Monday 3 June 2013

So How was Cybher for Me?

I think any event you go to when you are a Mum, in this case Cybher, begins from the moment you get up, as you are negotiating the prep with being a Mum, right up until you get out that door.

For the last few months Aaron and I have been getting up anything from 09:30 to 10:30, so being that I was due to leave at about 07:40 I figured the husband would be sleeping on the job, literally, for the 1st three hours of the task.

Oh no! Because we co-sleep, Aaron rooted around to touch my MOLE (yes, that is his thing, the MOLE on my arm) and discovered that it was missing. Not only that, but the old hag girl that it is attached to.

I was in the bathroom doing my makeup when I saw him stumbling into the sitting room, thinking he would find me on the computer there.  I scooped him up whilst mumbling "it's not time to get up yet" and lay next him in bed.  First thing he did was touch my mole. Second thing he did was say in a distressed tone of voice "I couldn't find your mole" (to which I inwardly laughed and thought well actually you couldn't find me either) and third thing he did was go to sleep.  The whole process took about 10 minutes, and luckily he did not notice I was dressed, as it would have been end of story if he had.  Anyway, the "getting him back to sleep" time was my "hair straightening" time, so me and my frizzy ungroomed hair went to Cybher - oh and my mole came too, of course.  Aaron you'd have had a long walk if you'd fancied an afternoon nap on Saturday so thank God you've grown out of them hey?!?!?!

So the event was already labelled as "I won't look well groomed! WHAT will everyone THINK!??!?!" and I hadn't even left the house flat yet! The disaster of him being up at 07:30 was averted, and the two men in my life got the sleep-in I wanted them to have.

My journey to Cybher, which should have been an hour took just over 2 hours.  BUT I still made the opening because the day began with 40 minutes for registration, coffee and mingling and luckily I HAD been aiming to make that.  If I had been aiming to arrive at the ACTUAL start time I would have missed stuff.  As it was, I arrived at 09:45 when I had expected to arrive at 08:45.  Given that Sian was (on the agenda) meant to speak at 09:40 when I saw her at registration I said "I assume I have missed your opening speech" but she reassured me that I hadn't and said I had time to go and grab a coffee downstairs.  After being stuck on a train for such a long time, I had been fantasising about coffee for hours, so this was music to my ears!  Before I went downstairs though I grabbed a badge, a SATCHEL, and a hug with THE Tara Cain. When I got downstairs before I grabbed a coffee I grabbed a hug with Jay.

I then met Mrs B for the first time, and was very glad to meet someone in real life that I have been friends with online for yonks. I didn't talk to her for long as I was making a mad dash for the coffee but we had lunch later together which made up for it.

When I went up to the main room, I saw Jenny

very easily and went on to spend most of the day with her.  Was lovely to see her after such a long time (my oldest blog friend and previous fellow North Londoner).  Being a similar age, both with baby boys, we've always had a lot to talk about.  I need to catch up with her on the two kids front though!

Zoe Margolis was as brilliant to listen to as ever.  She was the opening Keynote Speaker after Sian's introduction to the day and event.  When Zoe originally had her Girl With a One Track Mind blog, she penned it anonymously as Abby Lee but was later heartlessly outed by the Sunday Times who called her "shameless, sordid, seedy and a slut".  Luckily her fans later came up with the idea of doing a Google bomb on both the writer of the article and the person who authorised it.  This is probably one of the reasons the "community" is one of the things that is MOST important to Zoe about being online.  She stressed to us that

""""""Solidarity is the main thing"""""    Zoe Margolis

My first session of the day was the Ditch The Fugly session

It was confusing when that wasn't the first slide on the screen when I walked in as it made me sure I was in the wrong room.  It was VERY interesting and I do have some take home points, but it felt more directed to fashion or beauty bloggers, which in a way was refreshing, to not always be submerged in the world that is parent/mummy blogging.  Their main point is that we should be consistent across all of our platforms, in voice and branding. They made a very imortant point which is that we should understand which of our readers are on which of our platforms.  30% of our readers are reading on a mobile device, so make sure this is easy, as this % will only grow!  Most of the stuff on Facebook now is images and even the way walls are laid out so drive traffic to blog with an image.

Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken - Ditch the Fugly session
They said the IDEAL is that someone searches you and ALL your platforms come up.

Action point - even if you are not on a platform (say You Tube for example) go there and reserve the URL, so that someone can't squat on it!

The next session I went to was Keeping it Legal. 

It was mostly about defamation and libel.  The agenda also aimed to cover the ASA, the CAP code, and promotions/sponsored posts but that was really squashed into a ten minutes of over-run time.  The former was very interesting given the recent case with Sally Bercow etc...

Don't comment on case where proceedings are pending, or you'll end up in contempt of court - Keeping it Legal session
Turns out defamation is only possible if what you are saying is not true, if it has a tendency to lower the person (or brand's) reputation and if it is published to a 3rd party (online included).  Slander is spoken, and is different.

In the Defamation Act that is due for 2013 changes will be that people will have to show SUBSTANTIAL harm and corporates will have to show a financial loss.

