Yesterday I went to the Cybermummy 11 conference in central London. It was HUGE, over 400 mum bloggers plus big brand sponsors and speakers including Sarah Brown (wife of ex-prime minister Gordon), Lord Richard Allan from Facebook and columnist Rachel Johnson.
There were quite a few business mums there, including Sam and Helen from Mums The Boss, Emma from Mums Business Directory, Antonia, Carol and Erica from Become a Mumpreneur, Monica from My Funny Bunny, Amy of Amy Taylor Accountancy, Sally from the LIME magazine, Liz from Weston Communications and Natalie Lue, professional blogger and all-round web guru . (Sorry to anyone I missed!) It was great to meet up with you all, ladies! So although Cybermummy isn’t really aimed at business, it certainly attracted its fair share of mumpreneurs.
So what did Cybermummy have to say from a business perspective? The big theme I saw running through the day was social media – in the workshops, from the speakers and in the delegates who were tweeting furiously from their smart phones!
These days it’s essential to step out from your blog (or business, or website or pretty much anything else for that matter) and engage with people using social media. There are plenty of reasons for this, but I think a big one is that we’re fed up of being spoken to by big, faceless organisations and we want a personal connection instead. That’s why there were so many brands at Cybermummy wanting to tap into the blogging community. They know we’re tired of traditional advertising and instead want personal recommendations and opinions.
That’s great news for those of us running small businesses because we have no barriers to break down – we just have to step up and be ourselves. The days when you had to design your website to hide the fact you were a one-person-business are over. The big guys are now trying to tap into the networks of the little guys instead of the other way around. Isn’t that refreshing?
For me, the best sessions of the day were from Erica Douglas and Natalie Lue, both talking about making money from your blog. The message that came through loud and clear was that you must have a niche – it’s much easier to get an audience (and advertisers, if you want them) if you’re blogging in a narrow, well-defined subject area.
Erica talked about her journey from hobby mummy blogger to internet business owner who earns more than her husband! Natalie talked about how she chose not to rely on advertising as a way of earning from her blog. She said that continually finding and satisfying advertisers was “kind of exhausting”. Instead she recommended using your blog as a launchpad – say by creating training and e-books and offering consultancy. Be creative, there are many more ways to make a living from blogging than selling advertising.
I also joined the video blogging session. It confirmed what I’d suspected – video blogging is the next big thing. I guess we’ll all have to get over our nerves of being in front of the camera, then! The top tips I picked up in this session were to keep the camera level with your face – too low and you look fat and bloated, too high and you look like you should be on Crimewatch. So that’s why I look so rubbish in my videos! Don’t worry, my next batch should be a lot better 🙂
So that’s what I’ve taken away from Cybermummy 11.
And finally a few words for one inspiring business mum I didn’t get to meet yesterday: my Cybermummy sponsor Libby Hill of SmartTalkers Pre School Communication Groups. A huge ‘thank you’ to you, Libby and I hope to meet you sometime soon!