This past weekend was another of Cape Town’s fantastic blogger meetups. A meetup is when a heap of bloggers get together for no other reason than to meet and greet, to connect and share. If you are looking for a Cape Town based blogger then look no further than the CTmeetup.
The secret to fabulous blogging is that it is all about relationships, it is very hard to blog in isolation, getting together is a fabulous way to affirm your blogging relationships, to connect with folk, not to mention learn a heap about blogging.
The great thing about going our with a bunch of bloggers is that you get to meet the folk that you live alongside online, the hard part is the person we are online, no matter how honestly we blog, is not quite the person we really are. It takes something of a leap of faith to step into a room with fifty odd folk that you do not know in real life. I can honestly say that every time I have stepped out and met fellow bloggers it has been entirely worth it. More than that I have forged invaluable friendships, enduring friendships and engaged with followers that I never knew I had.
The thing is if bloggers knew how good getting together was for their blogs then there wouldn’t be enough coffee shops in the world…
Turns out that Cindy Alfino of 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House, understands how important it is to connect and she organises these meet-ups on a grand scale, for Cape Town bloggers, every couple of months. At these meetups there is always heaps of time for mingling and meeting new faces, tons of great sponsors and fabulous speakers to teach us more about blogging.
One thing that is vital to a marvellous meetup is fabulous food… and Eat on Main sure did provide that, and plenty of it… friendly, helpful staff catering to every need… coping with difficulties as they arose and also providing a great atmosphere… who wouldn’t want to spend a sunny afternoon in Obs, with fab food and friends.
Let’s Meet the Speakers
Sam’s talk was entitled: “Know your Worth…” She had a conversation about the ins and outs of what PR folk are looking for, and more importantly what we as bloggers should be giving back. In the past PR work amounted to a massive mail drop and hoping that someone would use the information… that has all changed with the arrival of bloggers and “influencers” into the mix. Bloggers provide a unique portal into a PR’s market, with their niche audience and focused readership. The challenge for a PR person has become getting as much engaged exposure for their campaign without breaking the bank… enter the niche blogger, or social influencer into the mix and you could end up with a winning campaign.
When you are approached by a PR company your first concern should always be: “Is this something that my audience would care about?” It doesn’t matter how cool the media drop is, if it isn’t something that will resonate with your readers then to stay authentic, you will have to let it go. The point is, that if a company sends you an interesting media drop, even if they don’t ask for coverage, there is the unwritten expectation to give something back. If your audience is not interested in the show piece then rather say, “No thank you.” The thing is that brands want direct access to your audience, but if it something that your audience connects with then good and well, but never ever work with a brand or product you don’t like because your audience will see right through that campaign in an instant. Bottom line: If you wouldn’t personally spend money on a particular brand then don’t expect your readers to spend their cash on it either.
And here comes the worthiness of it all, the PR company will be getting paid for that campaign and as part of the campaign the blogger should be paid too… I heartily agree with that and have turned down many an “opportunity” to show case a product that didn’t quite resonate with us or one where the PR person claims they have a zero budget… ummm no. She was adamant that you should never work for nothing, figure out your worth… do you have an hourly rate, a campaign rate and so on.
And this is the part I enjoyed, if you agree to work with a company, then create great content for them… You don’t have to gush and say they are wonderful, you can’t in fact love every brand, but you can create good content. Intermingled in her talk were examples of her clever ability to take a product and create interesting and exciting content around it… this is a life-skill folks. Remember it is always, always about your audience and if they care about what you are writing about or not. Know your audience, and know your worth.
Speaker #2: Ruan from Gevaaalik.com (a site full of adult-only content), clearly knows his market and about all that is branding and blogging. His talk packed a punch and was entitled “What A Blogger Should Not Do.”
- Don’t work for free. If you want to make money from your blog then you can not work for free. With every campaign you should receive a cut of the budget. Your blog is your art and you shouldn’t give it away. The only way to start earning from blogging is to charge for your content.
- Don’t dilute your own influence by following folk just because they follow you. Brands are looking for engagement, they don’t care about the number of followers you have nearly as much as they care about your engagement with your followers. If folk don’t interact then they will never be back and you can safely drop them.
- Don’t only have one have one source of income, a blog should have many streams. You can’t be everywhere, so choose what works best for you.
- Don’t try and please everybody… you can’t be everything to everyone. Your core audience has to love your work… focus on them.
- Don’t suck up to brands, it won’t make jobs come to you, you still have to go out and find the work. I fail here… there are a couple of brands that I love, my readers know it, the brand knows it. It has certainly worked for me to be a superfan for certain brands.
- Don’t be afraid to invest in your blog, if you don’t want to pay money towards marketing yourself, then pay money towards your content creation.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep… obviously.
- Do start an email list already… get yourself a newsletter and be consistent… show up whenever you promise to show up. And make it easy for folk to subscribe and even easier for them to unsubscribe. Oh dear I have yet to create a newsletter and can’t imagine why anyone would want to read one, not to mention as soon as I find myself on one I unsubscribe to it immediately… this is one blog tip I know I should do, and just can’t bring myself to do.
And a do:
The Goody Bag
A great part of a meetup for brands is that it is a golden opportunity, one place where they have an opportunity to connect with bloggers and splash them with a taste of their products… with a meet up for all sorts of bloggers, from beauty bloggers to travel bloggers the goody bags are always a treat and packed with an interesting collection of products. I had to see what was inside my goody bag and instantly packed it out onto the table I was sitting at. Lots of beauty products and for a gal that never dreams of wearing make-up I have to confess that I wasn’t about to give away the stunning Almay eyeliners or the Revlon mascara to my teen daughter. Heaps of deodorant, which is a good thing in a house full of boys… they were all thrilled to get something. Oh so Heavenly bubble bath is a a winner with my little guys – a bath is a real treat in our house, they mostly have a quick shower. I love that the Botanical Society always has something in the goody bags… their Veld and Flora magazine and mints are winners every time. Tons of beauty creams, eye creams, skin creams… well creams… I’m not a beauty blogger, but my mom-in-law was thrilled to know me. Otherwise, there were a lot of “new to me” products like the Boost and Dlux vitamins, and tons of rescue remedy products… Rescue Remedy is always a good idea and I am thrilled to have a nice stock of it in our medicine drawer. My favourite goody in the goody bag was the Buchulife First Aid Gel, an antiseptic pain relieving gel, made using the oil from the buchu plant. In a house with eight kids… this gel for bumps and scrapes is an absolute winner.
And it wouldn’t be a CTmeetup if there weren’t tremendous prizes… I confess I won a Spa Voucher to the One and Only… I know, I know everyone would love this. Last time I one a spa voucher I eventually gave it to a friend, I just couldn’t pluck up the courage to go. But since my spa outing with Rain last year, I am thinking I may be a little braver and get myself there. And of course, now that I have told our readers about it… I know I will have to go!!!
And finally, possibly the coolest thing there… how cute is this little gadget from Brand Rocket… post a picture on instagram, make sure you use the event hashtag… your picks will show up on the screen and print away!!! I love it… Oh I think I need one of these for an entire day just to print all my fave photos off instagram… it is the coolest thing out. Not gushing at all, I just absolutely love it.
- CTmeetup #1: When Bloggers Get Together…
- CTmeetup #2: CT Bloggers Get Together…
- CTmeetup #3: Another Day and Another CTMeetUp with the Great Cindy Alfino…
Huge thank you to Cindy Alfino, if you would like to attend a future #CTmeetup then dash over and sign up to her mailing list.