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.

social media and marketing trends for 2018For my last Haynet podcast of 2017, Sam asked me about social media and marketing trends for 2018 for equestrian and rural business. This was a fun one to do as it gave me a very good excuse to dig around the internet, to see if other bloggers and experts agreed with my thoughts. And it was very nice to read that they did. Of course, it’s hardly surprising. My personal thoughts and predictions are based on what I’ve seen over the last 12 months. And really that’s all we can do. We don’t know what amazing update Facebook might have planned. Or what Instagram might be plotting. Of course, we can look at the path the platforms have taken and the trends that we’ve seen and make educated guesses based on this. And is that enough? Well yes, I think it is. You see, we can’t predict the future, all we can do is plan the best we can using the information we have. And I hope the social media and marketing trends podcast will do that. For those who have listened and were keen to have my thoughts in written form, here they are. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts too – what do you think we’re going to see more of in the next 12 months? What marketing, social media and PR developments do you think we’ll see? I’d love to know…

Social media and marketing trends for 2018 for equestrian and rural business

The Haynet podcast is aimed at equestrian and rural businesses, and while all of the points below most definitely apply to equestrian and country businesses, I think they’re more generic in nature. Even though our businesses in this sector are niche, the big platforms aren’t. And that’s fine. Actually, it’s more than fine, it’s exciting. When looking at social media, these global platforms allow us to hook up with our niches in different countries and continents. But anyway, my thoughts on social media and marketing trends for 2018 for equestrian and rural business…

  • Digital is going to continue to grow. This is not really a crazy prediction based on everything we’ve seen over the years!
  • There will always be a place for quality magazines, but due to the online competition, only the best will rise. I think we’ll also see more of the great magazines increasing their digital and online reach.
  • Instagram will continue to grow – especially with innovations like Instagram stories, insights for business accounts, ads linked to Facebook, etc.
  • Facebook will continue to evolve, change, improve, annoy people and dominate.
  • Influencer marketing will continue to grow, but I also believe that influencers will become more professional and take their roles more seriously. And I think that those who don’t will have a much more challenging time working with brands.
  • Live Streaming is going to continue to grow. The platforms that support it love it. It’s great for engagement and connection and brings people from all corners of the globe together in one place.
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality. I think we’re going to see this become bigger too, but I don’t think it’ll be mainstream this year…
  • Video. Yep – video is big and exciting now, and I think it’s going to continue to grow. There are so amazing predictions relating to how much video content we are due to consume in the next few years.
  • Silent videos. With the increase in video, we also need to be aware that a lot of videos are enjoyed in silence, so it needs to wow in this way. And this will be more important than ever as video becomes more present on our social media feeds.
  • Shoppable social media. To make it easier for people to buy what they’re seeing.
  • Messenger platforms are going to become more commercial. 
  • Quality content will continue to win. ‘Engagement bait’ is being clamped down on, so real, quality content is the way forward.

However, let’s be honest, would you have predicted that Twitter would have doubled its character limitto 280? I wouldn’t because, to me, Twitter’s concise nature was in its DNA. So what I’m trying to say is that we’re in for an exciting year one way or another. Are you ready?!

Don’t forget to check out the Haynet Podcast where you can listen to the social media and marketing trends for 2018 podcast and a lot more besides.

HaynetToday’s gorgeous advent calendar competition giveaway comes courtesy of Haynet. Sam Hobden, the lady behind Haynet, has very, very kindly donated a stunning green saddlecloth with Haynet embroidery and a branded mug too.

Why am I giving away a Haynet Mug and Saddlecloth

I’ve had the absolute pleasure of knowing Sam for a number of years and, this year, have had the joy of working with her on the Haynet podcast. Now, if that sounds a bit OTT, you’ve no idea just how incredible Sam is. She’s a really lovely lady with a heart of gold, and does a huge amount for the equestrian community, particularly bloggers. She created the Haynet platform to support the blogging efforts of equestrian bloggers, by giving them a voice and a place to be. The platform has evolved over time, and Sam also runs two blogging awards (for country and equestrian bloggers) and is the person behind the #horsebloggers hashtag on Twitter. Again, this was created to help further the reach of equestrian blogs. And there’s the podcast too. I am really privileged to work with Sam on this. We do alternate episodes and have covered quite a few topics (you’ll hear from me again very soon too!). From what the #horsebloggers hashtag means to which social media platform people should be on, from Christmas promotion through to the best blogging platforms, it’s a great podcast. I might be a teeny bit biased as I work with Sam on it, but I really do think it’s a great listen (Sam’s are particularly great). The Haynet Podcast can be found here.

