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Writing guide l Why you should blog

Blogging can be as much for personal enjoyment and fun than it is for a steady income or personal achievement. As an aspiring journalist (kind of), I see the value in online blogging. Some of the best ideas have originated from blogs and it is definitely a great way to deliver a message to an audience; both well targeted and alert. It can create a high level of engagement and provoke responses from all over the globe. Yet it all came from the comfort of your home, office or space.

 

Different types of blogging

 

Enjoyment – first and foremost blogging can be about expressing yourself online. It is one of the best places to voice your opinion and receive almost instant feedback. You can create small communities online depending on your likes/dislikes or interests. Blogs can also be combined with your other ‘stamps’ online such as Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. So within the space of someone reading your blog they can connect to the other sites you express your personality and identity on.

Reviewing – if you are fortunate enough you can be paid to review products online. This can be great publicity for your own blog as well as for the company asking for the review. Usually you will be given the opportunity to try a product and then write a balanced review [though the company will obviously be hoping for a positive review]. If you are headhunted, or you a find a particular company you love, you could be reviewing a number of products; from the latest innovative hair and beauty product to a newly released film or novel.

Guest blogging – guest blogging is the perfect opportunity to gain more exposure as a person and for your website. It creates a larger ‘web’ of your presence online. Perfect. It can also be an exciting way to acquire new readers and build relationships with other bloggers. It is also (here comes the SEO part) great for search engines such as Google and Yahoo. You will also be in a new community online which is great for extending your knowledge and interests (also known as personal development).

Online portfolio – whether you are a student finishing college or university, or perhaps an expert marketing assistant an online portfolio can continue to showcase your writing skills and the ability to adapt for web. It can be a second CV in addition to your electronic (or possibly paper) copy. Being online shows you are in touch with technology and you can also demonstrate to a future employer your range of skills, for instance with photography, InDesign, Photoshop, WordPress, Flickr etc. The list really does go on!

Paid bloggingit is a dream job to be paid for blogging yet that is right, it shouldn’t just be a dream. If you create enough chances (usually to do with your great writing skills) this can soon become a reality. Or alternatively there are full-time jobs working as a ‘blogger’ for a company or within their social media and marketing department. In Journey’s words “don’t stop believing!”


Top five tips for blogging

  1. Find four bloggers that you like and follow them on a regular basis. Take note of the articles they are producing and how they acquire an audience.
  2. Sign up to Google Alerts and find trends which you enjoy writing about. For example you could sign up to the latest film releases and write a weekly film review. It is a great way to find content which will receive hits quickly in a short amount of time. Bear in mind these blog posts may not be evergreen content so always think why you are adding the content to your blog, ask yourself, what is the purpose of this post?
  3. Write in your own style. Individuality really is key and this is sometimes forgotten in the World Wide Web.
  4. Promote your blog posts via all your social media channels. However remember to target these websites differently. Keep your audience in mind. No doubt (and it goes without saying) people using LinkedIn are using the site differently to that on Twitter.
  5. Above all else have fun and enjoy writing whatever your style may be or personal preference. I still hand write notes before I go anywhere near a computer, so don’t be afraid to express yourself the way you want to. Blogging can open up a ‘new world’!

 

I am available as a guest blogger for your site, so if you like my writing style or think I can do something for you please contact me. If you are a business or company with new products I am available for reviewing. I have previously reviewed products for the health and beauty industry and written critical pub and restaurant reviews for Sussex Food and Drink Guide 2013.

Please leave a message below if you would like to get in contact or if you have any questions/thoughts regarding this blog post (or any others). I appreciate hearing from you.

Living away from home | Reflective creative piece

November 30, 2012 1 comment

Following a brief phone conversation with my friend who is currently studying at drama school (not university), it made me realise what you miss when you’re away. You’re living away from home, and you have the ultimate freedom. You have no one to tell you when to wake up or what time you have to be back for. You do have to learn to live with others and their living habits, but generally it is fun, sociable and you think you’ve made it.

This impromptu call made me write this, following one thing she said…

“It was good to be back, in familiar surroundings and yes it does feel surreal. When I am living there I forget the endless months I spent being at home and working. Not that much seems different but I feel it. In myself. I know I have only been away a couple of months but I feel different, not this place. The one thing I noticed was they felt different.

In my halls of residence they are light and flimsy. They feel invisible to hold and you simply breeze effortlessly from one room to another. Yet back home they are sturdy and solid. When I curl my fingers around the shape I feel reassured; I know I am at home. The cold metal touches my small hands and I enter my bedroom. It all looks the same, everything in its normal place but I know I haven’t slept here for a while. The air is fresh but there is a lingering sense that time has passed.

