Bearded Backchat with Kelly from sussexwithlove.co.uk
Bearded Backchat is a chance for me to interview PR people and fellow bloggers. This week is Kelly from Sussex With Love.
Who are you?
I’m Kelly – hello there! I’m a twenty-something living in the sticks somewhere near the home of Winnie the Pooh.
Hello there! What is your “day job”?
I work as an SEO manager (snore) for a big digital agency. Although I manage every aspect of SEO my specialist subjects are offsite strategy, blogger outreach/digital PR and legal compliance (T&Cs, ASA etc.)
What is your blog called and where can we find it?
My blog has recently had a bit of a makeover, including a new name. People may know me as ScissorsPaperRock but I’m now sussexwithlove.co.uk. It was *supposed* to be From Sussex, with Love but a damn chutney company owns that URL pffff
What’s your blog about?
My blog is a weird eclectic mix of everything my tiny, insignificant human life revolves around but has started to take a more “parenting” focus since I had my first baby last year. I’m trying to steer a little away from this though as parenting is consuming enough without it taking over my hobby too!
Why did you start blogging?
I met some wonderful bloggers through my work in SEO, most notably Annie (Mammasaurus/Fable & Folk) and T (MummyBarrow). Reading their blogs, and the many other wonderful blogs by others that I worked with reminded me that my first love was always writing.
I always wanted to write or act as a child and teen and at some point I lost my way and started focusing on a supposedly “solid” career. I started my original blog so that I could try and re-ignite that passion.
Why do you still blog?
I have this unrealistic expectation that I can still manage to hold down a full-time job, parent a fairly crazy toddler AND keep my love of writing alive through blogging. Sadly I rarely get time for the latter but I’m determined that 2016 is my year for “me” (don’t hold me to that!)
How has blogging changed since you started?
The way it has changed is most obvious through my day job. When I first started out, bloggers wrote about what they loved and agencies would approach people to include crappy text links and banners in their content. Blogs were fairly independent of each other though there was still a community feel.
Most blogs were certainly not that clued up on how things like SEO worked either. Now bloggers are a lot more tech-savvy and more focused on their own site improvements and SEO value. It seems to be more about building a “personal brand” (god I hate that phrase) now than just sharing your thoughts.
Would you count your blog as a job or something fun to do in your spare time?
It varies. I count my freelance work for The BabyCentre as a job because, well, it is. But my own blog is just fun for me. Though it definitely seems like more of a chore with a frantic toddler ripping the house apart when I’m trying to type!
Where do you get the inspiration to write a blog post?
Anger or self-deprecation. If I’m writing about something more mundane, like a challenge I’ve set myself, I usually find other things to do (I am the world’s greatest procrastinator) but if something has royally pissed me off or I feel the urge to point out my own flaws, I suddenly feel overwhelmingly motivated to get writing! Injustice is a powerful thing.
If you could recommend three other blogs to read, what three would you recommend and why?
Definitely Charlie at RealGirlRamblings. She is a fellow BabyCentre blogger and is one of those people who write posts that make me shout out “damn, why didn’t I write that. I was totally thinking it”. I think she might be syphoning my thoughts somehow. She’s definitely my go-to for mum kinship.
Also, Annie’s blog is just beautiful. I remember not long after she set it up. To see where she’s come from to where she is now is just incredible. I want to poke her in the eye with a lemon juice covered finger because she is just so good at making beautiful things and I can’t even pull my finger out to take one photograph a week. I also really admire the way she is constantly evolving her blog and isn’t scared of change!
Finally, it would have to be T’s blog at MummyBarrow. If Charlie is mum kinship and Annie my creative inspiration then T is the heart. She is honest and caring and speaks with such passion about everything that I just want to reach through my screen and hug her every time I read a post. She is a total giver in every aspect and has offered me so much advice, about my life and not just blogging, that I feel a total love for her.
What is the single best thing that has come about as a result of your blog?
It will sound cheesy but I think it’s having the confidence to actually BE a parent. I was completely bricking it when I found out I was pregnant. Full on catastrophic meltdown mode.
