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Last Updated 24/03/2016
1. Mad about the house
If you are mad about interiors, then you better visit this blog. It’s got ideas that range from mild to wild and visuals that make you want to redecorate. Author and interiors journalist, Kate Watson-Smyth, uses a friendly, conversational tone that puts readers at the heart of every home.
2. Dear Designer’s Blog
Author Carole King started this blog in 2009 as a way to create her ‘own little library of loveliness.’ The library she created helped her to then start up a digital interiors magazine. The Dear Designer blog remains her first love and boasts an extensive blogroll.
3. The Design Sheppard
Author Stacey Sheppard calls the blog her ‘online home’ and you are invited in. This blog stands out from others on the list for the functional yet beautiful ideas it offers – like for real homes.
4. Design Hunter
Launched in 2009, author Helen Powell’s Design Hunter is now an award-winning design and lifestyle blog with a focus on understated luxury and enduring modern design.
5. Love Chic Living
Author Jen Stanbrook has been busy writing a series about loft conversions and at other times, picking up awards including the Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Best Interiors Blog award! Jen shows off her ‘insatiable love of home decor, interior design and home accessories’ through the blog that first started out in 2012.
6. Fresh Design Blog
The name says it all – it’s a fresh take on interiors. This blog offers ideas and inspiration for the modern and contemporary home and does so keeping costs in mind. Palm reading wallpaper, back to school bargains, geometric coffee cup sets…you get the gist?
7. Abigail Ahern
Recognised amongst design aficionados and devotees, Abigail Ahern’s blog is still one of the most influential interior design blogs out there and is a regular in our Top 10!
8. Sophie Robinson
Sophie has worked interior design for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about the industry. Over the years Sophie has made a name for herself and appeared on BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge.
Featuring an array of different writers this blog features the latest decorating looks to the best new home-improvement ideas, plus new products from high-street stores that will help you to create your ideal home.
This is a blog that picks out the best and most interesting properties on the market. The properties featured on the site are very stylish with stunning architecture.
The fundamentals of working with bloggers are the same as with traditional journalists at traditional media outlets: respect their schedules; take time to read their material to learn their interests; and only contact them if/when they want to be contacted.
Vuelio’s blog ranking methodology takes into consideration social sharing, topic-related content and post frequency. Profiles of these interior design blogs and their authors can be found in the Vuelio Media Database.
Other Blog Rankings
Photo Courtesy of mattwalker69 on Flickr
Blogger Spotlight with Sian Marie Froggatt, author of Sian Marie Beauty blog. She spoke to us about working with PRs, the five best practices bloggers need to follow for better outreach and why Twitter is a blogger’s best friend.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different?
It’s a little snippet into me, I know that there are so many beauty blogs out there now which makes it hard to really stand out. But my little internet space is written by myself and myself only. Which makes it unique all in its own way. I like to think that you can see my personality through what I write and that way the readers can relate with what I say more.
How do you measure the success of your website?
I love comments, knowing that someones has taken time out of their day to sit and type a comment means so much. You can have all of the views in the world but knowing that what I have said, has imprinted onto someone enough for them to want to comment shows that I am doing something right. Even if they don’t always agree!
What’s your favourite blog and why?
I have two.
Just Julie – I met Julie around a year ago and I simply adore her blog and herself. She is so genuine and kind. When she was added onto the Cosmo Blogging Awards I have never felt so proud, her blog has come on leaps and bounds since she start and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for her.
Makeup Magpie – Gemmas blog is very wellknown in the blogging world for beauty. I adore how she writes, her reviews are so well thought out and the photos make it easy to see why she has so many followers and fans.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Be yourself. Even the top bloggers like Zoella started out with 1 follower. Find your niche, be it nail art or eye looks. Find what you like to do and go with it. The rest will come within time. Also enjoy it, don’t feel forced to write if you don’t want too. I know personally if I try and write when I don’t feel like it, the outcome is rubbish.
How do you work with marketers and PRs?
Whenever I receive an email or see an opportunity on Twitter, I always talk to them in a very professional manner. Giving them whatever information they need within email for. I find it best to build a relationship with PR companies, even though you are email each other about work; I will always add on “I hope you have/had a lovely weekend” or something along those lines.
I am yet to contact a PR/Marketer first myself but this is one of the areas I haven’t had a lot of experience in yet. I plan on making it something I do more in 2015.
