Hello again guys,
You might have noticed on my social media pages over the weekend that I attended BloggerConf. This was the third conference of its type held in the Marker Hotel in Dublin on Saturday November 12th. The room was a hub of activity where bloggers, vloggers and digital influencers from all over Ireland came together to listen to the inspiring line up of speakers.
It all came about quite last minute for me. I had heard about BloggerConf a while ago as it was well advertised in the blogging community but wasn’t sure if I should go or not? The late bird tickets were 70 odd euro and when there are so many different events aimed towards bloggers nowadays you have to look into them and decide if they’re really worth going to; I definitely don’t believe in going to every second thing that pops up as that’s of no benefit and would be crazy expensive! But after seeing online how many other bloggers that I’ve come to know over the last few months were going and watching Emma’s Snapchats in the lead up to the event, I made the decision to buy a ticket. It was also great to have the opportunity to share the journey with two other Wexford based bloggers – Lisa from Lisa’s Wedding World and Steph who writes Senseful Savings.
The setting of the Marker Hotel on Grand Canal Square was superb; it’s a fabulous, modern hotel and was ideal for the event. After we checked in, we were greeted by Oonagh and Joanne from Meaghers Pharmacies who were one of the main sponsors. They handed us our Meaghers.ie gift boxes with beaming smiles and an enthusiastic energy! We had a bit of time to enjoy a coffee and chat with some familiar faces before entering the function room where the conference would take place. I was delighted to catch Aoibhe from The Secret Obsession who I adore! I had not seen her since the Beauty Blog Awards back in May so it was great to spend time in her company again, she’s such a bubbly little doll 😍 The function room was set up with various stands from some of the sponsors at the back of the room and then the seats and the stage where all the action would take place. There was yet another goodie bag on our seats so we really were treated by the sponsors!
James Butler was the MC for the day and he was just gas!! As funny in person as he is on Snapchat, he was a brilliant host, had us all in stitches and made the breaks between speakers flow effortlessly. First to take to the stage on the day was Helen Mannion from Lifes2Good who were the title sponsor of BloggerConf. The Lifes2Good chain includes the Viviscal range of products, Sonic Chic and MicroPedi to name just a few. Helen explained to us how the company collaborates with bloggers and influencers on a number of different levels and it’s not just about the number of followers a blogger has, but rather what they can bring to the collaboration and whether or not their audience is the right fit for the product which is so valid now.
Anouska Proetta Brandon was the next speaker. Anouska has a huge following online but she focused on Instagram in her talk. She currently has 95.6k followers on the platform so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about Insta 😂 She told us how you have to look at your Instagram feed as a whole, and not just one photo – it all has to be aesthetically pleasing. When I shared the editing apps she recommended on my Snapchat, tonnes of you screenshotted it so here they are again – UNUM, VSCO Cam, SnapSeed and AfterLight
I think the talk that stood out for me the most was Oonagh O’Hagan who I mentioned earlier in this post. Oonagh is the MD of Meaghers Pharmacy and her story is truly inspiring! I’m not going to go into it all right now but there was so much of her talk that I felt I could identify with and she clearly has such a passion, drive and motivation for what she does – her energy is infectious! Her presentation was called ‘How Charles Darwin Saved my Business’ as one of his most famous quotes is “We have to adapt or die” and there are certainly times in business where change is necessary for survival. Meaghers is a chain of pharmacies in Co. Dublin but most recently they have launched an online shop which is doing unbelievably well. Meaghers also work alongside bloggers and influencers regularly and continue to build great relationships with the people they collaborate with and as Oonagh noted in closing her talk, “People do business with people they like”.
Another talk that I thought was really great was ‘Futureproof Your Blogging Brand’ by Kirstie McDermott who is the editor of Stellar Magazine. She gave us 6 really great tips including You’ve Got to Graft, It Takes Time, It Takes Integrity and It’s More Than Snapchat – basically she gave us the realistic, no bullsh*t advice that every blogger needs to hear when they’re starting out and it was all the honest to goodness truth too! I have to say, Kirstie and Oonaghs talks were definitely my two favourites 👍🏼 #BossLadies
Anne Marie Tomchak was next to speak and she is currently the UK editor of Mashable, you’ll find them in your stories on Snapchat most often than not! She explained how Mashable is not just casually curious, they are all about telling the story of the future and they mainly report on tech, business and entertainment news but with a twist. Outside of her post with Mashable, Anne Marie has a documentary called ‘Cloud Control: Who Owns Your Data?’ due to air on RTE1 this Thursday 17th November at 10:15pm. I’ll be really interested to watch this as it explores how we use the internet nowadays and how some children have a digital footprint before they’re even old enough to understand what that is!! This is something that I’m always so intrigued about and to be honest, it does scare me a bit, so I’ll definitely be sitting in to watch this on Thursday.
