Enchanted by the artistic landscape of East London after moving from Yorkshire, the editor of Inspiring City felt moved to set up his blog. With a strong passion for the urban arts scene this blog features interviews with street artists, as well as cultural street walks that capture the creative spirit of places like Brixton, Hackney and Camden. In this spotlight Stuart, who appears on our art ranking chats to us about why the success of his blog is more than just the number of clicks he gets, why he prefers PRs to take a more personalised approach when it comes to contacting him, and why it’s important to support up and coming artists.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? Inspiring City is pretty much just what inspires me. I figure that if I find something interesting or if a piece of art excites me then others might feel the same too. So, it’s a personal blog but something which I hope is accessible to a wider audience. There’s also something about celebrating art and the artistic talent that centres around the East End of London and being able to give a platform for the many artists who are just really trying to make a go of things.
How do you measure the success of your website? I’ve long gone past looking at just the numbers, for me success is when I’ll come across someone who has got into the scene as a result of reading the blog, whether they’ve downloaded a street art walk or they’ve just gone onto google to find out about a piece of art and come up with the site. I’ve also had fellow bloggers and artists who I’ve met at various events tell me that they got into the scene as a result of reading the blog and then thinking that they’ll get involved too. It’s a great feeling and it shows that people are inspired by what they’re seeing and what they are reading.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? The best advice for people wanting to start a blog is to choose a subject you are interested in and just write for yourself. Passion is important in that this will come across if you are really passionate about a subject. Then just keep up with it, it can be difficult but set yourself a target of a number of posts a week or month and then just continue with it. It’s about consistency and giving your readers the confidence that you’ll keep finding good content and keep posting about it.
How do you work with marketers and PRs? I get a lot of emails from Marketers and PR agencies but with a full-time job as well as other general life commitments it’s often difficult to work with anyone else and to give it the commitment that it would require. As a result, I tend mainly to write for myself, it means the deadlines are my own and means that I’ve got control over when I blog and when I can’t.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? I use the usual suspects in terms of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All have their purpose but like anything you’ve got to keep up with it and that’s the main challenge.
Blogging these days isn’t just about “write it and they will come” it’s about how you get your message out there and social media done well is the best way to do that.
What can PRs do in working better with you? The best way that PR agencies could work with me or any blogger is to first of all recognise that pretty much everyone blogs in their spare time, so it’s tough to make commitments outside of what you would do already. It also takes a while to put together a decent post so don’t expect people just to have a look at your content and if you do work together make sure there is something reciprocal, it may just be a link from their site to yours or it may be that they are willing to join forces on the social media publicising the post. There’s also something about personalisation, so it could be something as simple as reading the blog and getting a feel for the audience before sending an email or making the first connection.
The best relationships I’ve built are via the fact that someone had taken the time to personalise a message and had contacted me for a very specific reason as opposed to just sending out a generic email and changing the name.
What has been your blogging highlight? I’ve had a few blogging highlights but probably the stand out was working with a creative agency to bring an Argentinian street artist called Fio Silva over from Argentina to the UK to paint a number of walls around the city. It was amazing, for Fio who had never left Argentina before, and for me to get involved with a project like that which I feel really launched her onto the World stage in terms of street art. The other highlights are when I come across someone who has either read or been inspired by the blog, that’s really satisfying.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? In 2017 I’m going to be really interested in the changing dynamic of art in the East End, the city is evolving and spaces are being lost whilst others are being found. I’m also interested in continuing to find and speak to new talents who are trying to make it on the scene or who are trying to do something imaginative or different.
What does the Vuelio Blog Ranking mean to you and how does it affect your blog? The Vuelio blog ranking is great for Inspiring City. From a personal point of view, it’s a huge honour and validation that the work that gets put in is noticed and valued. It’s also important from an outsider’s perspective because there are a lot of blogs out there so the blog rankings can really be seen as the benchmark of quality for people wanting to read and learn about a specific field or subject.