On Friday night I went to the Voices of 2013 party. It was wonderful to see so many bloggy friends again - I swear the friendship is the best thing about blogging. Everyone was so very lovely on Friday night - gosh it was good to see these ladies (and very few men) over champagnes and canapés. The ladies in the room were all so glamorous - it was fun to frock up!
I was also lucky to be in the company of these wonderful winners (who were all so excited to win!):
House of Humble - overall winner
Whole Larder Love - best food blog
Smaggle - best style and beauty blog
House Of Humble - best creative blog
My Darling Lemon Thyme - people's choice
It was an absolute surprise to win another award. These past three weeks have been the biggest, most overwhelming ever. Just wow. Thank you to Kidspot for running this competition, and all the classes and parties. I've loved it.
I've been thinking about the work we do as bloggers, and how it's finally being recognised as real media. And there's as much work in blogging as in other occupations.
As bloggers, we are writers, editors, marketers, bookkeepers, taste testers, food stylists, photographers, fashion stylists, social media managers, comment moderators, researchers, pitchers, financial negotiators and digital strategists. Often this is done on top of our day jobs - or it is our day job. We put ourselves out there, inviting support and criticism.
The blogging world has changed - for the better I think. Of course, there always seems to be the issue of the moment (monetisation, sponsorship anyone?) but the community is thriving more than ever. Competitions like Voices give prominence to the lesser known bloggers - so many of the top 100 said how much Voices has boosted their profile and also connected them with the community - online and offline. When I was blogging back in the early 2000s, there was an online community only. This time around, the online blogging community has moved offline, and I am so grateful for that.
(With Heidi from Apples Under My Bed)
I also think that there is an expectation from newer bloggers and those that do not blog that blogging is a get rich quick scheme. I can tell you that I've made $750 on sponsored posts this year, plus around $100 on ads. This year I have written and published 186 posts and I've had the biggest stats ever. It took me just over three years to reach a million hits, and almost a year to clock up another half a million. And yet I've made a bigger splash away from my blog.
(Melbourne Carlys represent - with Smaggle)
I laugh when I see TV characters taking up blogging - Julie Rafter on Packed to the Rafters and most recently, Sonia from Neighbours come to mind. They are quick to become leaders in the blogging community and quick to get a newspaper column and paid opportunities. TV character bloggers are overnight successes. It just doesn't happen.
I've spent almost 1460 overnights blogging on this blog. This has been a particularly successful year for me - of which I am so proud, but it's certainly not been an overnight success. It's a huge amount of work - and with very little pay via this blog for me. I do it because I love it, to have a voice, and for the chance to build up a writing portfolio. I now write with the view to be published elsewhere - it does save time.
(With Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids)
So what advice do I have for new bloggers? Be persistent, be authentic and consistently your best (you don't need to write every day but when you do, put your best out there), and get involved in the blogging communities. And write well.
I believe great blogging comes down to good, engaging writing. The bloggers who I consider to be good writers (or talented photographers) engage me the most. Good spelling, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary make for a blog worth me reading - and it can be within any genre. And I think, if you want to make a go out of being a blogger, write like you want to be published, employing good writing. A strong story is so important for me as a reader, but if it’s not written well, I feel like the strong story may have lost its impact.
There is no overnight success with blogging. It's a slow build, and monetarily, may be considered as slave labour. But stick at it and your blog's reach will grow. You will grow too, and it will be one of the best, most rewarding hobbies you've ever started.
(With Pip from Meet Me At Mikes)