What it’s like being a Prince’s Trust Digital Ambassador | Laura Ferry

What it’s like being a Prince’s Trust Digital Ambassador | Laura Ferry

What is your involvement with The Prince’s Trust?

I work with The Prince’s Trust as a Digital Ambassador, using my platforms as a blogger on social media to share the positive ways that they impact the lives of young people, many of which are vulnerable, by giving them support, life skills and the confidence needed for further education, the workplace and beyond.  I love to shout about the free courses that they offer to those under 30.

Why did you choose The Trust as your charity of choice?

I am really proud to call the North East my home but it is usually considered to be a low socioeconomic area and there’s loads of kids here who grow up thinking that they’re not going to amount to anything when they’re older.  This happens all over the country but to counter that, the work of The Prince’s Trust reaches nationwide too.  I have seen first hand the impact that one of The Prince’s Trust courses had on someone that I know and they were able to really kick start their career as a result of completing one of their courses.  I’m really passionate about young having an equal start to succeed in life but often mainstream school takes a one size fits all approach and when difficulties occur in life, its hard for children to access the right support and get back on track.  I love that The Prince’s Trust are completely none judgmental and will help regardless of background, hardships and vulnerability, they help to give young people the skills and increase in self esteem to reach their potential.

Despite facing my own set backs in life, increasing my self esteem and confidence has had such a positive impact on my career and life in general and as well as promoting the courses that The Prince’s Trust offer, I want to share the experiences and knowledge that have helped me with the young people, along with generating discussions around wellbeing and mental health, in the hope of inspiring and helping them on their journey.

What would you say to other bloggers wanting to reach out and help The Trust?

If you’re passionate about the lives and success of young people and want to use your voice in a positive way, then get in touch with The Prince’s Trust.  They’re great to work with and open to ideas so that they can reach as many young people as possible.

To learn more about The Prince’s Trust, visit their website.

Discover your own strength in five minutes + a giveaway! – Sally Bibb (Author)

Discover your own strength in five minutes + a giveaway! – Sally Bibb (Author)

It’s human nature to focus more on our weaknesses because we are programmed to be alert to risks in our environment. We end up focusing on what isn’t working, often overshadowing all the positives. But what if you focused on and played to your strengths instead?

 

I (author Sally Bibb) have recently released The Strength Book, a practical and succinct book aims to revolutionise your life by helping you to identify what exactly makes you happy so that you will make the right choices; decide whether a job, activity or course is right for you; and understand why things seem to flow with some activities and some people, and not others. Knowing these things about yourself, and spending more time on what really energises and fulfills you – your strengths – will ultimately lead to a happier and more successful life.

 

Have you ever thought about why you are how you are, why certain things excite you and others drain you, even why you thrive on being a free thinking blogger type? Most people don’t really think about these things. But this insight can make a massive difference to your enjoyment, success and confidence.

 

Let me explain.

 

We know from neurobiology that we are who we are by the time we’re in our teens. After that we don’t change that much. So, for example, if you love connecting with people chances are that gives you a buzz and you’re good at it. On the other hand, if you’re not competitive but end up in a sales job you are never going to be great at it and it will likely drain you.

 

Sadly, some people end up drifting into careers they don’t really love and end of trying to make themselves into something they’re not. So, knowing your strengths is really important if you’re to find something you really love. Also, once you know your strengths you can use them more consciously and more often. This means you will be even better at what you do!

 

What do I mean by a strength? It’s something you’re naturally good at, love doing and energised by. Try this five minute exercise to discover yours: answer these three questions as honestly as you can:

 

1.     What did I do last week that I really love doing and energises me? List as many of the activities you can remember, however short

 

I had a great call with a new client about a blog post I’m writing for him, he loved some new ideas I’d shown him. I punched the air afterwards!

 

2.     What is it about me that meant I loved those things so much?

 

I like sharing my creative ideas and seeing my followers excited about them.
I like collaborating to spark new ideas.
I like knowing what the next step will be because it feels like progress is being made.
I like feeling I’m doing a good job and that my creative work is appreciated.

