Why did you started blogging?
I first started blogging in 2007 to share my new freelance coaching journey with friends and family. Most of them lived abroad and since I loved writing and wanted to practice my English language skills, the blog became my way of keeping everyone updated with my various ups and downs.
Over the years I went away from a typical diary format and now focus on growing a blog that you might call a coaching and a curious rider companion!
How do you measure its success?
The blog exists to help riders and coaches out there to ride and teach with horse’s wellness in mind. It is also my way of telling others what we do at Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy and how we do it. I consider it successful every time the post makes someone stop and think or gives them an idea that starts a chain of improvement in a skill they have battled with for a long time. Emails and messages from the readers as well as readers who become real life clients are my success measures.
Tell us about the post you’ve most enjoyed writing/has been the best received
This one is a funny one for me. Sometimes I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking up a post. Making sure it is what I want to convey, that it is clear and concise. It, no jokes, takes me hours to put together just to then receive a several hundreds views and no interactions whatsoever.
Then I might be in the middle of a lesson and think oh, this could make a nice quick blog post. Jot something quickly on my phone, put a post together in just about half an hour (editing photos etc), let it fly live thinking it might help a few riders just to be shared everywhere and hitting over 30k views.
To answer this question fully – the posts I most enjoy writing are those that draw from my riders’ or my own experiences, that try to address real, well-lived in issues that we managed to tackle and can now pass a little knowledge on.
How do you promote your blog?
Carefully! I have a very specific audience in mind that I want to reach so I adjust all my promotion activities to that. I mostly use social media and other blogging platforms to spread the word about each post and have in the past boosted posts on Facebook but have not done it for a long time now.
Any tips you’d like to pass on to first time bloggers/people who are interested in blogging?
Blog with passion for what you write about. Write about the things you would like to read in a way you would like to read. Add photos that make the words in the post come alive and have a clear “why” for every post you write.
Has anything ‘good’ come out of blogging?
I don’t even know where to start here and how to keep it to a few lines! I would totally monopolise Rhea’s blog space if I accounted for every amazing opportunity blogging has brought me in the last 10 years!
One of my most memorable blogging “goods” was being invited to learn from Anna Ross for several years. I think it was her mum who read my blog first I went to spend a day auditing Anna’s lessons almost 10 years ago and have learnt a lot through watching, tagging along and helping on the yards she was based. To this day I tell anyone who wants to listen to go and watch riders and coaches. Just sit, observe and listen. You don’t have to copy everything or teach the same but there is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom out there that can really be learnt by quiet observation and analysis.
Around 2010 I think I was sitting at Cafe Nero in London looking out at crazy amount of snow outside that stopped my teaching (and my income) for days when an email appeared on my screen. It was from a lady in Norway who said she’d been reading my blog and wondered if I would be interested in coming over and running a clinic for their riding club…These were the guys who trained with Andrew Murphy and many top riders and trainers in the world. I said yes of course and then spent weeks wondering what on earth could I teach them they didn’t already know!
I went over to run the weekend clinic once, twice, several times. An experience I will treasure forever that not only taught me a lot but gave me friends for life.
Similar opportunities happened over time, from invitations to run my training weekends to gaining real life, long terms clients who loved what they were reading on the blog. I have been sent products to review from various brands, met some amazing, inspirational people and that’s only the beginning as we have big plans for my little blog!
Thank you Rhea for the opportunity to write for this series!
Where can we find you online?