Last week I attended the 2017 U.K Blog Awards at the Westminster Plaza Hotel.
If you don’t know about the U.K Blog Awards it’s an annual event that recognises the leaders in the blogging industry organised by Gemma Newton who heads up scores of industry leaders who act as the final judging panel.
To make the shortlist you need to submit an entry, along with thousands of other blogs for each category (and there are about 12) ranging from fashion and lifestyle to education and automotive. If your application is lucky enough to be accepted you then enter the public vote which is where the real business happens. This year close to 100,000 public votes were submitted which makes being shortlisted as a finalist pretty satisfying and that’s reflected in the mood at the awards as genuinely everyone there has achieved something great already.
The final stage includes the industry judging panel filling out 10 A4 pages on each of the eight shortlisted blogs (per category) resulting in 2 Highly Commended blogs and one Winner.
THIS YEAR WE WON BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG!
It was third time lucky for The Dapper Chapper after being shortlisted in year one and being awarded Highly Commended last year. If I’m honest, blogging at times can be quite insular, so to be acknowledged in this way felt pretty satisfying.
I now want to inspire others to get into blogging so thought I’d share a little about how I got into it. Lots of people know this, but if you ever wondered how and why I started blogging, I was actually working as a PR and watching the priority shift for brands from traditional media, mainly print, to online, bloggers and social influencers. At that point I thought, hmmm I want to be part of this.
Like many, it also gave me a creative space away from my work and more importantly allowed me to be part of an industry that I wasn’t working in. My job satisfied my love of sports but I had other interests, including men’s fashion & within 6 months of starting The Dapper Chapper we were sitting on the front row of men’s fashion week!
The second reason was to improve my writing. The two guys running the agency I was working at were great mentors and always pushed me to improve. Ironically my weakest skill-set relating to blogging is writing. Building a brand, planning photoshoots, dealing with companies and leading creative all came quite naturally but the journalistic side really needed work. It was the same when I was in PR and we agreed that starting a blog would be a good way to make my press releases more punchy and it actually started to work.
I could fill pages about the perks of blogging, and you’d be shocked about just what level brands actually go to work with us. As long as you can stay authentic regular perks include luxury gifts, sponsored payments, free meals out and trips abroad (the list goes on).
But this isn’t one big brag, the point I want to get to is to try to encourage others to start blogging. I know there’s lots of people who have thought of it but probably don’t know where to start. Well, the fact is it’s easy, and once you’ve set up your wordpress and social channels you’re off.
To be a good blogger it doesn’t mean you have to be Shakespeare. Visual bloggers thrive on Instagram, witty one-liners live on Twitter, camera ready personalities live on YouTube, all channels that can link back to your blog-hub.
So for anyone who has been thinking of starting a blog this is an open invite to get in touch for whatever advice you need, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – simply start doing it and you’ll be surprised how quickly things progress. I certainly never started it with the aim to go full-time but it was the best decision I ever made.
So I’ll finish by saying thank you to the brilliant The Dapper Chapper team and more importantly if you’ve supported our journey so far, thank you so much.
Hopefully I’ll see you for a coffee soon so we can discuss how to go about setting up your blog, insta or youtube channel – cheers.