 

3.     Now list all the strengths you used in the above activities and highlight the three that give you the biggest buzz:

 

I’m good at explaining/communicating/sharing/teaching my ideas.
I’m creative.
I energise people and projects, my projects make progress (unless there is a factor outside my control!)
People often feel motivated and excited after talking to me about a project. I inspire people.
I encourage ideas generation – I make ‘two heads are better than one’ happen! People often say, you made me think of something new, or I always feel better/clearer/more on it after a call with you.
I understand quickly what people need/want to showcase online and can make it happen.
I’m good at keeping projects on track because I’m organised and conscientious
OR
If you’re a more visual person, draw this or make a collage with images that fit.
OR
If you’re more auditory, record yourself talking about this or speak to a friend or colleague about it.
OR
If you’re a very physical person imagine three large squares on the ground, each representing one of the three questions. Stand in each square as you answer each question. Then in the third square (the three strengths that give you the biggest buzz), strike a pose that represents the things that give you a great buzz.


In honour of the release, I’m giving away 2 copies of The Strengths Book to 2 Talented Talkers readers! Head over to their Instagram account to find out more!

We Explain: How to use Pinterest to boost your blog posts

We Explain: How to use Pinterest to boost your blog posts

When we think of social media, Pinterest is always included on that list. That said, it’s a bit of a weird social media. You tend to have people either SUPER into Pinterest but not totally sure how it relates to their blog, or people who avoid the platform all together ‘cause it’s a bit confusing. (and of course, the people who smash it out). So, I want in this little article to explain why you should be using Pinterest, then a few quick tasks to get you started.

So, why as a blogger should you be focussing on Pinterest?

If we look at Twitter, an average post lasts about 30 minutes. In Instagram, you’re talking 1-3 days that people are actually seeing your content. This means that if you’re promoting your posts there, you only have a limited amount of time where people will click through. However, with Pinterest, that isn’t the case.

When you add something as a pin, that pin has a life of years. For example, I’ll write one tweet and get about 10 views to my blog in the following hour or so. I added one pin to Pinterest 22 months ago and I get 100+ views to my blog every single day.

This means, if you really want to increase your page views and get more people reading your blog, then Pinterest is a fabulous platform to really focus on and grow. Other socials are about community, Pinterest is different, it’s basically a giant visual search engine, and one we can really utilise.

 

What are the basics to using Pinterest?

If you’ve not used Pinterest before, then it’s basically a giant pin board. You see lots of nice pins, and ones which you may want to look at later, you add to a board. For example, I have a travel board for quite a few countries, when I see a blog post I like on that country, I pop it on the board. Then when I’m holiday planning I have a great resource to use.

So, the basics to get your Pinterest set up includes:

  • Setting up a business profile – so that you can show the link to your blog. Pop in an interesting bio about you too.
  • Creating boards around your target reader – it’s good to have boards in the niche that you blog about, for example, if you’re a travel blogger then lots of boards on different countries is great. That said, think about your target reader – they may like travel but they probably also like cooking or other related things. So, you don’t need to keep your boards super niched.
  • Get pinning – this is the most important bit. You should be pinning every day, a range of content that isn’t yours and some from your own blog too. Ideally, you love Pinterest so that this doesn’t turn into a chore! If you struggle with consistent pinning then consider using a schedule tool like Tailwind or Boardbooster, these allow you to sit and pin for an hour or so and they will the spread your pins throughout the week.

So, your Pinterest profile is set up, what do you need to do now to get your pins moving and people heading to your profile?

Some quick tasks you can do to help get your Pins moving

  • Create some optimised graphics with Canva – when you go to Canva you can select Pinterest and it will give you the optimum size for your pin. The best pins have text on them, so pop some text on there to encourage more repins.
  • Add a ‘pin it’ hover on your blog – encourage people who visit your blog to add your images to pinterest easily. You can do this through a plug in.
  • Join some group boards – group boards basically mean you pair up with some other people and when you pin to the board it goes to all the contributor’s followers. They are a handy way to help grow your profile and have your pins seen by more people. You can find group Pinterest boards through blogging facebook groups or having a search on Pingroupie.
  • Try some promoted pins – you can promote on Pinterest which helps your important pins get more of a boost. Good thing is that you can spend as little as £5 and that still gives it a decent boost.

