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My thoughts on Blog awards

Embarking on the exciting journey of blogging comes with its own set of milestones and recognitions. In this latest blog post, I delve into the intriguing concept of blog awards and how they can be powerful tools for bloggers.

Beyond being badges of honor, blog awards serve as a testament to a blogger's dedication, creativity, and influence within their niche. I will explore the significance of these accolades, shedding light on how bloggers can strategically leverage them to enhance credibility, expand their audience, and forge meaningful connections within the vibrant blogging community.

Join me on this exploration of recognition in the digital realm and discover the invaluable impact blog awards can have on the trajectory of your blogging journey.


How I started

As someone who had never kept a diary and had not blogged until, well 2015, winning a blog award in 2016 (and being shortlisted for one in 2015) came as a shock and also at the end of a year where I put a lot of hard word doing what felt like two jobs: my day job as a Compliance officer working in a financial services firm and my hobby as a blogger every spare hour of the day.

My day job was not a very creative type of job. In 2014, I moved homes and set up a website to share the progress of my new home renovations with my mom. To make the makeovers more interesting, I shared them in the format of blog posts.

Then one day, I was reading an article on Houzz and from there I discovered interior decor company AMARA and the Interior Blog Awards that they organised. I thought to myself 'I can do that' and set about creating an interiors blog.

I was utterly convinced that with a lot of work, I could win an award. I'm telling you, I believed it.

Sometimes you have to self-nominate

The first time I entered the Interior Blog awards, I had to nominate myself. Depending on the awards, self-nomination may be allowed, and is nothing to feel bad about. After all, there are so many blogs out there, and so little time, don't expect your followers to do all the hard work!

Do I need a lot of content on my blog to win an award?

I think it is more important to show consistency in posting at the time of entering the awards rather than a lot of historical content. That was definitely the case with my blog. In addition, a lot of awards have a 'newcomer' category.

It is also true though, that because of my day job, I had to work into the night to create fresh, original content for my blog.

But I persisted. And with every post I published, I got more motivated to write the next one. And I became more creative. With graphics and photos, I even started talking SEO. The blog blossomed. Even my day job benefited from this renewed energy and creativity and I was more organised than I have ever been in my life.

Do blog awards matter?

This will be short and sweet: Yes. For many reasons that I will explain below.

Participating actively in the awards process whichever blog category you are in - interiors, fashion, beauty - even if you do not end up winning, is extremely beneficial, and here's what I have taken away from the AMARA Interior Blog Awards that hopefully should inspire you to participate in the same or similar awards!

Blog awards get you organised

It was only after I was nominated for the first time that I realised: I don't have nearly as much content as others! And that was because my blog had been up and running for less than 6 months at the time (2015).

No matter how inspired you are, you cannot write 5 years' worth of posts in a couple of months. Not possible if you have a day job. So the moment I got nominated I upped my game with extra posts, publishing consistently and having inspired imagery, mostly my own. It all starts with a blank screen and the cursor on your screen, and if you get past that you can get past the first, second or100th post too.

Consistency is key and it will help you build your following faster. I've come across several bloggers who have written a fantastic post with great photos only to realize that they write one great piece, per quarter. That's too little!

As a reader of certain blogs myself, I want to know that when I decide to come back to their blog, there will always be fresh content for me.

And I don't mean posts that are full of (damn good) photos and no words. You need to write something, whether it is to explain what the photos show, how you feel about them or something that the reader will find helpful (this is mostly the purpose of a blog).

Without written content, there is no blog award. Simple as that. So get shit done. Now. Unless of course, you are Park & Cube in which case, just photos will do fine darling.

Blog awards push you to learn new skills

Competition drives you to learn new things.

I invested in this Olympus camera, posted regularly, and looked around at what other bloggers were doing. Yes, once your blog starts growing you won't have to anymore, but when you start, other blogs are your point of reference (and whoever says otherwise simply lies boo).

