Saturday, 29 June 2013

My Reflection of Britmums Live 2013

It's now been a week since I came back from Britmums Live. In case you haven't heard it's a 2 day conference for bloggers who are parents with sessions ranging from improving your use of social media, to the “New” Feminism, to working with brands. With 500 blogger and brand delegates there have already been a deluge of blog posts written, but here is mine.

Blogging means different things to different people.  In the accountancy session Georgina talked about whether blogging is your hobby or trade ie you are trying to make money from it.  For me blogging is a hobby.  I love receiving products for review, going to events as a guest and being the first to know about developments in brands I love, but I don't make money from it. I like having the freedom to write what I want and it not to matter if anyone reads my posts (that lots of people do is lovely though).

Britmums Live: talks, people, food, booze and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards (I "borrowed" the award from the lovely Ben of http://lifeasawidower.com/ )  

A lot of the sessions were aimed at ultimately increasing the size of you audience.  There was a lot of talk about having a clear brand, but the more important message for me was staying true to yourself. Yes having a narrow niche blog will make you more memorable and stand out from the hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, but I don't fit in a narrow niche. I write about what is happening in my life, what I enjoy, what I don't and what I am passionate about. I don't have a single style.  I am happy to be a “mummy blogger” as before my daughter was born I didn't have a lot to blog about, but not everything I write about is linked to being a mum. It's all about me really.

My two favourite sessions were the Legal and Accountancy session and a Photography one.  I think these worked well as they were given by experts who had clearly thought through what they wanted to say and what would be most useful to their audience. Several panel sessions I attended were a bit all over the place and were mainly Q & A's.  Yes it's hard to arrange a panel session with people you don't know, but the question and answer format means that people aren't thinking through what is most useful to the widest possible audience. Next year I will try and avoid these type of sessions.

In the Legal & Accountancy session I didn't find the legal session particularly helpful as it seems everything apart from when you are paid to write a post falls in a grey area. If you are given a product to review you are probably not at risk in a way you would be otherwise, but I wouldn't say anything misleading or with malice anyway. I would hate to persuade someone to buy something that wasn't right for them so I think I am safe on that front.  Kingsley Napley also spoke about libel and copyright which sounded interesting, but as they started so promptly I missed much of this nipping to the loo.

The second half of the session was really interesting. Georgina is a mum and a self employed accountant whose “mission is to help women in business”. You can find her at www.starfishaccounting.co.uk and www.twitter.com/StarfishAcc.  The talk covered income to declare which includes: selling advertising space, Google Adwords, cash payments for writing reviews and payments in kind (products, service, vouchers, discounts). If you receive any of these things you should consider if you need to register as self employed and submit a tax return once a year. 

What you can and can't claim as expenses is complicated and I will save that for experts, but interestingly childcare and entertainment (including taking someone to lunch) aren't tax deductable. Tips around disclaiming capital allowance if not paying any tax was helpful as was how much you can claim for working from home (£4 a week or use of cost which often ends up more).

The Photography session was by the glamourous and funny Julia Boggio (www.boggiostudios.com and www.twitter.com/juliaboggio) who covered 8 tips of good blog photography including: Lighting, Getting off the P mode (but not to full manual outside of a studio), Composition, Styling & Props, Posing, SEO, Post Production and how to take Good Selfies (chin out and down).  Her session was informative and pitched at a level where everyone should have been able to take something away. I took 3 pages of notes.

The other session that gave me new ideas was by Richard Gray of www.iphoggy.com and www.twitter.com/rugfoot who spoke about a number of iPhone photo editing apps. Both Julia and Richard reminded people that you can take great shots on your camera phone and a good picture can be made more exciting in post production, but a bad picture is best deleted.
Just some of the Brilliant Brands at Britmums Live
(Panasonic, Warner Bros, Vitamix, Fox's, Asda Wine, Acer, The Saucy Fish company and Coca Cola)
Having said earlier that I don't intend to develop a narrow brand for my blog I have decided that I do want to include more photography. I have always loved it and unlike the film cameras I had when I was younger with digital I can snap and play until either my daughter or husband throws a tantrum.

I love so many things that it makes my life rich and interesting, hopefully it will have the same effect on my blog.

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