There we have it, as with any social media, you need to spend time on Pinterest for it to really grow and flourish. But if you need to pick any social to get your head around and start using more, then Pinterest is most definitely the one which will give you the best returns!

What tips do you have for Pinterest?


By Jasmin Charlotte – follow her on Pinterest here!
(Jasmin is a lifestyle blogger and blogging coach at jasmincharlotte.com. She writes loads of tips to help you grow your blog and social media, plus understand the more techy bits of the blogging world. She offers blog coaching which includes Pinterest if you need tailored advice!).

Behind the Blog | Dalton Banks

Behind the Blog | Dalton Banks

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog? How did you first get into blogging?

I’m behind the blog that is Dalton-Banks which is a place for food and travel lovers. I share recipes that I love to make, where to eat in my hometown, London, and travel tips and advice about the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit. I started my blog to initially share recipes and to showcase my interest in food as that was the industry I wanted to work in. It paid off – I love my job and I still get to blog about the things I love!

You’ve had some fab opportunities through blogging – what’s been the best opportunity you’ve had so far?

I’ve been very lucky to eat some incredible meals. I think one of the best meals I’ve been invited to was a very recent one showcasing two of my favourite ingredients: Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar. It was at one of my favourite local restaurants in London, Sager and Wilde. There was a 6 course tasting menu using the ingredients beautifully. It was delicious!

What do you think is the best “service” a blogger can provide their audience?

Providing authentic information. People read your blog because they want to hear what you have to say. But it’s only usefully if it’s honest. Whether that’s a review of some kind, a press trip or even a recipe. One of my most popular blog posts is where I talk about a not-so-great brunch that everyone raves about. My readers can trust what I write, which I think is really important.

Do you have a full-time job as well? How do you find the time to run your blog so professionally?

I’ve recently moved to working just 4 days a week in the hope I can focus more on my blog and a couple of other business interests coming out of my blog. I’m hoping there’s something delicious brewing for 2018 so watch this space! I am the biggest procrastinator and spend far too much time reading about how to be more organised and efficient than actually being it! But, I’m an early riser and get most of it done before the rest of London rises at the weekend.

How has your blog changed since you first started it, to now? What was your first post about?

My first post was for a sea bass ceviche recipe – I’d never made it before but thought it would ‘look good’ and like I was a good cook if I did. My blog has changed SO MUCH since then. Firstly I don’t share recipes half as much as I’d like to, as the photography side of things doesn’t come naturally to me and it takes me a while to produce the quality of post I want in my head. I share a real mix of food and travel as they go hand in hand for me. And now I write about food I actually cook, and cooked it lots before I share it, and it seems to be getting great feedback!

Do you have a favourite post that you’ve written? Does it differ from your most popular post?

I loved writing a recent post about things to see and do in Seville. I approached it thinking about ‘what would I like to read?’. I didn’t think about what I should be writing about, which has been written one hundred times before, I thought about the little things that I would find useful to know before a trip, like how early you actually have to join the queue for a popular tourist attraction. My most popular posts are my travel itineraries, which are also quite fun to write as I get to re-live my trips!

What’s been the best thing about your blogging journey?

The people! Which, if you’d asked me before I had even written my first blog post, would have been the last answer I thought I would give. I’ve met so many different people through blogging. Obviously there are the bloggers, but also I have loved meeting restaurants owners, interesting suppliers, hotel owners and event organisers to name just a few! I’ve made some life-long friends through blogging which has just been incredible. Also, it’s definitely given me a confidence in myself I never had before. Which is a nice feeling.

We all know you’re an incredible food blogger, but if you could do it all again, would you choose a different style? Why/why not?

I honestly don’t think I would change it! Food and travel are what I love. I just wish I’d started blogging sooner!

A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money, but we all know it’s not that easy. What advice would you give new bloggers?