In these types of cases often the payout is low (i.e. modest damages) but the costs are outrageous, so the losing party needs a lot of money to pay the legal bills! Poor old Sally Bercow eh *innocent face*

In the States they now have something called Twibel which is libel on Twitter....

Retweets amount to further publication! Be warned.

If you breach laws you will be exposed regardless of anonymity.
When tweeting a sponsored or paid-for-post use the hashtag #ad (or #spon) see link

Next I went to the session called "Sh*t you didn't know that will make you blog better" 

I actually only went to support Nickie (as it was advertised as being for beginners) but (1) she was not there!!! and (2) we all learned a lot, despite NOT being beginners.

The first thing that became an action point from this session was checking one's blog for broken links.

The second was removing clutter from your homepage.

The third was making a "page" for blogs you read, as it effects you on Google if you are linking in your blog roll on a sidebar to a blog with a page rank of zero.  This is to do with the new Google Penquin update.

Four, Google sees tag clouds as duplicate content.

White backgrounds load quicker and look better.

RESIZE photos before uploading them onto the blog - can be easily done on picmonkey for example.

Make sure you do some 300-500 word posts with deep links to your own other content, as it shows you are authoritative to Google.

Make sure you NAME images so that these come up in search results and lead people to your blog, i.e. cute cuddly kitten should be filenamed as such and not IMG0102212

The next session I went to was Going Viral with Adam Pacitti

I'd already hopped to a few days ago when reading the Cybher agenda, so I didn't get the joy of hearing his story for the first time, but it was still VERY funny watching his you tube videos in the session.  He is a guru on going viral so this was a must-have session that I really enjoyed.  My You Tube channel is now up to 23k views so I was genuinely interested and am interested in this area.

He informed us that 70% of shared content is comedic, which is why he set out on purpose to be funny.  Also, he made the point that people like to share uplifting content >> like THIS. Adam said his next viral project will be about gay marriage.  It's really worth taking a look at his stuff.

I then chose to go to Blogging on the Airwaves with the High Tea Cast

This session was great and we were allowed to make a podcast.  Here's the girls who stepped up to the challenge << I videoed them doing their recording. Please support Monika and the Lullaby Trust.

They told us that there are VERY FEW female podcasters in the UK and that we need to get to it!

They said "Why Audio?" which was answered with the following
  1. Increasing traffic - new audiences, i.e. people who like to listen, on long commutes etc...
  2. Develops audience with current [blog] readers
  3. Creates trust (on a blog everyone skim and speed reads whereas listening, they hear all)
  4. Very easy to do (with little or no equipment that is cheap) - her radio equipment was under £100 and before you get to that stage you can use the internal mic on your Mac. Make sure you are in a room with lots of soft furnishings and no echoes. Corners are bad.  Due to the soft furnishings in bed they often record there, and with radio, you can even do it in your PJs as nobody knows.
You can use soundcloud, or audio Boo or itunes to upload your podcasts. audio Boo is difficult to imbed in blog posts, but soundcloud is ideal and you can upload 6hrs 45m.  People can EVEN record comments audibly.

They've interviewed William from 28 dates later and advised checking out his site.
Their podcast is released on the 2nd Monday of every month and people look forward to it.
It's important to have examples of your voice work on your site as if someone considers you for a gig, they will go there to listen to your previous work.  Their station is now less than a year old and they have lots of sponsorship.
If you want to contact them:

I then went to How to Make your Blog Pay with Doug Richard

This was my favourite session it has to be said as I LOVE people who are natural public speakers, who captivate their audience, and who are funny!  He was most certainly all three.  My previous session over-ran and I entered the room late.  Luckily the only vacant seat was near the front :-)  He was American in that TELL IT HOW IT IS way, which was entertaining and as always with Americans is a great way to cut to the chase, but it was difficult for audience (delegate) members if they asked a question, as he could sniff out a self-limiting belief at 10 paces, and his atitude is very much JUST DO IT.  Half of what holds us back is us deciding what is not possible before we've even tried, as with the Travel Blogger he advised needs to contact the inward investment economic advisers in each of the consulates that she wants to work with.  "Other bloggers have already tried" didn't cut it with him.  
He told us about mylittleparis which turns over a few million a year.
We are curators of information, and people will pay to access our audiences only if (1) they are inaccessible and (2) we know who they are and (3) we target a particular sector - for example he said parenting is too broad.

The UK equivalent of my little paris is This is Your Kingdom. All about wonderful things going on in the UK.
The VALUE of the blog is directly tied to the attractiveness and the inaccessiblity of your audience.
Action points he gave us
  1. Learn who your audience is?
  2. Which people IN your audience are you talking to? i.e. once you realise which posts are well-read you could write more of those, so that your audience keeps coming back.
Revenue Streams
  1. Advertising
  2. Sponsorship
  3. Preferred product views
  4. Affiliation - cookie window.
With affiliate schemes people don't mind being generous as they are only paying you when purchases are made (or sometimes for click throughs) so the ROI (return on investment) is great for them as you substitute a whole range of other marketing costs.
Another blog he name dropped

He said when working with you people would want to know
  1. Unique visitors (not page views)
  2. Bounce rate
  3. Time on site
  4. He advised doing short fun surveys to find out WHO your audience is.
Another worthwhile blog he name dropped was The Londoner
Narrow what you write to what your audience want to hear about.
Real money = become disciplined and GET NARROWER

THEN, things WILL come to you!

