Yesterday I had one of the most interesting and enjoyable work days I’ve had in a long time.
You remember how at the end of last year I won a couple of awards?
Who am I kidding?? I wasn’t casual about it! It was AWESOME.
I was up for the award for Best UK Parent Blog in the inaugural Vuelio Blog Awards last November, and pretty damn excited about it. The night came around – very glitzy – and I won! Hoorah! That wasn’t even the best bit though. Unbeknown to me, there was an extra category at the end for the Best Overall UK Blog, and I only went and bloody won that too.
As the second year of the Vuelio Blog Awards rolled around, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous. The pressure was on you see. Would I have to win again or feel like a total loser?? What if I didn’t even make the shortlist? It all felt a bit awkward.
And then… sweet relief! Vuelio got in touch to ask if I’d like to be a judge. BOOM!
‘No, I’m not up for an award this year. I’m not eligible as I’m a judge!’
You don’t get a smoother get out than that do you? Plus I love criticising people I don’t know, so it was the perfect role for me.
The judges were in place, and the shortlist was announced, and I was very excited indeed. I picked out a smart but funky looking outfit – double stripes and floral Converse – to show that I was super professional but also a cutting edge digital media type, and caught the train up to London.
— Vuelio (@Vuelio) October 12, 2016
Pretty sure I pulled it off.
When it was announced at the ceremony last year that there was going to be an overall winner, I never for a moment thought I would win. I was up against some really big names – proper bloggers in my eyes, who fiance had even heard of. When they said my name, I was genuinely blown away.
This is what I found so inspiring about the judging session yesterday. We had such a variety of blogs on the shortlist, and yet with each category we took our time to consider a whole heap of factors. Where you might have thought there would be an obvious choice, if looking purely at popularity, we often surprised ourselves.
Remember how last week I said you didn’t need a blogging niche, and that it was important to be yourself? Well, this totally applied yesterday looking at the Vuelio shortlist. There were blogs with stunning photography and massive reach, but ultimately we were looking for the things that captured what for me is the essence of blogging – a personal connection. As we looked at aesthetics, usability and popularity, it came back again and again to storytelling. Did we feel invested in an individual story? Did we feel part of a community?
A blog could be read by millions of people and making masses of money, but if you don’t get a sense of the person behind it, and don’t want to come back and read more of their story then, for me, it’s not a winner.
I found this all incredibly positive. It’s such a strong message for existing and aspiring bloggers. People aren’t looking for you to have a perfectly polished site or an audience the size of Wales. (Why is everything always the size of Wales?)
People just want to hear your story, well told.
So just tell it.