4 Aug 2015

#BlogAtTheBeach With Icelolly Holiday

Two years ago I went to my first ever blogger event. It was in Melbourne and it was called #VoicesOf2013. I can remember feeling like I'd found my tribe. I spoke to so many inspiring women that day who had built their lives on their own terms. It was so exciting to be around these women - up until that time I'd always been a bit of a closet-entrepreneur. I didn't know I was an entrepreneur because no one had ever told me I was, but I'd always had an uncontrollable urge to invent, create, to find new ways of doing things and to question authority. This event was the first signal that rather than being unable to take orders and unable to work hard, I was actually just trying to make myself fit into the wrong mold.

That event sealed the deal for me - I knew that if I kept on writing my blog and saying yes to opportunities that came from it, I'd keep meeting inspiring people who left me feeling energised and motivated. I would keep meeting the right people.

Last Saturday I went to an event in Leeds hosted by Icelolly Holiday - a travel comparison website. I could tell it was going to be a great day by how organised they were in the run up to the event, and when I saw the guest list I did squeal a little bit. I've been reading blogs like The Travel Hack and Pack Your Passport for years, they were among the first blogs I ever read and to finally meet these ladies was so lovely. I also met a lot of bloggers I've been 'Twitter friends' with for a while, it was brilliant to put faces to usernames properly.

This event was a success for many reasons: awesome guest list; great venue; delicious food and bubbling cocktails; a beach-themed photo contest; ball games (yes really); three very good quality talks on SEO, working with brands and creating video content; and a host brand with a genuine desire to build ongoing relationships with all of us. Icelolly didn't want us to produce blog posts as a result of this event, they wanted us to become friends after this event. It worked!

Putting these factors aside, the thing that made it a success for me was it gave me the same giddy feeling I got at #VoicesOf2013. It was a day spent with my tribe!

Annis with one of the amazing cocktails by The Alchemist

The speakers were Robb Frost of WMG Agency, Monica Stott of The Travel Hack and Greg Brand of Travizeo. Each speaker had their own experience and expertise to share, and the variety of topics prevented any monotony.

Robb directed us to useful websites like Moz and put SEO into layman's terms. He's also the first person to have explained no follow tags in a way that I actually understand, yay!

Monica shared some very useful tips on pitching, and essentially her message was don't be afraid to ask for or go after what you want! Whether you're a blogger, a business owner or even a lollypop lady, people will apply to you the worth that you apply to yourself. She also told us about 'The Best Friend Test' as a way to keep your style - if you wouldn't recommend it to your best friend, don't recommend it on your blog.

Greg's talk had me wanting to run a lap of the room after the first five minutes. He had so much energy and passion for talking about video content - clearly he's in the right job! He gave us links to websites with free audio libraries and some useful info nuggets about the way in which YouTube videos are now ranked.

I managed to snap a photo of Greg *almost* standing still!

We had drinks at The Liquorist afterwards (gorgeous bar, well worth a visit when you're in Leeds). This was another cherry on top - I absolutely love going to these events but always miss out on time spent chatting and getting to know one another.

I'm pictured above with Rebecca of Runaway Kiwi and Emma of Adventures Of A London Kiwi.

We stayed for a few hours drinking cocktails and having a good giggle, it was a very happy end to a wonderful day!

I'd like to say a great big thank you to Icelolly for this event, the care and attention they gave to it shows that they're a brand built on great people and good values.

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