Who do you work with in brand marketing? PRs? SEOs? Anyone else?
I am currently working with a few PR companies. I have worked with Tribal Media, Alex Silver PR, Imagination PR and then companies themselves like MeMeMe Cosmetics.
Can you list five best practices for blogger outreach?
1. Using Social Media to its full advantage. For a blogger Twitter is your best friend. Get involved in the #bbloggers chats. Send your links out using appropriate hashtags. Talk to the companies themselves. I could go on and on about the importance of using Twitter.
2. Make friends. This may seem like a silly one to have, but I have made some amazing friends through blogging. In return of this friendship we all help each other out with our blogs. Be it promoting each other posts, to just giving advice when needed.
3. Giveaways can be a massive help for getting your blog out there. A lot of people will look for blogs with giveaways on them. And through them finding your giveaway you can potentially find a lifelong reader.
4. Be active. Stick to a posting schedule. I post every other day, I have found that that works best for me. Other people I know will post Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But stick to this. If you aren’t keeping in check with when you post people can get bored of waiting for your next post thus losing readers.
5. Meet Ups/Events. These are amazing ways to meet new people (tying in with making friends), at some events you can actually meet the faces of the companies you are wanting to work with, which can be a huge bonus for you at a later date. As maybe the owner of that makeup company you love will remember your name and face and then you have made that connection with them.
What has been your blogging highlight?
I know blogging isn’t all about numbers, but reaching 600 followers was a massive highlight for me. When I set up Sian Marie Beauty in 2013, I never thought it would be where it is today. I never dreamed companies would be wanting to work with me, I would be invited to events nor getting to travel the country to meet new people. Knowing that 600 people have liked my blog enough to want to keep up to date with what I post gives me a really warm feeling inside.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months?
2014 was a really good year for me with Sian Marie Beauty, so 2015 has some tough competition. As of right now, I don’t have anything really planned. But when them opportunities come at me I know I will say YES. I think that is what will be big for me in the upcoming months, saying YES.
‘Blogging really is brilliant,’ says Vicki Psarias, a mum-of-two who has turned her two blogs, Honest Mum and Mummy’s Got Style, into successful businesses. How? From taking on many roles head on – a mum, blogger, writer, model, filmmaker, brand ambassador, YouTuber, lecturer and more. In this interview she spoke to us about how she does it all and the best practices bloggers should follow for effective outreach.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? My readers tell me they enjoy how diverse honestmum.com is, I blog there about my family life, food, pro-blogging tips, film, beauty and more. My other blog, Mummysgotstyle.com is solely based on mine and my family’s style.
I run my blogs as magazines and write about my passions.
I think the best blogs give away something of themselves. It’s about having an emotional connection with your readers.
How do you measure the success of your website? Firstly, I think I’m my biggest critic so I judge my own success on whether I’m happy with the content and quality of my blog posts but of course being a public blog, it’s important to me that not just my Big Fat Greek Family read it (although thanks guys, you rock) and it’s reaching as wide an audience as possible.
I love receiving blog comments, and connecting with my readers and followers on social media…Having a background as a lecturer means I take great pleasure in helping others too. It really makes me happy when others say my posts have inspired them or comforted them in some way.
Readers often inform me too that my blog has encouraged them to become a pro-blogger or change direction career wise. I hope it’s a fun, stimulating and inspiring read.
..Stats matter to me too. I’m a creative but also enjoy the analytical side of things and running my blogs as businesses means needing to know the figures.
I also like to be as up to date as possible when it comes to technology. I work with a designer to keep my blogs looking their best and I rely on Google analytics to offer me insight into what works and what doesn’t so I can constantly improve.
I often ask my readers on social media what they want to see more of too.
What’s your favourite blog and why? I have to return to the first parenting blog I ever read-a US blog The Mama Bird Diaries. Kelcey’s voice is honest, engaging and hilariously funny, it’s an unmissable read.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Go for it! I would recommend opting for self hosted wordpress especially if you want to monetise your blog and that could happen quickly too.
Write about what you’d want to read yourself, what matters to you.
Funnily enough, the more you write, the more you write!
Read widely and that includes blogs outside of your community too, for inspiration.
Creatives are naturally riddled with self-doubt, it’s part of the process but feigning confidence leads to truly feeling it.
