Last week I took a much needed break from writing my second book and attended a 2 day blogging event in Shoreditch called The Blogcademy. A friend from New Zealand had been staying with me over Christmas and introduced me to the blog of Gala Darling – a fellow Kiwi and well known style blogger. I ummed and aahed over the decision to attend, firstly I’m not really a blogger and secondly I have an on hand web and SEO guru who fixes all my stuff and advises me on important things like getting traffic to my site. Over the years I’ve been to many online marketing seminars as well as being in a mastermind group with my very own pink and sparkly business guru Judith Morgan so did I really need to go to a blogging workshop?
However, I love going to events as no matter how much you know about a subject there is always more to learn and the opportunity to network and meet new people is invaluable in today’s world where everything happens on line.
I’m the sort of person who does extensive research before I buy anything – from a new microwave to a hotel, I will always trawl the net looking for customer reviews before purchase. After doing a bit of digging around I realised that the “headmistresses” Gala, Kat and Shauna clearly knew their stuff and judging by the amount of visitors their blogs are getting, were obviously doing something right.
One of the things that impressed me the most was the sense of community the The Blogcademy established straight away with a secret facebook group. We were invited to join weeks before the workshop along with the graduates from the previous class they had done in NYC. The 60 or so that had booked on the two separate 2 day London events were buzzing with excitement and arranging breakfasts, dinners and hotel accommodation together despite the fact that none of them had met yet in real life. As someone who runs workshops myself I know this alone must have made Gala, Kat & Shauna feel all warm and fuzzy and make the hard slog that was going on behind the scenes feel all the more worthwhile. I am totally stealing this idea for my perfumery workshops!
The workshop itself was held at Curtain Road Studios is Shoreditch – a fabulous white and airy photographic studio. The set up, the branding and attention to detail with the venue was spot on from glossy magazine style workbooks to Blogcademy branded cupcakes (peanut butter one was to die for) from Restoration Cake who it turns out teach at The Make Lounge where I also run classes. We even got a goody bag – not something I’ve ever got from a bloke in a suit at an internet marketing conference that’s for sure.
The amount of content was awesome – Gala, Kat and Shauna have very different personalities and strengths in their businesses. They shared everything they had been through, where they started, where they had gone wrong and how they have succeeded – warts and all. I like absolute honesty – I like people to tell it how it is without dressing things up to impress and they did just that whilst looking and being fabulous. They included sections on different ways to monetise your blog, writing a killer bio/about me page and we even had a photography master class to enable us to make the pictures on our blogs look the best they can be. There was so, so much more too and I picked up lots of useful tips that will help me to make regular blogging so much easier.
What they didn’t do is say it would be easy to make a living as a blogger – not something that was really relevant for me but possibly was for many of the attendees. They revealed that to get where they are today and stay there it is a full time job – 8 hours a day writing, scheduling posts and researching new content. You have to really love it to make it work and if you are doing it just to make a living or you think it’s a “get rich quick” plan you should give up now – harsh but true!
Post workshop, all the Blogcadets are still helping each other out in the facebook group and arranging meet ups – a great way to keep that inspiration and workshop buzz going. The next stops on The Blogcademy tour are Portland Oregon and Los Angeles – so if you are reading this and thinking “should I go” I would say yes do – it’s so much more than just a 2 day workshop and money well spent.