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Consistency is king – but what happens when things go wrong?

They say the consistency is king, and I for one preach that. But what happens when your life and work mean that you can’t be as consistent as you want to be? Do you throw in the towel? Do you just struggle on? Do you become completely overwhelmed and brand yourself as a complete failure? Well over the last few weeks I have not been as consistent as I want to be with my blog, just because I have not physically had enough hours in the day to do the work I need to do and do the blog as well. And I wanted to explain a little bit more about why that is. I’m also here to talk about how I am getting back on the path to being consistent. Because it really is important.

Ahh – September…

September is always a really busy month in my world. I have Christmas things that are kicking off for PR and marketing clients, but I also have Burghley Horse Trials and Blenheim Horse Trials. And this year I’ve chucked in a couple of extra fun things too. So first there’s Burghley Horse Trials. A number of my clients attend Burghley Horse Trials and it is a really big deal for them. I don’t actually attend in person and haven’t for a few years, but I am very involved in all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to make the Horse Trials a big success for my clients. One particular client is Hiho Silver. Not only do they have a stand there, but the company also sponsors the best dressed at the first trot up. Because it is a sponsorship, a lot of preparation goes in behind the scenes before the event even starts. I was absolutely thrilled with how all this came together during the event, but it does take a lot of time. Worth every second though – seeing a big project come together perfectly is a real buzz and one I wouldn’t trade!

Then there was Style, Skills & Silver

A few days later we embarked on Hiho’s very first instameet which was called Style, Skills and Silver. This took place at The Fish Hotel in Broadway and was absolutely amazing on every possible level. I loved every minute, but it took a lot of work behind the scenes too. Emma Warren, Hiho’s Queen Bee, was the person who came up with the idea and did do a huge amount of work, but everyone involved also worked their socks off on their respective elements to make the day the huge success it was. 

Then there was Blenheim Horse Trials

The next thing was Blenheim Horse Trials which, again, was a brilliant event. I did actually attend on the Friday too. Again, Hiho Silver sponsored the best dressed at the first trot up, and there was quite a bit to do around that. I did go for the day on the Friday as I mentioned, and met up with a few people and had a really great time. But it’s another day out of the system and when I have a certain amount of work to do, it’s my blog and content that takes the hit (and so it should be!).

And then there’s my second TEDx talk…

And then this month, just for a laugh, I was very very pleased to accept the invitation to do my second TEDx talk. This one is at TEDx Telford in 10 days time. Not only did the application process take a little bit of time in terms of having to submit various things, but also preparing a talk. I’ve got another rehearsal to go and then the actual event itself. At every stage, this does take quite a lot of time, and so it should do. TED and TEDx are big institutions and when you have the privilege of being invited to speak at these, you need to pay it the respect it deserves. This means time, energy and a whole lot of sweat(!) go into making sure that what I am presenting is useful to the audience and withholds TED and TEDx’s values too. I take this quite seriously because I think it’s such an honour to be invited not just for one talk but for my second. I kind of think this proves that the first one wasn’t all that bad!

Excuses?

I’m not trying to make excuses but I’m being realistic here. My blog and the content I create have to support my business. When I have plenty of work to do, and the reason I have created this content (as in, to help people, create opportunities and show what I can do) has created the work I want, it would be crazy not to do those things in order to create more content, to get the opportunities that I’ve already been given. See what I mean? So the blog is the thing that’s taken a hit. I do tend to schedule my blogs in advance and I have a load saved as draft, but being a bit of a perfectionist (which is not a great thing), I like to proofread, tweak, add links and images after I’ve written them. This means that although I have quite a few saved and ready to go, they still take quite a lot of work to get to the final stages.

This isn’t a bad thing. I did really beat myself up about it because I do preach that consistency is king. I’m not changing that – it is!

But it’s not everything…

I haven’t dropped ball on everything. My social media is still pretty strong. But that’s how I think it should be. I like to experiment, try and test different things on different platforms, so I can pass this learning on to my clients and then they get the to use my ‘testings’ on their own accounts. Also, I feel that the referrals and everything else from my social media to my website and to my other social media platforms makes them really really valuable. And as someone who teaches and lectures on social media, I need to be on the pulse on that.

