BLOGCADEMY – The Blogger’s Oracle…
So its been a week since I attended Blogcademy, and my intention was to write about my experience straight away, however it’s literally taken an entire week for everything to sink in, put into action (behind the scenes) some of the super-important things that they taught us, and to map out the best way to give you an insight into what you can expect, should you be planning on attending the next Blogcademy global tour.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Blogcademy – here’s what it is…
Blogcademy is a two-day workshop for bloggers, hosted by three of the biggest names in the blogging world – Gala Darling (Gala Darling), Kat Williams (Rock n Roll Bride) and Shauna Haider (Nubby Twiglet), otherwise known as the Blogcademy Headmistresses. Now don’t go thinking ‘arghhh another boring conference’, it is quite the opposite! These three ladies are so inspirational, so damned talented, and are an abundance of knowledge, and although they are all about the sparkles, fun, and glittery ears – they are also very serious about sharing their knowledge with up & coming bloggers, and teaching them everything they need to know to really take their blogs to the next level.
So, what I thought I would do is share with you all my favourite parts of Blogcademy, what you can expect to get out of it if you attend, as well as some tips on what you can do to ready yourself (and your blog) prior to attending.
New friends, networking, photo-booths and sparkly ears…
The best, and most fun part of Blogcademy was making amazing new friends, networking with fellow bloggers (with varying careers and blog topics, which was a breath of fresh air), and this was probably all thanks to the sparkly ears that were in our goodie bags. The sparkly ears, which admittedly at first I thought ‘what the heck’, actually turned out to be a brilliant ice-breaker, reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously. They also had a photo-booth in the reception area of the venue, of which everyone could use to their heart’s content and again, this was just so much fun and such a great way to get everyone chatting and laughing – not to mention allowing us to capture very cool memories!
What do they teach you at Blogcademy…
Prior to attending Blogcademy I asked a few people in an open forum, whether they thought it was worth attending Blogcademy. Was it worth the cost? Had they heard what we would get out of attending? If they could afford to go, would they? And it’s kinda funny – most of the comments were actually a little disconcerting. It’s not that they were outright negative, just more off-putting, without having actually experienced it themselves (I did ask the questions, so it was just their opinions). I also read numerous comments stating ‘you can find everything you want to know about blogging/monetizing by simply googling it, or you can just ask fellow bloggers, as some have been doing this for ages’. The truth is, I’ve done a tonne of research on all these things (all the not-so-basic blogging questions), and have been blogging for years myself, and I’ve never found the information I needed (not the super-important stuff anyway) from Google or from just asking around. As for asking fellow bloggers – the truth is most bloggers are happy to ask a million questions, re brand contacts, wanting advertising info, website tips, etc – but most aren’t willing to share their information with you, especially when it comes to stats, what’s considered ‘good numbers’, what they should do to monetize, etc. And that’s fair enough, I mean it is showing your cards and not everyone wants to do this – but the general rule of thumb is, if you are willing to ask, you should be willing to share. At blogcademy – all your questions are answered, and nothing is taboo – this for me was golden!! I guess what I’m saying here is – if you are thinking about attending Blogcademy and are told that you can just get that info anywhere – my personal opinion is that you can’t just get the information anywhere, and the wisdom I gained, made Blogcademy totally worth attending!
What I learnt at Blogcademy is everything I’ve every wanted to know, have researched but couldn’t find, along with how to reach my ultimate goal of a full-time blogging career, whilst monetizing my blog (and trust me, it’s not the way most people think you monetize). I got to ask all the questions I’ve ever wanted to ask, and received all the answers! Gala, Kat and Shauna are completely transparent with their stats, how they got to where they are now, how to monetize, but more importantly – they show you how important it is to stay true to yourself, how to take a step back and see what works and what doesn’t, how being yourself is your biggest asset and point of difference, and to really ensure you are writing about what YOU want to write about and what your readers would be interested in reading, rather than falling into the ‘old traps for new players’ (I’m proud to say I no longer fall into these traps – hey we’ve all been there!). This is honestly just scratching the surface – it’s none of the actual amazing “how to” facts, but hopefully it gives you an indication of what you can expect to get out of Blogcademy. They go into so much more – business, design, branding & brand architecture, marketing, advertising, photography. The list just goes on and on.
The best part of all!!
I think the ultimate high for me was getting to spend one-on-one time with one of the headmistresses (for nearly an hour) having my blog analysed. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have Shauna (her business and background is marketing, graphic design and she’s basically a website/blogging guru!) go through every facet of my blog and give me feedback, recommendations and advice, as well as the ‘why this is working’ and ‘why this isn’t working’ answers that I needed. Shauna also talked me through the best layout (for me), reader insights, and tips and tricks for my ‘site sponsors’, plus some fabulous tips on my social media links, along with general blog site suggestions I’d never have thought of. I even got to show her my new website (which is currently being built) so she could give me some final tips before it launches! WINNING!!
What I walked away with (other than amazing new friends)
- So much information that I still have literally 150 slides to type up
- A comprehensive guide to make a living online
- Social media ‘know hows’ that blew my socks off
- A workbook crammed with all Gala, Kat and Shauna’s blogging secrets, tips and tricks
- Unlimited access to a private Blogcademy forum, of which all fellow Blogcadette’s have access to so that we can ask questions, share info and even Kat, Gala and Shauna are regularly online to respond to questions (and they do! I just asked a question yesterday and Gala was straight back with the answer)
- A list of contacts & companies they’ve worked with, that we can utilise to monetize our blogs
- Amazing e-books, online tutorials, media kits, bidding forms and invoice templates
- A list of sites and contacts that are now part of my new ‘blogging bible’
I walked away feeling so inspired, with a whole new sense of direction, and I have a HEAP of new plans that I’m slowly rolling out (both behind the scenes and some that you will all start to see very soon).
Tips for Blogcademy
- I recommend you bring a camera (not just for photo ops) but to take in all the info. I used my camera to capture every single slide in the headmistresses presentations. This allowed me to take in everything they said as they talked through each point, whilst doing very little writing
- They do refer to WordPress & self hosted sites most of the time, so if you are thinking of making the move ‘platform-wise’, do it BEFORE Blogcademy.
- Bring your business cards – the networking is beyond amazing
- Keep a notepad beside your bed in the weeks leading up to Blogcademy so that you can write down every question as it comes to you. This way you won’t walk away thinking ‘arghhh I forgot to ask XYZ’. Bear in mind, the online site/forum created for Blogcadettes will be available ongoing, so you can still ask questions after Blogcademy, but there’s nothing like asking questions when you have a captured audience.
Well, that’s probably about it from me – but if you do have any questions, please ask away by commenting below (I obviously can’t share the actual knowledge they gave us during the workshop, as we were sworn to secrecy) but any general Blogcademy Q’s – ask away!
I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom from Blogcademy (as well as a couple more fun photos)…
SUCCESS IS – liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it!
BE YOURSELF – everyone else is already taken!
INSIST ON YOURSELF – never imitate!
Sparkly Ears and Photo-booths xx
Images 1 – 6 and 8 – 12 captured by: Jel Photography
A Girl Interrupted By Fashion, Beauty & Anything Pretty That Catches My Eye