But writing about it and talking to some of the other wonderful bloggers who had been-there-done-that was amazing and I’m not really sure I would have coped as well in those first few months without them – even if they don’t realise it, I was consuming every post ever written about parenthood!
That really is cheesy… I know what you mean, though. What would be your perfect blog post?
I would love to say that my perfect blog post would be full of glorious images of me on a perfect beach in Hawaii, sipping on pina coladas and announcing that I had made it big time with my first novel. But I like honesty so my perfect blog post would actually contain just the right amount of self-deprecation, humour and anger. Probably chastising myself for sticking Netflix on again instead of bothering to even think of an idea for novel.
What can you recommend to other bloggers to increase the traffic to their sites?
If only I knew… though I guess actually writing posts helps? In all seriousness, Google can be your friend.
If you want to be very methodical then do your keyword research using the keyword planner tool. Think about what may be coming up (Valentines Day, a popular TV series etc.) and see what people generally search for around those themes – then create content that works with those popular topics.
Alternatively, just be really lazy and participate in wonderful guest posting series’ such as this 😉
Ah, c’mon. You work in SEO. Any SEO tips that you can share?
Ok. Make sure you aren’t nofollowing all of your links. I see so many blogs where they do it “to be safe”.
I’m not just talking about links to brands and products (although you should totally still follow these if you believe in the brand) but links to other blogs, news sites, everything! Having a site that only nofollows external links looks pretty suspicious to search engines and you won’t be gaining any back flow from the sites you are linking to.
Don’t be scared of links - just do your research and know your own limits.
Which brands do you enjoy working with?
I have only worked with a few brands to-date *sob* but I have to say that whilst I don’t have a favourite at the moment it’s always the ones with great PR guys and gals that have me pining for more work.
Anyone that’s done their research and knows my name and my babies name gets an automatic virtual high five!
Everyone has that one company that they have always wanted to work with but have never quite been able to. Who is yours?
I have a few. Netflix is definitely up top. I adore their company and their ethos and if I could have a day job with their marketing team I’d be the happiest girl on the planet (did you know they actually have a job where you have to sit and watch EVERYTHING and then make the recommendations for the “because you watched… “ section? That is their JOB? Amazing).
I am also a huge LEGO nerd and an avid XBOX lover (latest Halo notwithstanding due to the abysmal lack of local co-op). I’d probably give my right arm to be a Lady Blogging Ambassador for the XBOX/Microsoft (I don’t think that role currently exists but it should!)
Pretty sure I work for Netflix (just without pay) based on that description! What do you watch?
I watch EVERYTHING on Netflix. I had it for ages for crappy chick flicks but truly fell in love when they started making their own stuff - Breaking Bad obvs. More recently Mr Robot and Making a Murderer but I will literally watch everything on there.
What is your own personal favourite post on your site?
I have three because I’m greedy! My first is a rant about someone throwing a Sausage and Egg McMuffin on my windscreen.
The second is the post I wrote just after I found out I was pregnant about all the reasons I’m too immature to have a baby (this still stands).
The last one is my university Physics essay about the search for extra-terrestrial life. It’s very long and very dry and I don’t think anyone has ever read it but I received a first for it which was pretty insane considering my degree was in media.
Whose blog would you love to be featured on or write a guest post for?
Probably Hurrah for Gin’ss blog. I’ve always had a penchant for stick men drawings (as my McMuffin post above will demonstrate) and her humour is so me that it hurts a little that I didn’t think of it first.
Yet you didn’t name her in your top three favourite blogs… Awkward…
Lastly, if you were to interview another blogger, what question would you ask that I haven’t asked here?…
The biggest question of all time and one that I always use when interviewing – What is your favourite biscuit? You can really get the measure of someone with this question. For
For example: digestives? Boring and analytical. Pink wafer? Quirky, verging on irritating.
… And what is your answer to that question?
Borders butterscotch crunch. Heaven in my mouth. Followed by Foxes Crinkle Crunch. I love a buttery biscuit. FYI my selection implies that I am traditional and introverted yet adventurous.
Thanks to Kelly for taking part. I’m partial to a milk chocolate covered Malted Milk biscuit. Not too sure what that says about me!
(Header adapted from an original design by www.lucykatedesign.co.uk, with thanks)