August in Pictures

Hi everyone, is it that time again already? August has been a funny month for me, periods of doing not a lot separated by two big things, hosting the first blogger event for my company and going on a fabulous girls’ holiday to Croatia.

icelolly.com’s Blog at the Beach went down a storm – I still get butterflies when I think about it – and I packed a lot into my one week holiday. Highlights included gorgeous nights lounging on beds drinking cocktails, touring the Kornati Islands on a speedboat, and finally ticking the amazing Plitvice Lakes National Park off my bucket list!

Add to that a few lovely meals out, a gin tasting session at Lazy Lounge and some rare sunny British weather, and you’ve got a winner of a month. See how it all went down…

Monica Stott at Blog at the Beach Blog at the BeachAlchemist cocktails at Blog At The BeachPark Square, LeedsSunset in ZadarBeach on Kornati islandPlitvice Lakes National ParkPlitvice Lakes National ParkGreeting to the Sun, ZadarZadar bell tower viewLazy Lounge gin tasting, Leeds

Have a happy September! What did you get up to this month?

Things I Learned From Planning a Brand Blogger Event

This month has started strong for me – I helped to plan my company’s first ever blogger event! We recruited some awesome speakers, invited 34 fantastic travel bloggers from around the UK, threw together a pop-up beach and boom – icelolly.com‘s Blog At The Beach was born!

icelolly.com Blog A The Beach logo

Except it wasn’t actually that simple. Not even close. Our team spent a really long time coming up with the perfect event concept for the company, and once we’d nailed that down my colleague Emma and I, both event planning newbies, found our working lives dominated by the details. Each day brought a new question to answer, a new ridiculous prop to order, and most of all a new worry that the whole thing was going to come crashing down around our ears.

But it didn’t – in fact it went better than we could ever have hoped. Aside from a few minor issues the day went brilliantly, flying by in a whirlwind of presentations, photos and amazing cocktails, and the feedback we received was overwhelming. Here’s a few lessons I learned from organising my first blogger event…

Find your hook, and go from there

We brainstormed several ideas for our first event, but almost from the moment it was mentioned we knew the pop-up beach was the way to go. It kept the event holiday-related, it was fun, and it felt really ‘icelolly’. Once we had the beach concept and the name ‘Blog At The Beach’, it became much easier to make sure other aspects of the event followed the theme, such as the music, snacks, and cocktails.

Food at Blog At The Beach

Photo by icelolly.com

Put your guests first

If you were planning a party, you’d think about how to make it fun for your guests, right? It’s the same with a blogger event; instead of using it as an opportunity to shove your brand in people’s faces, think about who you’re inviting and establish the things that would make them want to attend. Blog At The Beach got great coverage on social media and on blogs and it was all organic; we put on a good event and bloggers talked about it because they got genuine value from it.

Monica Stott at Blog at the Beach

Photo by icelolly.com

Plan for early arrivals

Having set an arrival window of 12-12.30pm, I was expecting a few people to turn up around 12, with a big rush around 12.15 and a few stragglers at the last minute. Wrong. Bloggers are eager beavers; the motivation that drives them to single-handedly run their own website also propels them out of bed early on a Saturday morning to come to a fake beach in Leeds. Assume that people will arrive 20 minutes early, and plan your set-up schedule around that.

Alchemist cocktails at Blog At The Beach

Photo by icelolly.com

The devil is in the detail

I want to defend myself on this point by saying that between us, our team was pretty good at the details. We thought of things that could go wrong, and had an emergency plan for almost every conceivable disaster…almost. One thing we did not foresee was the building manager turning the room’s air conditioning off before he went home for the weekend, leaving 45 people in a fairly small space with no openable windows. Lesson well and truly learned.

icelolly.com Blog At The Beach

Photo by icelolly.com

You are your own worst critic

I should have this stuck to my pc monitor on a post-it. Emma and I spent so much time going over every detail of the day, worrying that people might get bored, fretting that the timescales were wrong, and generally battling the vague paranoia that people were going to hate it and pelt us with things. Turns out we didn’t need to give a second thought to half the things we worried about, and even when something doesn’t go quite to plan, chances are you as the organiser are the only person who will notice it. Cool, huh?

Blog At The Beach

Photo by icelolly.com

Who’s hosted their own blogger event? What are your top tips for making sure everything goes according to plan?