I really love writing and sharing what I’ve been up to with you all. Because of the amount of time and energy each blog takes to write, that tends to be the thing that gets the biggest hit when I’m busy. So I’d like to apologise. I’ve still been putting out at least one blog each week, but it can be up to three (as per my schedule). I’m thinking of revising the schedule too – but that’s another blog!

What do you do to get consistency back?

If you feel like you’ve dropped all the balls and want to get your consistency in content creation back again, I have some tips…

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. These things happen. We all make mistakes and when things get busy it’s very easy to become less consistent because you’re overwhelmed everything else. Accept that this is life. But also accept that you need to pick yourself up and crack on. Don’t dwell.
  2. Start with one thing. If you feel like you’ve dropped all the balls don’t try and pick them all up and start juggling at the same time because you’re just going to feel overwhelmed. If you think that you can pick up one social media platform at a time, for example, then do it. And do that one well. You can then add the rest in when you’re feeling a lot more confident in what you’re doing. So rather been completely overwhelmed by everything being thrown at you all over again, just add one thing at a time into your schedule so you know that you can cope.
  3. And last but not least – you need to get back on it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, you might wonder why you need to get back on it. Because things have been going well without being consistent in your content. But I think it’s because you’ve been consistent for so long. And this means it’s not something you should consider stopping too quickly. I’m not prepared to drop it. I’ve kept my social media channels running as I said above, but the blog for me is really really important for so many different reasons. It’s been so useful for me. I know how much it helps people and I get lots of lovely comments from people saying they’ve read something on my blog and it’s changed the way they view something. That, to me, is so important. 

So I hope that’s helped. Being consistent is king. It really, really is, but I also want to acknowledge in this blog that we all make mistakes and we all drop the ball. What’s important is how we pick it back up and carry on. 

 

Why I reduced my blogging schedule

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and your blogging schedule is another addition to your workload? Do you feel like your blogging schedule is slipping? Or maybe you made the conscious effort to reduce your blogging schedule? Yeah… I did that too…

You may have noticed that my blogging schedule has slipped a little of late. Well, that’s not entirely true. It didn’t so much slip, it was more a conscious decision to blog less. To reduce my blogging schedule. But I’ve come to realise that, for me, this wasn’t such a good choice. So here I wanted to explain why I reduced by blogging schedule and why I have every intention of ramping it back up again…

Why I reduced my blogging schedule

Can we nip back in time? A while ago – well, over a year ago – I set myself a challenge. To blog once a day for 40 days. It was my 40 day blogging challenge. The aim was simple: I needed to get blogging for myself. At the time, I did a lot of blogging for other people’s sites and I saw the power it had. But for myself? Never had the time – too busy- nothing to say- insert any excuse you like. I had and used them all. I always like to try and test things so, when a client asks a question, I can actually help solve an issue because I’ve been there and done it. With blogging, I had done this for clients but not for myself, so I knew I needed to change that… so I started the blogging challenge.

What happened after 40 days?

After the 40 day blogging challenge, I reduced my schedule from once a day to three times a week because, really, once a day was not practical for me at that time – three times a week was. It felt good to have a plan and, after writing once a day for 40 days, three times a week was a breeze. I liked it. I got lots of information out, I had lots of lovely feedback, it generated traffic for my website, enquiries and clients. It ticked all the boxes.

As for the negative side of things, blogging three times a week is still pretty time consuming. I’m writing this blog at 11pm on a Tuesday night for a future Wednesday posting. Also, writing three times a week does mean that I can’t do everything else I want to do for promotion and marketing because there isn’t enough time. Well, OK, that’s not quite true. A bit less mindless social media time would generate this deficit. But I digress.

I decided a couple of months ago that I should knock one blog on the head, reducing to two posts a week – on a Wednesday and a Friday. I did also have a TEDx talk to prepare for, which did take a lot of time, I introduced a regular Live session on a Monday afternoon on my Facebook page, and I planned a lot of video content to record. But I felt like something was missing. In addition, I wrote guest blogs for Eventing Nation, become digital marketing partner for The Business Barn and landed two more magazine columns (joining my NFU Countryside column) in Absolute Horse and Equestrian Life. So I haven’t been sitting on my bum doing nothing.