Get active on social media, comment on lots of blogs to get your blog out there and most importantly, be kind to yourself, don’t compare, the internet is a big place, there’s room for everyone.
How do you work with marketers and PRs?
I’ve been a full time professional blogger for 2 1/2 years (my blog was conceived in November 2010), going from being a TV director to running my blogs as businesses.
I didn’t originally set out to monetise my blogs but as pro-blogging exploded over the last few years, it fitted perfectly with my need to find a job that worked around my young family and I absolutely love it. I can’t imagine my life without blogging.
I have agencies who give me lots of regular work but I receive new business daily too. Most discover my blogs and email me via my Contact Me Page or work has come via Twitter a lot too.
I’m a brand ambassador for Nova Harley so I model and endorse their beautiful bags across global campaigns and I’m also paid by brands for social media packages along with advertising, paid posts, paid competitions and display ads. Mode Media looks after the latter.
Who do you work with in brand marketing? PRs? SEOs? Anyone else?
I also offer consultancy work to both big and small brands and give lectures and talks at blogger events or on behalf of brands, and I’m often paid to attend events too.
Can you list five best practices for blogger outreach?
1. Make your blog slick. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to make your blog look professional and you can hire a designer if you don’t feel confident to design it yourself. Ensure your social media details are easy to find and you have a Contact Me Page too.You want paid work, make it easy to be commissioned.
2. Be professional however small you deem your blog to be. Big or small, your audience is targeted and matters to the PR. Create a media kit (I omit prices on mine as I like to negotiate one on one) but include it on your Work With Me Page (don’t have one, get one) and email it out to enquiries too. A clear document listing your stats, a bit about yourself and any notable press is a good place to start. There’s lots of inspiration on Pinterest too.
3. Be polite. Even when PR’s are requesting freebies, be polite but firm in your response, explain that you are a pro-blogger (say it and believe it) and that you always charge for PR.
Many will surprisingly and magically find a budget and even if they don’t on this particular campaign, they will keep you in mind for future paid ones. Also it’s not all about the money too, if you feel unpaid collaborations will work in your favour and will enrich your life in some way then go for it.
4. Remind PR’s of your work. Don’t bother them of course but once or twice a month, drop PR’s you’ve worked with a quick email that you’re available for future campaigns and to please consider you is all it takes. Marketeers work with so many bloggers that it is in your interest to stay in touch.
5. Be prompt. Campaigns have deadlines and although life can sometimes uncontrollably get in the way, 99.9% of the time, do meet those deadlines and if you really think you’ll miss one, be honest with the PR.
Well written, personal, natural advertorials will mean lots of future work for you. Hard work pays. Literally.
What has been your blogging highlight so far?
There have been many of which I’m so grateful for but featuring in British Vogue, modelling for Nova Harley, appearing in the campaign film for bareMinerals, being invited to the world premieres of Paddington and Get Santa and writing weekly, sharing mine and my family’s lives for Grazia Daily are a few that really stand out.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months/2015?
It’s hard to predict as it’s such a fast-growing industry but much more native advertising on behalf of brands, lots of natural fitting marriages between companies and bloggers and seeing a lot more bloggers in the mainstream media too. I love how democratic blogging is-you have a voice, you can use it and the opportunities are literally endless from creating e-shops to YouTube channels and ambassadorial work. For working parents such as myself, it’s levelled out the playing field and really brought equality to the workplace. Blogging really is brilliant.
As the world turns digital, blogs have become a powerful marketing tool. This is because blogs are about person-to-person marketing – a personal recommendation, shared experience, a unique point-of-view on any product or service is more meaningful than the glossiest of advertisements because it represents reality and not a vision of what we’d like it to be. So when a mummy recommends a recipe that worked for her fussy toddler or a teenager tweets the hairspray that saved the bad-hair-day – people listen and marketers close in.
According to the 2013 Digital Influence Report, blogs rank high with consumers for trust, popularity and influence and account for a significant (and growing) chunk of annual marketing spends for businesses. As a result blogging has become a very lucrative industry and full-time career for some people with hundreds of blogs added everyday to the blogosphere. However, as a result of the overcrowding that now exists, it is becoming increasingly unclear about the PR value blogs actually bring and moreover how PR and communications professionals should measure a blogs capabilities in terms of ROI.
