Part Two: Interview with founder of popular lifestyle blog, Polka Dot Bride

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We are very pleased to bring to our readers an interview with Ms Polka Dot (aka Dorothy Polka), founder of the hugely popular lifestyle blog, Polka Dot Bride. Dorothy Polka has operated the blog since 2007 and is within the top 20 Australian female bloggers.

You can view Part One of the interview here: Interview with Top 20 Australian female blogger, Ms Polka Dot.

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Here is Part Two of our interview – enjoy:

How did you go about approaching companies to advertise on your blog?

I have never approached companies – from the beginning in the first redesign I included an “advertisers” column with a simple button and our readers (some of whom were vendors) contacted me through there. As we started a sales team with Ms. Paisley we did try some “cold calling” but we don’t feel comfortable doing it and we’ve found word of mouth and the use of social media to build connections to be much more supportive. We have motto on Polka Dot Bride that editorial is not paid for – there is a very clear line for anyone who chooses to advertise with us that we won’t blog things just because they pay, we blog what we love. In some ways this has had the opposite effect – vendors who we have supported freely, in turn support us.

How much time do you spend each day in Polka Dot Bride?

Too much! I am pushing hard to get work life balance back in order at the moment! But it’s always a challenge to shut the door and turn off the light.

What advice would you give small business owners who have blogs for their businesses?

–       Keep them regularly updated

–       Comment on other blogs

–       Be yourself in the blogs

–       Credit images right to their correct source!

We’ve all seen the inappropriate use of social media (including blogs) where it is used for constant selling or self-promotion, or where there is a lack honesty and transparency.

What are your recommendations on using social media well in a way that also makes good business sense?

I know it sounds strange (but perhaps apt, as it was one of the reasons why) considering I am anonymous, but self selling and self promotion has never been a focus of Polka Dot Bride so I’ve always found It really hard to talk about the site.

[blockquote text=”I’ve always worked on the principle that ‘being you’ is the greatest asset.
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I don’t proclaim that I have a staff of 20, I make spelling mistakes, sometimes my weekends consist of emails and not much sleep, we have trouble with our site and we’re pushing our rebuild! I’ve even struggled with this little hobby being thrust in the lime light – these are the issues we deal with each and every day in my business and I don’t think it does any one any good to proclaim things are bigger and better than they are.

We have a policy of not interacting negatively about our clients online – sure we whine about the cold and the rain but clients are a no-go zone. We have a really good team with great personalities and I allow them to be themselves through social media. Red tape never does any good. So we have guidelines, which we stick to, but we use common sense and if there are issues, we work with the parties to sort them out rather than broadcast publicly.

How did you go about designing your logo and website?

We’re about to launch Polka Dot Bride 4.0 so have had a number of incarnations before now!

Our first stage was me doing a basic header in Photoshop and uploading it to my blogger template. Stage two involved hiring a designer in the US who pulled together my first “professional” template. We didn’t have a big brief and just wanted something that was in line with what I wanted.

Our current logo is the concept of our designer Prue from Gigi & Lulu http://www.gigiandlulu.com.au/. Prue worked with me really intensively on pulling out what I wanted for the business and where we were going in the future. Each of her concepts nailed what I wanted, but our chosen one really signified Polka Dot Bride “growing up” into a real business. Prue then altered the logo for each of our specialty titles and designed the blog layout after many, many cups of tea and me babbling ideas to her.

I used a developer to build the site and have now switched to another developer local to me who is also managing the site. She and her team are rebuilding the site from the ground up and tweaking as they go ensure optimum performance and a fantastic user experience.

Do you ever profile businesses on the Polka Dot Bride blog? How can interested businesses get in touch?

We have only one advertorial style post a week that our directory members are profiled in. But we continually accept submissions of new and different products, real weddings, inspiration shoots, DIY projects, news and adventures – contact us through our submissions page or contact form for more information.

What would you say is best practice for bloggers?

[blockquote text=”Blog what you’re passionate about, treat your readers like gold and nurture your advertisers.
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What does the future hold for Polka Dot Bride?

I hope to keep producing really great Australian content and building up our specialty titles to what I dream they can be. We have a lot of plans in the future to keep drawing brides to the site and really nurture the vendors we work with.

About Ms Polka Dot and Polka Dot Bride:

Dorothy Polka operates the hugely popular lifestyle blog, www.polkadotbride.com since 2007 and is within the top 20 Australian female bloggers.

Dorothy has developed the blog and it’s speciality titles into an online magazine channel that attracts the leading lifestyle brands and as a professional blogger and social media commentator has extensive skill and expertise in social media channels.

Polka Dot Bride inspires brides to have a beautiful wedding uniquely there. Inspiring weddings, Polka Dot Bride’s main attraction is the twice daily blog, an extensive directory of wedding services, along with sites for the groom, wedding industry professionals and even honeymoons. It’s one-stop-shopping for the biggest day of your life. The site also has a cadre of secondary and guest bloggers, all who add to the Polka Dot Bride community.

If you have any questions or comments for Ms Polka Dot (Dorothy Polka), leave them below and she will respond to each of you.

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