Announcing BlogExpat's Top Expat Blog Awards
Every day, fabulous new expat blogs are added to our blog directory. Blogs come from every corner of the globe (Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Central America, North America, South America, & Oceania) in 5 languages (English, Français, Español, Italiano, and Deutsch). Thousands of stories are shared here: stories of joy, great meals, humorous encounters, embarrassing culture clashes and one-of-a-kind experiences.
To highlight some of these stories, we launched Expat Interviews in March 2011. Since that time we've covered:
- 205 expat interviewees
- 6 continents
- 60+ Expat countries
- 30+ nationalities
- 5 languages
Stories of swimming with sea turtles SE Asia, practically drinking mayonnaise in Chile, being on perpetual vacation in Malaysia, agonizing over the cost of groceries in Australia, and being the male trailing spouse of a Foreign Service Diplomat have all made an appearance in our interviews. We've gotten to know more about these countries, the challenges presented by life abroad, and the amazing expats who lived to tell the tale.
Now that so many note-worthy stories have graced this site, we are looking for a new way to acknowledge some of the best expat blogs. To do this, we are launching Top Expat Blogs. Every quarter we will announce which blogs have caught our eye as the best in the field and deserving of special mention. The merits of these winners will be trumpeted in our announcement, and a special Top Blogging badge will be provided for their site. Our first announcement is coming up next month in March.
To highlight your favorite blog, be sure they are registered within the BlogExpat directory and vote for the best bloggers to update their score .
Why Keep a Blog?
If you're not sure about the benefits of having a blog, just read expat's answers to the interview question
When and why did you start your blog?
- Running Across the Pond - "I started my blog "Running Across the Pond" in the summer of 2012 when I was awaiting the approval of my UK visa. My number one reason for writing is that I want to be able to help others trying to make their way to England. I know how it feels to be helpless and confused trying to look at options for moving. So if I can make the process easier for just one other person, I've done my job!"
- It's Lynny Kansas - "As time has gone on, it has become something I truly enjoy doing, I discovered a side to myself that I had never previously given time to, as I was always so busy concentrating on everyone else. Along the way, I have also discovered other great blogs and forums that I never really knew existed before so it has opened up a whole new and exciting World for me. Ultimately though, it is a great way to keep a record of our time here in Singapore - worth documenting, after all, we are not in Kansas lah!"
- My Asian Town Throwdown -"I wanted it for my friends to read over if they felt like it so they didn't forget I existed when I do return next year. I really had no idea that quite a few of them read it until recently which has encouraged me to keep posting and try and keep it interesting."
- Skippy or Bullwinkle - "I started my blog around a month after I arrived, in order to keep my family and friends up to date with what's going on in our lives. The only downside is my friends said don't feel the need to call me because they already know what's going on in Canada!"
Tips for an Outstanding Expat Blog
Many people start their blog to connect with friends and family back home and share their new life abroad. However, expat blogs often grows to include a foreign audience and people who are meeting you online for the first time. Having an "About me" section - whatever you want to call it - helps new readers jump into your blog mid-story.
Some people choose to be anonymous and not include personal details and pictures, but this can make it hard for readers to connect with your story. You don't have to tell your readers everything (although some people certainly do!), but let people know where you're from, where you are, and what you are doing.
When looking at blogs to interview or work with, I am surprised how many are missing a critical piece - the contact info! Whether people want to contact you about advertising, guest posts, featuring your blog on their website, or just sharing their appreciation, contact info is vital. If you're nervous about spam or inundating your personal e-mail, you can set-up a free account on gmail or any other service specifically for your blog. You can also use the [at] sign instead of the @, such as expat[at]easyexpat.com or similar tricks, to make it harder for spammers to randomly contact you.
Share YOUR Story
As you can see from the directory, there are so many expats sharing their experiences the easiest way to stand out is just to be you. We each have a unique voice, but it can be hard to find if you are writing for the first time, or nervous about how you will be perceived. Think about what you want to say, and then start writing. The more you write, the more confident you will be in your style and content.
Identify Your Audience
If you are writing an expat blog, you have already specialized your content. Many people are going to be interested in hearing about life abroad, or living in a specific country. Some people further identify with a specific interest point, such as cooking, photography, or fashion and focus their blog around that topic. This is an easy way to center your writing and find readers with similar interests.
The Boring Stuff
No matter how entertaining your writing is, a certain amount of organization will help readers find the information they want and navigate your blog. Using labels and categories can help your audience follow along with the a specific thread, such as your travels, parenting posts, or "how to"s of life in your city.
Another boring element that cannot be ignored is the importance of spelling, grammar and syntax. These basic elements make a post readable and a blog succeed.
How often is subjective, but if you don't update your blog for several months it can be hard for readers to stay tuned and they may eventually forget about your offerings. A content calendar may help you plan ahead and think about what you want to write about. You may also try differently themed posts on certain days of the week or month to get inspired.
Blogging shouldn't be a chore, so if you are pushing yourself to write when you don't want to, try changing your writing schedule or think about what inspires you. You may need to change your focus or identify what makes you happy when writing. A happy writer means a better blog.
Now that you have set-up your blog, written your "about me" and contact info, identified your voice and audience, perfected the boring stuff, and found a writing schedule that works for you - it is time to get your writing out there!
Social Media is one of the best ways to publicize your writing. These sites not only allow to send notice of your posts, they allow you to network with like minded people, such as other expats. This can be beneficial not just in your blogging life, but can alleviate some of the pressure in your personal life. Your online social group can help you vent about stresses, share in success, and even become real life friends.
Another way to network is by registering in a directory. These allow your blog to be found by readers, connect with other writers and expats, and be eligible for interviews, articles... and awards!
Thanks so much for your sharing your stories. We cannot wait to announce our first Top Expat Blog winners next month. Write, network, and win!