I was fortunate enough to go to the BlogOn Conference this year at The Coppid Beech Hotel, Bracknell. I had heard about it from some of the ladies in the Top Blog Coaching Membership: Hobby to Heyday and it sounded fantastic! I was a bit nervous about going because compared to most of the attendees, I’m fairly new to blogging and have a relatively small social media following. As a few of the Hobby to Heyday members were going I decided to be brave and booked myself a ticket. I am so glad I did! It was an amazing experience!
Arrival and the Legendary BlogOn Goody Bags
I was excited about going for a number of reasons, firstly the conference is held in a 4-star hotel on the outskirts of Bracknell which looked beautiful in the pictures I saw online which it turns out didn’t do it justice! What was even more wonderful about the hotel was the fact that it meant a night away from home and a bed to myself! I could starfish on the incredibly comfy double bed and no children would wake me up because their blanket was in their toes (a nightly occurrence in my house). My youngest is 4 and has yet to sleep through the night so the last time I had a full nights sleep was some time in mid-2017 when I was still early enough in my pregnancy that I could, a night alone in a hotel is the stuff that dreams are made of!
Secondly, there was the goody bag. I had heard from previous attendees that the goody bags were huge and filled with all sorts of toys, games, confectionery and other products, in fact, I’d been told by several people to take a large empty suitcase with me just for the swag. At first, I wasn’t sure if this was a bit of an in-joke but when the organiser, Laura Seaton of Tired Mummy of Two started posting pictures of the goody bag items on Instagram I realised that there was no exaggeration involved and that I really would need another suitcase.
When I arrived I went to check in to the conference and I was given my goody bag which came in an Ikea bag, that’s how big it was! I was also given the raffle tickets that I had pre-booked, a name badge with my website and Twitter handle on it and a gift bag with pencil and paper, water and some extra information about some of the businesses that had been involved in putting on the event.
The day started with a welcome from Laura and then a talk from Simon Harris of Man Behaving Dadly who made us all laugh with tales of how he fooled Katie Hopkins and the Sun Newspaper and explained why Nigel Farage describes him as “a hard left, metropolitan liberal”.
I then went off to my first session of the day which was the first of a two part photography tutorial with Sarah-Jayne of Keeping Up With The Jones Family. Session one was the theory behind using the camera such as different shutter speeds, lenses, and ISO settings, and session two was the practical where we went off to snap pictures of some of the toys and the phenomenal cake. This was great because we had Sarh-Jayne on hand to give us pointers and show us how to get the best out of our cameras.
For session three, I decided to continue the photography them and went along to listen to Victoria Welton of Victoria Welton Photography discuss the importance of branding and how you can carry your colours and themes through into your photography. It was fascinating to hear the psychology behind colours and see which brands use which colours and why.
In session four I went along to listen to Cookie of That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles and her sister Lucy who explained how to use Instagram Reels. During the session, they talked us through how to make a Reel and taught us the importance of having fun and being ourselves on them.
The other sessions throughout the day were Teach me Insta with Abi Hugo, Finding Your Why with Nina Spencer, Working with Brands with Laura Seaton, Using Your Voice with Steph Curtis & Hayley, LinkedIn with Tim Liew, Creating a Content Calendar with Grace Hall, How Create & Launch a Successful Online Course with Eb Gargano, Core Web Vitals with Kay Thorpe, Understanding & Growing on TikTok with Sian Russell, How to be a Blue Tick W*nker & Make Money From It with Matt Coyne, How to Start a Podcast & Make People Listen with Tom Marriott and Vision Boarding with Raachel Palmer. All the sessions throughout the day were recorded so even if you don’t make it to a session you won’t miss out.
The Brand Den
This was like visiting Santa’s Grotto! The room was packed full of different companies who were all there to showcase their latest toys ready for this years festive season. It was wonderful to be able to talk to them and find out more about the companies, their products and the though that goes into designing them, I definitely spotted some things that I’m sure will be on the Christmas Lists in my house this year!
Having the opportunity to try out the products, get samples to take away and pass on my details for potential future collaborations was a wonderful experience and again I was glad of my spare suitcase!
The Brand Den was also home to Capture By Lucy who was selling a huge range of vinyl photography backdrops for the bargain price of three for £10! She explained that they were either seconds or rejects with slight imperfections and that they usually retail at £29.95. I picked out three to use for flatlays for future blogs and social media posts now that I had acquired some new photography skills!
The BlogOn Raffle
In the Brand Den there were over 200 toys that we could play with and try out because we were also there to vote in the BlogOn Toy Awards. Each company that was entering a toy in the awards sent two, one for us all to have a go with to help us decide who to vote for and one for the raffle. The unopened ones were the raffle prizes and they were all on shelves lining the corridor so that we could see how they looked and which category they were in. The opened toys that were sent in were then donate after the event. All the money raised from the sale of the raffle tickets also went to charity.
When it was time for the raffle we all gathered in a large room with doors at each end. If your name was called then you went out one door, selected the toy you wanted from the shelves and then returned through the other door. I couldn’t believe it when my name was called and I was lucky enough to win two prizes, both of which my children were thrilled with when I got them home,
Another legendary part of BlogOn is the refreshments. On arrival there are bacon rolls (vegetarian option is also available) served with tea or coffee. In the mid morning break there is more tea and coffee as well as biscuits, lunchtime brought a delicious buffet with an epic desert stations, justices, water, tea and coffee and the afternoon break was when we finally got to sample some of the cake that we had been photographing in the morning session. The cake was a huge vegan chocolate and vanilla sponge that had been sponsored by Fabula Toys so was decorated to reflect the product range. The cake was washed down with more tea, coffee or water.
The BlogOn After Party
Every year, after the BlogOn Conference there is the BlogOn After Party! This years was a tropical theme and as last years event had been virtual and the majority of us hadn’t been to a party for nearly two years, it was extremely well received! The pick and mix table and cocktails that packed a punch probably had something to do with it as well!
There was all the things you would expect from a tropical themed party, the cheesy and eclectic dance music, the photo booth with a wide variety of inflatable props and a thrilling game of limbo!
Would I Go to BlogOn Again?
I had such a great time at BlogOn and really enjoyed meeting people that I knew online or that I follow on social media, it was also great to meet new people and I’m sure I’ve made some wonderful new friends. I would absolutely go again and if you are a blogger or influencer then I would recommend that you do too. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming that even if you go on your own you don’t feel like you stick out. It does take a little while to get used to the fact that there are people there who have over 100k followers and that you ‘know’ because you’ve seen them online but guess what, they are just normal people who are really good at what they do. Don’t forget, they all started with no followers so they know exactly what it feels like to be a newcomer at this type of event. By the time you actually get to BlogOn, you feel like you know a lot of people anyway because there is a dedicated Facebook group which you are invited to join once you book your ticket. The next BlogOn event has already been announce and will take place on Saturday 8th October 2022 at The Coppid Beech Hotel. I can’t wait to see you there!