Why do I like the Haynet Saddlecloth and Mug?

Not all that long ago, Haynet got a rebrand to show the website’s links to the country community as well as the equestrian one. A new logo was designed and Sam commissioned the creation of some lovely promotional pieces to promote this. Actually, I got one of the mugs too. Anyway, you can probably guess that I’m a big fan of Haynet, so when Sam said she was happy to donate a couple of the lovely items she’d had made, I was thrilled. And I do love a bit of green!

Would you like to win the Haynet Saddlecloth and Mug?

You should – they’re both lovely! The competition will run until midnight the day that this blog is published. If you’re in time, all you need to do it pop on over to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page, watch the video that will be pinned to the top today and enter. That’s it! Of course, I’d love it if you’d tell your friends by sharing the post.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar competition – best of luck!

How to promote your equestrian and country business this ChristmasToday’s #wisdomwednesday post is all about how to promote your equestrian and country business this Christmas. Now, not only will you see some top tips written below, there’s also a podcast, created in conjunction with Haynet, that I put together about it. Now, one point to note, when I recorded this I did have a cold, so the husky voice isn’t here to stay, but I needed to get this podcast and these tips out into the world. So please excuse that!!

How to promote your equestrian and country business this Christmas – the podcast

The actual podcast is called How Can You Make Your Rural Business Standout This Christmas – and you can listen to the Haynet Podcast on their website. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘God no, I’ve left it too late – all is lost’. Just breathe. It’s fine. I’m going to help you. Ok? 

How to promote your equestrian and country business this ChristmasNow you’ve had a listen to the podcast, I wanted to just cover a few key points here, so you can crack on NOW and get started in promoting your business and your products on the run up to Christmas. Are you ready? Well we will begin…

  • Make sure you know your last posting days – these are your real deadlines. It’s not over until it’s over – by which I mean don’t throw in the towel until it’s time to stop. When you can do no more. If you sell a physical product, get your last posting dates sorted and have that as your new deadline. That’s not to say leave everything until then. DO NOT DO THIS. Get cracking straight away. I’m just saying that all is not lost until the end.
  • Use your social media… and use it well. If you have a promotion or a visual or a competition, make sure it is native to the platform. These always do better. So don’t ask people to share on Instagram. You can’t. You can repost, but you share on Facebook.
  • If an idea you have will work really well on one platform and not any others THAT IS FINE. Use the other platforms to promote what’s going on on the one platform. Not everything needs to work everywhere. That’s fine.
  • Put time into your visuals. Put energy into your images. While Instagram is all about the visual, Facebook and Twitter posts perform better too when accompanied by a good pic.
  • You can advertise – yep – on social media. The targeting is incredible. Make sure your content is good first though, and your visual and message are strong, otherwise it’s a waste of money.
  • Make sure you tell your database about what you’re doing. These people have engaged with your before, so why not give them the chance to engage with you again? Don’t SPAM them, but do keep them informed. It helps.
  • Get on video. Get on video. So that would be GET ON VIDEO. Talk people through your products and get this content on your social media, on your website, in you newsletters.
  • Add value. Write a note. Offer gift wrap. Add value and help your customers out. This will help your user generated content and is also something nice you can talk about.
  • Collaborate. Look to collaborate with brands that could help you. I’m currently working on a mega equestrian prize collaboration, and I can see how well it’s working. You can find out how collaborations work here.

So there you go, some additional information about how to promote your equestrian and country business this Christmas.

And don’t forget to have a listen to the other Haynet podcasts. I alternate these with Sam, founder of this fab platform, and there’s LOADS of information there you can tap in to. Enjoy!


