As a London-born British expat living in the US, I’m a long way from home – but there are constant reminders of the my nationality. Some are subtle, yet important cultural differences (Lack of tea) and some are larger (Like filling in the extensive paperwork to renew my greencard!). But as a blogger, one of the biggest differences that I’ve noticed is the lack of resources for bloggers outside of the US.
America is the central hub for PR and advertising, so it stands to reason that much of blogging culture would focus on brand outreach for US-based outlets; but time and again I have been struck by the lack of opportunities available to bloggers outside of North America. It’s not just about PR opportunities being limited stateside – there’s are fewer tools and communities geared towards UK users. So much of the success I have achieved so far has been through the networking and resources I’ve accessed in blogging forums and groups, leading me to brand opportunities, providing me with unique means of social media promotion, and interesting discussion and tips on everything from SEO to plugins. Accessing these resources is a lot harder for UK residents, who are often disqualified due to location and are at a disadvantage with many of the social aspects of networking in forums due to the timezone difference.
Inspired by this, I began working on number of projects last year which I am very excited to unveil to you today: International Blogging, Bloggers Britain, Bloggers London, and British Giveaways.
The International Blogging Network aims to solve the issues facing non-US blogs by providing an inclusive, extensive resource for bloggers and brands to network on a global basis. The initial launch will include sub-sites for 6 countries, and I will be taking suggestions for future sites.
Bloggers Britain, the first site to launch in this network, provides a directory of UK bloggers searchable by brands and readers in addition to a forum which provides PR opportunities specifically for British bloggers, including product reviews, sponsored posts, brand events, and more. These forums will also offer the critical networking support that has been so crucial to me, including areas where bloggers can exchange ideas, ask questions, support one another’s blog posts and gain social media followers. Bloggers London is an offshoot to this network that will focus on brand events and outreach that are local to Londoners. Finally, UK bloggers will be able to further promote themselves via British Giveaways, a companion site to Contest Corner. By offering a giveaway database exclusively for competitions open to the UK, British-based bloggers will have an additional promotional tool at their disposal to gain exposure for the giveaways which they host; plus, Brit Contest Corner readers will now have a resource specifically for them, eliminating lengthy searches through giveaways that they are ineligible for!
For brands, Bloggers Britain will mean an easy way to get their product in front of influential UK blogs. PR representatives can submit their requests for distribution to the network, bridging the gap between brands and worldwide audience. In addition, British companies who wish to break though the American market can submit their requests for distribution to my US blogger counterparts. Because I have colleagues, connections, and business knowledge in both countries, I’m in a unique position to connect PR representatives, brands, and social media influencers in both Britain and the United States.
I’ve been strategizing and gathering information for my international blogger outreach since late last year; when I mentioned this project to brands I was working with on Holiday Gift Guide features, I got a lot of eager feedback and assembled a waiting list of clients looking to get their products into international hands. There are countless US companies that want to increase their visibility overseas and don’t know where to start, so I’m thrilled to be able to launch a resource for them.
This is just the beginning of several new projects I have in the works, which have been in the planning stages for many months. I have more sites in the pipeline, and though I had planned an April launch for them, I wasn’t sure which order I would be tackling the projects in. That changed when I saw that Collective Bias was hosting a contest giving one of its members a chance to win a trip to London in June to attend the Cybher conference – I knew that the timing was serendipitous, and I took it as a sign to launch the Bloggers London site first. I’ve been working tirelessly this week on launching these new sites, and have debuted them just in time for the April 25th deadline!
You’re already familiar with how much I love Collective Bias and its Social Fabric community, so it should be no surprise to hear that I am impressed with their overseas efforts. I have noticed over the last few months that they have been working hard to provide opportunities for their UK bloggers, which sets them apart from so many other social media firms. They are sponsoring a cocktail party at the Cybher conference this year as part of their British outreach, and I think it’s brilliant. The British blog market is expanding fast, and it makes so much sense to cater to this audience – the brands who do so now are getting a jumpstart on what I believe will soon become a powerful market leader.
I think I would be the perfect person to attend Cybher this year, because I feel like I have a lot to offer and a lot that I could learn. As a British person in America, I am in a unique position with having know-how and contacts on both sides of the pond, along with industry and cultural knowledge of both. The timing is ideal – I can’t think of a better conference for me, the webmaster of Bloggers London, to attend than a blog conference in London! I believe my forum is going to be a useful tool to connect London bloggers with sites such as Social Fabric and other brands that want to work with them, and this would be the ideal opportunity to network with as many people as possible. Can you imagine how quickly I could grow this forum if I had a chance to network in person with potential members and PR representatives? It’s an exciting prospect! Not to mention, there is much to be learned from their workshops: For example, one of my goals in the coming months is to expand my Google+ presence, so “The Art of Plus Size” keynote about G+ would be very informative.
And on a personal note, it would be fun to return to my birthplace – I haven’t been back to the UK since 2011 and I’m getting really homesick. It’s tough to live almost 5,000 miles away from half of my family, but part of my goal with these international sites is to position myself to better work and live between both countries so I can spend more time in England. If I am selected to attend this conference, I may be able to sneak in a little visit with family before the conference starts – although my dad’s home of Liverpool is over 200 miles North of London, it’s so rare that we are on the same continent that I’m sure we can figure something out!
Thank you to Collective Bias for hosting this contest – regardless of whether I win, it’s inspired me to carve out time to get these sites launched this week!
Readers: I would love to hear what you think of these new resources, especially if you’re based in the UK!