This was the topic of discussion at an industry knowledge session at the Cision office on Wednesday. Let’s analyse a few pertinent questions raised:
How can PR firms decide for their clients which bloggers are influential and more importantly right for them?
Yes there are millions of bloggers out there and if you’re going to rely on Google for a list you’re going to need a lot of time and patience as you go through each one to see what they can offer. Tools such as Cision’s Social Influencer Search does the work for you – it helps you identify how influential these bloggers are with an Influence Rating based on their reach, unique visitors, social engagement and interactions.With this tool you will be able to search for bloggers by the categories they cover or the keywords they use in their work to see who’s most relevant for your brand. You are also provided with a visual summary of their social media profiles and traditional media reach, pitching preferences, real-time updates.
Is there a checklist of factors PRs can use to benchmark blogs?
Apart from influence, PRs should determine for themselves how effective individual blogs will be for their business objectives. Author Christopher Penn for Shift Communications shares a guide to help determine the value of each blog.
Are blogs more influential than mainstream media?
While the reach and credibility of mainstream media can’t be disputed, a simple post on an influential blog can get your brand more visibility. However PR firms often make the mistake of only going by the number of impressions and posts on blogs (as they do with circulation and viewership figures for media). While this is a good indication of readership, the success of blogs should also be measured by the amount of interaction and engagement it receives. As one attendee said: ‘If a blog gets updated five times a day but gets zero engagement, it is unlikely to have an impact for marketers.’
Even though it is coverage PRs seek from both channels, blogs tend to serve a different purpose from mainstream media – here it is mostly about learning how this particular blogger interacted with your brand and understanding if it will work for them too. Blogs have their strengths and weaknesses but you have to first figure out which blogs are right for your business and tailor your pitch to maximise brand engagement.
What brands work best with bloggers?
Some sectors work better on blogs as they do on mainstream media such as retail and consumer goods. People want to see how the outfit looked on a regular person and what they had to say about it. Or learn why a particular brand of cheese didn’t work with their pasta recipe.
Should bloggers get paid to cover stories?
If bloggers are part of the marketing plan, they should fit into the marketing budget just as well. While it is arguable that PRs don’t compensate mainstream media for every story covered, the companies do sell ads and subscription which make the profession worthwhile. With bloggers this relationship is more ambiguous. Therefore, it is best for PRs to work out their own strategy first and decide how much they can allocate to bloggers and then find out what the bloggers they approach expect. Most bloggers state how much they charge for sponsored posts, banner ads etc clearly on their sites while others prefer to talk about the collaboration first.
Have we left anything out? Do you have any questions to add? Please let us know in the comment box below.
Photo Courtesy of Images Money on Flickr
Speedy Spotlight with mummy blogger Hannah Parker author of Mum’s Days. In this video interview, Hannah tells us about what makes her blog different, working with PR and brand marketers, best practices for better blogger outreach and taking home the award for the Best Parenting Blog at the North East Blogger Awards that took place last week.
In February this year, food and lifestyle blogger Vicki Day approached Cision for a guest post submission. Something was bothering her and she wanted to have a word with the PR community (and what better platform than Cision to reach out to the industry!).
‘Bloggers and PR are increasingly working together on brand marketing opportunities but the approaches used by some PRs can drive me to despair,’ said an exasperated Vicki to me on the follow-up call.
Her post arrived in my inbox soon after and it was clear, right from the headline, what she was after: ‘PRs need to change their attitude towards bloggers.’
The post, which listed a first person account of what can go wrong when comms professionals don’t do their homework before getting in touch with bloggers, the know-how on competitions and prizes and affiliate marketing schemes, was well-received and sparked a discussion on and offline.
It was clear then that blogger outreach is a new territory for PRs and bloggers. This is because the nature of blogging itself has changed. What started out as real-life encounters and experiences have now got price tags attached to words and references.
For this reason, we reached out to Vicki again this month to invite her to engage with the PR community directly on Cision’s webinar, and we made no changes to the title – ‘PRs need to change their attitude towards bloggers.’
In this webinar, Vicki will take through PR best practices for effective blogger outreach and will focus on the following topics:
Our guest speaker Vicki Day is the author of MrsD-Daily and has been blogging since 2009 and maintains a great track record of speaking at networking events, colleges and at industry conferences. She is no stranger to the mainstream media with coverage in publications including The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Mail on Sunday and more.
