Showing just how far the blogging industry in Australia has come, the Styling You blog has just won the 2015 Telstra Business Award - micro business - Queensland category.
With 400 other businesses vying for the title, Telstra judges chose Styling You for its prowess in the online environment, as well as good community engagement, marketing and financials. The win sees editor Nikki Parkinson heading to Sydney to compete in the national awards, which will be held at The Star on August 20.
Here, Parkinson talks to BD about winning the award and what it means for the blogging community.
How does it feel to be the first blogging business to win a Telstra Business Award?
It feels incredible. The process was a detailed and rigorous one but it really made me reflect on just how far my business – and blogging as a whole in Australia - has come in seven years. When I left journalism and started my blog (accidentally) in 2008, I certainly did not have this business model in mind. Early readers were just family and friends and they were mostly doing that on a PC or laptop. Now, my blog is visited by more than 100,000 readers each month, who mostly read via a smartphone or tablet. The technology keeps evolving and with that, bloggers have had to adapt and evolve, too. Brands have also evolved. Increasingly, bloggers and online influencers are getting a slice of the advertising and marketing pie once reserved for traditional media.
What does the award mean for you and the blog?
The Telstra Business Awards have such strong credibility in the business world. Just to make it to the finalist stage is huge, let alone winning at State level. There were 400 entrants in the micro business category in Queensland and six finalists. Other finalists who had entered previously said that being a finalist had opened many doors that may not have otherwise opened.
Why do you think Styling You was recognised for this award?
Telstra judges said I took a great risk to start the business and that my execution in the online environment was phenomenal. They said my business has a good community focus, impressive marketing and growth plans, and strong financials with low costs.
Do you think it’s a good sign for the future that a blog has received this accolade?
Absolutely. Bloggers and blogging are still very much a curiosity in the business world. The first question I still get asked when I tell people what I do is, “how do you make money?”. Having my business structure analysed and judged independently helps the credibility of the industry as a whole.
What do you hope this award means for the blogging community?
I hope that I can inspire other bloggers to know that through persistence and hard work, you can build a business around doing something that you love. It all starts with building a community around your blog and social media networks. Once that is cranking, you have the opportunity to leverage that engagement and influence to create amazing brand partnerships.