Chatting Community with Alice Spake

Charlotte's back with another interview. This time we're chatting with the wonderful Alice Spake, founder of the Southampton Blogger's community, all about how she got started and her top tips for getting involved with local blogging activities near you.
Follow Alice: Blog - Instagram - Twitter

starting a blogging networking community

How did you get started blogging?

I started in 2014 as a hobby. My fiance worked lates at the time and we'd just moved in together so I had a lot of spare time so it seemed the right time to finally start posting on the blog I'd set up six months before. 

Can you tell us a bit about your work with Southampton Bloggers and what you do within the community?

Southampton Bloggers is a network in Southampton that supports bloggers of all sizes and followings. We run networking events, as well as brand-focused events, in the city while supporting bloggers across the world by retweeting their posts on our Twitter account.  

What motivated you to start the network?

A blogging chat! Do you remember those on a Sunday evening? A few of us were chatting and realised we all lived quite local and our first event took place three months later. We had lunch with twenty bloggers as well as a raffle and goody bags. 

How did you go about bringing it all together? Were there any challenges you had to overcome?

If I'm honest, I'm not sure, Southampton Bloggers just happened. We've had issues in the past with bloggers taking advantage, using our name to receive press samples and copycat accounts but we've just kept doing what we're doing with a big smile. 

What tips do you have for bloggers who are looking to get involved with Southampton Bloggers, go to blogger events or find similar networks in their city?

Get blogging! For us, having a blog is essential. We love seeing what everyone is up to on social media but we like to be able to read and present that to brands when we pitch our bloggers for events. Links are still very valuable. 

What’s been your proudest moment, running this community?

The brand collaborations this year and being recognised as one of the biggest blogging networks outside of London which is huge! 

Do you have any advice for people who are looking to start running blogger events? What should they be looking out for?

  • Suitable venues with access for everyone, make sure the venue knows what coverage they'd be getting. You shouldn't need to pay for hire! 
  • If you need a blog post or something in return, make sure the attending bloggers know that.
  • Run a first come, first served basis and never exclude anyone or give your 'mates' first dibs. Blogging is for everyone

Where would you like to see your community go in the future - what’s next in store for you?

We've just started partnering up with two groups in Southampton that run tourist websites so we can all reach more people, we have some very exciting collaborations and the community is growing month by month. We've also just received official trademarking which is exciting! The future is looking great!