Blog Spotlight with Sarah Arrow, editor of Birds on the Blog
Aimed squarely at women in business, Birds on the Blog is the brainchild of editor Sarah Arrow. Sarah talks to us about the success of her blog and what she hopes to achieve in the future.
Tell us about your blog, how did you get started? Why did you choose your subject?
I started Birds on the Blog back in January 2010. I realised that there was nothing online for women in business with families that didn’t talk down to them or patronise them in some way. So I asked a group of smart business women to help me change this. We agreed to each post once a week, every week, for 12 weeks to see what would happen. The site took off in a big way; Forbes listed us as a top website for women – the only UK entry – and journalists started featuring us in their articles and radio shows. I’ve met so many interesting people like Guy Kawasaki, Karen Brady, Tony Robbins, Ali Golds, Jacqueline Gold, Anita Moorjani, Gabrielle Bernstein, Nicole Conn, Barbara Niven and many others through Birds on the Blog, and shared what they do for women in business with our community.
How do you source content for your blog?
Each contributor creates their own content, and it’s original or adapted for our audience from a piece of content on their own site. 99% of the content has been created for Birds on the Blog and our audience. We also love interviewing women in business and sharing their story from starting out, through bumps in the road, to success. We prefer not to focus on weight loss success stories or 'misery lit'. Positive, upbeat, motivating interviews with real women doing well in their business.
Do you have a favourite post or one that best sums up your blog?
There’s so much content (over 3,000 posts) it’s hard to have a favourite article. I do enjoy sharing our list of bloggers on 1 January. It’s one of our busiest posts. I also like the interviews that we do with other women in business. None of our journeys are the same, and each one shares powerful advice to help other women.
Do you write reviews? How many people read your reviews?
We write reviews on a regular basis and upwards of 1,000 viewers see them at the time of publishing. We also promote our reviews heavily to our audience over a period of time. There are some reviews that were published three years ago that still get good traffic. So if we review something, you know it’s going to get seen.
We also like to do giveaways with our reviews so they get more traffic. It could be a free sample chapter of a book, it could be an exclusive video clip, it can be a bigger prize. When we have something to give our readers we have these hidden behind a content locker to get more exposure for the person giving something away. This means the review gets a lot of social shares.
We always reserve the right to review the items honestly. If we don’t, then our reviews won’t do well. If you send us a shoddy product to review and it breaks, then we will say that. If you send something that works and looks good, then we’ll say that, too. Honest reviews are the only way our reviews will be effective.
How did you build a following for your blog?
Painstakingly. I built up a tremendous amount of goodwill with other women, women’s networks, and charities. This has grown over the years and it’s still how we build a following – one woman at a time. Our contributors are active on social media.
Are you a PR friendly blog? Do you accept contributions and content for your blog?
We are PR friendly. We accept original contributions for articles. We cover events and launches for things that are interesting to women, and of course we love to do interviews, providing that the service/product can add a lot of value to women in business. We prefer not to interview men unless they have an exceptional story to share that is of interest to women in business. Generic 'man makes good in women’s world' isn’t good enough; we’ve been doing it for years already.
How best do you like to be approached by PRs?
By email. With my name on it, and a well thought out pitch. If you love my blog, tell me what you love about it so I know you’ve actually taken a look at it. If you haven’t looked but just want to touch base then say that too. Be respectful of my time – sending me 50 irrelevant pitches a day drives me insane. Have a phone number in your email, so if we have a deadline and you have something interesting we’ll pick up the phone and get it in. By the same token, if you have a deadline then tell me and we can see if we can work with you.
What’s in store for your blog in 2014?
We have big plans for this year. We launch a digital magazine for women iPad users at the end of the month and are currently taking sponsorship, advertising and giveaways. Given that Birds gets over 500,000 page views a month we know that the magazine will be popular. We are also launching a series of training and support products for women and our own membership site. We have no plans to rival Mumsnet, but we do plan to corner the women in business market.
You can find Sarah tweeting @SarahArrow.