Last weekend, I attended my very first blogging conference – The Hive 2014, at Scandic Hotel Sydhavnen here in Copenhagen. I had read about the conference back in January, when I had quite literally just started blogging, and I thought it might be slightly intimidating as a newbie, but all the more I can learn! And since it was right in my back yard, it would’ve been a waste not to go! So I registered, and as more and more speakers were announced and I saw their amazing blogs, my heart began to sink… But at the same time, I got really excited to get the chance to hear them share their stories and knowledge!
It was great to meet some of the bloggers whose blogs I regularly read and admire in person – turns out, they’re all just people, too (even though I got a bit starstruck once or twice!). Very sweet, creative and fabulous people, that is, and really inspiring as well.
The program consisted of keynote speeches and workshops, as well as a “brand hour” where bloggers and brands like Pinterest, MailChimp, bugaboo and nutella (how awesome is that as a sponsor?!) could talk one-on-one about cooperations, sponsoring etc. I won’t bore you with a keynote-by-keynote recap, but I would like to share my favorite moments and what I took away from the conference.
The topics of the keynotes were, in my opinion, nicely balanced between very hands-on advice, e.g. by Lora Jakobsen from miniCPH about ways to earn money from your blog and the girls from Scandinavia Standard about business plans, and more inspirational and aspirational topics, such as authenticity (brilliant speech by Katie from Confessions of a Design Geek), personal branding, and my favorite of the entire weekend, Jocelyn from The Inner Interior on mindfulness. Her speech really resonated with me and I was very inspired by her philosophy of always looking for a way to turn your thoughts into something positive that can move you forward.
I attended two photography-related workshops, because I know that I have a lot to learn in that area. The first one was called “iPhoneography” and immediately captured my attention because a) I always have my phone on me and love to snap pictures (if you like, follow me on Instagram!) and b) I don’t have a great camera (yet?), so I gotta work with what I have! In the workshop, we were taught which apps to use, how to edit photos in them and also learned a bit about how to look for nice photo opportunities. Our instructors were great, and they really know how to take a good picture, so check them out on Instagram here and here!
My second workshop was “Food Photography”. As you will know, I do like to post the occasional recipe, and I wanted to know more about how to make food look pretty in a picture. Turns out, the workshop I was looking for would’ve been something along the lines of “Food Styling”, but Karoline from award-winning Swedish food blog Det Gröna Skafferiet (the green pantry) gave a great introduction and then had us trying out on our own with the cake and snacks provided. She also gave us her hot-off-the-press book, which is sooooo amazingly beautiful! Even if you don’t speak Swedish, I highly encourage you to visit her blog, the pictures are gorgeous! Mine, on the other hand, were a bit… awkward and clumsy, but I’ll keep trying!
What I am taking with me
- We all start somewhere. I felt a bit insecure at first, because some of the blogs in attendance have 500k followers, and I … don’t. But we all start small, with zero followers at one point. Not all of us make it to 500k – and that’s totally okay. Blogs are like people, every single one is unique and individual.
- Planning is important. Even if you (like me) write a personal blog with no immediate plans to make money from it, it pays off to brainstorm a bit about why you are writing this blog, who you want to reach, and what you want your blog to be like. These questions will help you find your own voice and niche, and stay true to yourself and your readers.
- Find your own brand. This goes with the above: readers appreciate authenticity, and you owe it to yourself not to try to be someone or something else. We’re all awesome just as we are. It is so important (not only for blogging) to know who that is, and to try and be your best possible self. Jantine from aprilandmay suggests to constantly ask yourself the following questions: “Who am I? Is this me? What do I want?” and let the answers guide you.
- Be mindful and positive. Negativity never helped anyone, did it? I will from now on try my best to focus on things that bring me forward, and that make me happy. As Jocelyn put it, “All is well, no matter what our minds tell us.”
- Business cards! I have a feeling I was the only one without a business card for my blog! Slightly embarassing… but next year, I’ll come prepared!
All in all, I had a great time, and I learned a lot. I’m already looking forward to next year’s edition, in Berlin!
What about you? Have you attended the Hive or another blogging conference? I’m excited to hear what you thought and took away from it!