This time last week, I was excitedly looking forward to the first ever Say Hello Workshop, an event hosted by the team at Say Hello Blogger Events. I was going to learn all sorts of fabulous blogging ideas, have some questions answered, catch up with friends new & old, and have an all round amazing time.
I feel really lucky that Hello Blogger holds these things in Brisbane, because my budget & time constraints mean I generally miss out on all the fun that goes on in Melbourne & Sydney. I'm not bitter! I'm lucky!
I left early to get to super trendy Tennerife - a beautiful historic suburb on the Brisbane River close to the city. I was lucky enough to get probably one of the few free off street parks within walking distance of the tres chic London Club, where the workshop was being held. As I got out of my car I noticed another lady parking behind me. "Excuse me, do you know if this is a free parking zone? I cannot see any signs.." I asked her. "Are you going to the blogging workshop?" she replied. It was Anke, from Knights at my Kitchen Table and Herbology ! How lovely to meet one of my favourite bloggers before the day even started! (neither of us got a ticket). See? Lucky.
If you quickly glance at the itinerary above you will see it was a jam packed day, so I made sure to get there early - even so I was one of the last to arrive. I've gotta tell you, don't be late in Brisbane, no one ever is. It might be acceptable (even expected) in Sydney, but not here.
After registration & a quick coffee, we took our seats and Danielle welcomed us to the workshop, with a quick run down of what to expect.
The London Club was a good choice for the workshop, it had free wifi (yay!) it was intimate without being cramped, & it is very stylish. At times it got a bit noisy with the kitchen sounds, but we all coped pretty well.
First speaker was Melissa from Suger Coat It, who talked us through blogging basics & finding your niche. I've been blogging for almost 2 years but I'm still a total noob, and Suger had some valid & interesting information. She spoke about her own blogging journey and the lessons she had learned about blog design, tracking your stats, monetising your blog, and had some great information about identifying and settling into your niche. The thing that really resonated with me was this phrase Make Yourself Proud. Words to live by, Dude.
The next speaker was Kelley from Be a Fun Mum, who spoke passionately about Creating Content & Building Audience. Kelley spoke about the concept of Wells - as in a well will attract more cattle than a fence. You are a well, so keep yourself replenished, so that you can attract readers. I like analogies like this because I am a visual person, it makes perfect sense to me that I am a well! It's all about believing in yourself, investing in yourself, & finding your voice so that you can give value to your readers. Don't let your well dry out!
Sharing this segment but focusing on Social Media was Jacqui from CRAP Mamma. Jacqui is a delight to chat with any day so it was great to hear her take on finding balance within social media and family life. Treat each social media channel as it's own identity is clever advice, but the main thing I re-learnt here was to categorise my time, prioritise, and set a task and stick with it. This was drummed into me years ago but I've been juggling so much lately trying to accommodate everyone and everything I've fallen into the habit of spinning my wheels and going nowhere. Do you do that to? Please, it's not just me, surely?
Next up was a double act of Zoe from Little Harp Photography and A Boys Mumma, and Danielle from Five Little Reasons. They had some great information on taking better photos (backgrounds, perspective, laying down on the grass, standing on tables, different focus elements, setting the scene, telling a story, online tools) but the most important bit of information I learnt? "It doesn't matter what equipment you've got, LEARN HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY'. Light bulb moment, people.
After question time it was time for lunch and mingling! Lots of delicious tapas style nibbles floated around the room while we all got a chance to catch up.
There where some fun props to use and have your photo taken. I've noticed that Bloggers are not shy when it comes to getting in front of the camera..well, some more than others.
After lunch, we quickly ran back to our seats so that the Zoe and Danielle Photography team could impart some more wisdom about editing.
Then Maddie from Lil Magoolie sent us all into an orbit of graphic artist envy with her ah-mazing design skills. Lots of oohs and ahhs, you should go over and check out her beautiful blog. She was actually talking about Design, branding, Getting Sponsors and Working with Brands, and she really spoke intelligently about remaining professional while maintaining your own voice, and the importance of quality readership.
The next speaker was Sass, from Life of the Bees, I cannot believe I didn't get a photo of her! Obviously I had learnt nothing! Sass's blog had moved me to tears many times with her journey of being a foster parent, and it was lovely to finally meet her. She spoke about Blog Design which was super important for me - I might be a visual person but I don't always have the technological chops to back it up. She went through different platforms & designs, & shared some brilliant sounding websites to go to for help. I'll be mentioning her name!
Danielle, our esteemed hostess & blogger at Hello Owl, then spoke about Blogging Trends, and took us on a tour of some luminaries in the blogosphere. Kind of like a celebrity tour bus, but we where in a pub..The main thing that stood out with the most successful blogs is that they all have a complete package - they all offer a well rounded experience of social media, great blog design, they know their niche and they engage their audience. I loved it. It's good to have role models. Dan didn't take up much time because the next speaker needed lots of time..
I've been a fan of Veggie Mama's for a while and it was awesome to finally meet her, not that we got that much of a chat...Stacey spoke about the legal side of blogging, and as she is both a professional journalist and a University lecturer on just this subject she would be the one to know. Everyone was spellbound. Everyone hung on her every word. Everyone was scared shitless. A few of the things I learnt from Stacey;
- Copyright is instant and automatic, you don't need to mention it.
- Proper attribution is not just saying 'Pinterest'. Find the owner of the photo.
- Defamation - we do not actually have free speech in Australia, we have implied right.
- Defamation can be many things. It can be a facial expression (I'm screwed!)
- It is not illegal to take a photo of someone in a public space. We do not own our own image.
- Recipes cannot be copyrighted, only the instructions can.
After Stacey had calmed us all down with the voice of reason, and everyone had asked lots of questions about meta tags and SEOs, it was time to go. Sad face. To be honest I don't think I could have jammed any more information in my head..
We all received a present for coming, beautifully wrapped & garnished with handmade brooches from the talented and super nice Gillian at Tessie Girl.
They where almost too pretty to open but when we did - surprise!
A gorgeous diary from Mi Goals, some clever little nail files for your purse from Virtu and TS, and a Lotta magazine! Feeling Lucky...
Melissa and Danielle then went on the draw the winners of the lucky door prizes. Lots of talented people/ gorgeous brands had donated something to be won, and you had to put your business card in a large vase to be in the running. I don't have business cards, so I had cheekily created one by tearing the corner off my notebook.
One of the offerings on the Door Prize table. This is a gift bag sewn from an Enid Blyton book, and I think it contained a handmade clutch and a hair accessory. I'm not sure, I couldn't stop marvelling at the awesome that was a bag made from an Enid Blyton Book. The whole thing was made by Trudie at Vintage Vow and Journey to Bloss, who is a clever clogs. Earlier in the day I had had a chat/brainstorming session with Trudie about business cards and alternatives with some very interesting ideas thrown about (stay tuned..).
Anyway! Later in the day, when my brain was fried, the first winner of the lucky door prize was drawn and announced - to be ME! I was too busy chatting to Zoe, who had to say "Ummmm, I think you've won a prize" What a der head! I was so vagued out I didn't even listen to what the prizes where, so I chose at random.
And this is what I chose; a $100 gift voucher from TS clothing, which came with a tote bag, a makeup brush kit, and a laundry bag. See how lucky I am!?
And that's about it! It was an amazing day, I learnt a lot, I had heaps of fun. Thanks for reading this epic blog post...Oh wait! Almost forgot!
It wouldn't be a Hello Bloggers Event without a boob grab would it?