Helurrr beautiful people everywhere. As promised in my previous post, I will be sharing details and experiences from my very first Cape Town Blogger Meetup. Appropriately titled (because I was living a lie before I met these amazing women that I will be talking about), but this is more than just a review of the actual event. I don’t feel like my previous post was detailed enough about just how inspired I’ve been lately.
Would you believe that I was actually SO desperate to meet and connect with other bloggers that I actually googled “meet Cape Town bloggers”, and up popped a Facebook event! I ran around the house, kissed my daughter and sock-slid back to the couch only to find out that it already happened. TWO WHOLE YEARS AGO. I was crushed – I signaled to my daughter to give me hugs because I needed consoling. I still joined the Facebook group, because it looked pretty cool. A few weeks go by and BOOM! A Cape Town Blogger Meetup was announced for August! I mailed and hounded Zayaan (one of the organizers, I will leave her details at the end) until I finally got confirmation that I was in! Tickets were R200 and included finger snacks (I swear it was just bottomless delicious snacks), a seriously amazing goodie bag and obviously a chance to connect with bloggers!
We were hosted by A Touch of Madness, a lovely restaurant/bar in Observatory with so much of character. I’ve been there before, but never during the day so I was excited! As soon as I walked in, I could hear the buzz and feel the nerves but it was so chilled – like friends hanging out and catching up. A few moments later, Zayaan and Robyn (yes there were two organisers) greeted everyone and just gave us an overview of the program. We were in for a real treat because we had two amazing speakers!
First up was Maz Halliday from Caffeine And Fairydust. She is a lifestyle and parenting blogger (among other things – like seriously, she has SO many things behind her name). Firstly, she is absolutely stunning, sporting a dark mane and such a genuine smile, but she is SO down to earth! I mean, this woman has awards (that’s right, PLURAL) for being the best blog for 3 years running, yet she spoke to us like she knew exactly what we were going through. She started off by giving us some background on how and why she started blogging – and like a few other ladies that I met, it was a suggestion from her therapist. I won’t go into much detail about her personal story because you owe it to yourself to read about it on her blog. Trust me, you need this in your life. Maz is a full time blogger for about 5 months now, but she’s been blogging for about 5 years. She gave us such helpful advice and the best way that I can share it is by drawing up a list. Here goes:
- Write about whatever you want. Maz admitted that her spelling may not be perfect and she swears a lot, but that is who she is. More importantly, that is what she wants to put out there. She started writing as a coping mechanism, but she wrote about things that mattered to her. This one hit home with me. I must admit that sometimes I second guess myself because I think that I should create content that is more like other peoples. Which brings me to my next point…
- Stop listening to everyone else more than yourself. People telling you that you should post every day, have a perfectly curated feed – NO! post when you are inspired, and you are guaranteed to write quality content. Also, if your readers enjoy your content, they wont go anywhere if you decide to take a break now and then. Maz shared that there were a lot of people (other people in the industry) who told her not to write a certain way, to charge more and ultimately be something that she wasn’t. I’m so glad that she didn’t listen to them because the pieces that she writes are so real.
- Know your worth. Not just in the metaphorical sense but literally. How much would you charge for a sponsored blog post? Is it comparable to someone with 10 times your following? Yeah, don’t do that. I think this one was a little tougher for some people to swallow, but eventually we got it. As much as we don’t want to work for free, we need to be honest with ourselves about what we can actually offer. Numbers do matter if your directive is to market/boost sales of a brand/product/service. I mean, I can’t expect to partner with the likes of Vogue with my 700 followers on Instagram (Shout out to my amazing followers though, we’ll get there one day). The last thing you want is to over-promise and under-deliver, it leaves a sour taste as well as kills your chances of working with them in the future. On that note…
- People know people. The chances of you having a fall out with “Bob” from a small time PR company, and him later being employed by one of your favourite brands that you are dying to collaborate with – very possible. So don’t be unnecessarily rude because you never know where/when you might be needing to call in a favour or have a few kind words whispered about you. Don’t get me wrong, nobody is asking you to be a kiss-ass, just be diplomatic when you’re backed into a corner.
- Market yourself, don’t ask for free stuff. Everyone laughed at this one but WE KNOW that this happens. Approach a brand that you actually use and do your research. Instead of asking for free things, draw up a proposal and pitch yourself to them. Detail how you could add value to their brand (be realistic) and what you are willing to offer them.
- Cleanse regularly. A social cleanse, that is. Unfollow people who do not positively impact you. Negativity breeds negativity and we all know how easy it is to slip into that dark space. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, challenge you, and add value to your life.
I could go on forever but I must move on 🙂 I think you get the gist.
Next up was Ayesha Abrahams from A Squared PR & Communications, and she was such a light! (Ayesha, if by some miracle you’re actually reading this, firstly : Hi! Secondly : I didn’t actually approach you in person because sometimes my nerves get the better of me and I choke. I am planning to get in contact with you – and many of the other ladies that I didn’t have the courage to jump at. Okay, that’s all) Here are a few of the points that come to mind:
- Respond to every email. Don’t ignore a poorly researched campaign because they got your name wrong or are sending you T-Bone steaks for your vegan family. Take a few minutes to gather your thoughts and respond by letting them know that this won’t work for you, and maybe provide some suggestions (if you want) of how you could possibly work together in the future.
- Ayesha echoed Maz’s comment on not asking for free stuff. She did mention that being realistic is extremely important when approaching brands. Don’t ask to be sponsored for an international trip when you’re not prepared to get a passport – weird analogy but you get it, right?
- Are we media, journalists, bloggers, influencers? Ayesha touched on something that has been troubling a lot of us for a while now, why do bloggers not want to be called influencers and vice versa? Why is there such a huge divide between our community? It’s rough, right? We’re in the digital age now and things are changing so quickly, print media is slowly being phased out and everyone is online. Collaboration is not only beneficial but crucial.
- Sharing PR company details. During the Q&A, someone asked whether bloggers are allowed to share PR company details with other bloggers when asked. I’ve also heard people saying that it’s basically taboo. Ayesha was in agreement with a lot of us when we said that there’s nothing wrong with sharing email addresses (or maybe refer them to their contact pages). Obviously you would just give your PR person a heads up so that your blogger friend isn’t shooting their shot in the dark. Don’t go sharing cellphone numbers without checking FIRST, because that’s just rude.
I hope I’ve shared enough, but please feel free to hit me up if you have ANY questions and I promise to answer as best I can.
Here are a few pictures that I managed to get in between stuffing my face and having great conversations!
Here’s a post on Zayaan’s blog, which lists everyone who attended and their links. Please check them out and give them a follow. There’s literally something for everyone!
Until next time