Next up in our Insight interviews, we have caught up with 2016 Health and Social Care winner, Caron Cares. Caron Sprake set up her blog back in 2012 when she admits she was a complete technophobe, but her first online project has come such a long way since then. Caron tells us what has been happening in her whirlwind life of blogging which has also seen her scoop two more awards since her individual win at UKBA16, and why making a difference to the care community has made her a true Blog Hero.
Tell our readers a bit about you and your Blog content..
“Caron Cares” is a blog providing advice and information for anyone caring for the elderly or someone with dementia. It contains articles on subjects such as age related benefits, health matters, fall prevention, elder abuse and offers advice to carers on where to find help and support and how to stay fit and well. It also has articles on products and services that can make life better for carers and cared for. It also acts as a social care agony page and I am there to help and advise people on all matter of subjects. At the very least I am a listening ear.
Since your big win, where are you now?
I have had an amazing year! Not only did I win my category at the UK Blog Awards I was also a winner at the Bloggers Lounge, Blogger of the Year Award and I have recently discovered I have been nominated in two categories for the Great British Care Awards in November. My very special off line (and online) range of products to help people with dementia saw the recent introduction of both sticky and iron on labels in addition the already very popular assistance cards. The whole range can be made at home totally FREE of charge meaning we can really work to keep people with dementia safer and independent for longer. The cards are one reason I have been nominated for the category of “Care Innovator” and these are an extremely affordable and accessible aid in a sector facing deeper and deeper cuts to services when the demand is at its greatest. The situation is only going to get worse too.
Do you think winning a UK Blog Award has helped progress your Blog career?
It has and hasn’t. I am still working hard writing and tweaking trying to continually improve what I offer. I am certainly am not sitting on my laurels. I wasn’t going to enter again as winning this year was my biggest goal to date – I still have to pinch myself now! I have decided to enter again though as a challenge to keep my blog as good as possible. I think winning did help me in get the door to write for Devon Life, the prestigious county magazine. I was initially told I was allowed an allocated 450 word column but for the first two months I have had a full page which is amazing. I used to have to beg for a tiny word in the press! It also lends status to my work when I approach companies and organisations. I have recently written for the International Centre of Longevity to coincide with their London conference which also in November. What’s good about this is I am a lay- person writing amongst a sea of academics.
So far, what has been the highlight of your Blog career?
Winning in the UK Blog Awards 2016. I was just so surprised but equally delighted and it’s a night I will never forget. One of my reasons for blogging and now campaigning is to make a difference. The end of September saw me working with a national TV channel in regard to the many elderly people who are almost starving to death in care homes across the UK. With my large social media following, I have managed to gather sufficient evidence for them to start an investigation and we are working together to produce a powerful programme for 2017.
If you were able to go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself about Blogging?
About blogging itself, do your SEO as you go along and make it the best you can. It goes without saying that content is King but you want as many people as possible to see it.
Would this be the same advice to a Blogger starting out?
To a newbie blogger I would say put your heart and soul into your work what ever your topic. Remember this is not about you…..even if it is! Your blog is about your readers. Make yourself transparent and be everywhere, spread yourself across as much of the social media space as you can.! Look after and nurture your readers, they are your future in everything you do. I even receive cards and gifts from mine. Be genuine at all times and maintain integrity at all times. Most of all have fun and enjoy. Its flipping hard work but it’s all yours to make your own. Make your mark on the world and do something that helps others along the way.
To those who are nominated or entering into the UK Blog Awards, what advice would you give?
For those entering, work like crazy to get your votes when the time comes. The Awards evening is an amazing event and the highlight of the blogging calendar, you want to be there. Just being a finalist means you’re a winner in your own right and its great to network with like -minded bloggers too.
Finally, this year’s UK Blog Awards 2017 theme is #BlogHero. How would you define a hero in the blogosphere?
Blimey that’s tough. A blog hero to me would be someone who through their blogs are changing lives and making a difference. Many bloggers are doing so on a daily basis so they can all be heroes and heroines.