Next up was a masterclass in RTE’s MoJo with Eleanor Mannion. MoJo is mobile journalism and Eleanor actually filmed an entire documentary on her iPhone this year. ‘The Collectors’ was broadcast in July on RTE and it was the first time that a European broadcaster commissioned and shot a feature length documentary on an iPhone. The hour long show told the stories of 6 individuals who all had one thing in common – they are dedicated collectors. Anything from Barbie dolls to Coca Cola memorabilia to dinky cars and comic books. Eleanor wanted to show us just how much you can do on your phone and how it’s a really powerful piece of technology. RTE are always looking for new talent and to commission new shows so she was there to promote that also.
We then broke for lunch and it was nice to get up and about, stretch our legs, peruse the sponsors stands and mingle with the rest of the bloggers in attendance. The stands there on the day included Roxluna jewellery, TranQuini relaxation drinks, Blacknight Solutions, Sassie Doll make up bags, Snap.ie and a few others so there was a great selection of stands participating.
After lunch we had the ‘Just One Thing’ talk which took a different format with a panel of bloggers sharing the one thing they wish they knew starting out. This was hosted by Sue Jordan and Darragh Doyle and the panel consisted of bloggers from the Irish Bloggers group on Facebook which I find to be a great source of support and helpful info, it’s definitely one to join if you’re a newbie blogger as you’ll learn a lot! The panel gave a great cross section of tips from creating quality content to scheduling, to slow-blogging and everything in between. One thing I took away from this part of the day was the sense of community that there is in the Irish blogging scene, for the most part people are extremely friendly, genuine and are willing to help one another which really puts you at ease when you are embarking on this sometimes daunting journey.
Hilary O’Callaghan from the RTE Player and Neil Leyden from RTE.ie both took the next slot to speak and they had lots to tell us about how RTE are looking for new talent and content creators and how a lot of Irish bloggers and vloggers are making the break through to bigger platforms through the likes of the player and RTE.ie. The RTE Player in particular wants to move away from being seen as just a catch up service, instead they now have exclusive content on the app and are creating more short form content, (7-12 minutes in length) with bloggers and influencers so there are lots of great opportunities arising on these mediums.
Someone that I’ve followed for a couple of years now is Joanne Larby. The Make Up Fairy took to the podium to share her career path with us all and explained how she worked extremely hard 7 days a week to make it from the make up counter retail environment to becoming her own boss, most recently launching her own brand ‘Enchant’ which includes a stunning set of make up brushes, a.k.a. Fairy Wands. She is an ambassador for an array of amazing brands and charities, has won numerous awards and has so many projects under her belt already, so being a fashion and beauty blogger also, she really gave me great motivation and is proof that everything is possible – I particularly loved the note she finished her talk on; “Never forget to bring that touch of sparkle to everything you do” ✨
The next masterclass focused on Twitter and was presented by Catherine Bennett who is their Senior Retail Account Manager. 2016 was a big year for Twitter and so much news broke first on the platform. I know that if I want up-to-date news, I’ll use Twitter first, it’s just always been the quickest source of info! Video will be the way forward with Twitter in the future and polls also get a lot of engagement so there’s a little tip for you guys 😉
It was then time for a pick-me-up with some coffee and brownies which was a lovely little touch and it also gave us all another chance to mingle. It was great to finally meet the lovely Danielle from Stardust Belle in the flesh!! This was probably one of the best things about BloggerConf, it gave us the opportunity to come from all our own corners of the country to one hub of activity for the day, an opportunity that we wouldn’t have otherwise so I’m extremely grateful for that. The lovely Rita from Style Your Way was with Danielle and she is just such a fun, happy lady, as well as Sarah from sarahethel.com whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time!
We had time for one more speaker before our journey home to Wexford which was Sinead Keavey from William Fry, one of Ireland’s leading law firms. Sinead gave us the legal guide to blogging and I found this to be a very informative talk as it’s not an area that you come across much on a regular basis but there are still some really important legal factors to consider as a blogger, especially anyone that engages in collaborations or sponsored content. She covered the areas of advertising, copyright, defamation and data protection and I have lots of notes to research now – you can never be too careful!
I have to say a huge thank you to Emma O’Farrell who organises BloggerConf. There is such an enormous amount of time and organisation that goes into an event like this and to come back year after year, bigger and better, with an incredible line up of speakers and sponsors is truly inspiring! I’m already looking forward to the next one 😄 Were you at BloggerConf? What did you think of it? Let me know on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat 💋