But something was missing… I missed writing three blogs a week!

I know, I do wonder what planet I am on most days. The facts are this…

  • I love writing
  • I get great feedback from my blog posts
  • I reach my ‘tribe’ through my blog
  • People get to know me through my blog
  • My blog helps my SEO
  • Blogs help my web traffic
  • Blogs allow me to share unique content

So, in short, I will bring back Monday blogs, because of all of the above. At this stage, I’m not going to commit to a blog each and every Monday, but that is what I would like to achieve. I’m not saying I won’t knock it back to two blogs again in the future, but at the moment, I’m back at three. And I know it’s weird, but I’m kind of excited.

So, that’s why I reduced by blogging schedule- and why I’m ramping it back up again.

How often do you blog and why?

 

When is it OK not to blog?

when is it OK not to blogWhen is it OK not to blog? The short answer is that consistency in everything you do in your business is really, really important. So, therefore, you’d think that the answer to this is that you should always blog. No matter what. But I think there’s an exception to the rule.

When is it OK not to blog?

I talk about consistency a LOT. I have consistently published three blogs a week on my website for a flipping long time. And I’m really proud of it. I love writing. I love sharing my knowledge. And it works as a great tool for my business too. Many people who speak to me about small business coaching or equestrian and country PR and marketing have seen my website first. Some have read a few blogs. Some have read them all (thanks if that’s you!). Blogging is a really important thing for my business, and it’s a really important ‘thing’ for yours too. It has put me on the map in a big way (in addition to the other things I do), and I love it. But sometimes, life gets in the way, and as any blogger will know, content doesn’t manifest out of thin air. Sadly. Although I could be onto a million dollar idea if I can make that happen…

So I should blog all the time, consistently?

Yes, yes you should. That’s the short answer. But you may have noticed that last Monday, I didn’t publish a blog. It bothered me (more than I can express) that I didn’t. But I had a word with myself and realised that sometimes it is OK not to blog. See, I have really rotten cold last weekend (well, from about Thursday) and I felt really rough. I am not a sickly person and I don’t handle illness well. I’m one of these ‘I’m too busy to be ill’ people. I know. It’s not a great quality. As the mother of twin toddlers, running my own business, two horses, a dog that is very high maintenance and being crazy busy (I mean, I know everyone is, just for the record), I can’t just stop. I have been going to bed early, eating paracetamol like Smarties and so on. But life doesn’t just stop. However, removing a bit of pressure can be really helpful.

When is it OK not to blog?

I could have prioritised last Monday’s blog above going to bed early and getting another hour’s quality sleep. Should I have? Well, I’m going to say no. Because although I love blogging and it’s important for my business, because I have been a bit sickly, I’d been slower at other things. I had more emails in my inbox that I would have liked, the house still needed cleaning/washing done and all those boring things. And my clients still needed my attention in coaching sessions. There’s little point in working your backside off to attract the right clients and then doing them a disservice because you’re using your energy badly. Do you know what I mean? So last Monday’s blog was a casualty of me feeling a bit ‘meh’ and needing to focus on the core. What I NEED to do for my business on a day to day level rather than want or need to do on a big picture level.

Life happens

See, life happens. I’m not playing up a cold as something dramatic. It isn’t. But it shows that something as minor as a cold can make you readjust. When bigger life things happen or you and your focus is NEEDED elsewhere, things do slip. And you can either beat yourself up for it or just accept it and aim to get back on track as soon as you can. The former won’t help. If you’re NEEDED elsewhere, you can’t change that. All you can change is how you feel about the choice that you’ve made.

What’s ‘thought leadership’ and why should you care?

What's thought leadership and why should you care?Have you heard the term ‘thought leadership’? Have you wondered what it means and why you should take thought leadership seriously? It sounds a bit weird, but in essence it’s very very simple, and it’s something that you can use your blog to help you with.

What does thought leadership mean?

