When we first entered the UK Blog Awards last year, we had no idea how people would receive us in terms of how they’d vote. Would we make it through the public vote to reach the finals? How much competition would there be? Would we win anything at all?
All perfectly normal questions for any blogger or a blogging organisation. However, considering ours had only been up and running since 2011 – and assuming other sites we’d be competing with were more established – we could be forgiven for a lack of confidence or having any expectations whatsoever.
Despite the uncertainty, we knew we had a site with some very interesting, engaging and inspiring content, being produced on a regular basis, giving the world an insight into what we do from the perspective of staff and key figures in the world of conservation, as well as some celebs. So why wouldn’t we be in league with the big bloggers?
The very brilliant team at UK Blog Awards have worked tirelessly to make the last two awards evenings a success, and this year’s Mad Hatters Tea Party-style event coming up nothing short, going down like a ermmm… good cuppa, or a mojito, or a Prosecco or…
I particularly liked being greeted by an actual Mad Hatter – albeit whilst he was walking backwards up the stairs. There was definitely an air of improvement on last year’s successful awards; an impressive venue, more attendees, and that went for the calibre of finalists too – as high as last years, including more corporates and charities.
With this in mind, I did wonder how we would fair, which I think is what lead me to believe we’d be lucky to come away with something. The fact we were up against the likes of Thomson Holidays blog and Teletext Holidays blog in our Travel category was testament to the growth and success of the awards and who it is attracting.
So when the categories’ ‘highly commended’ list was read out with no mention of WWF-UK , I did think then that we would really struggle to get something out of this.
What happened next was truly brilliant and surprising though. The only thing I remember about the moment the category winner was announced was simply seeing a giant panda logo up on the awards screen and my colleague Karina next to me with her mouth open in shock.
Then the music started and I had to quickly tackle the obstacle course of champagne flutes, legs and handbags whilst in a fitted suit and shoes in order to reach the stage. No mean feat even for a marketer working for a conservation charity!
Travel – what’s in a category name?
Some people may have questions around the fact we have twice been listed in a travel category for these awards. So far, we have come to the conclusion that from the categories on offer – a decision not taken lightly by the good people at #UKBA15 – travel has been the most fitting for our content, since we do aim to take people via the blog to far flung places and to find out more about the world we value. That said, it’s not the most comfortable fit, so after a good handful of conversations we and other charities have had with the UK Blog Awards management, the UKBA team is seriously considering extending those categories to accommodate public sector and charity entrants.
The after party
I say party, but whilst many of our fellow bloggers headed towards the bar and descended on the nearest waiter or waitress bearing trays of canapes, my colleague and I bypassed most of the drinks [I say most] and dived head first into networking.
It was interesting to talk to different individuals and other organisations and share in the buzz – which were mainly handshakes and hugs. It was particularly good to chat to some of our category rivals, and the lovely team from Thomson Holidays – Christian and El – were genuinely pleased with our win and we talked at length about blogging and our respective roles.
The networking didn’t just extend to meeting with fellow bloggers to exchange business details and link up at a later date, our agenda was that we were on the lookout for prospective eco-fashion bloggers to potentially support our new campaign Wear It Wild. So with the power of Twitter – together with my stripey pink tie to attract attention on the night – we managed to create some warm interest and linked up with a few of our chosen bloggers – Lorna, Lucy, Andy and Stephano, it was great to meet you.
Well we’re working to get ready to start applying for next year’s awards! One of the key things we’ve taken away from this year is the relationships we’ve started to build online as well as in person. I’ve heard that bloggers on the whole – oddly you may think – prefer face to face networking, rather than social media. So meeting bloggers at these types of awards and conferences is important in establishing relationships.
Here at WWF-UK a lot of our work is about helping people to help their environment, and so best practice is important. This doesn’t stop with our blog site, which is why working with guest bloggers such as Simon Reeve, Deborah Meaden, Graeme Le Saux, Evgeny Lebedev, Alstair McGowan, Alex Mustard and many more is important in influencing people to take action in whatever way they can. This also extends to some of our partners as well, such as Whiskas, HSBC and M&S and our colleagues blogging regularly for us here, as well as those that work for us in other countries.
We have some amazing stories to tell, experiences to share, inspiring insights to include, not to mention the fantastic images and videos we receive. All adding to the blogging experience on our site…..but there’s one larger proportion of people not on this list that I haven’t mentioned that I’ve saved for last, for obvious reasons.
It’s you, the reader!
Without your daily digital thumbing through our award winning blog site with your sustainable soya latte in the morning, right through to your evening sustainable seafood salad, we wouldn’t be stepping onto a stage to receive an award; we wouldn’t be talking about what we do here and how important it is to us all; we wouldn’t have a blog site at all. So I thank you all for continuing to visit our pages day in and day out, and I encourage you to keep doing so as we move forward with new and exciting content…..and trust me there’s plenty of that on the horizon.
As I have said in previous blogs, we want to hear from you the readers, so please leave us comments when you read a great blog and let us know if there’s anything we’re missing that you’d love to read more about.
Now give yourself a round of applause, you’ve earned this award as much as we have.