Each year, the lovely humans behind holiday comparison website icelolly.com host a big bash for Bloggers and Influencers called Blog at the Beach. It’s one of those events that I’ve heard about, but never attended, that is until now. Yes that’s right Voyeurs, the UK’s best Bloggers, Influencers and Content Creators are hand selected by icelolly.com to attend the event which aims to educate Influencers and improve blogger networking and 2018 is my year, the year I found myself on that very list…
So, what’s it all about?
Well, Blog at the beach, despite setting out a pretty crammed agenda is actually a chilled out, fun event for people like me to learn more about the things that really make us tick. Whether you want to up your photography game, learn how to pitch to brands (I say that through clenched teeth after White Moose-gate), or just pick up some real world tips from super successful Bloggers, Blog at the Beach and icelolly.com hold consultation in advance about which topics are the most important, and the most current it the whole wide blogosphere, then seeks out industry experts to speak about them and pass on their best tips for success.
Where the hell is it?
The event has taken place in various different locations across the super cool city of Leeds meaning that if you’re travelling from afar, there’s plenty you can do to make a day, or even a weekend of it to maximise your Insta goals. This year’s event took place at Duke Street Studios which was super easy to travel to, and a pretty well equipped venue for 80 or so Influencers.
Blog at the Beach?? It’s bloody January!
This year’s event had a Ski Lodge theme, but seeing as the name is pretty cool and has a nifty little following, it just had to stay, for continuity. The venue was dressed to match the theme with fairy lights, ski accessories and even mulled wine to stretch out that post Christmas hangover. There was even a cute little moving cable car theme projected on to the wall behind the stage. I wrapped up in my favourite faux fur coat and met up with some of my best non-North East Blogger pals and you’d be forgiven for thinking we were cosying up in a chalet somewhere up in Val d’isere for the weekend – the attention to detail was pretty damn sweet.
What went down?
Three awesome speakers that’s what! First up was Kirsty Leanne who gave an impassioned talk on how to write the perfect pitch to brands with sound advice on how to lay out that all important first contact. Her talk included tips such as letting the brand you’re pitching to know just why it is that you love them and including what made you want to work with them, but also making sure that you never over promise on what you can deliver when you make your pitch. Looking around the room there was a 50/50 split on those frantically jotting down notes in notepads covered with inspiring quotes, and those taking screenshots of the words of wisdom displayed on screen.
Next up was Queen Beady, a Blogger you’ll no doubt recognise from my own social media as she’s my Ice Queen hair icon, sporting silvery white tresses I fawned over her hair and her awesome teadress whilst on stage. Her talk was inspiring, the biggest thing I took away from it was learning how to translate your top five achievements into your outgoing USP and making them work as hard for you as you did for them. Simple, but super relevant. Bee talked about putting money back into the thing that makes you money, whether it’s your blog or your chosen social media platform, put effort into making it look as awesome as it can, after all it’s an extension of you and well, we’re all pretty damn amazing right?!
After a lunch break and a chance to network with the people we think we know but we actually only “online know”, gasp at each others outfits and just generally seek out the people we adore and admire, it was back to our seats for the final talk of the day from photographer extraordinaire, Kaye Ford. Kaye is a great public speaker, she’s super laid back and had everyone engaged as she spoon fed us tips on both cellphone photography and DSLR photography and how to make it work for our own websites. With tips on how to shoot snow (for reals, it’s hard), to using tourists as part of the field in our photographs, Kaye told us to travel lots and to look away from the regular tourist hotspots for show stopping images.
But what about icelolly.com?
Well, they’ve just overhauled their website to make it way more user friendly. If you’re not familiar, it’s a comparison site for holidays; in the same way that you might use a comparison site for your car insurance, icelolly.com scrapes the web to return the best vacation deals based on the criteria you set and then refers you out to purchase from the seller direct. You don’t pay them any money and they don’t sell you anything.
Any thing else to report?
Well yes actually! Throughout the day we were informed that #BlogAtTheBeach was the trending at the top spot and that the icelolly.com bods had been scanning our posts to find their favourites. At the end of the event two winners were announced and given a Charles Conrad watch from Watches 2 U and I just happened to be one of them! I was given a pretty smart looking watch with a rose gold bezel and black leather strap which I promptly slapped on my wrist for the journey home. Yay me!
Was it worth it?
Hell yeah! The great thing about the Blog at the Beach event is that despite being hosted by icelolly.com it’s impartial and non-biased. The speakers were given free reign on their topics and on the rare occasion that a competitor came up they were never stopped from speaking about it. The Bloggers and Influencers selected to attend the event were friendly and accommodating – something you sadly don’t always find at networking events, and the speakers made lots of time for questions afterwards to make sure that everyone in attendance took something away that they could use and apply to their work. Icelolly.com were open in asking for feedback, or suggestions on where the next event might take place and they worked their way round the room in the recess periods chatting to everyone. It was definitely an unexpected vibe, and in a positive way. Given the chance I’ll be all over the next one.
So what’s next?
Well, as you know Voyeurs, I have both Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks right around the corner straight after London and I’ve got a pretty awesome idea for a Fashion Month Diary pitch formulating in my mind. I’ll keep you posted…
As you were.