When I talk about thought leadership with my clients, I usually then mention blogging… maybe even vlogging, but blogging is the first point I talk about. In whatever profession you’re in, if you’re looking to attract clients, becoming seen as an expert in your field is a very very good strategy. This does, however, rely on you being good at what you do and actually being an expert, but that’s a whole different blog. Even if you’re an expert in your niche only, that’s fine. You don’t need to know everything about everything. You need to be able to inspire, be honest and genuine, and share your thoughts and your style online. Thought leadership allows you to share your thoughts, ideas and expert advice in a way that people will see you as a leader – as an authority. This authority will make people think about you when they have an issue or a question about something that’s well within your field of expertise. And that’s why it matters…

And what if you don’t want to be seen as an expert?

Well, exploring the idea of thought leadership might not be for you. But then you might also need to think about what this is projecting to your potential customer. If you are looking for help and advice in an area, who do you look for? The chances are that you’ll look for someone who is an expert, well known, etc. in that area. It would be a bit weird to work with someone who wasn’t, wouldn’t it?

There are many ways that you can find people to work with. Word of mouth, social media, asking for recommendations, etc. But having a point online, such as your blog, where people can come and read your genuine and honest thoughts and ideas is a great idea. It’s another reason why blogging should form a key part of your marketing strategy.

Does it work?

Yes. I can honestly tell you that I have had people reach out to me because of something that they have read that I have written. However, there’s one way that it really won’t work. I write about stuff that I know about, that I’m confident about, that I have read about and learnt about and that I’ve tried and tested and experienced. I will never stop learning. In many ways the term expert does feel a bit like an itchy jumper for me, but I do know my stuff and I know that the theories I apply and the knowledge I share works, and works well, when applied. But this has been achieved through failures, trying and testing things.

I really enjoy sharing my knowledge. I love helping and supporting people. And I feel humbled and honoured when people email or message me to tell me that something they read on here changed the way they viewed things, allowed them to try new things or helped them learn something… or even explain something they haven’t really understood previously. I like that. I like it a lot.

Are you a blogger or an influencer? Or both?

are you a blogger or an influencer?Are you a blogger or an influencer? They’re the same, aren’t they? Well no, no they’re not. You can be an influencer and a blogger, just a blogger, or just an influencer… here I hope to explain the difference. Not only is this blog for you if you’re not quite sure which category you fall into, but for brands too.

This blog was inspired by Haynet’s podcast, episode eight, which was hosted by the lovely Sam Hobden, owner and founder of Haynet. Listen to her ‘what makes a blogger an influencer’ podcast.

Are you a blogger or an influencer?

If you’re a blogger in the purest sense, you write a blog, which is an online written ‘log’. The term ‘blog’ came from the phrase weblog if that makes the word make a bit more sense. A blog can take many forms but blogs are generally informal and chatty in style. Blogs vary hugely in content, depending on the writer or objective.

Now, many influencers have a blog, but that’s not necessarily what earns them their title as influencer. An influencer is essentially someone who has influencer over others. Not in a weird or bad way, let’s just be clear. When people put a lot of time and effort into their social media, their audience (usually) grows, and this audience is usually engaged with the influencer. Let’s call the influencer Charlotte. So let’s imagine that Charlotte has grown an audience of 11k on Instagram. She takes pics of beautiful countryside things and gets lots of engagement on her feed. People ask her where they can buy what she’s wearing, or what she thinks about x’s new range, or the best place to visit in a certain county for country things. Charlotte is an influencer. She might have a blog. Her influence could be limited to a specific platform (like Instagram) or more widespread. She could have a blog too and use that to help support her influencer status. If she wants to. But she doesn’t have to.

How do you know if you’re an influencer or a blogger?

In simple terms, if your following engage with you and ask you for advice, ideas, buy things that you’re talking about or wearing, you’re an influencer. Because something you have done or said has influenced them. Or even they see you as such an authority that people reach out to you and ask you your opinion. If that’s you, you’re an influencer.

If you write beautiful blogs about your adventures as a creative outlet, just for you, you’re a blogger.

Or you can be both, if you write blogs about products, services, looks, etc that people read and absorb… and then take action on.

Don’t forget to have a listen to Haynet’s podcast about bloggers and influencers for more infroamtion.

I’ll blog when I have business

I'll blog when I have a businessA few weeks ago, I was chatting to someone about their business. They had big plans and great ideas, but a line that they said had me confused. And that was a line about blogging. And when they were going to start blogging.

