National UK Blog Awards Stripped Back - Q&A

Whilst our expert Judging panel have been looking over the shortlisted finalisted for the Awards. I felt it was time to offer a 'stripped back' blog post to let our readers and candidates into our minds and answer some potentially burning questions you have asked yourself about the awards.

Based in Preston, England, Gemma Newton nee Pears is the founder of the National UK Blog Awards. The UK Blog Awards will host the first inaugural awards in London at on Friday 25th April 2014.
#UKBA14 will not just be another standard Awards evening, but the chance to be acknowledged and recognised as a true knowledge provider within your industry and provide a unique opportunity to link with other professionals and organisations. Whilst having an amazing evening, of course!

Why the UK Blog Awards?
"As the founder and MD of the Awards, I felt the industry was missing recognising Blogging individuals and organisations across the UK for sharing their fantastic knowledge and content. Previously news and information would be shared via generic news platforms such as TV, PR and Magazines. Now content not only continues to share through traditional media forms, but social media and Blogging has created a new news source, now Blogging is THE modern way to share news, knowledge, content as well as opinion. I believed that a multi-sector award would be a natural way for professionals to come together and network with different industries and share their different values, experience and content whilst being recognised for their hard work."

Why did you decide to take a different approach and appeal to both Hobbyist Bloggers to Professional Bloggers?
“Why not?  I am a Mum myself and I know how hard life can be juggling a work life balance. If full time Mums can find the time to Blog either as a diary or tips to help other parents they should most certainly be recognised for this.
On the other side of the Blogging platform, a Solicitor, a Fashion Designer or Teacher will have bags of knowledge to share and provide opinion. Individuals and Organisations spend a huge amount of time and resource to Blog. All of whom when in the same room or networking virtually could really benefit from each other’s stories and what each industry has to offer.”

Why did you decide to go ahead with this in 2014?
“I have sat on this idea for over two years, helping businesses develop their online presence and assisting with brand development and the time just felt right. I had a very strong belief that people Blogging should be valued and those that are not Blogging, well, I wanted to showcase how beneficial Blogging can be.”

Why did you decide to have a two tier voting process?
"I felt it was very important to have the public vote, as Blogging and new media are about: The People’s Voice. Whether it is an individual or organisation Blogging, the content shared generates an impression, it entices opinion and as a result that perception and that credibility is gained from an online audience. So part of the Judging process should most certainly be the people, the readers."

What will the professional bring to the process?
"To make the judging process as solid as possible and to make the awards ‘worthy’, each category is judged by experts and thought leaders from each specific industry. This means that we have over 30 judges involved, yes 30; I know that is a lot! I don’t think I have seen an award’s panel with so many Judges, but I felt it was another important factor.
Not only do the Judges need to understand Social Media and Blogging, but also the industry. The Judges do not have an easy job, they have to choose a winner out of the top 10 individual and organisational Blogs that are shortlisted and the stakes are high! They are looking at the full package from content, brand and style to promotion. The Judging criterion is extremely detailed.”

How do you think the UK Blog Awards have helped Bloggers across the UK so far?
“We have received some amazing feedback so far. Some candidates have gained coverage in  local and national press and had radio interviews, which is great and well deserved exposure for the candidates.  Others have been approached to work with brands and it has given one blogger the confidence to make the transition to being a professional blogger.  Many have reported increased followers and/or traffic to their blog and wehave also found that by the candidate’s guest blog posting via the Blog Awards website during the public voting process really helped entice voting.
We also host the busy #BlogHour every Tuesday from 9-10pm on Twitter from our channel. We have received great feedback from this alone. Bloggers are able to share their Blog posts and network with other Bloggers, but also learn further hints and tips and ideas via  the topical questions that we set each week.”

Gemma on the National UK Blog Awards so far…
Gemma
"Considering the event is in its first year I'm delighted with the recognition our candidates have achieved and the interest the awards have gained across the 14 industries. I am delighted to have developed a platform that Blogging individual and organisational professionals can use to connect with each other and brands alone, as well as receiving recognition. We are really delighted to have sponsor support from the likes of Content Click and Twining’s. It really has showcased that the National UK Blog Awards was long overdue.”

Tell us about the awards evening?
"I am so excited about the evening.  I can’t give too many details away, but this will be a spectacular evening for all bloggers and industry to come together and celebrate their achievements, as well as making new connections.
The awards evening will held at The Grange, St Pauls in central London on Friday 25th April 2014 and tickets are now on sale via the National UK Blog Awards website
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The evening will welcome all shortlisted Bloggers, brands and all other Blogging professionals from across the UK to celebrate true viral style.”

The awards are divided into 14 industry categories, listed below, with two awards available in each – one for individuals and one for organisations, as well as an additional Young Persons Award, for authors aged 18 to 25, and a "Most Innovative" award.

Arts and culture
Automotive
Digital and technology
Education
Events
Food and drink
Health
Lifestyle
PR, marketing, media and communications
Retail and fashion
Travel
Wedding

Thanks for reading!

Best wishes

Gemma