He said we should get used to name dropping ourselves and capitalising ourselves in all we do (he gave the example of people asking questions in the session, none of them name dropped their blog or twitter handle, so if he wanted to get in touch afterwards he couldn't).

He runs the school for creative startups.  It lasts for a year and the next one starts in September. 12 days have to be taken out of the year and they are on the site so that you can plan your holidays.

They have a huge online community who offer support to each other.  160 people so far have done the course.


Then I went to Ben Stockman's Why Don't You Like Me session

It was very funny but I did not take any notes.
Then we had a final goodbye from Sian, followed by COCKTAILS in the Boyd's Bar in the same hotel that was the venue.  Collective Bias sponsored the drinks! Thank you!  I stayed in the ballroom chatting to @gingerbread_mum and @natalietrice for ages, so I think my first drink was everyone elses 4th or 5th; suffice to say I was NOT tipsy or drunk when the bar tab ran out, so the lovely Fi from Childcare is Fun bought me a large white wine :-) THAT did reach the parts that other drinks had not ;-)  She gave me free sleeping advice for HOURS about how to get Aaron sleeping earlier and out of my bed.  I cannot wait till she releases her book later this year; I will have it on pre-order ASAP. 

Funky Wellies was with us for some of the "sleep" talk, so we did not connect with her properly and she's back in Germany now, BUT it was great to meet her and she was kind enough to take a pic of me which I will include here when she sends it over.

And as if by magic here it is; a pic of me (far left), +Fi Star-Stone (far right) and @RocketandBee like a rose between two thorns - doesn't her expression say it all LOL:

Now you can SEE *me* it means I can't wear that dress to +BritMumsLive *yawn* *sigh* :-(

THIS is the lady who kept Jay in pork

I sat chatting to Fi @childcareisfun and @RocketandBee for hours and then Monika joined us; it was a LOVELY end to a LOVELY day.

Thank you +Cybher™  Thank you +Sian To 

Back in Wales after we got off the boat from Ireland, Aaron broke my camera with a flash, so yesterday I could only use my Sony Bloggie which does not have a flash, and as we were in dim lighting all day my photos are shite.  Let me see if there are ANY I can include!

P.S. if I have forgotten to give you a mention please remind me in the comments.

I am adding a banner to an affiliate marketing brand that has just contacted me, Tree 2 my door, only because I genuinely think their trees would make a beautiful Father's Day Gift for the green fingered father (I would get a small % if you made a purchase):



  1. was lovely to see you again although very briefly. Great notes as I missed some of the sessions I wanted to go to due to clases x

    1. Was lovely to see you in the bar. Hope your wee man slept for you on the way home. Your buggy looked gorgeous - never seen one like it before.
      Liska xx

  2. Thanks so much for writing up all these notes as I went to other sessions and it's so interesting to hear what I missed.

    1. Thanks for saying that. There was a session we were in together - can't remember what. But you asked a question and I turned and somehow (despite bad eye-sight) read your name badge.
      I THINK it may have been the Ditch The Fugly session.
      Liska xx

  3. Great post! I didn't get to Cybher but this is a fab round up, thanks for posting x

  4. Thanks for taking all those notes and sharing the information. It sounds fabulous.

  5. Great write up!

    Were there any suggestions instead of using a tag cloud? How are people supposed to find content they're interested in??

    1. I think Claire will hop here tomorrow to answer your question xx

    2. Im here, Hi Jenny! Every blog should have a search - not just every blog, every site. I can't see yours so add one, towards the top of the page, so it's seen without scrolling. As you are using WP it's really easy, just go to the widgets area, find the search box with is part of a standard install and drop it in to the side bar. You dont have to configure anything. Shout if you need a hand. Claire x

  6. Amazing post with lots if brilliant tips. Cybher sounds fantastic. I'm really tempted to go next year!

  7. wow, what a lovely in depth post! Thanks for sharing lovely xx

  8. Sounds like you had a great time, well deserved and you always do such through write ups from the conferences you go to. Cheers Liska. Mich x

    1. Yes making a habit of it now. It started with a similarly detailed post about Blog Camp then Cybermummy then Brit Mums Live and then Mumsnet Blogfest.
      Becoming one of my USPs :-)

  9. A great post about Cybher, Liska! It looks like you got to the sessions that were most relevant to you. Hope you enjoyed the day (and thank you for my little absence mention).

  10. Such an informative post. Thanks fr sharing

  11. Fab post Liska! I feel like I was there (which I wish I was!!) But your notes help me to feel part of it anyway!

  12. Goodness what an incredibly useful, in-depth post! You must have writer's cramp! Well done and thanks for the tips. I didn't know about the tag cloud - I don't use it because I think it's a bit fussy-looking, but I've always wondered if I should have it.

  13. Very detailed and entertaining post. It was lovely to meet you and I am glad you are happy with the photo, even though it is not brilliant! xx


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