Karen Woodham launched Blazing Minds back in 2008 to try and connect with more people from her hometown in North Wales and further afield. Having far exceeded her initial goal, Blazing Minds has become a trusted source for entertainment news and is now an award-winning blog, which provides readers with film, music, theatre and event news, previews and reviews. In this spotlight Karen chats about why people should read her blog, how she measures its success and working with PRs.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? Blazing Minds’ movie reviews are written from the heart and with a passion for movies, the reviews are filled with technical jargon and exploring moments in film in a philosophical way. All the reviews are simple and give the feeling of it being a discussion with the reader about the movie.
How do you measure the success of your website? I think the success of the website comes from the fact that it has built up on social media over the years as well as the traffic that the site gets, which reflects that people enjoy reading the reviews. In 2016 the site peaked with 149,087 unique visitors to the website which has been a big incentive to carry on and work harder on the website and the reviews to bring me to the sites returning visitors.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? My advice would be, “Don’t Give Up!”. The first few months can be very daunting, my first six months were a learning curve and there were many times during that time I thought, “Why bother, nothing is going to come of this”, but then that moment in time came along that turned everything around. By reviewing the local cinema, I was able to do theatre reviews, event coverage, and work with some amazing people. Blogging can be a passion that develops into a full-time job, so keep at it!
How do you work with marketers and PRs? Some marketers and PRs are fantastic and they know how much hard work you put into your work, many will either pay for your work or offer you some amazing perks that you wouldn’t get otherwise. But at the end of the day, both marketers and PRs have to realise that this is now a living and bills have to be paid, so just putting forward something and saying, “put this on your website, oh and make the links DoFollow”, doesn’t fly with many bloggers.
Companies, have to start appreciating that blogging is now a big business.
How do you use social media to promote/share content? What are the challenges? I’ve always been a big fan of Social Media and I use it as much as I can, yes I may be a bit of a TwitterHolic but I love it. I have the website set up to auto post new articles to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and StumbleUpon, all with customised updates. I also utilise Twitter, Tumbler, Facebook and Google+ by re-posting to them with a set scheduled.
I also try to answer questions and thank people for sharing the articles. As for the challenges, time is always a key problem with blogging and social media, but thanks to scheduling updates, it has been made a lot easier.
What can PRs do in working better with you? As I mentioned earlier, PRs could certainly realise that the work takes time. Many PRs need to understand that and show a little respect and not abuse the idea that a blogger is someone that just sits in a bedroom and never leaves the house to do anything else!
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? I’ll be heading back over to Pwllheli, here in North Wales, in March to give coverage to the Sci-Fi Weekender, this is always a big event for myself and Blazing Minds, but this time there will be much more going on, as I’ll be entering the world of video and bringing lots of exclusive interviews, along with the photography etc, to the Blazing Minds readers.
What does the Vuelio Blog Ranking mean to you and how does it affect your blog? The Vuelio Blog Ranking, is a fantastic way for me to see how the blog is doing in the blogosphere with all the other amazing bloggers out there that, like myself, love the movies and the world of entertainment, it also helps with the trust that readers have in the blog. Seeing Blazing Minds listed in the Top 10 helps them see that the site is serious about the articles produced and the work put into the site.