END OF YEAR REVIEW: Nikki Parkinson, founder of StylingYouBy Tim Lince in Media News on Thursday, 01st December 2011 at 1:15pm
Influencing chats to a variety of guests to see how 2011 has treated them, what to expect in 2012 and how they've worked with PR this year. First off is Nikki Parkinson, founder and writer of fashion, beauty and retail blog StylingYou - a recent winner of Australia’s best blog for 2011.
How has 2011 been for yourself and StylingYou?
2011 has been massive. There's no other word for it. My blog readership grew by more than 1000%, my engagement grew and I received two national awards for my writing on my blog - the Sydney Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog competition and the Jasmine Award for best blog post (fragrance journalism). This, in turn, brought increased exposure through traditional media and growing interest in brands wanting to work with me to reach my readership.
2011 was also amazing thanks to the increased level of education and information in the Australian blogosphere with three conferences held throughout the year. I spoke at two of them and not only learned a lot from other bloggers but have created some long-term friendships with incredible people I would not otherwise have had a chance to meet.
I also spoke to key beauty PR and brand managers at the Beauty Directory's Digital Seminar in July.
In two weeks' time I'm being flown to Kuala Lumpur to attend the Nuffnang Asian Pacific Blogging Awards. So yes, a huge year!
Blogging is a hugely competitive environment, and has been growing at a mammoth rate in Australia. What are the biggest challenges you faced in 2011 and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me is keeping up with all the work around the blog. If it was just popping up a post each day then my day would be over by 9.30am and I'd be at the beach. There is a lot of admin/behind the scenes stuff involved, particularly when you start working with brands and PRs. I just respond as best I can. I also do consulting work - styling and social media consulting - so this has to fit in around my blogging work too. Achieving some kind of balance is a work in progress.
Are there any other Australian blogs or media outlets that you feel have had an especially good year too?
The "mummy" blogging niche has come out as a force to be reckoned with this year. These are mums who blog on a whole range of subjects but have a highly engaged audience. Brands are realising this and the smart ones are creating relationships early on with key players. Bloggers Eden Riley (read it here) and Mrs Woog (read that one here) were two of five Australian bloggers to be sponsored to go to BlogHer in San Diego this August and they were profiled on Channel TEN's now defunct 6.30pm with George Negus. These women are incredible writers and story tellers and two big brands helped get them to the US.
How is 2012 looking for StylingYou? Any big changes or developments on the horizon?
I'll be looking at a re-design of my blog early in the new year. The current design will have been in place for two years and I do like mixing things up. The content will remain largely the same - advice-driven fashion, beauty and lifestyle information for the busy woman aged 28-45 - this is what sets me apart from the younger fashion and beauty bloggers. I'm no longer young and won't be snapped by The Sartorialist any time soon!
I'm heading to the Digital Parents Blogging Conference in Melbourne in March and will also be going to BlogHer '12 in New York. BlogHer is the biggest female blogging conference in the world. I'm not missing it this year.
Have you worked with PR agencies much this year, and what’s the best example of you working with PR that resulted in a successful piece of content?
My inbox is inundated daily.
I don't need PRs to write my content - and no blogger should. Just like a journalist, PRs are just one source of ideas and inspiration. And they can be a valuable source. The best pitches are ones tailored to my blog and ones that really suit my readers. The best example for me would be being flown to Sydney on two separate occasions for a hair product launch. The PR company and the brand wanted more than just Sydney-based bloggers at the launches and the result of supplying airfares and airport transfers paid off for them ten-fold.
Do you have any advice for PR professionals to work with you and StylingYou better in 2012?
Having come through the print media ranks I'm immune to the dodgy PR pitch. If it's not addressed to me and I'm not interested, I hit the delete button. I reply to the things that are a good fit for my blog and my reader.
It's about building relationships... good PRs can be the conduit between a blogger and a brand when it comes to sponsorship. I treat the ones who respect me with the respect they deserve too.
Many PR companies still don't know how to include bloggers into their mix - those ones will get left behind in 2012 and their clients will miss out on valuable and often viral coverage.
If you're having an event and you really want me to be there and share your product with my readers, then consider covering my travel costs. Unlike journalists, bloggers are not paid a wage from a media company, they earn money through advertising, sponsorship and related work. I do make the trip to Sydney every month to go to key events, but if you only tell me about your event the week before and if you can't cover costs, then I'm unlikely to be able to come.
With your clients, think about how you can successfully work with bloggers - find the bloggers that are a key fit for your client and just work with them. Also, don't be afraid to be that conduit to the client and talk sponsorship and ambassadorship opportunities. Bloggers are the new word of mouth marketing. And your clients could be a part of that for a fraction of the cost of a glossy two-page ad in a magazine. Find the right bloggers and their combined readership will also exceed that glossy magazine.
You can find out more about StylingYou by going to the website. Influencing subscribers can also find StylingYou on the Influencing database.
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