Few days have passed and I still have hangover of the recent blogger conference (#ZomatoCon) held last November 12, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Doha. Firstly, it’s because it was my first time attending such event. Secondly, I got so many inputs that I literally have to revisit my blog site afterwards and see if I’m my getting my messages across my target audience well. Thirdly, I was overwhelmed meeting a lot of bloggers who are successful in this field. They were really beautiful people with so many good stories to tell.
There were also few men in attendance, the ratio would be 3:1 or even less. At first, it felt a little awkward being in a group of ladies most of the time. Good thing they were very approachable and accommodating, and there were some Filipino bloggers present so it helped me get the hang of it after a while.
As someone familiar with event organizing, I was particularly impressed with how the conference was executed. You will see that it was well planned with the lineup of topic, guest speakers and sponsors each one bringing brilliant insights on the table.
ZOMATO QATAR (@HBZomato) opened the conference with a quick introduction and a glimpse of their operations here in Qatar (know more here: http://www.zomato.com/qatar). They also mentioned that the potential audience just from the number of attendees alone had a combined reach of 311,380 on Twitter and Instagram.
Below are some of my takeaways from that very informative conference.
SOCIAL SUCCESS FROM A BRAND. Vodafone Qatar (@VodafoneQatar) was next with a powerful presentation of how bloggers can use technology as a medium to reach their target audience. It’s also a good thing to know that companies like them are open to possibilities of working with bloggers.
SOCIAL SUCCESS FROM A BLOGGER. Jaidah Automotive (@ChevyQatar, @MoAwesomeSauce) followed through with a more blogger specific presentation which newbies like me found very useful: the use of hashtags to get more connections, getting our contents right, being direct to the point, and what brands are looking for in a blog/blogger. They even showed how blogging styles can be used in promoting a product.
On the same topic, another speaker came up – Qatar-based travel and lifestyle blogger, Ms. Khansa Bint AJ (@creativitywithk). She came up with a very powerful message that made us reflect more on the purpose of why we write blogs in the first place. She narrated her humble beginnings, when blogging was still unheard of in Qatar, until the times when she tried harder to master her craft and pour out her heart and passion. These eventually led her to some collaboration works with hotels in and outside Qatar. Lastly, she left us with an encouragement to be kind to ourselves and to others.
IMPORTANCE OF PHOTOGRAPHY. Then the speaker from Canon Middle East (@CanonMEA) came and talked about the proper use of beautiful photography in our blogs as a break from monotonous words. He also shared insights on how to use natural lights in our photos. As one of the event sponsors, I also managed to checkout their latest product: the Canon Connect Station CS100 which will let you share, store, view and manage your camera photos (both useful for DSLR as well as cellphones). As a former canon user and photography enthusiast, it made me “quite” guilty having to use smart phone photos for my blogs – well, out of speed and convenience.
PANEL DISCUSSIONS. Several panelists from the media and prominent brands in Qatar are present to give further insights to the conference. Not being in the fashion blogging side, I was amazed to know that Salam Stores (@salamstores) has been successfully working with bloggers for their product promotions in Qatar up to now. More interesting information was given by the other panelists who were not only insightful but also very inspiring. What resonated on me were the words from one of the successful expat blogger in Qatar, Ms. Polly Byles (@PolBag) who inspired us “to be true to our brand” (the type of blog we want to pursue) and “to support fellow bloggers as a part of our social responsibility”. In a community that is as small as Doha itself, this message is very relevant.
I run out of battery in the middle of the conference… and glad they had a rescue on standby available courtesy of Chargello (@ChargelloQA). They are providing free use of their powerbanks which really charged as fast as 3% in 1 minute! These mobile device chargers are designed to carry event logos and they collaborate mostly with hotels, big restaurants and events like #ZomatoCon. A very brilliant idea indeed!
KUDOS TO EVERYONE!
The great team work from Zomato Qatar, the great food and venue provided by Grand Hyatt Doha (@GrandHyattDoha), the support from other sponsors like those mentioned above and the likes of Crunch (@CrunchDoha) and BQ Plus Magazine (@BQPlus_Doha), plus the attendance of some of the nicest bunch of bloggers in Qatar helped make the conference such a huge success. I even hesitated to attend first after knowing that it’s a gathering of influential bloggers. But having been encouraged by fellow bloggers and eventually being selected by Zomato to attend this first blogger conference, I am just honored and thankful.
All put into perspective, making money out blogging is a choice and an obligation. But coming up with one that will become a voice of positivism and inspiration to readers is a must.
Check out the official event’s hashtag #ZomatoCon
Check out @LuckilyLenny’s Blog: Notes Taken During #ZOMATOCON – First Blogger Conference in Doha
Check out @Jannelyysh’s Blog: #ZomatoCon: Zomato Blogger Conference