An interview with Laura Seaton, author of one of UK’s top mummy blogs, Tired Mummy of Two. Laura spoke to us about the mix of content (including a Christmas tombola!) that makes her site so popular, why finding the right name for a blog is key for new bloggers, the importance of building a two-way relationship with brand marketers…and eating live bugs in a park.
Why should people read your blog? I read so many amazing blogs and see some of the things people write about, the humour they use, the effort they put in. Half the time I sit here late at night and just brain dump my life into the keyboard. There have been times when my blog has been my savior, it has been my counsellor, my best friend and sometimes a complete chore.
What makes your blog different? With so many blogs out there to read, it is really hard to find something that makes yours different. I find that the only thing that you can do is just be yourself. I have blogged about holidays, meals, being fat, watching my daughter go through chemotherapy and going out drinking. Life is varied and I hate being pigeon holed into having to write about just one thing. I am a mum, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunty and so much more. I am a best friend, a metal head, an amateur photographer and a lover of crappy films and I want to share it all so why not. I suppose the one thing that I do differently is my huge christmas giveaway. I have run my xmas tombola for three years now and I use my PR connections to gather together loads of prizes to give away. Last year I had over 200 prizes and thousands of entries.
What’s your favourite blog and why? I love so many blogs, in fact I spend so much time reading other peoples blogs that sometimes I forget to write on mine. One of my favourite blogs is The Boy and Me. I love seeing the adventures they get up to and the photos are amazing. I find that the blogs I read the most are from the bloggers who I have met and made a connection with. It could be that we have met at an event, shared a drink at a conference or become friends on social media. Blogging is all about the community and I love it.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? After nearly three years of blogging there are so many things that I would have done differently but the one thing I have always been happy with is the name of my blog. When choosing your name make sure it fits, make sure you will be happy being introduced to people by that name and introducing yourself by that name too. The only other tip – make sure that name is available on all social media channels and the url. After that just blog, write for yourself, write for the love of writing and just enjoy it.
How does a good PR work with you? I love building relationships with PRs and I find it really helps to have these sorts of relationships in place. When a PR needs something reviewed or something to be shared socially then I am more likely to take part if we already have a two way relationship. I work in this way with a lot of PR’s most of whom I approached at some point in the past, usually when I am running a huge giveaway like my Xmas Tombola or when I am doing something for charity. Even if they cant help me they have responded to my email and that is a huge step towards an ongoing relationship. As a blogger I get so many emails and I always try to respond to every single one of them. Sometimes it’s just a thanks but no thanks, sometimes I offer a different way of working together and sometimes I say yes – but the professionalism of actually responding makes a huge difference and is something that I will always recommend bloggers to take the time to do.
What do PRs do that’s bad? This is one of those questions which I think depends on the blogger. A PR is always trying to do their best for their client, they have a job to do and a set amount of time to do it. If that means that they accidentally call me by someone elses name, use cc rather than bcc or even promise something and never fulfill that promise then that’s life. A PR approach will only ever be suitable for some people and if it is not suitable for me then I politely let them know and secure the relationship for a future when the approach is right.
What was your blogging highlight of 2013? 2013 saw my blog become my business, it saw me run my first ever blog conference, it saw me work with some amazing companies as an ambassador and as a consultant and it saw me shortlisted in the brilliance in blogging awards. The highlight of 2013 for me was none of these things yet a culmination of all of them. Blogging is a way of life but it also brings so much to our lives. We have had some unforgettable experiences that money can’t buy through my blog from holidays to days out, meeting celebrities to eating live bugs in a london park. Life is varied, exciting and full on and that is exactly the sort of life I want to be living and sharing with my kids and that is what 2013 was for us.
What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014? The best part of the year for me is the blogging conferences. I try to go to as many as I can, to learn new things, meet more fabulous bloggers and interact with some brilliant brands. The biggest thing happening for me this year is hosting my own conference in May. It is the second conference that I have done but this year it is bigger, better and more organised. I can’t wait to hear the feedback afterwards and to know that I have made a difference, helped someone to learn something or enabled people to connect with a brand that they really want to work with. The buzz on the day is unforgettable and addictive and I can’t wait to feel that all over again.
Editorial information on Laura Seaton, Tired Mummy of Two and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the Vuelio Media Database.
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