Copycat

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Hi Kat, I hope your well. I really need some help and don’t know who else to ask that will give me a straight answer. I have huge respect for you, your morals and your attitude. I hope you’ll be able to find the time to reply.

I launched a wedding blog a few months ago. Without going into too much detail (and using up more of your time) a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money has been put into it. I’ve created a team of contributors as well as showcasing local wedding businesses. It was a huge risk but since it launched we’ve had a fantastic response and we’ve already been getting enquiries for advertising! I’m really excited about where it’s going.

But I have a problem and a question for you. As your blog continues to grow and it attracts more attention, did you ever have other bloggers start to follow your format? Maybe showing similar posts to you but a week or so later? If so, how did you react to this and what did you do?

Basically, soon after we launched another blog with the same focus as us launched too (coincidence). It didn’t bother me at first but as the weeks have past we’ve been noticing her format changing, and her posts are following a similar style to ours. It is beginning to annoy me and my team as we’ve all a spent a lot of time researching & writing these posts and it feels like this other blogger is coming along and just repeating everything that we do.

I’m trying really hard to give her the benefit of the doubt but I really don’t know what to do. I can’t stand being copied but I know it happens everywhere but I’m worried about the fall out if I put my foot down and get angry or ‘out’ her. We’ve put so much effort into creating something different and we hate the idea of someone else piggy backing off all our hard work even if it is purely a coincidence.

What would you do? 

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Business Bites: Striving to Improve

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Photography: La Tartine Gourmande

I know it’s geeky, but I really love reading anything and everything I can get my hands on about blogging or running a small business. I mean, if we’re not constantly striving to improve or better ourselves, how do we ever expect our businesses to flourish and grow? So do yourself a favour, take a break, and spend some time reading up on how you can make some positive changes. Today.

How to get your Facebook updates seen by more people
When is the best time to post on Facebook?
What is an editorial blog calender and do I need one?
Seven questions to ask yourself before you hit publish
♥ I love reading about other people’s work routines
♥ How to turn marketing fails into awesome human moments

“Ultimately, truly effective marketing (like any communication) is about connection and relationships. Real people make real mistakes. When you acknowledge it, you’re actually taking a second to have a really human moment. Yeah, mistakes are generally bad for business… but humanizing your business by acknowledging those mistakes can be powerful tool for establishing a real human connection.” Ariel Meadow Stallings

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How Couples in the UK Plan Their Weddings & Pick Their Suppliers

2012 UK Wedding Market Study from Splendid Insights

Last June, Liene Stevens of Splendid Communications kindly allowed me to publish some of the hugely insightful findings of her annual wedding & lifestyle market research. Each year she interviews thousands of engaged and newly-married couples to find out exactly what matters when it comes to their weddings, how much they’re really spending and which factors actually determine how they select their suppliers. The results went down a storm, with many of you commenting that after reading the findings that you had plans to make some serious improvements on certain areas of your businesses.

So, as soon as Liene published the results of her 2012 survey, which can be purchased in full via her website, I was keen to ask if I could share some of the highlights with you again. There is a report available which covers the overall global results, but she’s also carried out country-specific surveys (US, Canada, UK & Australia). Being a wedding blogger based in the UK, I found the answers from the UK responders particularly interesting. Below are some of the findings from that report. The survey was taken by heterosexual and same-sex brides and grooms from the UK who were married in 2012.

Budgets

2012 UK Wedding Market Study from Splendid Insights

The majority of couples in the UK are spending between $11,000 – $30,000 (published in USD to keep results consistent with the global findings) which is approximately £7200 – £20,000.

2012 UK Wedding Market Study from Splendid Insights

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Business Bites: Make the Web Expensive

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Photography: Mowielicious

Damn, it’s been so long guys. I HAVE MISSED YOU! It feels like we haven’t spoken in so long but I’m so thrilled to be back posting my Business Bites links. Have you missed me too?

♥ This is something we get asked a lot at The Blogcademy: How early should you monetise a blog?
The brand is a story. But it’s a story about you, not about the brand.
How do I get my small business noticed?
How to politely turn down a client
Are comparisons the root of all evil?
♥ If you’re a wedding photographer, you probably won’t have failed to noticed that double exposures are all the rage right now. This simple tutotial explains how you can achieve the look with the Canon Mark III.