See, part of their marketing plan was to use their blog. I liked that. It ticked my content marketing box. The thing that I queried was when they were planning to put the time into blogging. And that was when their business had become a success. Not before. The line ‘I’ll blog when I have a business’ stuck with me. I didn’t really get it. Here’s why.

Let’s look at why we blog

There are plenty of reasons to start a blog. I mean, I could rattle a load off to you now. SEO, brand awareness, social media content, exclusive content, thought leadership, promotion, etc. etc. etc. All of these elements work for established business. I have absolutely no doubt about this – they’re one of the reasons why I put so much time and effort into blogging and why it’s an important part of my marketing strategy. But do you think that all these things could also help new businesses? Yep. I do too.

Another major perk of blogging

Another major bonus of blogging against other forms of marketing is the cost of entry. That would be zero. You can get a blog on a platform like WordPress for £0 if you’re happy to have wordpress in the URL, and we’re talking pounds if you aren’t. So, something that is FREE, that can allow people – customers, partners, collaborators and more- to find out more about you, and it goes to the bottom of the pile? See… I just don’t get that.

I get that blogging can be tricky

I understand that some people struggle with blogging. In fact, I’ve written an article all about it and ways to help overcome some of the common issues. I also understand that some people will never ever ever blog. That’s fine too. It’s not something I would advise or suggest (as in, I think everyone should blog), but that’s fine. Everyone has their own beliefs and quirks. But if you’re looking to integrate blogging into your marketing plan in the future to help promote your business, then please PLEASE consider starting sooner rather than later. As you get busier, your time will be more stretched, especially as your business grows, and blogging might find itself at the bottom of your list. But what if you could put in some of the legwork now, when you have more time, and have this content continuing to generate leads and interest now and in the future? If you’re new to your business and you’re trying to build one, and blogging is part of your plan for the future, then I would really really urge you to consider starting it now. It could help you to reach where you want to be quicker at the same time as helping to support you moving forward.

How I embraced blogging

I’d blogged for clients for a long time, but my own blog got knocked to the bottom of the list for a long time. I know. Pretty shameful given my line of work. I was determined to do a better job, so I decided, in my infinite wisdom(!) that writing a blog every day for 40 days was a good idea. Yep – I doubt my sanity sometimes too. However, it was the ‘baptism of fire’ that I needed and I really haven’t looked back since. I would urge you to try blogging, You don’t need to do one a day, or even one a week, but start. Write something relevant and authentic, promote it, and see where it leads. And keep doing that over and over again. And if you’re stuck, I have some blogs that might help you…

End of the 40 day blogging challenge

How dictation software can make blogging a whole lot easier

Should you bother with a blog?

Why I love… why the new blog series

Why I love... my new blog seriesI’ve been trying to think of a way to share with you the numerous gems I come across in my travels… because I am lucky to find a lot. This might be a book (and I read a lot), or a podcast, or a gorgeous bit of stationary or maybe something even more special in terms of a stunning or clever product that I’ve bought, been given or have helped to promote. I promise that everything in the ‘why I love’ series will be something that I genuinely love. I do get to see a lot of lovely products in my equestrian and country PR and marketing role for a couple of key brands, and even more in my business coach role, but I want to give you my take on some of my top finds in this blog series. It might seem self indulgent and that really isn’t the intention. And I’ll explain my reasoning…

Why I want to share what I find with you

You know those people who find something extraordinary and then hide or keep it to themselves? One of my children is currently going through this phase with small rocks and acorns. You see his face light up when he uncovers a dirt encrusted rock and he’s delighted… and then you see the sneaky little devil go and stash it in the seat of his push along quad thingy or the hole that the parasol fits down on his sandpit. Why? Because he’s not too keen on me, his Dad or his brother touching, looking at or finding out about his ‘precious’. He’s really into rocks. Anyway, I’m pleased to say that the things I get excited about are ever so slightly more useful that rocks or acorns (well, to adult humans anyway), and I like to share. If it’s a resource I have found that has helped me learn something, I want to share it with people I think will benefit. If it’s a lovely ‘thing’, well, I just like to share the knowledge of things I have found, bought and adore with people I think will love them too. And if it’s a client product that’s jaw droppingly gorgeous, well, I really, really want to tell people about that. I know it’s sad cliche and everyone says it, but that thing about raising others up and helping them progress and improve? Yeah. I’m all in on that score. And I also really like it when people tell me about brilliant things that they have found that  they think I might like. Recommendation for someone you know and trust is a big thing for me, so I am extending that to you. Equally, I would LOVE to hear about things you recommend. I am planning to cover one ‘thing’ in each post, and anything connected to that thing that you would recommend would be brilliant.

