwhelming, but definitely an experience I can say i’ve had 🙂 It was lovely meeting some of the Tribe, and other bloggers! Maybe one day we’ll meet?! 🙂
      Miss you too! xxx

  10. Hey – So sorry I ran out of time – it was slightly frustrating but there is limited time with these things and I do try and answer questions as I’m there to help but it all got quite busy!
    Hope you’ll find a way through the chaos of people – it’s all overwhelming at first but the second time it is a bit easier!

  11. Hi Sassy, I’m sorry we didn’t meet properly. You probably won’t remember me but you and your friend Ellie asked me at the end of PR talk with Alexandra and Susan if I could help you find them. Your post has really made me realise what an extraordinary feat it must be for anyone with visual impairment in a large, noisy crowded female dominated conference. (Women do tend to talk faster and higher, so I’m sure I would have be utterly overwhelmed with a wall of noise in your shoes). As it was the closed tube lines was an inconvenience but not compared to your situation. I’ve been once before, and it just seemed everyone knew each other so I made a supreme effort to be more sociable but this is made much easier when one can spot a familiar face if it looks like their photo, across the room. I had reservations too about some of the sessions, but decided it would be fun to come along – if nothing else then for a jolly to London. Maybe we’ll cross paths one day at another blog conference. Congrats on making it to Finalist, that’s truly mega. Two years ago i was a Finalist in the Laugh section but they don’t have that category any more – shame as I’d like to test out my Carol Smillie pants more often ! Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to see how things are for you, and given the time again, I’d have gone to find you some tea, coffee or whatever you guys needed. All the best, Jo x

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