Our next Insight interview is with 2016 ODEON Cinemas Best Storyteller individual winner, The Girl on the Piccadilly Line. Zoe Paramour started blogging in 2015 and has since quit her teaching job to become a full time freelance writer. Here Zoe tells us how one of her posts recently went viral after leaving the Education industry (something many Education professional may dream of - which makes Zoe a Blog Heroine across her sector!) and how much her blog has come in in the past year as well sharing her own thoughts on what makes a true BlogHero.
The team at ODEON took a huge amount of time to decide on their winning blogs at the 2016 awards and as headline sponsor for a second year, ODEON Cinemas will be awarding the Blog of the Year, providing shortlisted entrants to not only received one award, but two!
Tell our readers a bit about you and your Blog content..
The Girl on the Piccadilly Line was launched after the last General Election to try and get people my age (particularly women) engaging with politics. The year that it launched I started working as an Assistant Head Teacher in a primary school in East London so a lot of my content was about issues in education although since then I’ve branched out a bit. I try to make sure my posts are honest, entertaining and, most importantly, accessible to all regardless of their knowledge of politics and current affairs.
Since your big win, where are you now?
At this precise moment I’m on my honeymoon! But in blogging terms The Girl on the Piccadilly Line has gone from strength-to-strength - it’s had over 600,000 hits in its first year. I’ve quit teaching to pursue a career in freelance writing – whether that was very bold or very stupid we’re yet to find out! I’ve written for The Independent, The New Statesmen, The IBTimes and The Huffington Post. I’m currently in discussions with a publisher about a “Girl On the Piccadilly Line” book – watch this space.
Do you think winning a UK Blog Award has helped progress your Blog career?
Absolutely. It raised the profile of my blog, boosted my followers and gave me the confidence to pursue writing as a full time career. Thank you UK Blog Awards!
So far, what has been the highlight of your Blog career?
There are a few. Obviously, winning the UK Blog Awards is one of them. My Hen Do had actually started that night but I had to join them a day later to go to the awards! My award was the last to be announced and I’d convinced myself I wasn’t going to win - I’d even taken my shoes off. The people sat behind me said I screamed when I heard my name announced and then had to scramble to get my shoes back on! Nothing like playing it cool. That was definitely a highlight. Having one of my letter of resignation posts go viral and being invited to speak on TV and in the national press about it was pretty amazing too.
If you were able to go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself about Blogging?
I used to get really hung up on my blogging “style” - I just didn’t think my writing was good enough. Over the last 18 months I’ve learnt that good writing is writing people want to read. So my advice would be: have faith in yourself and just keep writing. Oh and read extensively – the more you read the more your own writing improves.
Would this be the same advice to a Blogger starting out?
Yes – but also: blog about what you’re passionate about. Whether that’s cheese, fashion, or alternative energy options. It really doesn’t matter. If you’re passionate, you’ll find it easy to keep writing and your enthusiasm will come through in your writing.
To those who are nominated or entering into the UK Blog Awards, what advice would you give?
Enjoy the whole process – you’ll get to meet great people. Make the most of all the networking opportunities - it can feel a bit daunting at first, just walking over to people and introducing yourself but they’re a friendly bunch! Also – don’t take your shoes off during the awards ceremony because that’ll be the moment they announced you’ve won… Finally, this year’s UK Blog Awards 2017 theme is #BlogHero.
How would you define a hero in the blogosphere?
Anyone who is brave enough to put themselves out into the public domain, openly and honestly, is a hero in my eyes. To maintain a blog is a huge commitment and requires hours of work – all bloggers are heroes for that reason.