Will be be all business things?

Nope. There will be a good amount of things I love that are connected to business. I have a vice for business books and have a collection that could rival Amazon, and there are lots of other lovely business-y things I do like from Apps and software to podcasts and other businesses… but I also love well made products with a story, brands with a heart and the brilliant people behind them. I find the detail and design of some products completely amazing and I find it equally gutting when no one knows the story behind why something is as it is. So I have adopted the role for the things I love. To share with you why they’re special and why I love them.

So, that’s it – the reason behind the ‘why I love…’ series. And if you have something you think I’ll love, or know of something you think it right up my street or could be of benefit to my clients, friends, Small & Supercharged VIPers and more, Well, I would love to hear from you.

Stay tuned for the first one next week… I just thought giving you an explanation to the thought process was a good idea. I’ve been struggling with the Monday blog theme for a while now, but I am hoping that this ticks all the boxes. Here’s to ‘why I love’. I hope you love it too.

Blogstars – Harriet Edwards – A Girl About Country

Harriet EdwardsBlogstars – the occasional series I run on here looking at some superb bloggers that have caught my eye – is back… and what I treat I have for you… it’s only A Girl About Country, aka Harriet Edwards!

I have the pleasure of knowing Harriet as she’s a brand ambassador for Hiho Silver, but she also works with a number of brands I have connections with and adore. Her style is just superb, her blogs are well written and interesting, she’s a proper country girl and, you know what else? She is so flipping lovely! I met Harriet properly at Badminton Horse Trials this year and she’s even more lovely in the flesh (and, let’s be clear, she’s always been a delight). Actually, it was her influence that MADE me add to my Fairfax & Favor collection. OK. She didn’t make me. She actually offered some really good advice to help me pick the right colour Drivers and told me how and when she wore hers, and that made me think about how I could wear them too. So I bought. Anyway, I digress… here’s Blogstars…

What made you start blogging?

Honestly, I think it has to be attributed to my shopping addiction! I’ve always been very passionate about style and more specifically country style. The countryside is my home but just because you need to wear practical clothes it doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish too. A perfect example of this combination of practicality and classic style is Fairfax & Favor – needless to say a good few years ago I fell in love and started my collection. It quickly expanded and through sharing my pictures of their gorgeous products I was encouraged by the guys at Fairfax & Favor to start a blog. I laughed it off at first – I’m not great with technology, but came round to the idea and the rest, as they say, is history!

A Girl About Country British Polo GinHow do you measure the success of A Girl About Country?

My blog is very much a hobby. I have a very stressful and somewhat scientific full time job that keeps me busy, so blogging is an outlet for me. That means that my idea of success is probably different to those who blog full time. For me, the success is knowing that what I have said or shared has made a difference to someone else or that they enjoyed reading what I have written. The first few times I wrote a post (and to some extent even now), I would feel a little bit nauseous at the thought that no one would bother to read what I had spent hours agonising over. The biggest measure of success for me has to be hearing from my followers that I have inspired them to try something new – the one I’ll remember most is a lovely lady who contacted me after reading my post on the Femmes Fatales (an all ladies shooting club), she had never even picked up a shotgun before but was inspired to give it a go after reading my post and now she’s a regular at their events!

Tell us about the post you’ve most enjoyed writing/has been best received for A Girl About Country

The blogs I’ve enjoyed writing the most are also the ones that I invariably feel most nervous about releasing into the world. The one’s that open my life and my choices up for criticism which actually makes me feel quite vulnerable but at the same time I feel so passionate about that particular subject that I really want to put my point of view on the table. The post that I believe has been best received was one of these blogs – it was an account of my first experience game shooting which is a very controversial and emotive topic to talk about. I was expecting so much negativity for that post and don’t get me wrong I did get some, but the overwhelming response was positivity and more importantly education. A lot of people really didn’t understand the reasons (my reasons at least) behind shooting game and I think I managed to help people understand that – even if they didn’t A Girl About Countryagree.

