Blassion was intended to be a meet and greet event for bloggers and aspiring bloggers, but one with a meaningful purpose. We wanted the participants to network and inspire each other by sharing their blogging experiences, challenges and triumphs.
The day started with a heavy, unrelenting downpour of rain which concerned me at first, then I decided to be optimistic by telling myself that the heavens were crying tears of joy because the event was finally happening.
Truthfully, the poor weather did affect the turnout but the lovely people who braved the rains brought their A-game along.
It was a relaxed discussion, reminiscent of a chat between good friends sitting on comfy couches, resting against throw pillows, casually gisting, laughing, sipping coffee, juice, lemonade and munching on caramel popcorn, small chops and gizdodo cooked to perfection by the lovely Atim of Afrolems. Exactly as I’d envisioned and this made me very happy.
Tosin writes a lifestyle blog (Africanism Cosmopolitan), and shared her blogging experience. I was very inspired by how she’s successfully made the transition to video blogging (vlogging) and produces quality content on YouTube.
She wears many hats and does all that she does wonderfully well. She’s very skillful at using social media platforms to push her brand forward.
She gave valuable advice on how to manage criticism in a way that doesn’t affect one’s morale. How to balance what is shared with an online audience whilst still preserving one’s privacy, by strategically walking that fine line between sharing but not sharing too much, such that one becomes over-exposed.
She also gave advice on how much to invest on your blog (on softwares, camera/video equipments and domain sites), being realistic about choosing what to invest in, and the importance of learning how to use free tools such as Canva to improve both the content and look of one’s online platforms.
She emphasized the importance of giving one’s best as it will get you noticed, and also staying true to your personal values when business opportunities come your way.
I shared the lessons that I’ve learned on my blogging journey, the importance of identifying one’s blog theme and individual writing voice/style. Over the course of my blogging journey, I’ve learned to be flexible enough to tweak the blueprint as I go along, in my quest to find the elements that work for me.
I’ve found that the most interactive blogs do not necessarily have the largest number of subscribers, it just might be a tribe of loyal readers with whom the blogger has built a relationship based on mutual respect and support.
So, I’ve learned how to intentionally profile my targeted audience by knowing exactly who I am writing for and by being deliberate about attracting and sustaining reader loyalty.
I often hear the quote “Content is king and consistency is queen” in relation to blogging successfully. I’ve learned to find my personal definition of consistency, as well as how to measure this either in terms of quality, quantity or a balance of both.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that every story is valid, which is why one shouldn’t consider their mental content as irrelevant or not good enough to share. Most stories will have an audience, regardless. However, what matters is how this story is packaged, because people enjoy a story that’s relatable and has a relevant message.
So, one mustn’t leave the growth of their blog or brand to chance because one’s success at any thing in life, including blogging, is really up to them. Therefore, rather than waiting to be discovered, I’ve learned that it’s sometimes more effective to go seeking for one’s potential discoverers.
The best part of all was how everyone was so willing to provide solutions to each others challenges. Indeed two heads are better than one!
Recommendations were shared regarding increasing one’s audience and driving public awareness of one’s blog by getting published on popular platforms such as Bella Naija or guest posting for fellow bloggers with an audience similar to the type that one is seeking to attract to their own blog.
Amaka found this very useful, she is a “Thrift Guru” and writes a remarkable blog (Akaglue) where she wittily shares relevant financial tips and emphasizes the importance of being thrifty and smartly living within one’s means.
It was agreed that it is imperative that one doesn’t underestimate the usefulness of the comment box, because it is a powerful networking tool especially considering the fact that most commenters are equally bloggers.
At the end of the discussions, I decided to have a trivia quiz game and then give the winners gifts provided by the sponsors.
It’s so funny how the promise of a prize always brings out the competitive spirit in most people. Every one was so enthusiastic!
Tosin won the Red leather slippers handmade by Terre Lagos, she correctly answered the question “My buttock is red and I am a devout Christian, who am I?” (Christian Louboutin).
She also won the Pepskru Tote bag with a witty caption. She correctly answered the question. “Which classic handbag designer created the ‘Boy Bag’?” (Chanel).
At this point, everyone else knew she meant business and fully intended to continue with her winning streak if given half the chance!
A pretty Pepskru Tote bag with a stunning image of a lady in a gorgeous Ankara dress was also up for grabs.
And Chinelo won it by correctly answering the question “Who designed the Birkin Handbag named after a famous actress- Jane Birkin?” (Hermes). She writes a very interesting lifestyle blog (Nelo’s Halo).
She also won the stylish beaded neckpiece by Joyce & Edmunds after correctly listing three bead making tools.
Amaka, Chinelo and Uju all chorused the answer to the witty question “A person who puts tomato stew on their jollof rice has ——- issues?” (Trust). They each won a packet of OmoAlata Fresh Tomato & Pepper Mix.
Ifemide, who runs a tech start-up company and also writes a blog about his thoughts (Wordshop), received an OmoAlata Fresh Tomato Mix as well. He convinced me that he would cook something delicious, I hope he did.
Uzoma absolutely deserved to win this gorgeous ankara chiffon fabric in the cursive fish print from The Garment Factory. She correctly answered the question “The word ‘thread count’ is often used in relation to what item?” (Bed sheets).
She writes a very helpful hair blog (Don’t touch the hair), I always find her product reviews to be honest and purposeful.
Armed with her knowledge of old Hollywood movies, she gave the correct answer to “Which famous actress played the lead role in the movie ‘Diamonds are a girls best friend’?” (Marilyn Monroe). And she won a pair of blinged earrings from Leries Accessories.
Ogo won a ticket to a Classic Hundred movie, after correctly answering the question – “What classic movie starring Audrey Hepburn is named after a famous jewelry store?” (Breakfast at Tiffany’s).
Yanmife, who runs a tech start-up company, proved to be quite the smarty pants and he correctly answered three questions:
“Name three famous artists?” (Picasso, Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci);
Which African wax fabric maker has a brand name that includes the spanish or italian word for ‘Live’ ?”(DaViva); and
“Where’s the historical birthplace of Adire fabric?” (Abeokuta).
Adaeze effortlessly gave the correct answer to a question about the birthstone for the month of July (Ruby)- and she won a lovely multi-beaded neckpiece from Leries Accesories. She is a brilliant writer, and blogs at Adaeze Writes, where she leaves readers spellbound with her captivating stories.
Uju ended up with the neckpiece after a three-way swap. Apparently, prizes will also bring out the transactional spirit in people.
She writes a personal blog (In search of perfect hair), a happy place where she shares her experiences with both humour and thought-provoking depth.
I remain grateful to everyone who attended, as well as the kind sponsors. We had a great time. 😀