by Inge Triegaardt
We have been blogging for four years now and our Facebook Page will be celebrating it’s first birthday next month so we decided that it is time to get out of our comfort zone and right into a very active blogging community in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We have finally attended our very first #ECMeetUp and what an experience it has been!
The end of May and beginning of June was such a busy time for us and because of that we left the decision to attend the biggest blogger meet up right until the very end. Once we reserved our tickets, we were well and truly on our way to get our brand out there for the first time EVER! Up until now we were flying under the radar and were just “blogging for fun” (note that we very soon realized blogging is very hard work and for someone to take you seriously you really need to do some research to stay current and on par with what is happening in the industry), so we decided to check out this #ECMeetUp thing that kept on popping up on all our notifications.
We were going to enter the unknown in the sense that we did not know anyone, nor have we been to the venue. We had no idea what to expect, but somehow we felt like two little girls all dressed up for our “high tea” (thanks to Petronella Fine Dining) and we were geared with pen and paper to learn everything we could from Megan Kelly Botha (By Megan Kelly) and the Travelstart team of Lyle Scritten (VersatileLyle) and Kirsten Listen. The line-up was already something to look forward to, not even to mention all the prizes up for grabs, the fully stocked goodie bags and most importantly the networking opportunities to connect with fellow bloggers and brands in the likes of Chasing The Rainbow, Going Somewhere Slowly, Daily Dish and HPH Publishing. It was time to put faces to names and the inspiration from these well-known bloggers did not disappoint.
Arriving at the venue one simply knew that this was going to be a super day. There’s something about Fairview Racecourse that makes you feel like you are royalty. Walking through the doors when entering the venue, one could immediately see some of the brands that got involved and you get a sense of opportunity straight away. We did the admin and simply could not wait to put our smileys on for all the photo opportunities. The food was top quality and there were plenty of time to mingle with brands and bloggers alike. The competitions that were running was just great and you knew exactly what you entered for. It was well structured and the prizes were out of this world! As more and more people arrived you could feel the electric, excited vibe filling the room and all of a sudden one realize that it just became real. This is it, we have arrived!
Standing at the window, reflecting on this confluence of Eastern Cape bloggers, you admire the beautiful greens of the Fairview Racecourse and are treated by a jockey practicing his horse on the track. All of a sudden there’s a rush and it is time to learn from the best. Megan Kelly Botha, Lyle Scritten and Kirsten Listen all were so informative and some insight was also shed on two projects that one could really consider getting involved in – the R2 Add Hope campaign from KFC and Project Nelson Mandela Bay – these guys are doing a great job of uplifting and caring for the community and we as bloggers give them a powerful platform to make their voice be heard. The day was ended off with the prizegiving and although we were 80+ people at the event, every single one received a prize. It was incredible to see all the brands that came on board to make this day a HUGE success. One of the highlights of the day was the awesome goodie bag we received, packed full of goodness, everything you need for your travels. The products ranged from breakfast cereal from Nutristart to Discount vouchers from Travelstart and beauty products (because we need to look good for the travel photos). Brands like KFC and Mastertons were looking after our essentials in the form of headphones (yes tech is important) and caffeine products respectively. The list is endless.
Thank you to the organizers Ellenor from JustEllaBella and Luchae from MySpreadsheetBrain for putting together such an amazing opportunity to grow our industry and support each other. The experience we had really enriched our lives and inspired us to push harder to bring more relevant content to our readers. It is events like these that grow you as a blogger and no matter where you are in the world, you will always find a like minded person with a different audience, sharing their journey and views with the public.
The ECMeetUp has definitley inspired us to get our gear on and hit the road again.