Haynet PodcastHave you heard the new Haynet Podcast? I’m delighted to say that I’m working with Sam, the lady behind Haynet, on this, and we have a cracking series in store…

What’s Haynet?

Haynet is a lovely website that, when it started, really helped to bring blogging to the equestrian and country sector. Following a slight tweak in focus this month, Haynet is now helping to promote bloggers through the #horsebloggers hashtag, utilising strong social media networks, and is also working on new ideas as well as its existing Equestrian Blogger of The Year and Country Style Blogger of the Year awards. And you can find out more about Sam here – she was kind enough to take part in my ‘a few minutes with’ feature too.

What’s the Haynet Podcast?

The Haynet Podcast is a way to help support the country and equestrian industry through providing informative podcasts that people can listen to when they’re at the stables, walking the dog, driving – well, just any time they’d put on a podcast and escape to another world!

The first podcast is hosted by yours truly and addresses this question: ‘Is the equestrian industry in better shape than five years age?’. This was a question set by Sam and it did get my mind whirling. I mean, I know what I think based on what I’ve seen and how my business has gone, but I did also do a bit of research into the facts and figures surrounding this. If you’re interested in what I had to say, please have a listen here. And I’d love to know what you think too. Do you think the equestrian industry is in better haynet podcastshape than it was five years ago? How do you think it’s changed?

Coming up next on the Haynet Podcast

The idea of the Haynet Podcast is that each episode will end with a question, and one that myself or Sam will answer in the next episode. She’s already set mine (yes, I need to get on and record that pronto!), but I am more excited to hear how Sam tackles the one I asked last time: ‘what is the best platform to start blogging?’. I’m really looking forward to Sam’s response on this, and also the feedback it gets from the equestrian and country bloggers that follow her and the podcast. I wonder what she’ll say…

To listen to the Haynet Podcast, follow this link, and don’t forget to follow Haynet’s social media channels to keep up to date with the #horsebloggers hashtag and future episodes of the podcast. Enjoy 🙂

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 






Samantha Hobden is the lady behind Haynet, a brilliant website that provides a blogging platform and network for country and equestrian bloggers all over the world. Here’s a bit about her and why she started blogging…

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging purely to keep a journal of my horse’s medical condition on the advice from my vet. My horse had developed a number of sarcoids and at first were slow growing. They then started to increase in size so I kept a photographic digital journal for my own records. This then became a diary about everything to do with my horse and I enjoyed writing it.

How did you/do you measure its success?

I noticed that people were started to respond to the posts, especially when I used an alternative therapy for the treatment which was a success.

Tell us about the post you’ve most enjoyed writing/has been the best received

The post about the treatment of his sarcoids was the most successful as it offered advice on a more natural remedy.

How you promote your blog?

I decided to search other equestrian blogs as I was very interested to read about others who were having medical problems with their horses. However, back in 2011, I found searching for these blogs quite difficult to locate, let alone promoting them. I then decided to launch Haynet, which was a “social blogging network” for equestrian bloggers, to come to a central place on the internet where they could promote their own blog posts. So this was how I promoted my blog in the end!

Any tips you’d like to pass on to first time bloggers/people who are interested in blogging?

First of all, please don’t think you cannot blog because you have nothing to say or cannot put it into words. We all have something to say – it will be that someone may resonate with your posts and some may not. Don’t worry about those that are not interested in your posts, it certainly isn’t personal. Going back to my horse that had sarcoids when I first starting blogging, not everyone has had to deal with them. If your horse is lucky enough not to be blighted with them, then you probably wouldn’t read my post on it. However, with many horse owners struggling to contain these horrible lumps, my post may be of great help to them. Blog for yourself, but never make it a chore. If it becomes a chore then it may be time to stop, take a break or perhaps just change subject!

Has anything ‘good’ come out of blogging?

Blogging has changed my career! Starting my own blogging network has been a huge change in my life by creating a business out of it. I now help clients particularly in the farming sector promote their businesses through blogging and social media. I have made a huge amount of friends through blogging and made many business contacts. So an immense amount of good has come from it!

Where can we find you?

Please come and visit Haynet at: