I don’t always write about my business on here, sometimes just tips and reflections on self-motivation and taking the leap from the 9-5. But with the Northern Blog Awards 2018 having just happened and being a huge success, I feel I should perhaps let some of you know a bit more about the behind-the-scenes…the woman behind the event…the organiser of the Northern Blog Awards a.k.a Me!
So what does it take to plan an event like the Northern Blog Awards?…
I’m Holly Wood, the Organiser of the Northern Blog Awards
Being a blogger for nearly 7 years now, my whole business and to some respects my whole life, revolves around creating content online. When I started it as a hobby all those years ago, I never dreamed it would become part of my career and day-to-day working life…but it has.
Aside from posting content here (not nearly as often as I’d like to!) and on my instagram, I also run an online and face-to-face community for Content Creators right here in the North of England – called WeBlogNorth. This community has formed friendships and working relationships and is something I’ve been working on developing and growing for nearly 4 years now. It became a business idea nearly 2 years ago, when I realised there was a want and need for community, learning and collaboration in the content marketing and influencer industry. Not all of us get hundreds of thousands of followers overnight, go viral or make 6 figures from our content…in fact those days are almost certainly over, well, certainly so much harder then it was a few years ago.
So WeBlogNorth gives us “regular” content creators the opportunity to learn how to be better, keep on top of the industry and collaborate with each other to create even better content and working relationships. It gives those starting out the knowledge and confidence to commercialise their content and it gives brands and PR agencies a route to talented, engaged and invested content creators. It’s grown from strength to strength with over 250 paying members now and thousands across social and it’s still growing!
So what are the Northern Blog Awards?
One of the things that came up within the community again and again was the frustration that all the events and brand activity was still focussed around London and the South. It seemed they were having all the fun and reaping all the benefits of the influencer industry and big budget campaigns. Not fair! Why weren’t brands hosting events here in Manchester? Why weren’t they searching further afield than the Watford Gap when it came to finding amazing and unique content creators? Why were southern bloggers and instagram-ers getting all the press? It didn’t and doesn’t make sense to us up here in the North! So what could I do to change it?
Create a show-stopping, flagship event for WeBlogNorth right here in Manchester!
After much chat and brain-storming, it was agreed that what the North was missing was a bit of glamour, something that felt really special and turned the heads of brands. So the idea of the Northern Blog Awards was born and in September 2017, I hosted the inaugural event (#NBAs17) at the Principal Hotel and it was a great success. Check out the official photos from the Northern Blog Awards 2017.
A team of organisers? Nope, just me!
So one thing I’m incredibly flattered about is, the fact that after an extremely successful first year, people assumed that there was a team of organisers, a huge budget and loads of time. Nope. No sir-ee! Just me!
In fact, this year, I made people a bit more aware of the fact that I am the founder and organiser of the Northern Blog Awards, I pull it together with little help and around my two kids (one of whom was born in the midst of planning!). I felt people needed to know this to make the event and me more relatable. I wanted the audience to know I cared and there was a real passion and a real person behind the NBAs.
Gosh it was tough!
I’m not going to lie, the first year of the Northern Blog Awards was hard enough – and I had 3 working days a week to utilise when my daughter was in childcare. But this year’s awards were supremely difficult as the majority of the planning was done whilst heavily pregnant (and exhausted) and with a newborn baby (again, exhausted!). I planned the events in stolen moments when my baby slept, when I should be sleeping and when my toddler didn’t mind watching a bit more CBeebies. Oh the guilt!
But was it worth it?
In a word, yes! That’s how I’m feeling now anyway, just over a week since the #NBAs18 as I’m still in the post-event come down, receiving messages of gratitude daily and adoring the official photos. BUT, I do have a very real worry that I need to make all of this hard work count – I need to take it somewhere! I need to make sure that the hours, days, weeks that were spent working when I should’ve been with my baby (and daughter) are worth it.
When an event is a success, 99% of attendees are happy and the sponsors are super pleased with their ROI, it can seem like the world is your oyster. Everyone just presumes that’s it, you’ll do it again, you’ll make loads of money and it’ll be super easy. I’m afraid that this isn’t necessarily the case! I’ve got a lot of post-event evaluation and de-briefing to do and I’ve got to strategise how 2019 can be even better and actually start to earn me a salary to cover all the hours, days, weeks and months I work pulling together the event. This is the tough bit!
I’m a blogger and a mum and I happen to be really passionate about championing the content-creating talent we have up here in the North. I want to be recognised, just like everyone out there creating content for their little space on the internet. I’m just figuring it all out too!
Onwards and Upwards
So, as Founder and Organiser of the Northern Blog Awards, I won’t be letting go of the reigns any time soon, BUT I will be delegating and hopefully employing the services of more people next year to help me pull the event off more smoothly and easily. I’ve got to find the balance for the next year – that’s my goal!
So if you want to be involved in any way, or if you’re a brand and would like to be a sponsor, then just ping me an email on [email protected] as I’ll be looking to forge an amazing team to make our 3rd event the best yet!