I think you should start out writing about what you love and everything around it. People will see your passion and your in-depth knowledge about subject and want to come and work with you and opportunities will begin to arise.

And finally, we want to share the love, so who would you like to see us interview in the next newsletter?

Many of my faves have already graced the blog walls but I’d love to hear more from Charlie or Eppie if we haven’t already!

 

If you have something else you’d like to ask Vicky, pop over to Twitter now for a chat!

Behind the Blog | Connie Consumes

Behind the Blog | Connie Consumes

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog? How did you first get into blogging?

Hi, I’m Connie, the hungry soul behind Connie Consumes. I started my blog as a bit of a diary for friends and family back in New Zealand to keeps tabs on where in the world I was – I figured it was a bit better than just stalking me on Facebook! It’s still a food and travel diary of sorts but maybe with one or two extra readers.

You’ve had some fab opportunities through blogging – what’s been the best opportunity you’ve had so far?

This is tougher than asking me what my favourite ice cream flavour is… I could cop out and say that I like them all for different reasons but I’m going to just pick two. My favourite food-related one was the day I spent in The Woodspeen Cooking School prepping a five-course meal for six people then bringing it all back to London and hosting the dinner party the next evening; and my favourite travel-related one is the long weekend I spent in a beautiful resort in the stunning South Tyrol. I may have belted out ‘the hills are alive…’ once or twice during that weekend… 

What do you think is the best “service” a blogger can provide their audience?

I write my blog with two aims – to be entertaining and mildly informative. I hope the people who are thinking about choosing a certain restaurant or hotel or holiday destination find my reviews and guides helpful, but mainly I just want people to enjoy my stories!

Do you have a full-time job as well? How do you find the time to run your blog so professionally?

I did have a full time job… up until a couple of weeks ago but now I’m getting ready to set off on a bit of a sabbatical where my boyfriend and I will be gallivanting around Asia for the next few months! Juggling a full time job and the blog was really tough at times, but then I remembered what paid the bills and cut myself some slack for not getting a post up in time or taking a few weeks off!

How has your blog changed since you first started it, to now? What was your first post about?

My first post was a review of a restaurant in Wellington… I still remember the moment I pressed ‘publish’ for the first time… but boy oh boy do I cringe now when I look at that post! I think the way I write (basically like I’m telling my friends an elaborate story during one of our cocktail gossip sessions) is still the same but the photos have definitely improved – you can actually tell what the food is now.

Do you have a favourite post that you’ve written? Does it differ from your most popular post?

One of my favourites is the review I wrote about Gaggan in Bangkok; after watching the Gaggan episode on Chef’s Table I was thrilled to get a last minute booking, but was bitterly disappointed by the whole dining experience. It’s currently Asia’s Best Restaurant so I was left doubting my own views for a while, but I think I’ve managed to look past that and write something which reflects my opinion. One of my most popular posts is actually a recipe for a fancy sausage roll… its popularity makes me chuckle because I don’t do that many recipes and had no idea there was such a fan club out there for sausage rolls!

What’s been the best thing about your blogging journey?

The blog has given me so many opportunities to do extremely fun things and meet awesome people, but one of the best things it has done is to challenge me. I’ve learnt (and am still learning) lots of technical, behind the scenes stuff, but I love that it’s given me the chance to get creative with my writing, and improve my photography which I am slowly growing to love!

We all know you’re an incredible food blogger, but if you could do it all again, would you choose a different style? Why/why not?

In an ideal world I would do all the techy blog stuff better but who are we kidding… If I did it all again, I would probably do it all the same… just start writing about what I love and keep bumbling along writing about what I love. Which is food, in case it wasn’t obvious. 

A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money, but we all know it’s not that easy. What advice would you give new bloggers? 

Start with a view to share something entertaining, useful, thoughtful, irrelevant but hilarious… about whatever you’re passionate about. Just focus on being authentic with your point of view and see what happens…

And finally, we want to share the love, so who would you like to see us interview in the next newsletter?

If we haven’t already heard from Vicky (Dalton-Banks) then I’ve love to know more about what gets her blogging juices flowing!

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