UKBA15 Arts and Culture Judge, Bethan Barker | Penguin Random House | Your Voice: Your Perspective

Bethan Barker, Arts and Culture UKBA15 Judge is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at .

Bethan (Bee) Barker is an award winning digital strategist and marketer, who basically never stops typing and sharing online given that she balances her career as Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House and her two blogs; London lifestyle blog and UKBA14 shortlisted travel blog .

As a super enthusiastic Blogger, we were delighted to have Bethan's professional opinion and knowledge on the UKBA15 judging panel. Below, Bethan shares her thoughts on why the UK Blog Awards is great for the Bloggersphere:

“Bloggers are crucial to the publishing world. In this digital age; they work as the key influencers who share buzz, create hype and put huge amounts of effort into reading, rating and reviewing our offering. At Penguin Random House we publish around such broad topics that it’s vital we nurture relationships with bloggers from every sphere; be that arts & culture, cooking, parents, lifestyle, beauty, fashion or travel. We are absolutely committed to investing and engaging with bloggers at every stage and age. We recently sponsored the blogger category of Future8, an award scheme open to talented youngsters aged 7-12. Our Young Adult offering hinges on the involvement and passion of our network of vloggers and bloggers. With new and unique blogging talent constantly shifting and evolving; I am thrilled to be involved in the only awards to truly recognise, develop and support this vast community.”

We hope you enjoy reading Bethan's insight into Blogging. You can also connect with her digitally as well as meeting with her at the National UK Blog Awards this April!
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1. What does it take for you to bookmark a Blog? Is there anything that a Blog must have/be to grab your attention?
I’m probably admitting a terrible crime here, especially since I work in publishing, but I do confess to judging books (or blogs in this case) by their covers. When I say cover; at least with blogs it’s more than just an image and title. When I stumble across a new blog I quickly take in the layout, the aesthetic, the first few posts and the bio – most importantly the bio. My Bloglovin’ feed is meticulously curated snug of my absolutely favourite reads, because it’s my go-to place when I snatch a precious chunk of free time. To grab my attention enough to follow a blog, I need to get a sense really quickly of what the blog will do for me… whether that’s informative (tutorials, top tips for where to spend my weekend roaming etc), recommendations (of the bookworming nature inparticular), dress me (I heart street style) or give me a serious dose of wanderlust.

2. What would stand a Blog out from the crowd? Top three things.
+Beautiful images that are presented in a way that lure you in and keep you there!
+Words. I am all about the words! I want to start reading one post and then suddenly realise that I am back to the end of the blogs archive and existence and still craving more!
+A confidence in your uniqueness. Sure there are thousands, maybe millions, of blogs out there. But every single person sitting down to tap tap tap those entries has a totally individual slant on the world to anyone else and it’s important that the blog really owns and portrays that.

3. How seriously do big companies take Blogs and the Blogging culture on a commercial level?
Oh it’s serious! Bloggers are crucial to the publishing world. In this digital age; they work as the key influencers who share buzz, create hype and put huge amounts of effort into reading, rating and reviewing our offering. At Penguin Random House we publish such broad topics that it’s vital we nurture relationships with bloggers from every sphere.

4. Do you think that in time Blogs will take over from the traditional media forms such as, daily newspapers for the latest news?
I think there is room for everyone; especially as newspapers are now emulating the popular aspects of blogs in their approach to sharing news online; most big news agencies run their own blog content and blog-type offerings. Despite this, blogs run by individuals will always have the edge on the passion, expertise and knowledge around their chosen subject that can complement and enhance more broad based news sites and content.

5. What Blogs do you read and why?
I have 184 on my current feed, so you probably just want to highlights! You Are Not So Smart keeps my brain whirring and gives me great anecdotes to wheel out at parties. Girl Lost In The City (UKBA15 nominee!) is someone I always make a brew and time for a proper sit down to read; with every blog making me want to instantly get on twitter and rave about the topic. I go to Wish Wish Wish, I Want You To Know and What Olivia Did for fashion tips that always end up in me taking an instant hit to the bank account. I want Posh, Broke & Bored’s life (and wardrobe). More Than Toast gives me a wide eyed look into what it’s really like to be an (amazing) mum. Finally, most of my bookmarks are travel and wanderlust related with Atlas Obscura, Double Takes, Notes From The Road, Small Crazy, Maptia and Classe Tourist are my very favourites today (it’ll change tomorrow!)