Over the five (and a half!) years I have been blogging, there is one thing in particular that I have watched grow and develop over time, and is something I find fantastic. Welcome to the world of blogger networking – an activity that takes place more and more as the blogging community grows, aiming to strengthen blogger relationships, encourage blogger/brand communications, explore new companies and venues, and overall – to have fun!
Five years ago there were only a handful of us North West bloggers who would turn up to blogger events, and I could count on one hand how many I attended in a year. However, fast forward to 2015, I possibly attend an event once a week, sometimes even more often depending on my diary. I love them for so many reasons – networking, making new friends, talking ‘blog’ and generally having a new way of enjoying my social life by exploring new places which host the meet-ups.
I wanted to highlight a fantastic blog event I attended last weekend at Hotel Football, organised by the team at Think Money. They put on a roof-top BBQ which allowed a handful of bloggers to indulge in yummy food and chat together in a lovely iconic Manchester venue. We played blogger bingo where we could win prizes, and were also treated to a cupcake decorating lesson by The Princess and The Cupcake, which was something I have wanted to try out for a while. This type of event was ideal for networking – it’s amazing who you meet, what conversations are exchanged, and of course it was great to meet the team at Think Money too. Take a look at my photo diary from the event below, as well as over at the brands blog here too.
So I was let loose with a piping bag, buttercream, sprinkles and icing, thus producing these pretty cupcakes. Think I have discovered a new skill- what do you guys think? They also tasted incredible, although I didn’t bake these (just decorated!) so I can’t take the credit for the tasty sponge…
In light of the blogger event, I wanted to address that I come across bloggers on a daily basis – especially new bloggers – who can get really worried and anxious before a blog event. I can understand why it seems daunting, it’s not an everyday situation where you turn up to an occasion on your own, to a room full of people who may know each other . It can be a scary scenario, therefore I wanted to pull together some personal tips I think may help if you are a new blogger and find yourself in a similar situation…
1. Ask for the event hashtag, and search for other bloggers using this on Twitter pre-event. This way, you can tweet them and introduce yourself. Let other bloggers know you are coming solo and feeling a little worried. Every blogger started off as a newcomer once.
2. Embrace the name badges! As you can see from my below photo, most events that focus on blogger networking highly prioritise distributing name tags. It may sound silly to some people, but it helps put faces to names if you have seen bloggers discussing the event on social media channels. Or it may help you recognise your favourite bloggers you follow yourself, but want an excuse to approach them and address them by their first name.
3. Pluck up the courage to go over to a fellow blogger and introduce yourself. It can be frightening if you aren’t a confident person, but you need to remember that bloggers are just humans too, and the fact is you are both invited to the same event, making neither of you more superior than the other. The worst case scenario is that fellow blogger isn’t as friendly back. If this happens, shrug it off and try with someone else – everyone should appreciate a friendly person.
4. Be polite and smile. Relax and enjoy the event – even if an event doesn’t end up being the most sociable occasion, you are there for your blog. Take what you can from the event and focus on the fact it’s a privilege to be invited.
5. Go easy on the fizz. A lot of events include a couple of complimentary drinks. If it’s your first event, try to go easy. You don’t want to be remembered as the blogger who got too drunk and fell over, god forbid!
Thanks again to everyone involved at the TM Summer BBQ event last weekend – all the bloggers and Hotel Football staff too. It was a shining example of how a professional blogger meet-up event should be…