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 Photography: Sarah K Byrne Photography

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Just Go! Why Fear of the Unknown is Holding You Back

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I’m not a seasoned traveller and I’ve never had wild dreams of far flung adventures. I had no internal yearning to fly off to Thailand after school to ‘find myself’, nor a burning desire to backpack around the world, drinking in all it has to offer. The mere suggestion of solo travel like that terrifies me. The slow and steady safety net of home was quite enough for me – or so I thought.

Before The Blogcademy I’d travelled very little and never on my own (bar one short flight to Prague last Summer). In fact my latest jaunt over the Atlantic was my very first long haul flight on my lonesome. I like to think that I’m pretty industrious and, contrary to popular belief, I’m fairly streetwise under this hot pink exterior. I can read instructions, I know how to navigate from one terminal to the other (pro-tip: ask someone!) and booking an apartment to stay in or a car to pick you up really isn’t as daunting as for some reason I thought it would be. But I’m not afraid to admit that I was still a little nervous when Gareth dropped me off at Heathrow three weeks ago. What if I missed my connecting flight? What if I couldn’t find Gala at our designated meeting spot? What if my luggage got lost?

the blogcademy la Milou and Olin9

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Offline

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It’s getting to be quite the regular occurrence for me when I’m travelling. Every time I return home after some far flung adventure, I start to daydream about the benefits of spending less time online and more time, you know, actually out living my life. I don’t know if it’s the sunshine, spending so much time with friends or all the new experiences, but I always land at Heathrow with a surge of ambition to spend more time away from the artificial glare of my computer screen.

Never has this been so prevalent than during my latest trip to The States, which I returned home from yesterday. Ironic really, as I was there to teach a workshop on how to be successful online. Despite that fact Gala, Shauna & I spent a disproportionate amount of time discussing the benefits of cutting our time glued to a screen. On one day we even spent an afternoon with an ex-fashion blogger who had recently decided to curb her online addiction. She had pretty much decided to quit blogging and most social media completely and so obviously she had a lot to say on the subject. While her reasons for wanting to completely unplug were very different to what mine might be, chatting through the idea with her did make me strongly evaluate just how much time I spend on my computer, how often I check my phone and why I can’t seem to stop the aimless – and constant – browsing for distractions.

But I’m not delusional. I’m certainly not going to do a complete 180, shut down my blog, stop replying to my emails and take a look into converting to Amishism. It’s very easy when you’re away from the humdrum of the everyday to come over all idealistic and to make grand plans for change. Yet real life isn’t anything like a holiday. You get home and the old routine kicks back in with frightening ease – emails, deadlines, quick turnarounds on new projects – it’s all too easy to forget how great it felt to not be chained to a desk and to ignore everything that you’ve promised yourself.

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One of the things the girls and I chatted through at length was that if we were really honest with ourselves how much of our ‘busy online time’ was really spent being productive – writing, emailing, designing etc etc, and how much of it is just our old friend procrastination. We all know how much of a time suck Pinterest can be, how draining keeping up with Twitter can feel or how fast Facebook seems to move on if we don’t check in daily. But if we objectively look at what we are actually doing on our computers every day, I wonder if we’d be shocked at how much of it is just frivoling?

I’m not going to kid myself (or you!) by pretending that I’m making a pact to cut my online time in half, or to only spend 4 hours a day on my computer, but I am making a promise to myself to make my time plugged in more consistently productive. My afternoon slump of pinning, tweeting nonsense and watching a shameful number of reruns of The Hills needs to stop. Of course Reading is hardly an entertainment mecca – if we had the sunshine, beaches and pseudo-celebrity spotting of Los Angeles I’m sure I could find plenty of offline activities to entertain me. But my promise to myself is this: if I start to slip towards the procrastination-side I’m going to get the hell offline for a while and do something less wasteful.

How do you feel about the amount of time you spend online or in front of a screen? Do you ever think you’d like to cut down too?