I feel the door handle again and strangely it’s the only thing that is different. I have left home and gone away to study and all I can compare are door handles. Yes, door handles. The poorly designed door handles at my halls, to the heavy weighted round handles that I have always known. It seems odd you can move miles away, see different people day after day, learn new things about yourself and the world and you cannot shake the feeling that the door handles are different.

Perhaps it shows just how strong the human nature is, or how we perceive new surroundings and compare. Perhaps it’s a comfort blanket, what we know and what we now know. Whatever it is, I know I prefer my house’s solid door handles. Though I am sure I will open plenty more doors…”

Sometimes the small things make a difference.

Review: Purbeck Folk Festival 2012

Foot stomping, rain dancing, raw talent and the beautiful Dorset countryside, this is Purbeck Folk Festival 2012. PFF has everything you could possibly want from a festival; incredibly talented folk musicians and bands, a picturesque location and plentiful supply of locally produced delicacies and award-winning ales and ciders. Cheers to that!

Running throughout the bank holiday weekend (24-26th August), Purbeck Folk Festival was awe-inspiring, uplifting and managed to successfully encompass the broadest definition of ‘folk’.

What is on offer at Purbeck Folk Festival?

Not only does the festival showcase the most gifted folk musicians, it also offers; captivating poetry slam competitions, beard and moustache competitions, art and craft stalls, woodwork demonstrations, open mic sessions, workshops for fitness, drama and comedy, face painting, Morris dancing, tarot card reading and much more!

Who is the festival suitable for?

This festival has such a friendly, warm and vibrant feel, making it extremely ideal and suitable for the young, the old, families, couples and friends. There are plenty of activities for children over the weekend which just adds to the pleasant environment. This is also a rarity which is often not provided at other festivals.

Which bands/artists stood out in particular?

With such a fantastic and varied line-up it was extremely difficult to choose who to watch. The artists perform on one of three different stages (middle barn, long barn and an outdoor stage, the fire stage) throughout the day and evening. This is a brief selection of some of the artists I had the opportunity to enjoy over the weekend:

Larkin Poe– the song writing sisters really brought soul and joy to Dorset. A fantastic set by the pair, enjoyed by all!

KT Tunstall– headlining Saturday night KT certainly created a stir in the long barn! Her sound was electric, energetic and above all else entertaining. The Scottish singer knew how to work the crowd and we certainly loved her. Playing fantastic hits such as ‘Suddenly I see’ and ‘Other Side of the World’ the crowd were well and truly mesmerised by the chart-topping star.

Shooglenifty– this six piece band from Edinburgh was phenomenal. They played a variety of songs that combined traditional Scottish sounds, rock and electro pop with funky melodies and rhythms. A musical cocktail that sure tasted sweet. They are definitely highly recommended.

Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson– this pair are simply astonishing, bursting with such energy, creativity and flair you cannot help but fall in love with them. Described as ‘beauty and the beast’ they produce such beautiful, upbeat music; think folk, blues, stunning vocals and ladies and gentlemen you are a little closer to understanding what makes Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson tick! You really won’t be the same after these two.

The Penny Red– this four piece band from Wiltshire is a delight to watch. Their music is punchy, emotive and fresh, I can see this band going far with the charming voice of Jess Vincent seducing you on the way.

The Paper Shades– Sarah Dollar and Jon Rixon produce dreamy, acoustic music that really sounds great. They work well together on stage and are a joy to watch.

Ant Henson– Henson’s sound is undeniably infectious and captivating. His lyrics bare honesty, emotion and are the works of a hardworking and passionate, young songwriter. At the tender age of twenty-three Henson is an all-round entertainer and crowd pleaser: definitely worth a listen.

Chris Woodford– He is an incredibly talented young man and when let loose on a twelve string guitar you are unknowingly lured into his magical world. And boy, you won’t want to leave.

The Widowmaker– emotive, moving and mesmerising successfully sums up The Widowmaker. His music discusses on a satirical level, the reality and disillusionment of the modern world we live in. His sound can be described as atmospheric and affective; I can guarantee you will want to listen to The Widowmaker over and over again. Satisfyingly addictive.

Catherine Burke Band– Catherine Burke Band is an upbeat, folk band that uses humour well and are open, honest and downright entertaining.

What makes Purbeck Folk Festival so fantastic?

The rural countryside location, the very reasonable ticket price (which includes camping), the array of unique musicians, interactive events running throughout the weekend and finally, perhaps most importantly, the wonderful people who attend and run the festival.

Help show your support for grassroot musicians. Think folk, think Purbeck Folk Festival 2013; book your tickets online now.

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