How do you promote A Girl About Country?

As I mentioned, A Girl About Country is my hobby and so I don’t really promote it as much as I’d like to but I do utilise my Instagram account to direct people to my blog. I try and link the content with Instagram and the actual blog site so that the two are synonymous and people identify with both.

Any tips you’d pass onto people thinking of blogging?

YES! I feel very strongly about this, particularly with the influx of new country/style bloggers. Of course you should look through others content and take inspiration from that, in fact that’s a total compliment but please please please stay true to yourself. That is my biggest bit of advice. Don’t write about the things you think people want to see, write about the things that YOU love and you’re passionate about because that is what people really want to see. If you are trying to do something that your heart isn’t 100% in, just because you see others enjoying success with it, it won’t work. Be true to yourself and you will only be successful.

Has anything good come out of blogging?

Absolutely – if I didn’t enjoy blogging I wouldn’t do it, so that must mean some good has come from A Girl About Country in Ariatit right? If it ever gets to the point where I feel like I’m not enjoying it anymore I will definitely stop. I know that most people will expect a particular answer to this question – freebees, but the truth is getting freebees is about the furthest reason from the truth possible why I started blogging or enjoy blogging. I’m very independent and I’ve always bought my own things so I wouldn’t want or expect to blog solely for freebees – as soon as people do that the blog becomes false. The very best thing that has come out of blogging is new friends, I have been introduced to some of the best people and have formed some fantastic friendships and from that enjoyed some amazing experiences. It’s all about spreading the love!

Where can we find you online?

The blog – www.agirlaboutcountry.com

Instagram: harriet_lily

 

 

Blogstars – Andrea Owen – Mud on my Mulberry

Andrea Owen In this ‘Blogstars’ blog, I chat to Andrea Owen – aka Mud on my Mulberry. Andrea is a country blogger who has horses and dogs, but has really worked hard to create several points of difference between herself and other bloggers. And her look book and ‘Shop My Look’ features certainly do that. Here are a few words from the lady herself…

Why did you start blogging? My blogging kind of came by accident I guess, I began by sharing pictures of outfit ideas, beauty tips, my dogs and horses on Instagram and it evolved from there. I love writing and it felt like a natural progression from Instagram to give people more information and write more which is why I started the blog. It’s really important to me to write from the heart and stay genuine, and I think that comes across in my posts. I have some really exciting projects on the go and cannot wait to get them out there too!

How do you measure the success of Mud on my Mulberry? I measure success by the feedback I get from people, all of which so far has been really positive. I think it’s easy to get consumed with how many followers you have or haven’t got and how many visitors you have to your blog, but I don’t think it matters if you have 10 or 10,000 as long as they like what you are doing and the response is positive then that’s all that matters.

Tell us about the post you’ve most enjoyed writing/has been the best received I’ve just started the look book page on my blog and these features are definitely the most fun, and the feedback on them Mud on my Mulberryhas been fantastic. I began doing the look books as I felt that would make me individual and different to similar bloggers, plus I love photography, so it enables me to get creative with ideas and themes. I’m just at the beginning of the development of these and I have plans to make them even better!

How you promote Mud on my Mulberry? I promote my blog mainly through Instagram. Instagram is a really strong tool to grow your network and following. Using strong imagery and carefully chosen hashtags can have a real impact on your followers. I also find that following interesting brands or people and commenting on other people’s posts grows my following.

Any tips you’d like to pass on to first time bloggers/people who are interested in blogging? My advice to first time bloggers/people interested in blogging would be find what makes you different to everyone else- there are so people blogging now, you need to find what makes you different. Also, be yourself because this is what people want to get to know, stay genuine and true to yourself- it’s easy to be influenced by what others are doing, but don’t be afraid to stand out!

Andrea Owen Mud on my MulberryHas anything ‘good’ come out of blogging? Lots of good things have come out of blogging, I’m lucky enough to be a brand ambassador for some wonderful companies which obviously comes with perks of being sent some lovely things to include on my blog and in my look books, as well building relationships with the people who work for or run those companies. I’ve also made a strong network of like minded bloggers. We all bounce ideas off each other and it’s fab to have them for support and encouragement. It also gives me a platform to experience new things. This year I want to try polo for the first time and I’m also going shooting for the first time too!

