As well as founding the UK’s first dating photography business, Saskia Nelson also runs Hey Saturday – a blog aimed at providing singles with dating advice. Staying true to the theme of brilliant photography, Hey Saturday uses images captured by her team of talented photographers to bring posts to life, while also stressing that appearance says a lot when it comes to online dating and finding someone you’re genuinely attracted to. In this spotlight Saskia Nelson, who featured on our top ten relationship ranking chats to us about how she created a new genre of dating blogs, how she engages with her audience, the challenges of producing content, and why she thinks Vuelio’s media database helps bloggers to build their brand.
Do you find that writing a dating blog encourages people to come to you for advice? Yes absolutely. To be honest, I did online dating on and off for almost eight years before connecting with my boyfriend on Guardian Soulmates, so friends have been coming to me for advice long before I kick-started my blog. I have quite a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to dating, which people respect.
What do you think makes your blog different to your competitors? I think my blog is probably different to competitors in the same way that my business is different to my competitors – it’s very me. I’ve been credited by Time mag and Martin Parr as having kick-started a new genre of photography – dating photography – and that came about because I combined my life experiences, eight years of online dating, with my passion for photography and business and so I’ve created something that’s pretty unique to me. Even though there are people now copying the business idea, I will always be the first and the one who had the light bulb moment of creating dating photography and that uniqueness is part of my brand narrative. In my experiences, the best blogs are the ones which keep it real and you can tell they’re being authentic to their brand and values.
How do you define the success of your blog? Do you do this through the level of engagement with your audience or unique visits? I think that both the level of engagement and unique visits counts, for something but to me real success relates to how people talk about the blog and my business out there in the world. I guess what I’m referring to is my brand again. If I get great feedback from clients and have lots of dating experts, dating sites, dating apps and matchmakers wanting to collaborate with me, then that to me is success. It says they value my contribution in the field of dating and matchmaking.
What has been your experience with working with PRs and marketers? I get a lot of spam emails via my business websites, which are so obviously generic in nature that it’s almost insulting to be on the receiving end. But I have worked with quality PR companies in the past and had some great results.
How much planning, research and preparation do you need to execute your content marketing plan? There are now three of us writing the content for the blog so this year I actually created a content calendar, which is already making my life so much easier. In the past, when it was just me, I was a lot more adhoc in my approach at creating content and it ended up taking up more time in the end so I’m totally digging this organised version of me. I basically get ideas for content all the time from the world around me, things I read and then write it down in my iPhone notes. So pulling the calendar together didn’t actually take that long and has already saved me a tonne of time.
How do you keep your content fresh and up to date with current dating trends? I have lots of google alerts set up relating to online dating and relationships so every morning I get the latest dating news hitting my in-tray, meaning I always know what the hot topic of the day/week is. I’m also friends with lots of dating experts both in the UK and US. I chat to them on social media most weeks, which helps keep me plugged into the latest news.
What kinds of PRs or campaigns are you interested in working with on in the future? I love collaborating with other brands that align with my brand and seeing what we can do together.
What are your thoughts on media databases, such as Vuelio? Anything that can help you reach your audience and build your brand works for me.
Do you have a funny dating story you could share with us? My memory has locked these down to save my dignity I think. I did decide to start my business after heading out on a date to meet a guy who looked like David Beckham in his photos but turned up rocking the Columbo look. The irony is that I actually am more of a Columbo girl, but I’m not a fan of being deceived!