Good vibes at Goodroots festival – pt 2
There was a lot for women, especially female bloggers/bloggers to be, to learn at the Goodroots festival 2016. The most crucial thing for you to take away from this blog; the power of women working together and (metaphorically) lifting each other up.
Find out what else I took away from the panel discussion I went along to.
An incredible panel
The “From Blog to Business” panel discussion featured Melissa Hemsley, Niomi Smart, Sasha Wilkins (AKA Liberty London Girl), Madeleine Shaw, and was chaired by Phanella Fine.
Phanella, quite fairly, started the conversation by saying “I don’t know who to introduce first, this panel are all so incredible and have fingers in so many pies”.
“Just pressing publish is the best feeling in the world”
Sasha’s journey from blog to business
Sasha was one of the first bloggers having been a journalist and fashion editor before moving to New York to started an anonymous diary about bad dating experiences. When she started out, the only blog she’d read prior was Belle de Jour, so she reasoned “I’m not going to be a hooker” and started a space of her own. On having come so far Sasha said “I’d have told you that you were on crack if you’d told me I’d make a business out of this.”
The journey was far from glamorous – Sasha sold everything she had to get by, plugging away and writing every day. Sasha also described how she’d suffered from terrible social anxiety, low self-esteem and low confidence; she hated the idea of people judging her for her opinions. Everyone was encouraged to just write what’s in their head and to remember that everyone has “the fear.” Believe in what you are doing.
“There’s no excuse not to start now”
Madeleine’s journey from blog to business
Madeleine explained how she was originally meant to study at Newcastle University but ended up in Sydney instead (close enough…). Whilst in Sydney she took a job working in a health food cafe and, on seeing all the pictures of food she was posting, her friends encouraged her to start blogging. She was motivated by the notion at the time that “healthy food was steamed fish and broccoli” – not very appealing. Madeleine encouraged the audience to be confident in themselves, blogging can be quite lonely when you are creating the content by yourself.
“We just can’t predict in the next 5 years how it will all go – will we still be referred to as bloggers?”
Niomi’s journey from blog to business
Niomi started out with just a blog, then people started requesting videos, and although apprehensive at first so many of her friends were already doing it that she realised “there’s nothing to lose and if no one sees it it’s fine”.
“Just keep plugging away”
Melissa’s journey from blog to business
Hemsley & Hemsley, as we know them now, started out as private cooks. Their brand didn’t have a name but their clients referred to them as the “food fairies”. Melissa described how they actually kept putting the blog off and even after deciding to give it ago, still took another 3 months coming up with a name. Their first blog post was about Apple Cider Vinegar and the sisters were really scared and tried not to be disheartened when only 8 people read it. But as she said, the more you do, the better it gets – just keep plugging away! Melissa reminded us that we are all our own biggest critics, confidence comes from the words you tell yourself.
“Liberty London Girl was my inspiration”
The panel’s top tips for audience building
When asked about their tips for building an audience, the panel agreed this was something they were asked about the most.
9 top tips for building an audience:
- Post regularly
- It’s really hard and can become a full time job so try doing it at weekends when there’s more time
- Upskill yourself on SEO basics and tools
- Make friends online – comment on other people’s blogs, community is really important
- Make that human connection – people come to a blog because they like you
- Don’t expect it to happen overnight! But it will happen when you’re really committed
- Think about different platforms – can’t just be on a blog
- Don’t be afraid to say no to things unless they feel really right. There will be other opportunities
- Maintain your authenticity – put personal stuff out there
“I’m just an everyday girl talking about my thoughts”
On the negative side of social
All of the ladies agreed that it’s all too easy to criticise people unnecessarily on social. And whilst it’s hard to look past, and all too easy to focus on the negative, it’s important to look beyond the negativity and focus on the good stuff.
“When we started with Vogue it was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments”
A sense of community
The crowd of attendees were mostly women – as per the majority of people at the festival – but here, in front of this power panel of incredible women it really felt like a collaborative. Here was a massive community of women, not just talking about supporting other women, but really living those values.
“There’s nothing to be admired in a woman that’s scared to be ballsy”
Rather than trying to keep their piece of the health blogging pie to themselves, the panel shared tips and advice from their experience to help others to become a success, further burying the old stereotype that all women are “out to get each other” and only see other successful women as competition rather than inspiration and support.
“Intelligent women are interested in all of the things, all of the time”
Are you just starting out on your blogging journey? What are you waiting for?
I hope you’ve been inspired by the words of these smart and entrepreneurial women and I’d love to hear about your blogging adventures – comment below.