I'll refer back to Park & Cube here (who has sadly stopped working on this blog and has moved on to become the creative director of CUBICLE). Although Shini Park's blog was all about fashion, her photography and styling skills were so good, that it seemed that everyone visited her blog just to marvel at the editorial quality photos she posted. I cannot tell you how much I have learned studying her style.

So to get better (at photography, typography, SEO), you're likely to read a few (hundred) posts on the subject, and boom, you're getting better already and it's all because of the motivation that the award nomination gave you.

Getting shortlisted for Best Designed Blog in 2015 AMARA IBAs made me up my game in photography so much that I delivered a fantastic campaign for Camerich UK, where I prepared a beautiful post with a townhouse theme as well as numerous photos for Instagram, like the one above. I also wrote beautiful pieces like this one on the Best Flatlay Tips Ever, which is ranked #1 on Google for Flatlay tips!

Create your own network

Once an award voting stage is on, obviously you want to know who you're competing against in your category. And guess what! You WILL come across several really awesome blogs that you were not aware of (whether in your category or another).

New friends to be made, hurray! If you start attending events (which you can do no matter if you have awards or not) you will start seeing the same faces over and over, so start talking to others and make blogging buddies!

You will also get to know more blogs, even from far away. What I am trying to say is, make blogging friends, engage with them during and after the awards and you will see more people in return engaging with your blog.

Blog awards offer super-charged exposure

The judges day at the AMARA Interior Blog Awards judging day includes a whole panel of industry experts who come together to decide who goes to win one of the awards.

Ann Grafton from GP & J Baker, Charlotte Cosby from Farrow & Ball, Jenny Gibbs from KLC Design School, David Harris from Andrew Martin, Deborah Barker Editor-in-Chief of Homes & Gardens, and 25 Beautiful Homes and top interior writer Barbara Chandler are all known to have joined Sam Hood (Amara owner) in the past as IBA judges.

Blog awards will get you in the habit of networking

Blog awards are a great way to start networking, especially if you're a newbie blogger. Not only do you get to know brands you love better, but you also get to know other bloggers too.

I know a lot of friendships and collaborations have been forged this way, so even if you are not through to the 'awards night' you will still be invited to blogger events, and I would urge you to make the most of it. Don't pass on such opportunities.

On the awards night? Mingle! And yes, I get it, going up to someone and telling them you read their blog might not come naturally (and sometimes even sounds a bit like stalking) but I promise they will appreciate it.

Awards and nominations can help you financially

But getting brands to work with you is tough - after all, there are so many other bloggers out there, so why choose you specifically?

Awards and nominations can be displayed on your profile and your Media Kit and convince brands to take you seriously.

After winning my IBA, I did have a steady stream of work - more than before - and managed to work with some of my favourite brands.

And if you are already earning through your blog, an award can be a good reason you need to finally increase your fees!

Timing will be the key

Sometimes, however, timing is the key to success. Maybe you have just found the perfect design and flow for your blog. Maybe you got that "niche" FINALLY pinned down.

'When I was nominated last year in the Amara Interior Blog Awards' says freelance interiors journalist Fiona Reid of Copperline 'I had recently launched my blog having worked on the design and the new site over a few months - although I'd been thinking about it for even longer! - with my designer Odysseas Constantine of 286Blue. The nomination came on the back of that whole process. Which was great timing - and made all the tweaking and refining and late-night emails feel worth it!'.

Fiona won the "Best Designed Blog" award in 2015 and for good reason.

Blog awards - some final thoughts

As we conclude our exploration into the world of blog awards, it becomes evident that these accolades extend far beyond mere recognition. They are symbolic of the passion and commitment bloggers invest in their craft.

Whether you've been nominated, won, or are considering participating in blog award events, remember that these experiences are not just about accolades—they are about building connections, fostering community, and celebrating the diverse voices that make the blogosphere thrive.

So, wear your blog awards with pride, use them as stepping stones for growth, and continue to contribute your unique perspective to the ever-evolving landscape of online content creation. Happy blogging!

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