Where can we find Mud on my Mulberry online?

Instagram: mud_on_my_mulberry

Blog: www.mudonmymulberry.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTLP4PEag5CmYpddqqKN4pw

A few minutes with… Samantha Hobden – Haynet

Today’s ‘a few minutes with…’ is all about Samantha Hobden from Haynet. Haynet is a fabulous community online created for bloggers.

Tell us about you and your backgroundSamantha Hobden

I am a half Finnish mum born in the seventies running two businesses, two terriers, a handful of chickens and one huge horse! I have always worked with the public sorting out problems through customer services or promoting companies through marketing and PR. These industries have ranged from the banking sector, hairdressing and medical companies to the car industry. I have also worked in a partnership with a clothing and accessories business. I am now working within the equestrian industry talking all things blogging and social media, which I definitely enjoy the most.

What made you want to start a business?

Having worked for many big companies and sorting out their client’s problems, I knew that I would rather be working for myself utilising these skills and helping smaller businesses. This has now expanded to the rural industry where they are experiencing tough times, so to help with their social media marketing I find hugely rewarding.

How is your business different?

I think because I own and run my own social network it enables me to give my clients and the work I do an extra audience. I would say the experience in running this business over the last few years enables me to use a wider network and encourage them not just to use the basics in social media but help them with content and trying to be just that little bit different.

What makes your product special?

As I don’t sell a product but a service, I would hope that my experience running a social media network would make an extra impact to potential clients needing help. with their social media.

If you had to sum up your business in five words, what would they be?Haynet

Telling your stories from the stables to the fields!! Sorry that is nine…..

Do you have a motto or ethos?

I cannot emphasise enough to have respect for your clients and work colleagues. Just be nice and friendly. There are times where mistakes are made, so say sorry. Don’t make excuses and own your errors. This builds respect and that goes a long way in business.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

Well as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and I think that applies to any new business. Give it time, put in plenty of research and thought and go with your gut feeling. It also takes time to gain a reputation and all the hard work you put in when starting will be worth it. However, it just may take some time, so be patient.

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively

As my business is totally online, I would have to say I would be lost without my iPad. I do all my work on a desktop and this is invaluable but my iPad takes over when I am away from home or away from my desk, it continues to work for me. Software wise I am a massive fan of Canva. I am no graphic designer but this piece of software has made my life so much easier. Photoshop made me cry…. So thankfully I discovered Canva before booking on a Photoshop course!

Best thing about running a business?

It is totally flexible and you only answer to yourself. You make the decisions whether they are right or wrong but the buck stops with you. It is also a massive learning curve being responsible for your own income and growing your business. However, it is a great learning curve!

Worst thing about running a business?

Being responsible for your work and this is potentially a tie. You cannot clock off at 5pm and having time off from it can be like organising a military operation. If you work from home like I do, it is not recognised I think as “proper work”. I think perception of working from home is sitting in front of the tv with your iPad watching Phil and Holly!

Top business blog you follow

I suppose it will have to be Andrew William Smith on Facebook. Every now and then you need to take a moment and listen to his video tutorials to make sure you are keeping an eye of the ever changing world of running a business, especially through social media.

Top business book you’ve read

I will side track from a business book and say The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. If you are ever thinking life is not going your way or work is getting you down, please read this book. It will change your outlook completely!

One thing we might not know about you

I love psychic mediumship and all things about it. I have read so many books on the subject and love seeing mediums and have been on workshops too. So make the most of this life before you move on to the next one…

Top business achievement

It has to be Haynet and the recognition and following I have with this now. Someone was talking to me the other day and one sentence from our conversation made me smile and think that running Haynet is all worth it. She was visiting a yard with her work and one of the liveries was telling her how she loved Haynet and had learnt from the blogs and content that was featured on it. She also said what a friendly equestrian place it was online. It may not sound much but it made my day!

Where can people follow you or your business online 

Haynet: http://www.hay-net.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/haynetblog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/haynetblog
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/haynetblog/